Trotting races in Palma and Manacor
Before you reach for your top hat or fascinator, this is not Ascot, nor is it actually horse racing
as you know it. For in Majorca
, it is trotting races that are the king of sports. The specially bred horses (with a height of 1.5 - 1.7 meters) pull a small and lightweight cart which carries a 'jockey' around a race track going at speeds you would not think possible. This sport has been popular in Majorca for 200 years and tracks in Palma and Manacor host races once a week at 4:30 on Sundays in winter and 9 on Friday evenings in summer, in the hippodrome Son Pardo, Palma and hippodrome Manacor.
Europe's first floodlit racecourse, opened in 1965 in Mallorca. The minimum bet is €1, making this a very affordable pastime if gambling takes your fancy. At the start of the race, the horses line up behind a car which is fitted with what can only be described as giant wings - one to either side - and the jockeys choose an inside or outside position behind the car. The race starts as the car gradually builds up speed and the wings fold up, leaving the horses to race around the one kilometer track.
Each race can have around 16 horses in the field which can make racing around the corners an extremely dicey business as the carts race wheel to wheel. The skilled jockeys avoid collisions for the most part thankfully, and it's incredibly exciting to watch. The horses must remain in a trot, and not fall into a canter or gallop, but it is no ordinary trot that they utilize. Reaching speeds of up to 25 mph, this sport is fast and furious!