Established in 1959, La Rinconada is considered one of the best horseracing venues by fans of the sport, taking its architectural beauty into consideration. It is located south of Caracas and has two 1800m long sand tracks and three stands with a total of 12,500 seats. The racecourse was designed and built with great work going into it. From the engineering design and architecture to the beautiful landscapes and magnificent murals, the construction plans of La Rinconada have influenced a number of other world class horseracing tracks like Ascot in Britain, Belmont Park in the US and Longchamps in France.
Important races at the Hipodromo La Rinconada include the Gran Premio Clásico Simón Bolívar and the Clásico Internacional Propietarios La Rinconada, both Grade 1 races. Others are the Clásico Antonio Jose de Sucre, the Clásico Fuerza Armada Bolivariana, the Clásico Republica de Venezuela and the Copa Internacional Cruz del Avila.
Although betting on horses is legal in Venezuela, the government has a tight leash on the activities surrounding it on the racetracks. This has pushed majority of the betting fans and agencies to illegal cartels to avoid the government’s tight noose, leading to the rise of the illegal gambling cartels. As with everything else, the Mafia is also in the horseracing circles, making it easier for fans and agencies to continue with their betting. But even with rising reports of race-fixing and horse poisoning by the gambling rings in Venezuela, it is reported that the cartels move up to sixty times the amount of money in betting than the state-run gambling agency.
La Rinconada also hosts the Poliedro de Caracas, an indoor sports arena with a capacity of 20,000 people. Boxing, volleyball, ice-skating and basketball tournaments are held here as well as concerts and trade fairs. Its a great melting pot of Venezuelan socio-economic life through the year.