Tokyo Racecourse is located in Fuchu city. Built in 1933, it is considered the ‘racecourse of racecourses’ in Japanese horseracing. JRA began to renovate the grandstand in 2000 in order to create a 21st century racecourse that meets the diversifying needs of fans.
A grand opening was held in 2007 after the completion of seven years renovation work. The course has become emblematic of the next-generation racecourse with the multi-screen “Turf Vision”, recognized as the world’s largest TV screen, which displays sharp, powerful images and a wealth of information on its three High Definition screens.
The major races are the Japan Cup, the Tokyo Yushun (the Japanese Derby), the Tenno Sho, the Yasuda Kinen , the Yushun Himba (the Japanese Oaks), the February Stakes, the NHK Mile Cup and the Victoria Mile.
The internationalization of Japanese horseracing began in 1981 with the inauguration of the Japan Cup as an international invitation race. With a purse of ¥533 million (about US $4.6 million), the Japan Cup is one of the richest horse races in the world. It is run in November over 2400 meters (about 1 ½ miles). In 1993 the Yasuda Kinen was also opened to foreign-trained horses, and since then number of international races have gradually expanded.
Japan had traditionally ranked in the top class internationally, with evident records in terms of the number of total starters and the amount of prize money, but because it continued to conduct restricted racing, Japan had been designated a Part II country of the International Cataloging Standards.
In order to gain true international recognition, JRA decided to increase the number of flat principal races that were open to foreign-based participants, from 22 in 2004 to 111 over the subsequent three years, to 56 percent of flat principal races in Japan. Consequently, from 2007, Japan became the 16th Part I country recognized by the International Cataloguing Standards Committee.
Japanese thoroughbreds and horseracing are considered to rank among the finest in the world, and there are high expectations for the further development of Japanese racing, including improvement of race quality and growth in the export of Japan-bred horses.