About the races - Racing ABC
In this paper, addressed primarily to new fans of horse racing in Służewiec, we would like to present the playing rules in possibly most accessible way and basic information about the participants of this fascinating racing spectacle: horses and people. This paper is open in its nature and your questions shall be answered, supplementing the information base:
Thoroughbreds and Arabs were bred in 99 percent by the state studs by 1990. Private breeders could be counted on the fingers of one hand. This situation has changed over the last 15 years. Most state studs of thoroughbred horses: Widzów, Strzegom, Kozienice, Iwno, Stubno, Jaroszówka, Moszna became private. Jaroszówka, where such good horses were bred as Omen, Derby winner Diablik (1988), Dietmar, Susy, Upsala, Derby winner Kombinacja (2001) and recent Derby winner from 2010 Infamia, hasn’t been engaged in breeding for racing for two years. Of the remaining studs, once dominant Golejewko copes best. In contrast, Krasne and State Stallion Farm in Łąck try to find their place in new market realities.
Of the private breeders, the best are now: Andrzej Zieliński who has led the stud in Nowa Werona near Nasielsk from 15 years and Hindu Kishore Mirpuri who settled in Poland for good. In previous years, the most prominent were Barbara and Marian Pokrywka from Jelenia Góra and Janusz Romanowski (Polska Korporacja Inwestyyjna SA) and Bogdan Tomaszewski (Damis). Stanisław Guła also gained successes.
When it comes to the Arab state studs, Janów Podlaski still belongs to the racing leaders but it lost the dominance it had in 2009-2011. On the other hand, Michałów has been weaker and weaker in racing year by year. Distinguished private breeders are Jan Głowacki (breeding and training centre in Nowa Mała Wieś near Kampinos) and Zbigniew Górski (stud farm in Skuły near Warsaw).
Polish private owners have recently preferred to buy young thoroughbreds (a year old) abroad, especially in Ireland, Germany, France and Italy. On the other hand, the market for Polish-bred horses turned out to be … Kazakhstan, where in the past few years, as many as 250-300 horses previously running on the track in Warsaw have already been sold. Many of the best Polish-bred horses were sold to the Czech Republic. The greatest fame in recent seasons have won Tiumen, bred in Moszna, which three times won the Grand Pardubice (2009-2011), and Age of Jape (bred by PKI SA), which was undefeated in 13 starts and won the Derby in Prague and Bratislava in 2009.
What youth is used to, age remembers
Healthy breeding in stud farms has a large impact on the results obtained by thoroughbreds and Arabians. Appropriate feeding in various stages of colt development, proper medical care, conditions for free movement on pastures and paddocks, and climate have an effect on racing career. The coltish period usually ends at the age of 16-18 months for thoroughbreds and of 2,5 years for Arabians. Then, it’s time for breaking in, or accustoming to the bit, saddle and, above all, rider on their backs. Only broken in horses, or in other words, horses obedient to riders, become gradually involved in training, which consists mainly in walking in a machine called a carousel, and on the so-called, kentry on the Służewiec working track. The private centres also have carousels, but horses often gallop there as well in the field or across the woods.
Before the horse comes to start in Służewiec for the first time, it should undertake sharp galloping on the grass racing track a few times. It often happens that the aim of debuts of horses trained outside Służewiec is only to make them acquainted with the racing track. Of course, there are exceptions from this rule. It happened that the winners were horses debuting in Służewiec and trained somewhere in the country.
Reporting horses for the season
The owner who wants his horse (horses) to take part in the races must report it to the technical and selection department of the Polish Jockey Club until 31 January of the current year, and also register the name and the colour of their stable. During the race, the riders are dressed in jackets (kamzoł) and caps of these colours, which helps viewers to identify participants in racing. Horses that have not been reported to the season in normal mode, can only participate in international races.
The season in Służewiec begins in April and lasts usually until November/December. Meetings are held primarily on Saturdays and Sundays.
Thoroughbreds I and Arabians – the basic differences
Thoroughbred horses are larger and more powerful. Some measure at the withers (from the foot to the base of the neck) even above 170 cm, and in girth (chest measurement) even above 190 cm. The greatest Arabians are approximately 160 cm at the withers and over 180 cm in girth.
Thoroughbreds are also much faster than the Arabians. At a distance of 1,600 m, they achieve results better by 13 to 20 seconds, depending on the condition of the track. In the classic distance of 2,400 m, such difference is already mostly over 20 s. This is also a difference of track records on 2,400 m – 2’28 (thoroughbreds) and 2’44,5 (Arabians).
Thoroughbreds start their careers at the age of two years, but not all grow just as quickly. Therefore, breeders divide them into early and late growing up, which obviously also affects the results on the track. It is true that the trainers believe that if a thoroughbred has the makings of a good racer, it usually discloses them at the age of two years. But it happened sometimes that the horses which were great at the beginning of their career were not among the leaders in the next seasons, and those which started from a lower ceiling, were like wine, the older the better. Such a horse was, for example, two-time winner of the Great Warsaw Race, San Luis (2005-06), which gained his greatest successes at the age of five and six years. It was only the fourth time, i.e. at the age of six years, that a brave and fast Hipoliner won this prestigious race in 2009.
Some thoroughbreds start their careers at the age of three, or even four or more years. Late debuts arise mostly from late adolescence or injury, which must be completely cured, so that the horse could start in the race. A great horse, which after several operations came to a high form at the age of five years and won the Great Warsaw Race, was Merlini in 2008.
Polish Arabians begin to race at the age of three years (they run at the age of two years in Russia), but there are also debuts at the age of four and more years. As compared with thoroughbreds, Arabians have a greater strength. Therefore, after the racing adventure, some of them continues their career in sports rallies, held at distances from 40 to 120 km.
The primary, and in the case of young horses, both thoroughbreds and Arabs, the only system of selection is to compete in groups. All the horses are qualified to the second group before the debut. The winner of the race moves to group I and its opponents in subsequent races are the horses that have already won one race. Another winning gives promotion to the outside group of category B, then category A. A horse may start in the race of a group higher than its group. The opposite situation is not possible. All stallions carry equal weight, which consists of the weight of the rider and equipment (including weights). English mares benefit from 1 kg of weight reduction, and Arabian mares carry 2 kg less than stallions.
Older horses are qualified to groups based on the results in previous years, and the weakest ones start the season from group III. In contrast to young horses, they may race in the first lower group. Then they carry the additional weight, the scale of which (from 1 to 3 kg) is dependent on the distance of the race.
Apart from the group races, Służewiec holds handicap races where horses from different groups can run and chances are aligned with weight. Two horses from the same group may carry different weight, which is set by a handicapper depending on such factors as places taken in previous starts. The difference in weight between the best and the weakest horse can be up to several kilograms. Handicapper adds and subtracts weight for each horse in his sole discretion, taking into account the rivals with which the horse had already chased and at what distance. For example, if the horse from a lower group wins or takes a better place in the outside group race of category B, its weight in general handicap can rise by as much as several kilograms. The most spectacular example of this type in the 2010 season was winning by Sokół, a fourth group horse, in the race for the award of Pink Pearl (cat. B). His weight in handicap increased by 15 kg as a result of this victory. In contrast, if this race had been won by the top Invisible Dubai, a handicapper would have added 1 kg at the utmost or not at all as he raced theoretically with much weaker rivals.
Two-year old horses run mainly at distances of 1,000 and 1,200 m. There is also a small number of races held at the distances of 1,300 and 1,400 m, and 1,600 m (Mokotów Award), which brings to light the so-called winter candidate for the Derby. Best stallions compete in this race. Two-year old horses can compete with older horses only once, in the running for the Criterium Award, held at the distance of 1,300 m.
Older thoroughbreds usually overcome from 1,200 to 2,400 m. Individual races are held at 2,600, 2,800 and 3,200 m. The most important selection trial in the season for three-year old horses is the Derby, held at a distance of 2,400 m. Participants of the main comparative race for three-year old and older horses – Great Warsaw Race – have to overcome the distance of 2,600 m.
Currently, the shortest distance for the Arabs is 1,400 m, but most races are held at the distances longer by 200, 400 and 600 m. Horses from higher groups run to 3 km. This is the distance for the Derby race organised for four-year old Arabs (only for horses entered into the Polish Stud Book PASB). Horses of all age-groups are admitted to the race for the Comparative Award at the distance of 2,400 m (PASB).
Note! Detailed description of the distances on which thoroughbreds and Arabians compete is also presented in the section on individual age-groups.
Racing program as the primary source of information
Start of the race, distance and then start list is given at any given race. The name of the horse is accompanied by its starting number, sex, colour, age, lineage (name of father and mother), name of breeder, trainer and rider supposed to ride on it, as well as weight to bear. The name of jockey is sometimes accompanied by additional information. It usually says whether the jockey will go with or without a whip, the horse has a limited field of vision in one eye or it will run in glasses.
The field of vision of the horse is much wider than in humans, while its psyche has a unique sensibility. These two features together are manifested in timidity. Glasses are used in order to limit timidity. They do not resemble the human glasses. It is something like a bag drawn on the head of the animal. Holes for the eyes are partially obscured so that the horse could only see forward.
Condition of the track
It is determined before the start of each racing day and made public by the announcer. This does not preclude subsequent modifications, when weather conditions change. There are six basic types of track, which are presented in order of most dry.
– hard (0.1-1.5)
– light (1.6-2.5)
– slightly flexible (2.6-3.2)
– flexible (3.3-4)
– pretty flexible (4.1-5)
– heavy (above 5)
Horses run the fastest on the light track, and the slowest on the heavy track. The track can be hard in the case of prolonged drought. Such track is detrimental to the animal health. The organizers try to avoid such situation and then water the track. Immediately after heavy rain, the light or slightly flexible track can change into a slippery one (no longer dry, and not flexible yet). In late autumn, when there are frosts, the track can be frozen, and after snowfall – snow-covered. Frozen track is similar in nature to the hard track, but horses run slower on such slippery track than on the light or slightly flexible track. Snow-covered track strongly resembles the flexible, heavy track, and after heavy rainfall, even very hard track.
The values given in parentheses after the result of the race are the so-called quarters. They set the time needed to pass another 500 m, measured for the horse leading at the moment. The first quarter may not be total, for example, 300 m over a distance of 1,800 m. The pace of quarters is very important and provides relevant information about horses. With a strong race pace, when each subsequent quarter is slower than the previous one, durable horses have more chances for success. When the pace is slow in the distance, fast horses, which are able to speed up on the finishing straight, have more chances. Horses with a high speed and endurance are rare and win important races. They are said to be class horses.
Flyers and stayers
In terms of racing talent, horses are traditionally divided into flyers and stayers. The first ones are characterized by high speed. They run better at distances from 1,000 to 1,600 m. Flyers that specialize at distances of 1,200 to 1,300 m are also called sprinters.
Stayers are horses that do not have the innate speed, but makes up for this lack with their strength, which allows them to win the race over long distances. They do not have much chance with flyers at distances up to 1,600 m, unless the track is very heavy. On the other hand, flyers can win with stayers also over long distances if races are held at a slow pace, which happens quite often in Służewiec.
This division is smooth. Whether the abilities of horses become recognised depends on experience and sense of trainers and jockeys. This is not easy at all. Sometimes it happened that after the Derby, or even later, when a horse was already four-year old, trainers discovered that its furthest distance should be 1,600 m.
Dimensions of horses
They are reported in a special bulletin, published prior to each season by the company Horse Racetrack in Służewiec. There are reported three dimensions: horse height at the withers, chest circumference and the circumference of the left leg above the fetlock, e.g. 160-180-20.
Low rise does not disqualify a horse if other dimensions show that the horse is strong enough. Higher horses are heavier, thus bringing them into top shape requires more time. Therefore, they often poorly fall in the debut and better in consecutive starts, thus surprise the audience. Due to the greater mass, generally they have less speed. Their advantage is durability, while the outcome of the race at 1,000 m is often determined by the start. In the early stages of the race, heavy horses may lose a lot of distance, to make up for which they need a longer distance.
Chest circumference determines the strength of the horse, degree of physical development, capacity of the lungs, but can also inform about adipose tissue interfering in running. If the horse is slim, the results can be interpreted unambiguously and rather to its detriment. The horse with a large chest circumference should be watched and the cause determined.
Optimal difference between the height and circumference of the chest is 19-21 cm for stallions and 22-25 cm for mares. The minimum difference allowing the horse to be regarded as properly built is accordingly 16 and 19 cm, and in the case of the highest horses, even slightly less. The fact is that the higher the horse, the difference may be smaller.
Circumference of the leg is a very important component as it determines the strength of the horse to a large extent. It is rare for a stallion with a circumference of less than 19.5 cm and for a mare with a circumference of less than 19 cm to run well. There are exceptions of course. The horse must be proportionate, so it can have a thinner leg when it is lighter.
While analysing the dimensions of the three-year old horses, they must be compared to the last year. If the horse has grown a lot and its dimensions have increased, there is a chance to improve results. A disturbing symptom may be a decrease in chest or leg circumference. This means that the horse has not developed and may have trouble in the competition due to lack of strength. These concerns do not concern saddle horses that had a visible belly last year. The loss of a few centimetres can be favourable for their career.
Injuries, minor injuries and diseases
Different types of injuries, minor injuries and diseases have the negative impact on the career of the horse. One of the most common problems is the so-called bukszyny, or inflammation of the periosteum of the cannon, which is most frequent in young horses, beginning harder workouts. The reason for this condition is usually excessive and repetitive workload. Quickly detected inflammation is not a serious ailment, but the riding horse must be excluded from training for more than ten days. If left untreated, it can lead to serious injury, such as tendonitis. Much more serious disease is laminitis – non-infectious inflammation of the hoof. This can result from too long transport or excessive galloping of the horse on a hard track. This can also be the result of poisoning, or severe internal diseases. Laminitis is very painful for the horse and can lead to serious deformation of the hoof. If laminitis is suspected, the vet should be immediately called. The horse during treatment must be completely excluded from work, treatment can be supported by placing the horse in a box with soft lining (sand or sawdust) and making the cooling baths. If it is not cured within a few days, the changes are unfortunately chronic and incurable and can lead to lameness. The so-called “pulling out” of the horse means in most cases the muscle injury of the leg tendon. Pulled out or torn tendons often mean the end of a sports career for a riding horse. Stretched tendon heals a long time, but it is a treatable injury. The biggest problem is the significant risk of injury renewal after its return to racing.
What should we know about weights?
Weight carried by a horse in a race can be reduced (weight reduction) or increased (excess weight) due to:
1) age, gender and race of the horse
2) performance of the horse in races
3) category of the rider.
Thoroughbred mares aged two years benefit from 1 kg of weight reduction, while at the age of 3 to 6 years, they benefit from weight reduction over distances:
a) to 1,400 meters inclusive – 1 kg,
b) over 1400 meters – 2 kg.
Full-blooded Arabian mares aged three to six years inclusive benefit from 2 kg weight reduction regardless of the distance of the race.
In races intended solely for mares, they carry the weight corresponding to their age.
Geldings carry the weight specified for stallions.
In races where the weight reduction is provided due to the category of the rider, the following weight reductions are applied:
1) 4 kg – when the rider is an apprentice,
2) 3 kg – when the rider is a senior apprentice,
3) 2 kg – when the rider is an apprentice jockey,
4) 1 kg – when the rider is a jockey candidate.
In races exclusively intended for apprentices, the following weights are applied:
1) if an apprentice has not won yet any race – the weight to be carried by the horse is reduced by 2 kg,
2) if an apprentice has won at least one race – until an apprentice has won 10 races, the weight reduction of 1 kg is applied.
3. Weight reductions as referred to in sections 1 and 2 are not applied in races for 2-year-old thoroughbreds and 3-year-old full-blooded Arabian horses.
4. Weight reductions due to the category of the rider are not used for outside group races and riders with foreign license.
If the horse takes part in a race for horses of a group or category lower than the group or category to which the horse was qualified, this horse carries the excess weight of :
a) 3 kg – over distances up to 1,400 m, inclusive,
b) 2 kg – over distances over 1,400 m to less than 2,000 m,
c) 1 kg – over distances of 2,000 m and longer.
In these cases, the weight reduction due to the category of the rider is not applied.
If the horse takes part in a race for horses of a group higher than that to which the horse was qualified, this horse is entitled to the weight reduction of:
1) 3 kg – over distances of 2,000 m longer
2) 4 kg – over distances of less than 2,000 m
The total weight reduction due to the category of the rider and due to start in the higher group must not be more than 5 kg.
In adverse weather conditions (air temperature below 5° C), the Technical Commission raises the weight carried by horses in races conducted in group system by 1 kg, excluding international races.
2-year-old thoroughbreds and 3-year-old full-blooded Arabian horses in all races carry the weight of age and can not run in a group lower than they are.
All horses in races of category A carry the weight of age.
Disqualification due to overweight and underweight
1. If the weight the horse carried in the race proves to be higher than the weight resulting from the provisions of the Regulation or of the conditions of the race, the horse is disqualified, unless the weight difference is 1 kg as the most.
2. If the weight the horse carried in the race proves to be lower than the weight resulting from the provisions of the Regulation or of the conditions of the race, the horse is disqualified.
Rearrangement of horses
A) for the spring season before the start of the racing season,
B) for the summer season after the Derby for thoroughbreds.
Outside group races in the rearrangement for the spring season are divided into categories A and B, and group races – for group I, II and III.
3-year-old thoroughbreds and 4-year-old full-blooded Arabian horses are regrouped on the basis of race winnings last year as follows:
1) apart from groups, category A includes horses that won a race of category A last year,
2) apart from groups, category B includes horses that won a race of category B last year,
3) group I includes horses that won a race of group I or trial race last year,
4) group II includes horses that won a race of group II last year,
5) group III includes horses that did not win a race of group II.
4-year-old and older thoroughbreds and 5-year-old and older full-blooded Arabian horses are regrouped on the basis of race winnings last year as follows:
1) apart from groups, category A includes horses that won a race of category A last year,
2) apart from groups, category B includes horses that won a race of category B last year,
3) group I includes horses that won a race of group I, while being in group I, or a race of category B last year,
4) group II includes horses that won a race of group II, while being in group II or group I, last year,
5) other horses are qualified to group III,
6) horse that did not win a race alone last year is shifted one group lower,
7) thoroughbred horse of full-blooded Arabian horse that won the sum equal to or greater than twice the value of the lower award in category A for a given breed is not regrouped.
8) the horse that won the sum of money equal to or higher than the highest first prize in category B can not be rearranged lower than to group II, and the horse that won the sum of money equal to or greater than twice the highest first prize in category B can not be rearranged lower than to group I.
3-year-old full-blooded Arabian horses begin to run in group II r trail races from 1 May and move in groups according to the races won to the end of the year. The winner of the trial race (also head to head) is rearranged to category B.
2-year-old thoroughbred horses begin to run in group II or trail races from 1 June and move in groups according to the races won to the end of the year. The winner of the Trial Race (also head to head) is rearranged to category B.
In the rearrangement of horses for the summer season, 3-year-old and older thoroughbreds and 4-year-old and older full-blooded Arabian horses are regrouped on the basis of won awards in the spring season of the current year in the following way:
1) all horses are shifted by one group or category lower, except:
a) horses that won a race of category A,
b) horses that won the sum of money in the value of the lowest first award in category A for a given breed,
c) horses that won alone a group or category lower than that in which they were, with the exception of category A horses that won the group handicap.
During the rearrangement for the summer season, there is formed group IV out of horses that did not win a race of group III in the spring season of the current year.
After winning a one-time 125 percent of the lowest first award in category A for a given breed, 3-year-old and older thoroughbred horses and 4-year-old and older full-blooded Arabian horses are regrouped at least to category B, and after winning a one-time 250 percent of the lowest first award in category A for a given breed – to category A (not applicable to handicap races).
All handicap races won at home and in another country, regardless of the amount of the award, move a horse by one group, except for category A horses that, after winning the group handicap, are treated as horses that won the group below. The provision applies to all breeds of horses.
General Handicap is kept up to date and published each Monday before the registration day in the premises of the Club. The horse is included in the general handicap before the season if the horse was included in the general handicap after the season last year. The horse, which was not included in the general handicap before the season, will be included therein if it completed at least two races and was not disqualified in any of them. After a day of the Derby for thoroughbreds, the general handicap will include only those horses that completed at least two races and were not disqualified in any of them in the current season. While determining the weight in the general handicap of a horse that was not included therein before the season, starts of such horse in another country are not taken into account.
If the horse won a race in the period after publishing the weight to be carried in the general handicap and before weighing the rider to the race, the horse gets additional 2 kg of excess weight for each race won.
Thoroughbred horses begin racing career at the age of two years. Of course, there are exceptions. Some thoroughbreds start racing at the age of three years and a few begin a career as four-year olds or even older. It is the trainer and the owner that decide when the horse starts racing for the first time.
There are races for the Trial Award held in Poland. They take place in the first half of the season and there are a few of them (seven trial races were held in 2013). The winner of such race is immediately included in category B, and since then, it may compete only in registered races (i.e. those most important and better subsidized).
Two-year olds start running on the Służewiec Track in June – then there is also held the first race for a relatively high Trial Award. The first race inaugurating the struggle at the level of outside group for the Dorpata Award is held at the end of July. The most important race for this age group (Award of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development) is held during the Autumn Gala on the last Sunday of September or early October. A month later, the best mares compete separately (Efforta Award), and stallions and geldings separately (Mokotów Award).
Two-year old horse classified in category A may still start in the run for the Criterium Award. It is the only race in which two-year old thoroughbreds can race with older competitors.
Table of outside group races for two-year old horses (chronological order):
– Dorpata (cat. B, 1,200 m),
– Skarb (cat. B, 1,300 m),
– Dakota (cat. A, 1,300 m),
– Cardea (cat. B, 1,200 m),
– Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (cat. A, 1,400 m),
– Efforta (cat. A, 1,400 m),
– Mokotów (cat. A, 1,600 m),
– Neman (cat. B, 1,400 m)
In contrast to the races for the two-year olds, the races for older horses are divided into six categories. Apart from the already known group II, group I, cat. B, cat. A, there are also added two lower: group III and group IV, which emerge in the second part of the season.
The most important race of the season for this age group is the Derby race. It is the race taken into account by trainers while arranging the training and starting plan for their best three-year old horses. The most popular sequence for the riding horse being prepared for the blue ribbon in the Derby is its participation in the race for the Strzegom, Ruler and Iwno Awards. An alternative path to prepare the horse for the Derby is participation in races for the Iranda and Aschabada Awards. Mares can race with stallions, but trainers usually choose the variant of form shaping in the races intended exclusively for them, i.e. the run for the Spring and Solina Awards. Then the trainer and the owner must decide whether the mare is supposed to start in the run for the blue ribbon, or whether it must be withdrawn to be maintained more fresh than participants in the Oaks, called the Derby for mares.
In August, three-year old horses start competing with older horses. Generally, the latter have the advantage because they are already fully mature and more experienced in the competition on the track. Chances of the Derby age group are enhanced by differences in the weights carried. If there is a stallion that won the Ruller Stakes and the Derby in a given season, he faces a unique chance to win the Triple Crown in the St. Leger. The winner of these three classic races proves his great class and versatility, and records permanently in the history.
Besides the Derby, the most prestigious race in the season is the Great Warsaw Race (end of the September). All best in the country three-year old and older horses take part in this race. It is always an amazing spectacle and a true racing festival.
Table of outside group races for three-year old horses (chronological order):
– Iranda (group I, 2,000m),
– Strzegom (cat. B, 1,600 m),
– Spring (cat. A, 1,600 m),
– Ruler Stakes (cat. A, 1,600 m),
– Solina (cat. B, 2,200 m),
– Iwno (cat. A, 2,200 m),
– Aschabada (cat. B, 2,200 m),
– DERBY (cat. A, 2,400 m),
– Lira (Oaks) (cat. A, 2,400 m)
Four-year old and older thoroughbreds
Older age groups compete in other races than the three-year old horses in the first half of the season. The most important races for them are the Award of the President of the Totalizator (Prime Minister Award), and in the second half of the season, the Great Warsaw Race, in which they already compete with the Derby age group. Preparations for the first race are typically associated with starts in the mid-May (Golejewko Award), and in the mid-June (Widzów Award). In the second part of the year, older horses compete in the same races as three-year old horses.
Table of outside group races for 4-year-old and older horses (chronological order):
– Golejewko (cat. B, 2,000 m),
– Widzów (cat. B, 2,400 m),
– President of the Totalisator (cat. A, 2,600 m)
Comparative Races (chronological order):
– Jaroszówka (cat. B, 1,300 m),
– Haracz (cat. B, 1,400 m),
– Rzeczna (cat. A, 1,600 m),
– Syrena (cat. A, 1,400 m),
– Kozienice (cat. A, 2,000 m),
– Deer Leap (cat. B, 1,300 m),
– Krasne Stud Farm (cat. A, 2,200 m),
– St. Leger (cat. A, 2,800 m),
– Przedświt (cat. B, 1,600 m),
– Life of Warsaw (cat. B, 2,000 m),
– Moszna (cat. A, 1,600 m),
– Great Warsaw Race (cat. A, 2,600 m),
– Pink Pearl (cat. B, 1,800 m),
– Sac-a-Papier (cat. B, 3,200 m),
– Criterium (cat. A, 1,300 m)
Races for horses with sprinting abilities
Completely separate group is formed by horses competing in a racing cycle over distances up to 1,600 m. The group competition looks like the competition for long-distance runners. Until July, 3-year-old horses race separately and older horses separately. But in racing of category A and B, there is no such division. Three-year old horses compete with older horses from the beginning of the season, benefiting from the weight reduction (they carry a few kilograms less). Races for the Jaroszówka and Haracz Awards are tests before the run for the Rzeczna Award, ending the competition of short-distance runners in the first part of the season. After the summer break, the most important are the races for the Syrena Award (end of July), Moszna Award (end of September) and Criterium Award (mid-November), here two-year old horses can join the competition.
Thoroughbred horses bred in Poland are appreciated abroad mainly for this reason that some of them get very well in the hurdle races and steeplechases. Służewiec holds only hurdle races. It is a very spectacular competition. Thoroughbreds are starting to compete in it at the age of three years because it would be highly difficult for them to withstand the loads associated with jumping training. At the start of the season, only 4-year old and older horses take part in the hurdle races, and the best of them is the winner of the race for the Award of the 1st Division of the Polish Army Cavalry. Three-year old horses start competition in the middle of the year, but then they still race in separate races than older horses. Only at the end of September, these two age groups are compared at the end of September (Hubal Award). The most important hurdle race of the season is held at the end of October, i.e. the Great Służewiec Race, in which all the best horses specialising in this discipline take part. It is worth noting that all hurdle races in Poland are international, so riding horses trained abroad can start in it.
Hurdle races planned for the season 2013 in Służewiec (chronological order):
– Memorial of dr. A. Falewicz (for 4-year-old and older horses, distance of 3,000 m),
– Hadrian (4 +, 3,400 m)
– 1st Division of the Polish Army Cavalry (4+, 3,800 m)
– Memorial of J. Elias (4+, 3,600 m)
– Bojgarda (3, 2,800 m)
– Castor (3, 2,800 m)
– Hubal (3+, 2,800 m)
– Great Służewiec Race (3+, 3,200 m)
– End-of-Season Award (3+, 3,000 m)
Three-year-old Arabian horses
The first season, in which full-blooded Arabian horses start, is similar in many aspects to the beginnings of career of thoroughbreds. Arabians in Poland start to take part in the races at the age of three years. Races are divided into 4 categories, in the same way as in the case of thoroughbred horses (group II, group I, cat B, cat. A).
Three-year old horses start running in Służewiec at the beginning of May. In June, the outside group struggle is inaugurated in the race for the European Award. The most important race for this age category (Białka Award) is held during the International Arabian Day, which is a great feast for fans of this breed in the third decade of August. Another important race (Sambora Award) takes place less than two months later. This race differs from the previous one because only horses entered into the Polish Arabian Stud Book (PASB) can participate in it.
At the end of the season, three-year olds can take rivalry with older horses in the race for the Comparative Award (PASB).
Table of outside group races for three-year old horses (chronological order):
– European (cat. B, 1,600 m),
– Koheilan I (cat. B, 1,800 m),
– Amurath (cat. B, 2,000 m),
– Białka (cat. A, 2,000 m),
– Bask (cat. B, 2,000 m),
– Sambora (cat. A, 2,200 m),
– Sasanka (cat. B, 2,000 m),
– Piechur (cat. B, 2,000 m),
– Czort )cat. B, 2,200m)
Four-year-old Arabians and older horses
The most important race of the season for four-year old Polish-bred Arabians is the Derby (PASB), held at the end of July. A month earlier, most of the horses registered to the Derby takes part in the main trial, i.e. the race for the Janów Award (PASB). Mare trainers usually avoid struggles with stallions in these races and prepare them for the Oaks race (PASB, September). These are the only three races exclusively for 4-year-olds. Other races are also open to older horses. The most important race of the season for older age groups and foreign bred Arabians is an international race for the European Award (since 2010 Sultan Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup), in which often horses from abroad take part.
Table of outside group races for four-year old horses (chronological order):
– Janów (cat. A, 2,600 m),
– DERBY (cat. A, 3,000 m),
– Oaks (cat. A, 2,400 m)
Comparative Races (chronological order):
– Cometa (cat. B, 2,000 m),
– Kabareta (cat. B, 2,200 m),
– Ofira (cat. A, 2,400 m),
– Kurozwęk (cat. B, 2,600 m),
– Figaro (cat. B, 2,400 m),
– Sabellina (cat. B, 2,000 m),
– EUROPE (cat. A, G3 PA, 2,600 m),
– Grand Slam (cat. B, 3,000 m),
– Michałów (cat. A, 2,800 m),
– Comparative Award (cat. A, 2,400 m)