It was aimed at diffusing tensions in a region where a five-year conflict has forced more than two million people from their homes and left some 300,000 dead.
The Darfuris are skilled horsemen and breeders, and their love of the animals can border on the obsessive.
This group of horsemen (pictured above) rode the length of the Addu'ayn race course to mark the beginning of the racing.
But horses have also been used to commit atrocities. Janjaweed - the feared pro-government militia - means "Devil on horseback".