Although not a racecourse in the traditional sense, the Palio di Siena deserves its place in the Worlds Racecourses because it is such a spectacular event. Based in the city of Siena, the Palio was first run around the streets of the city in 1656 and is contested twice a year on 2nd July and 16th August. There are many trials over the baking course in the week leading up to the race itself so that the organisers can select the most appropriate field of 10 runners to ensure that they are evenly matched.
The city of Siena is divided into 17 zones, or contrade, and once the 10 horses have been selected, lots are drawn to allocate each horse to a contrade. Officials in the 10 lucky contrade then take charge of their horses and choose the most appropriate jockeys for their horses. The individual colours of the jockeys are as much a feature of the day as the race itself. Trials then continue for a further 2 days prior to the race so that jockeys can familiarise themselves with the demanding course.
 The course extends over just 334 metres and has four corners, at least two of which are at right-angles. This leads to a spectacle not seen on any other racecourse, although Valentines Brook at Aintree gives one a view of the challenges riders face. Horses have to complete 3 circuits of the 334 metre track around the cities piazza. Prior to the race starting, and once all bets have been laid, the draw takes place for the vital starting positions. Once the race begins almost anything is allowed for a runner to be first across the winning line.
Currently the most successful zone is Oca having recorded 65 victories, the most recent being on 2nd July 2013. The least successful zone is Aquila having won just 24 times, the most recent being July 1992. One of the most recent winners was in July 2014 when Drago were successful for the 37th time.

For a great 2 minute view of the 2014 race go to
For a great 2 minute view of the 2013 race go to
For a great 2 minute view of the 2012 race go to
For a great 2 minute view of the 2011 race go to

If you have badges, racecards, pictures of the racecourse or further details about the course, including your memories, then email