Italy’s famous Siena Palio race has been won by a horse named Mississippi, despite calls for the event to be ended. Saturday’s race in Tuscany featured nine horses instead of 10, after one died in a warm-up race on Friday.
The course is set up in the Piazza del Campo place twice a year on July 2 and August 16. Horses complete the circuit three times and the race is over in less than two minutes. It is not uncommon for horses to finish the race without a rider if he falls off, because all the glory goes to the horse.
With roots going back to medieval times, some animal rights groups think there is no place for the race in modern times. Italy’s Tourism Minister has described the event as ‘anachronistic’.
About 40 horses have died since 1970.