Zebra racing at the
Virginia City International Camel, Ostrich and Zebra Races in 2013. Photo via Reno Tahoe/Flickr
Never mind the horse racing. Or even dog racing for that matter. On March 26, Phoenix, Ariz. will play host to racing of a different breed – that of ostriches, camels and zebras. Yes, zebras. While it may sound like something straight out of a cartoon (or a movie – see below), it is, in fact, a real event. And yes, we think it’s a little weird too.
“We’ve held these races for several years,” said Vincent Francia, Turf Paradise general manager told AZ Central. “They are very popular with families. We get enough kids for two charter schools.” He added that the event is “strictly for laughs.”
The camels and ostriches have been a part of the alternative races for years and is not a new practice in other parts of the world. Australia and Africa is home to camel racing; ostrich racing is also big in Africa. Zebra racing, on the other hand, may not be so popular here or elsewhere. This is the first year they will be a part of the Turf Paradise Alternative Racing Day event.
The camels will be ridden by trainers, including Carl O’Callaghan, who won last year. “A camel moves a little different than a race horse,” O’Callaghan told AZ Central. “But I heard the one I have this year is training really well.”
Jockeys will ride the ostriches due to their light weight and exercise riders will ride the zebras. No betting is allowed for these races.
For more details, visit the Turf Paradise website.