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Horse Racing Rules Found on 2,000-Year-Old Tablet

“This was a beautiful rule.”

Horse racing these days is a dying sport, but its roots stretch back millennia, from Greece to ancient Babylon.

Horses were also raced in ancient Turkey, where, on Monday, some proof of it was discovered, in the form of a set of rules, according to the Hurriyet Daily News.

The rules, found in Konya, around 370 miles southeast of Istanbul, were less about the race themselves and more about who can compete.

Specifically, the winners of previous races could not compete in new races, and other horses owned by a winning owner also could not enter other races. 

“In this way, others were given a chance to win,” Hasan Bahar, a professor at Selçuk University, told the Hurriyet Daily News. “This was a beautiful rule, showing that unlike races in the modern world, races back then were based on gentlemanly conduct.”

A similar rule in modern racing would make the sport’s most famous award, known as the Triple Crown and given for winning three prestigious races, impossible, of course.