1534, Ming Dynasty record stated that Macau as Haojing (濠鏡, literally “Oyster Mirror”) or Jinghai (鏡海, literally “Mirror Sea”).
1557, the name Macau is thought to be derived from the A-Ma Temple (Chinese: 媽閣廟; Mandarin Pinyin: Māgé Miào; Jyutping: Maa1 Gok3 Miu6), a temple built in 1448 dedicated to Matsu – the goddess of seafarers and fishermen.
It is said that when the Portuguese sailors landed at the coast just outside the temple and asked the name of the place, the natives replied “媽閣” (Mandarin Pinyin: Māgé; Jyutping: Maa1 Gok3).
The Portuguese then named the peninsula “Macau“.
The present Chinese name (Chinese: 澳門; Mandarin Pinyin: Àomén; Jyutping: Ou3 Mun4) means “Inlet Gates”.
Horse racing has had a long and colorful history in Macau dating back several centuries.
It’s been established that horse racing was first staged in the then Portuguese Colony over 370 years ago.
1557, trade was granted to Portugal in return for assistance in piracy suppression.
The races were held in a large open square, artificially leveled, in front of the church of Sao Domingos in the heart of the attractive little Portuguese city.
The governance which was then already eighty years old.
1713, East India Company came to Macau, horse racing was already a popular sport with a proper six furlong track known as the Hipodromo, which stands for “horse race track”.
1798-9, the first proper race-meeting probably took place.
The site chosen for the racecourse was the most remote possible, and the most secluded.
Macau peninsula has a natural oval of flat grassland concealed by low rocky hills.
There they laid down a three-quarter-mile track, and raced where no one could see them, except from the sea.
One side of the course ran along the edge of the shore.
The sand here was black, giving the locality its name, Hak Sha Wan or Areia Preta (Black Sand).
This was the first foreign English or European style racecourse in China.
Immediately to the right of the Casa Ga rden, the cavalcade passed down Rua dos Cavaleiros, which in those days led to open countryside.
1829-04-21, the earliest meeting, covered by the English newspaper《Canton Register》, was held, with an off-day following.
The newspaper commented that the races ‘have afforded so much rational amusement’ and were ‘a source of great gratification to the surrounding society’, meaning the Portuguese and the Chinese.
1924, Macau International Racing Sport Association was found.
1925, the Association name was changed to Macau International Racing Club.
1931-08-06, the Inaugural Race Meeting of the Macao Jockey Club was held, the Club being recognized and the racing was official.
Note the junks in the background. The Macao racecourse projected right out into the sea.
1941, racing continued to be a popular attraction in the enclave until the outbreak of the Pacific War and the Japanese invasion of Hong Kong.
1942, as the majority of race-goers were limited and affected by the difficult era, the activities faded out again.
1950s, revival of Macau flat racing was proposed but failed to implemented due to various immature conditions.
1980, Macau Trotting Club started Harness Racing but the sport did not catch on well with Asian punters.
1989, the venture was closed down as the concept of harness racing did not catch on well with Asian sporting fans.
1989-09-10, it was bought out by a Taiwanese group, with the first meeting of the new thoroughbred race club held on the sand track.
1990 June, the first turf raceday held on the newly constructed grass track.