Trotting races have been resumed on the only Hippodrome in Romania

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After years of waiting, especially because of the prolonged deadline of finalizing the modernization works, the racing was resumed on the Hippodrome in Ploiesti, the only one in Romania with a trotting track. The event occurred right before Easter, to maintain the old tradition, when the first races were organized in April.

On April 15, 2017, before Easter, the first official trotting reunion after modernization was organized on the Ploiesti Hippodrome. It was a reunion with four races, and the “star” was the race “The Easter Prize”, where eight horses were lined up at the start, fighting for total prizes of almost RON 5,000. The event was attended by a numerous public, which was proved by the almost full stands; the happiest were by far the horse racing enthusiasts who could see again the hippodrome with a new look. In order to create a special ambiance, resuming racing was accompanied by a show, given that those who came at the Hippodrome were welcomed both by classical chords – through a quartet of the Philharmonic of Ploiesti, and by fanfare music, interpreted by the members of the Prahova County Council’s Fanfare.

The fact is that the first equestrian reunion has brought many people from Ploiesti in the stands of the new Hippodrome. The “Easter Prize” brought a surprising winner – the stallion called Suvenir, with an “Amazon” in the sulky – Roxana Popa. The other horses involved in racing – with more or less pompous names: Star Nobel, Ukulele, Utszeli, Tutanhamon, Shadow Effe, Suni and Nekifuto – have also been applauded by spectators; we mention that two of them, namely Utszeli and Tutanhamon, belong to an owner from Hungary. We should say that the trotting Hippodrome in Ploiesti – the inly of its kind in Romania – hosted the first racing in 1961, after the demolition of the hippodrome in Bucharest, occurred in 1960. They say that on March 26, 1961, one of the most famous Romanian drivers – Mircea Stefanescu, rounded the 200 horses from the hippodrome in Bucharest and brought them in Prahova, Ploiesti; the trip lasted nine hours. In the first Sunday of April, in the same year, the first trotting derby took place in Ploiesti, and the winner was Mircea Stefanescu himself, with the stallion Florinel. The main building, the stands and the referees’ tower were placed on the opposite side of the current building.

The chronicles of the time mention that the record number of spectators was noted at the 1970 Trotting Derby, where the winner was the stallion Talion, led by Gica Tanase, an event attended by about 11,000 people. A new grandstand was made available in 1983, and both the start point and the arrival were changed. In 2005, the hippodrome was granted to the company Ippodromi & Citta, which didn’t comply with the contract concluded with the Ploiesti Municipality; the dispute was solved in the municipality’s favor.

Since the place entered in an advanced state of decay, Ploiesti Municipality decided to restore it from the ground; the project included the demolition of all the old buildings, including the stables and the arena, and the construction of the new and modern ones.

Works have been started in 2014 and they had to be finished late in 2015, being a project funded with EU funds. But the constructor didn’t observe the contractual deadlines, so the finalizing was prolonged one more year, which made Ploiesti Municipality to bear a part of the investment. Finally, the eligible grant for this project was RON 19.6 million, and the contribution of the Ploiesti authorities, as the beneficiary, was of RON 58.2 million. According to the data in the project, the trotting track has an area of 36,594 sqm and a length of 1,200 meters, while the gallop track has an area of 28,385 sqm and a length of 1,345 meters. Within the project, there were constructed stands, consisting of two separate buildings, seven stables, each of them having with 27 stalls, and parking places.