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Set in the beautiful San Rossore Estate, the Pisa Racecourse offers a unique and unforgettable experience for the whole family. Horses are the main attraction on race days, but our public has a whole range of possibilities to spend a pleasant time between races. Animations for children, tastings, shows and entertainment for all.
The race track at the Hippodrome of San Rossore (known as Prato degli Escoli) was laid out in 1829 by Leopold II of Lorraine. The first racing meeting took place on 3 April 1854 and in 2004 the 150th anniversary of this event was celebrated. The most prestigious race, which has been run there since 1885, is the Premio di Pisa, a Listed Race reserved for three-year-old horses over 1,600 metres. Since 1998, the Criterium di Pisa, whose first edition dates back to 1885 and which had been suspended in 1912, has been brought back into the racing programme, and is now held in mid-December. After the success of the first editions, since 2002 the Criterium has been promoted to Listed Race. The race is reserved for two-year-old horses and the distance is one and a half kilometres.
The other races full of charm and history are the Andred, Enrico Camici, Federico Regoli, Thomas Rook and Andreina Prizes, all of which are described in detail in the chapter dedicated to the main races at San Rossore.
The medium-sized grass track is about 1,610 metres long and 32 metres wide; the straight stretches are 530 metres long and the curves have a radius of 85 metres. The track is equipped with two racetracks that extend the straight lines by 120 metres and from which the 1,500 and 2,200 metre runs start. The obstacle course, located inside the flat track, is in the shape of an eight, 15 metres wide and has a circular length of 1,474 metres. The development with the two diagonals, respectively 265 and 315 metres long and 25 metres wide, allows for a lap of 1,527 metres. There is a course in hedges and one in steeple-chases, with the following obstacles: hedges, barred hedge, oxer, talus, fence, wall and riviera. Three hurdles were created in the meadow in order to be able to run cross-country races as well.
Since autumn 2003, the small indoor track has been used for some flat races.
The racecourse has an indoor and an outdoor grandstand and a total capacity of about 10,000 seats. The facilities for the public are completed by a restaurant, a trattoria – pizzeria, four bars, a playground, an ATM and a large car park. A state-of-the-art maxi screen is located just after the finish line.
The New Track
On 1 November 2010 a new track was inaugurated at San Rossore. The track allows races up to 1,750 metres with only one bend and the possibility of classic distances such as 1,600 and 2,400 metres. The turf was created using a specially designed and patented grassing technique. The new track is characterised by a varied altimetric trend, with a slight descent starting at the entrance of the new big curve (150 metres radius) and an uphill slope leading to the entrance of the finishing line, which is in fact lengthened by about 100 metres compared to the historical track, which remains unchanged.
The 150-metre radius of the bend makes it possible to programme quality races for top horses.
Since autumn 2015, starting from a small racetrack built before the entrance to the big bend, races over the minimum distance of 1,000 metres have also been held at San Rossore.
The climate of Barbaricina is typically Mediterranean, with fairly low annual rainfall and very high average annual temperatures (around 15°C). The distribution of rainfall and the mild temperatures, even in winter, undoubtedly facilitate regular equestrian activities, both for breeding and training and for actual competition. The exceptional pedological constitution of the San Rossore grounds, on which the racecourse and the various training tracks have been built over time, is also of particular interest to the Barbaricina horse racing activity. The entire ‘horse racing area’ is in fact characterised by soils with a considerable sandy component on the surface, with a scarce presence of silty materials and an almost total lack of clay. This particular pedological characterisation, while on the one hand requiring careful management of irrigation water throughout the summer period, is undoubtedly an ideal “substratum” for equestrian activity throughout the autumn-winter period. Even in this season, in fact, the rainwater, which is in itself rather limited, is disposed of by the ground with absolute ease and the tracks, both in and out of the ground, are not affected by the water.