The equestrian sport of Horse Racing has been practiced since the chariot races of Ancient Rome, or possibly even earlier. Horse racing even has a home in Norse mythology.
While there are some that claim horse racing isn’t all about the money made by gambling, it is and will be forever linked with placing bets at the track, a sport where gamblers can go, place a bet, and then cheer wildly for their pick.
Horse racing is sometimes called The Sport of Kings, arguably because of its link to wealthy owners and gamblers alike. Horses can win races and make millions for owners and gamblers alike.
There are many different forms of horse racing. Some of the most popular types are; Thoroughbred Racing, Harness Racing, Quarter Horse Racing, and Arabian Racing. Thoroughbred Racing is by far the most popular in the united states, as the three most popular races; Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes; form the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing. Lately, The Breeders’ Cup has been challenging the Triple Crown races for popularity. Unlike the 3 races that form the crown, the Breeders’ Cup changes tracks from year to year.
In the US, the actual horse racing usually occurs on flat ground; but differs from dirt, grass, or polytrack, but usually consists of thoroughbred and quarterhorse racing. Some also offer harness racing. Arabian horse racing is found on an extremely limited basis. American Thoroughbred racing covers many different distances, but almost always falls between 5 furlongs (about 1000 meters) to 1.5 miles (2414 meters).
Interestingly enough, the breeders can specifically breed horses to run different distances faster than others. The measure or analysis of a horses pedigree is called the Dosage Index. This is a mathematical figure used by breeders and handicappers alike to calculate a horse’s ability to run a certain length. Two basic ways to distinguish a horses style of running is by raw speed and stamina.
The different racing styles and the distances and the type of racing events vary by the country in which the race is occurring. Many countries offer alternative types of horse races.
The different breeds, pedigree, and types of horses has much to do with who races where. Most fans focus mainly on the different horse’s performance on the track, certainly the sire (father) and dam (mother) get plenty of respect from the truest of followers and breeders alike. La Troienne (a French born mare) was one of the most important horses of the 20th century. Many of the all-time greats in thoroughbred racing, and dams of champions, can have their lineage traced back to her.
Almost always, in flat ground racing, the pedigree of the horse is the one thing that allows it to compete. The racing horse must have a sire and dam that are both purebred individuals of whatever the breed that is racing.
A stallion that is responsible for wining many races will almost always be put up to stud when his racing career is over. Not a bad life. Consequently, the more the stallion has won, the more the mare’s owner has to pay for his services.
Horse racing isn’t just popular in America, as more than 12 different countries are known to be enthralled by the sport. Australia’s horse racing is known for the Melbourne Cup, as it is claimed to “stop a nation”, and is also known for its popularity outside of Australia. Ireland has a rich horse racing history, as their version of jump racing is more popular in Ireland than the flat ground racing in North America. Other countries that are known for their participation in the equestrian sports popularity are; France, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates, China, Japan, Mongolia, and India.
The gambling side of horse racing has almost certainly built the sports popularity. It is rare to find a horse track without a gambling station, where gamblers are allowed to take stake money on a horse. There are often odds that go into the race. The horse with the best chance to win gets you the least amount of profit for your dollar, but is the favorite for a reason. The three most common bets in horse gambling are; Bet to win, Bet to place, and Bet to show. Bet to win means you only win if your horse places first place. A bet to place means you win if your horse comes in 1st or 2nd. And bet to show makes you a winner if your horse finishes the race in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. The payoffs go in order, as you get the most amount of return if your horse wins and you had bet to win, while the payout is lowest if you merely bet your horse to show.
While horse racing’s popularity doesn’t have much to do with the danger for horse and rider, R.J. McCunney and P.L. Russo’s published study entitled “Brain Injuries in Boxing” claims that Horse Racing is the most dangerous sport. Per 100,000 participants, horse racing had 128 fatalities. In comparison, sky diving was 2nd with 123 fatalities, and hang gliding was 3rd with 56 deaths. Its definitely not just a ride in the park.