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Galloping across the fields, jumping over hurdles, and testing a horse’s stamina is what horse racing is all about. There are associations who handle this thrilling sport for equestrians—Japan Racing Association (JRA) and National Association of Racing (NAR).
Horse racing, also known as ‘keiba’, is a popular sport that the Japanese enjoy in their weekly or monthly spare time. This is one of the few sports where they are allowed to place wagers on which horse they think will win the competition.
However, the betting options are not as white and black as placing a stake on the presumed winner of the race. This is because there can be other inner bets about how long a horse can run or which one finishes last.
It was popularized when Western-style horse racing was presented in Japan when the Edo period ended. Around 1861, the first horse racing event was hosted by the Yokohama Race Club. Ever since then, locals have been hooked on the sport.
Gambling was illegal in Japan, but in this case, they allowed it because the government believed that horse racing was a way to advertise the livestock industry. Popular horse races include flat racing, jump racing, and draft racing. To regulate it, the government decided to have associations manage the local horse racing industry.
There are two associations that conduct horse racing matches and betting in Japan:
JRA was officially set up in 1954 by the government to watch over every horse racing event on tracks called ‘Chuo Keiba’. National horse racing is JRA’s forte and it was able to reach an international scale. Foreign horses from all over the world often compete in JRA’s events if the competition allows it.
One of the most known tournaments it hosts is the Japan Cup for thoroughbred horses held in Tokyo. Local and international horses are allowed to join the annual competition.
JRA’s role is to manage the betting facilities, training centers, and horse farms in Japan. Racing events are usually hosted on the weekends and there are 10 JRA racecourses in the country. In addition, there are 12 races held in a day when they are scheduled, so locals can enjoy watching national horse races on the weekends.
The main difference between NAR and JRA is that while JRA organizes horse racing events, NAR does not. NAR was founded by the government in accordance with the Horse Racing law set in 1962. Their objective is to oversee the domestic races held by different local governments in the country.
In addition to this, NAR makes sure that every horse and its rider are registered officially before they can join a race. It also needs to find ways to promote good sportsmanship in racing and regulate the wagers placed. Wagers earned from the event are then sent to further improve the livestock industry.
Between the two associations, they have different functions, but the same goal altogether. Even if JRA is hosting horse racing internationally while NAR supervises local horse races, they share the same vision: promoting the livestock industry in Japan.
Due to this, horse racing has not only become an entertaining sport for everyone, but an important cultural and economical asset in the country.
For an entertaining sport, it was able to bring a thrilling experience for everyone and for the people who play it. Along with this, it was able to gain funds to support the improvement of the livestock industry.
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