The first record of a race meeting in York was at the course at Clifton Ings in 1709, although there was also some evidence of horse racing during Roman times during the days of Emperor Severus.
In 1730 the York Corporation moved to the current racecourse site at Knavesmire due to the constant flooding at the Clifton Ings site, despite money being spent to drain the course. The first race at this new location was held in 1731.
In 1754 the first grandstand was built at the racecourse, designed by John Carr. There were a number of ways used to raise the money, one of which was that the city provided some money and loans to the racecourse and they also funded some prizes, and secondly, 250 people each paid 5 guineas which also gave them seating rights and a brass token. In addition the Blake Street Assembly Rooms gave 40 pounds to make good the Knavesmire site. New grandstands were added to meet increased demand over time in 1890, 1965 and 2003.
Today the racecourse still exists and is one of the country’s most important race meeting locations, known especially for the annual Ebor Handicap Race.
The racecourse’s web-site can be found at http://www.yorkracecourse.co.uk/.