Veliefendi Race Course

Veliefendi Race Course (Turkish: Veliefendi Hipodromu) is a horse racing track located at Veliefendi neighborhood in Bakırköy district of Istanbul, Turkey.[2]

Veliefendi Race Course
Veliefendi Hipodromu
Istanbul Turkey - Flickr - brewbooks (1).jpg
LocationVeliefendi, Bakırköy, Istanbul, Turkey
Veliefendi Race Course is located in Istanbul
Veliefendi Race Course
Owned byJockey Club of Turkey (TJK)
Date opened1913; 108 years ago (1913)
Screened onTJK TV[1]
Course typeFlat/Thoroughbred
Notable races
  • Gazi Race (since 1927)
  • Prime Minister's Race (since 1951)

It is the country's oldest and biggest race course founded on a former grassland that was historically a farm belonging to Şeyhülislam Veliyüddin Efendi, an 18th-century superior authority of Islam in the Ottoman Empire.[3] The race course was constructed in the years 1912/13 by German specialists upon the initiative of Enver Pasha.[4][5]

The race course hosts also music events. In 2006, Turkish pop singer Nez held a concert.[6]

Physical attributesEdit

The race course covers an area of 59.6 ha (147 acres) consisting of facilities for racing, training and barns. The race course has three interleaved tracks as:

  • a 2,020 m (2,210 yd) long and 27–36 m (89–118 ft) wide turf oval,
  • a 1,870 m (2,050 yd) long and 17.5–19 m (57–62 ft) wide synthetic track for all-weather racing and
  • a 1,730 m (1,890 yd) long and 16–17 m (52–56 ft) wide sand oval for training.[7]

The track's seating capacity is 7,600. The complex comprises offices, a museum, an exhibition hall, a racehorse hospital, an apprentice training center as well as social and recreational facilities.[7]

Major racesEdit

  • Gazi Race (Gazi Koşusu), is the most prestigious Turkish Oaks, and is held since 1927 in memory of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, who was awarded the honorific title "Gazi" (Ghazi). Initially run in Ankara, the event was later transferred to Veliefendi Race Course. The award is about TL 1.4 million (approx. US$850,000 as of June 2011), and since 1970 is accompanied with a silver equestrian statue of Atatürk.[8][9][10]
  • Prime Minister's Race (Başbaşkanlık Koşusu) is a Turkish Oaks held since 1951. The winner is awarded TL 300,000 (approx. US$180,000 as of July 2011) and a trophy bestowed by the Turkish prime minister.[11]


During a race on July 31, 1949, four race horses, including two favourite horses, did not leave the starting gate upon the referee's start sign, and were disqualified. The bettors protested about a possible swindle by the referees and the racehorse owners, and demanded a rerun. As the referee commission rejected the demand, the crowd set the referee tower, the bleachers, the administration and box offices on fire.[12]

In July 1953, bettors throw horsemen with stones and beat a jockey named Muhacir Ahmet (literally: Ahmet The Immigrant) they believed he had swindled. Two years later local newspapers published about swindles at Veliefendi Race Course, and during a race on July 13, 1955, the bettors stoned the administration building, and Muhacir Ahmet was beaten once again.[12]

In 2008, the track held its first-ever farewell ceremony for a racehorse, honoring Ribella, a popular mare.[13]


  1. ^ "TJK TV Live". Archived from the original on 2011-12-15. Retrieved 2011-12-14.
  2. ^ "BizeUlasin". Retrieved 2021-02-03.
  3. ^ "Veliefendi hipodromu" (in Turkish). WOW Turkey. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  4. ^ Klaus Kreiser: Kleines Türkei-Lexikon. München 1992, s.v. Veliefendi hipodromu (in German)
  5. ^ Baki, Gülizar (2011-04-22). "Ünlü şehülislamın arazisinde at yarışı". Haber7 (in Turkish). Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  6. ^ "Nez, Veliefendi Hipodromu'nda konser veriyor". Hürriyet (in Turkish). 2006-05-26. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  7. ^ a b "Istanbul Veliefendi Racecourse". TJK. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  8. ^ "İngiliz safkanları Gazi Koşusu için Veliefendi Hipodromu'nda". Sabah (in Turkish). 2010-06-27. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  9. ^ "Gazi Koşusu'nu Anatoly kazandı..." Gazeteport (in Turkish). 2011-06-21. Archived from the original on 2011-08-09. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  10. ^ "85. Gazi Koşusu, yarın İstanbul'da yapılacak". Milliyet Spor (in Turkish). 2011-06-25. Archived from the original on 2011-06-28. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  11. ^ "Erdoğan'a jokey sürprizi". Sabah (in Turkish). 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  12. ^ a b Toklucu, Murat (2007-08-18). "Milli Tarih-Veliefendi Hipodrom İsyanları". Radikal (in Turkish). Retrieved 2011-11-15.
  13. ^ "Champion Horse Ribella Bids Farewell". Turkish Daily News. Oct 30, 2008.

Coordinates: 40°59′14″N 28°53′20″E / 40.98709°N 28.88881°E / 40.98709; 28.88881