Back in the day, some wise men discovered that Bangalore had what it takes to breed horses. M.Fazlul Hasan writes in his book Bangalore Through The Centuries: “Bangalore was particularly well suited for rearing horses from Persia.” In 1920 four stewards, Major R.H.O.D.Paterson, Sir Leslie Miller, Major J.M.Homes and C.N.Suryanarain Row formed what is now known as The Bangalore Turf Club (BTC). Nestled in 85-acres of lush greenery, BTC is considered to be a challenging and prestigious racing track. The course sees 65 days of racing in a year. The most famous races are the Bangalore SUmmer Derby (May-August) and the Winter Derby (November-March.
BTC is the only racecourse in India with underground stables. There are 700 underground or low-level stables that can accommodate around a 1000 horses.
if wishes were horses, every horse would win on this track. The BTC is considered to be one of the most challenging tracks in the world. The track is oval-shaped and 1950 mt long. It has four sharp curves and prominent gradients making it a challenge for both the horse and the rider. A win on the Bangalore race track is said to be a noteworthy accomplishment. The first race was run in 1962 for the three-year-olds (horses that is) over a mile and was called the Kunigal Derby. Two years later, the distance was increased to 2000 meters. A race usually lasts for about 1.5 to 3 minutes.
The BTC is probably the only track in the world where a limited space of barely 85-acres has been used to provide a complete space with facilities such as stabling for over a 1000 horses, three training tracks, an equine swimming pool, training schools, walking rings, a veterinary hospital, training school for jockeys and also an amateur riding school.
The Equine Simming Pool at the BTC was built in July 1969 in memory of the 100 horses that died in a fire accident in the Bangalore Palace in ’69. The pool is 10feet wide and can accommodate 10 horses at a time.
Swimming strengthens the horse’s shoulders and legs. Just like humans eh 🙂 (Flat tummy too, I guess). Swimming also helps relieve soreness in the legs of race horses. It also adds variety to their workouts.
BTC does not entertain any horse that is more than seven years old. Horses older than seven can race in any part of the country but not in BTC. Horses of many famous people are stabled here like M A Ramaswamy (100 horses), Khaitan (90 horses) etc. MA Ramaswamy’s horses wear the colours of Gold and brown, Vijay Mallya’s horses used to wear the colours of white with black beading.
A racehorse gets up to six kgs of feed every day which also includes oats, sprouts, carrots et al.
Fixing the horseshoe is considered to be a dangerous job and the farrier (the person who fixes the horseshoe) should be as meticulous and careful as a neurosurgeon. The horse’s hoofs are covered with a curved piece of metals with the help of small nails. No, the nails don’t hurt the horses, I am told. When they are driven into the tough part of the hoofs they horses can’t feel it. Hooves are to horses what nails are to humans. They need to be trimmed and kept healthy. A horseshoe keeps the hooves from wearing down and also gives racehorses traction.
And finally…. Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people. –W.C Field