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Harness Racing Events & Races

Here are important harness racing events in North America, Australasia and Europe.

North America

Important annual races include the Hambletonian for 3 year old trotters, the Little Brown Jug for 3 year old pacers, and the Breeders Crown series of twelve races covering each of the traditional categories of age, gait and gender.

The Hambletonian is part of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters and the Little Brown Jug is part of the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers.

Important Canadian races include the North America Cup (for pacers), the Canadian Pacing Derby, and the Maple Leaf Trot. The most notable harness tracks in North America are the Meadowlands Racetrack and Freehold Raceway, both in New Jersey, and Woodbine Racetrack and Mohawk Raceway, both in Ontario (harness racing is more popular than thoroughbred racing in Canada).

Since 1947, the "United States Harness Writers" Association annually votes for the "Harness Horse of the Year." Since inception, a pacer has received the honor 31 times and a trotter 25 times.

Australasia

The marquee event of Australian racing is the Inter Dominion Series, which includes a pacing series and a trotting series. The series is held yearly and rotated around the Australian State Controlling Bodies and once every four years the Inter Dominion Championships are held in New Zealand.

The major events for open age pacers in Australia are the Miracle Mile, A.G. Hunter Cup, Victoria Cup and the Australian Pacing Championship. The most prestigious events for three year olds including the Victoria Derby, the New South Wales Derby and the Australian Derby.

In New Zealand the major races include the Auckland Cup and the New Zealand Cup as well as the Noel J Taylor Memorial Mile and the New Zealand Messenger Championship. There are also the New Zealand Derby and the Great Northern Derby for three year olds.

For the younger horses there are series that stem from yearling sales including the Australian Pacing Gold and an Australasian Breeders Crown.

Europe

The leading harness racing nations in Europe are France, Italy and Sweden, and the sport is fairly popular in most northern European countries. Practically all races in Europe are trotting races and saddled events, though less frequent, are not considered exceptional.

The Prix d'Amerique at Vincennes hippodrome near Paris, France is widely considered the most prestigious event of the European racing year.

Other notable races include the Elitloppet one-mile race in Solvalla track near Stockholm, Sweden and Gran Premio Lotteria di Agnano in Naples, Italy. A yearly Grand Circuit tour for the top trotters includes a number of prestigious races across the continent. All notable racing nations also host their own highly regarded premier events for young horses.