A Guide To Służewiec Racetrack

Służewiec Racecourse is one of the world’s largest and most beautiful racetracks in the world. It is located in the Służewiec sector in the southern part of Warsaw, Poland. 

The racecourse is home to various prestigious horse racing events in spring and autumn every year. The most prominent racing event atSłużewiec Racecourse is the Warsaw Derby, an almost 150-year-old race reserved for three-year-old thoroughbreds.

This article offers a brief insight into the history, physical features, and facilities of the Służewiec Racetrack.

Służewiec Racecourse History

The history of horse racing in Poland can be traced back to 1777 when an informal contest was held between a local and a horse belonging to an English envoy. The first formal races were held in June of the same year in Pole Mokotowskie, which is currently the Union Square of Lublin. The track was a kilometre long. 

From thereon, the popularity of horse racing spread throughout Poland, and the sport continued to flourish. While the January Uprising in 1863 did put a halt to the activities, racing picked up the pace soon after peace resumed. When the totalizator was introduced in 1880, it further boosted the popularity of horse racing in the country. Around that time, English riders and trainers also came to Poland and helped develop the sport further.

After World War I, a difficult period started for the Polish horse breeding industry. However, efforts were made to revive the horse racing industry by introducing new laws, constructing horse racing facilities, etc. The Służewiec racecourse was formally opened for the public in 1939 when the first formal race was held. The property for its construction had been purchased in 1926 when it was decided that the facility in Pole Mokotowskie was no longer sufficient to conduct horse racing, though it continued to be the central facility till 1938.

Unfortunately, World War II broke out only three months after the racecourse started operations. While the racecourse did not suffer during the war, racing was halted throughout the length of the period. The SS troops were based in the vicinity, so the Germans avoided damaging the facility. Horse racing resumed in 1946, and around that time, around 237 races were held, in which more than 160 horses participated. Since then, there has been no looking back, and the Służewiec Racecourse continues to prosper. 

Until 2001, the property where Służewiec was built was under a state-owned enterprise, as earlier efforts for partial privatization had not been fruitful. In 2001, a new horse racing law was introduced, and as a result, the Polish Horse Racing Club was formed, which also began to oversee Służewiec Racecourse.

Służewiec Racecourse Facilities

Służewiec Racecourse is spread out over an area of 138 hectares in the beautiful green lush landscape of Warsaw. The facility has thousands of varieties of shrubs and hundreds of trees. 

The racecourse was built under the auspices of the Society for Horse Breeding in Poland. While once it was on the city’s outskirts, today is located very much within the centre amid the hustle and bustle of city life. 

The racecourse has two tracks, three grandstands, a paddock, a breeding section, and stables, among other facilities. A tunnel connects the paddocks to the breeding sections and stables. The inner training and housing centre comprises most of the racing stables in Poland. The stables can house around 800 horses. 

The main racecourse is 2300m and built from north to south, while the training track is built from east to west. The main course was designed to prevent water accumulation on the surface. 

Initially, there was a plan to build three stands, one for the members, one for the VIPs with a capacity of around 6000 people, and another larger stand designed to accommodate 7000 people, but it was not completed. 

In addition to horse racing, the Służewiec Racecourse facility is also used for organising various events and concerts. Many famous artists have performed at the racecourse, including George Michael, Sting, Rolling Stones, and U2, among others.

How long is the racing season at Służewiec Racecourse?

Racing season at Służewiec Racecourse begins in spring every year and continues till late autumn. Races are mostly held on weekends to encourage maximum participation.

Major Races At Służewiec Racecourse

The most significant racing days of the season include the Opening Race day, St. Leger, and the Ruler Stakes. The other significant events include the longest-running races in Poland, including the Wielka Warszawska and the Warsaw Derby.

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