From Stadtwiki Baden-Baden
With the Racecourse Iffezheim the Baden-Baden casino tenant Edouard Bénazet created another attraction in front of the Baden-Baden city gates in 1858. Today the racecourse is run by the Baden Racing GmbH. There are three horse racing events in the year, in particular the Spring Festival, the Great Festival Week in late summer and the Sales & Racing Festival in October. The most important single race is the Grosser Preis von Baden, which is held during the Great Festival Week and is endowed with 250,000 euros (status 2013).
Edouard Bénazet wanted to create another attraction for Baden-Baden spa guests, in order to further increase the attractiveness of the spa town. Therefore, he invested in the construction of a racecourse. On 16 February 1858 his nephew Emil Dupressoir, who was representing Bénazet, and the mayor of Iffezheim signed a lease contract over an area on the northeastern edge of Iffezheim. Bénazet commissioned the construction of three grandstands and some other buildings until summer. In September 1858 the first meeting took place, which had a duration of three days.
After the Franco-German War and the closure of the Baden-Baden casino, du to the German gambling ban, the existence of the horse races were in danger. In order to preserve them, the International Club was founded. Among the founding members were Prince Carl Egon zu Fürstenberg, Landgrave Friedrich von Hessen, Duke of Hamilton, Prince Hugo zu Hohenlohe Oehringen, Prince Nicholas of Gagarin, Prince Menchikoff, Count Hugo Henckel von Donnersmarck sen. and Count Nicolaus Esterhazy. Home of the club was the mansion Lichtentaler Allee 8. As of 1873, the International Club continued the tradition of horse racing in Iffezheim.
The two world wars interrupted the racing operations. After the Second World War, the horse races weren't resumed until 1950. In 2009 the Internation Club went bankrupt. The new tenant of the racecourse is the Baden Racing GmbH. The Internation Club was transformed to a supporting association.
The Racecourse Iffezheim is an important relict of the Baden-Baden leisure time infrastructure, that evolved in the 19th century. There was a fierce competition among the great European spas at that time. They tried to attract as many wealthy spa guests as possible by offering appealing recreational activities. The more important the spa town and the more demanding the audience, the more elaborate was the developed leisure time infrastructure. Therefore the Racecourse Iffezheim is important for the Baden-Baden UNESCO World Heritage application.
- Study Playgrounds of Europe by Dr. Andreas Förderer, 2010
- History (de) on the Baden Racing GmbH Website