Pontefract is located within the market town by the same name in the metropolitan county of West Yorkshire, England. It is a flat-race type course owned by Pontefract Park Race Company Ltd, who have races listed on Racing UK.
Racing at Pontefract was introduced by townspeople in 1801, putting a professional touch to a sport that had existed in the town since the 15th century. In 1802, the course management sold £50 silver badges to racegoers, which would allow them to go to races for 20 years. The money raised was used to build the first grandstand.
The course opened a new grandstand in 1922 as it resumed hosting competitions after the World War I closure. It was one of few courses to remain open during the second World War, when it was used as an alternative venue for Lincoln Handicap and November Handicap.
Pontefract was the first course in England to introduce dope testing.
The track is left handed flat, with a length slightly over two miles. It is the longest continuous flat track throughout Great Britain. It has a sharp turn and a five-furlong uphill towards the finish, challenging horses to develop their finishing kick.
Access is manly by road and rail, with the closest of three train stations in the town just 0.3 miles away. Traditionally, Pontefract started its races later that other courses in the country, to allow coal miners from an adjacent colliery to be in time for competitions after their morning shift. The colliery is now closed, and kick off times have been since re-adjusted.
2017 will see Pontefract offer the largest prize money package in their records, with a total of £1.13m up for grabs.
Competition is active between April and October, the flat races period across the UK. 16 race days appear on its calendar, headlined by races like the Pontefract Castle Stakes, Flying Filly, Pipalong and Silver tankard.