Definition of Sport of Kings

What is the meaning of the term 'The Sport of Kings' when it comes to horse racing?

The history of horse racing is a long and storied one. Somewhere along that story, it picked up the name 'The Sport of Kings'. But how did that name come about, and why has it stuck around for so long?

Dictionary entry for the term Sport of Kings.  What is its meaning and history?Thoroughbred racing began over 300 years ago in England. There, breeding a superior racehorse was the passion of royalty. Part of this was because it was a way to show who was superior, as many members of royalty were the ones racing on the horses. The more practical side of the name is that nobody else could afford to spend all their time and money on racehorses!

Of course, the history of horse racing goes back much further than English aristocracy. Chariot racing was common in both Ancient Greece and Rome. But both the sport and the name as we recognize them most certainly evolved from England. Over time, the Sport of Kings became more established, with the 18th and 19th centuries seeing racetracks and derbys being set up all across England. The most famous of these include the Newmarket Racecourse, Jockey Club, Epsom Derby, and British Classic races.

As the sport began to spread around the world and became accessible to more than just the aristocracy, the Sport of Kings began to lose that exclusivity. People still treated it (and continue to treat it) like royalty. The Kentucky Derby, which is the most renowned horse race in the modern day, continues to see people dress up and emulate the aristocratic origins of the Sport of Kings.