Horse Racing: The Sport Of Kings
In the world of sports, horse racing attracts a massive audience for more reasons than one. The equestrian sport appeals to a tiny percentage of people who come to watch purely for the love of it. A significant majority of the audience are wagers who thrive on horse betting. Horse racing is a marriage between sporting and betting. If it weren’t for the thrill of betting, horse racing would not have become a global sport.
The roots of horse racing are steeped in history. Practiced by upcoming civilizations and cultures worldwide, the sport was popular in Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Babylon.
Today, horse racing is proudly known as the “Sport of Kings,” thanks to the British royals and aristocrats. Supported by King Charles II, the sport flourished and expanded in Britain. The Newmarket Racecourse, the Jockey Club, and the Epsom Derby rose to prominence, captivating the interest of the wealthy and the poor alike.
Interestingly, the wagering system was introduced to keep the fund flowing for the growth of the sport. The involvement of money has made equestrian sports what they are today. Horse racing extends far beyond the realm of sports. It involves thoroughbred horse breeding, horse trainers, grooms, skilled jockeys, and the world of horse betting.
Types Of Horse Racing
Various types of horse racing are popular all over the world. Some horse races emphasize the speed, while other types track the horse’s endurance and skills and the jockey. The breeds of horses used also varies according to the sport and the level of competition.
Let’s take a look at the most common types of horse races:
- Flat Racing
It is the most common race where the horses race around straight or oval tracks without any obstacles. Thoroughbred horses are the best choice for flat racing.
- Jump Racing
Jump racing is a bit more complicated than flat racing. It involves the horse jumping over obstacles on the race track.
- Endurance Racing
Staying true to its name, endurance racing takes place on longer tracks, for a more extended period and tests the endurance of the animal and the racer. Arabian horses are better suited for endurance racing as they have incredible stamina.
- Harness Racing
In a harness race, the horses pull a two-wheel contraption called a sulky and run with a specific trot or pace. The goal is to keep the horses trotting at a predetermined speed and win the race.
- Quarter horse racing
As the name suggests, quarter horse racing refers to races that last for a distance of quarter a mile or less. The competition is most suitable for swift horses.
Apart from the races mentioned above, horse racing also involves Maiden racing, Allowance and Claiming racing, Stakes racing, and Graded Stakes racing.
Understanding The Rules of Horse Racing
The rules of horse racing differ with every nation and organization that is in charge of the sport. But some basic underlying rules are based on the original rule book of the British Horseracing Authority.
- The starting stalls or starting gates are the beginning point of all flat races, steeplechases, hurdle races, and jump races.
- Any race that needs to be started with a flag must get the permission of the steward.
- If a horse breaks away before the race commences, it can be declared as a false start.
- The riders must attempt to ride the horse to the best of their ability. The steward holds the right to declare disqualifications and sanctions.
- Riders must follow the prescribed course that may or may not have hurdles, depending on the kind of race. The safety of the riders is of utmost importance.
- If a rider crosses the finishing line on his horse, it signals that he has completed it.
- The prize money is split among the first three racers to finish the race.
Did You Know These Interesting Facts About Horse Racing?
Although popular, most people are not aware of the hidden facts that make horse racing an exciting sport. Remember, this sport involves an animal and its rider and thousands of wagers who are banking on their prowess and speed. It is a sport that encourages open betting that runs to the tune of several million dollars. Here are some fascinating facts about horse racing:
- While some races are short, others may extend to lengths of several miles, and some can last for days.
- It is mandatory for every horse that enters the sport to have a sire or father and a dam or mother who is studbook-approved of the particular breed.
- A horse’s performance depends on factors such as genetics, age, fitness, and training.
- A racing horse retires after spending 15 years on the track.
- The Grand National racing event in the UK is well-known for its highly complex race track and is considered the ultimate test of the horse and its rider.