The Great Warsaw Race Comes This Weekend
This coming Sunday, 24 September, the Great Warsaw Race will be held for the 104th time in history and the 72nd time at Służewiec Racecourse. For the Polish capital the Race is as important as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is for Paris. For many horse race lovers it is an event that is remembered longer than the Derby. There are people who very rarely visit the racecourse, but this race acts as a magnet for them every year.
The Great Warsaw Race is held at a distance of 2,600 m. This year 6 horses (5 stallions and 1 mare) were entered. The start list comprises this year’s Derby participant Bush Brave, his two peers Velnelis and Largo Forte, four-year-old Neo and two five-year-olds – the mare Height of Beauty and the stallion Novitor. During the Sunday’s Autumn Gala, which will start at 12.30 p.m., a total of 9 races will be held. Apart from the Great Warsaw Race it is worth noting the Race for the Award of the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development for two-year-old thoroughbred stallions and mares (1,400 m; 3:00 p.m.), as well as the race for the Moszna Award (1,600 m; 2.15 p.m.).
The Great Warsaw Race was introduced in 1895 by Count August Potocki, the then President of the Horse Racing Society in the Congress Kingdom of Poland. The first winner was Aschabad, son of legendary Ruler, who was the first Polish horse to win the All-Russian Derby in Moscow in 1887. At the Służewiec Racecourse the race was held for the first time in 1946 and won by Izan.
The highest number of victories at the Służewiec Racecourse, as many as 10, were gained by horses trained by Andrzej Walicki: Daglezja (1971), Kasjan (1974), Księżyc (1986), Kesar (1989), Kliwia (1991-92), San Luis (2004-2005), Patronus (2013) and Greek Sphere (2014). Second place in this classification was held by the late Stanisław Molenda, who died in May this year at the age of 95.
The record of victories – 8 – belongs to the late jockey Jerzy Jednaszewski (who died in the Autumn of 2009 at the age of 79): Peary (1957), Surmacz (1959), Donna Aqui (1960), Jurysdykcja (1962), Dolores (1967), Driada (1970), Dargin (1973) and Dersław (1977).
Throughout Sunday the theme of “Old Warsaw” will prevail at Służewiec Racecourse, and one of the attractions will be a competition for the most original dress of the inter-war period. Children will be invited to a special zone where they will be able to go on a merry-go-round, compete in horseshoe throwing, take a mini-bungee jump and ride ponies. Between races, the audience will watch the final of the Polish Cavalry Championship and take a look at classic cars.
A ticket to zone B costs PLN 12, and a ticket to the Parade Stand – PLN 40. Children under 15 and people over 60 enter zone B free of charge.
Służewiec Racecourse can be reached by public transport, including the “Racing” bus No 300, which leaves Wilanowska Underground Station Terminal every half hour, buses Nos 709, 715, 727 and 739 heading for Piaseczno (“Wyścigi” stop on request), Nos 148 and 331 (“Poloneza” stop), and trams Nos 4, 10 and 35 heading to the “Wyścigi” terminal, which is just a short walk from Aleja Wyścigowa. Arrival by car is also possible – entrance to the Racecourse is located at Puławska Street 266.
More information can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/477601759299436