June 24, 2024

The Business of French Horse Racing: An Insider’s Look

The Business of French Horse Racing: An Insider’s Look

French horse racing is a popular and lucrative sport that has been an important part of French culture for centuries. The country is home to some of the world’s most prestigious horse racing events, including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, which attracts top horses, jockeys, and trainers from around the world. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the business of French horse racing and provide an insider’s perspective on what makes it so successful.

The History of French Horse Racing

Horse racing has been a part of French culture since the Middle Ages, with the first recorded races taking place in the early 17th century. The sport grew in popularity during the 18th century and became an important social event for the aristocracy. In the 19th century, horse racing became more organized, with the establishment of the Jockey Club and the creation of the Grand Prix de Paris.

Today, French horse racing is a major industry, with a total of 245 racecourses throughout the country. The sport generates around €10 billion in revenue each year and employs over 70,000 people.

The Role of the PMU

One of the key factors in the success of French horse racing is the PMU (Pari Mutuel Urbain), a state-owned company that manages and organizes all horse racing betting in France. The PMU was founded in 1930 and has since become an integral part of French horse racing. The company has a monopoly on all horse racing betting in France, and its revenue is distributed to various organizations and entities within the horse racing industry.

The PMU is responsible for organizing all horse racing events in France, from small local races to the biggest international events. The company also manages the distribution of race betting profits to horse owners, trainers, jockeys, and breeders. In addition, the PMU invests in the development of new technologies and infrastructure for horse racing, ensuring that the sport remains competitive and attractive to fans.

The Role of Horse Owners

Horse owners play a significant role in the business of French horse racing. They are responsible for buying and training horses, which can be a costly and time-consuming process. Owners also need to pay for the upkeep and care of their horses, which includes everything from food and shelter to medical care and training facilities.

In return for their investment, horse owners have the opportunity to win significant prizes and earnings from horse racing events. They can also sell their horses to other owners or breeding farms, potentially earning even more money.

The Role of Trainers and Jockeys

Trainers and jockeys are also important players in the world of French horse racing. Trainers are responsible for preparing horses for races, which includes everything from physical training to diet and nutrition. They also work closely with owners to create a race strategy and select the right jockey for each horse.

Jockeys, on the other hand, are responsible for riding the horses during races. They need to be skilled riders and have a deep understanding of each horse’s strengths and weaknesses. Jockeys also need to work closely with trainers and owners to create a winning strategy for each race.

The Future of French Horse Racing

While French horse racing is already a major industry, there are still many opportunities for growth and development. One of the biggest areas of potential is in the international market, where French horse racing events could attract even more fans and generate additional revenue.

In addition, there is a growing interest in horse racing among younger generations, which presents an opportunity to attract new fans and investors to the sport. Finally, advances in technology and infrastructure are making horse racing safer and more accessible to a wider audience, which could help to boost and increase the popularity and profitability of the sport in the years to come.


French horse racing is a fascinating industry that has a rich history and a bright future. From the role of the PMU in managing and organizing horse racing betting to the important contributions of horse owners, trainers, and jockeys, every aspect of the business plays a critical role in the sport’s success. As the industry continues to grow and evolve, we can expect to see even more exciting developments in the world of French horse racing.

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