The Japanese Racing Association is a public company dedicated to managing horse racing in the country and its associated aspects, including racecourses, horse training, and betting facilities.
Japan is home to some of the top tracks and iconic racecourses in the region. The Japanese Racing Association operates ten racecourses, and Hanshin Racecourse is one of them.
Hanshin Racecourse is located in Takarazuka in Hyogo Prefecture in Western Japan. Owned by the Japan Racing Association since 1955, the racecourse is home to various prominent and high-stakes graded thoroughbred flat races, including the Takarazuka Kinen, Osaka Hai, and Oka Sho, among others.
It is one of the two major racecourses in Western Japan, the other being Kyoto Racecourse. Races are held on an alternative schedule with Kyoto Racecourse.
Here is a brief but useful insight into the track’s history and facilities details.
Hanshin Racecourse History
Hanshin Racecourse was first built on its existing site in 1949. The site where the racecourse is currently located originally belonged to the Kawanishi Aircraft Company, a combat aircraft manufacturing firm that provided services during World War II. The company was closed down once the war was over, and in 1949, Hanshin Racecourse was built on the site. Keihanshin Keiba K.K. was the force behind the establishment of Hanshin racecourse.
In 1955, the management of Hanshin Racecourse was shifted to Japan Racing Association (JRA). Since it was formed, Hanshin racecourse has undergone major reconstructions twice; once in 1991 and then again in 2006. During the second renovation phase in 2006, many stake races held at Hanshin Racecourse were shifted to other racecourses in the region, including the Kyoto Racecourse and Chukyo Racecourse.
The Japan Cup Dirt, a prominent Grade 1 thoroughbred horse race, was held at Hanshin Racecourse from 2008 to 2015. It was shifted toChukyo Racecourse at Toyoake, Aichi, in 2015 and is now known as the Champions Cup.
Hanshin Racecourse Facilities
Hanshin Racecourse is located in the picturesque city of Takarazuka. The city is nestled between the Rokko and Nagao Mountain Ranges, while the Muko River runs through the city centre.
The racecourse venue features two turf courses, a jump course, and a dirt course. The outer main turf course is an oval track with a circumference of 2089m. This outer turf course was added during a renovation project which took place in 2006. It eventually resulted in the removal of the previous two chutes, while one of these was used for the inner smaller turf course.
The larger turf course encircles a smaller turf course which measures 1689m. Two chutes at the site facilitate races to run over a distance of 1800m (outercourse) and 1400m (inner course) and 2600m (outercourse) and 2200m (inner course) correspondingly. The two turf courses are labelled as “A” courses.
The course has rails that are used to change the starting position, thereby altering the race length. The altered course setting is referred to as “B.” The dirt track at Hanshin Racecourse has a circumference of 1518m and a chute that is 1400m.
The racecourse has a seating capacity of almost 140,000 individuals and has 12,603 seats in total. The grandstand has a roof that looks like a butterfly with its wings spread out. The racecourse also holds various events on race days, such as seminars for the horse racing novices, live performances by various artists, celebrity talk shows, and even flea markets.
In addition to the huge grandstand, the expansive lands at Hanshin Racecourse feature a plaza that comprises a playground and a beautiful lawn. Both the facilities are open for visits from Monday to Thursday when no races are scheduled for the course and offer free access.
During race days, children can enjoy pony rides, while the parents can enjoy the horses in action, making the racecourse a perfect place for families.
Major Races Ar Hanshin Racecourse
Hanshin Racecourse is home to various prominent and high stakes graded flat thoroughbred races, including the Takarazuka Kinen, Osaka Hai, Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, and Oka Sho, among others.
What is the Takarazuka Kinen?
The Takarazuka Kinen is a Grade 1 thoroughbred flat horse race reserved for thoroughbreds aged three and above. It is one of the only two All-Star races held in Japan, the other being the Arima Kinen held at the Nakayama Racecourse.
The race is held at Hanshin Racecourse at the end of June and runs over a distance of 2,200m. In 2022, the race had prize money of ¥ 432,000,000