What you need to know about horse racing

Horse racing is a genre of performance sport, involving well trained horses that are ridden by jockeys, over a certain distance and field.

It is a well-known sport all around the globe, being one of the oldest and most common professional sports, even since classical antiquity, some might say.

As any other sport, it varies in many formats, and different countries have created their specific way of playing this equestrian performance. Variations go from races with particular breeds of horses, to running over obstacles, or even performing on different track surfaces.

Even though for many it is considered a noble sport, a huge part of this is its economic interest regarding the gambling on horses. This area produced a worldwide net worth of approximately 115$ Billion, mainly through betters that attend the track, but also, nowadays, many betters prefer the easier ways of casinos online.


History of horse racing

Horse racing dates since the ancient times. It has been proven by archeologists that the oldest of civilizations have been enjoying this equestrian practices, going as far as the Ancient Greeks, the Egyptians, Arabia and Babylon, and even Ancient Rome. It also makes it appearance in mythology, in the battle between Odin and his horses and Hrugnir.

From the very popular chariot racings coming from ancient Greece and Rome, to the later Thoroughbred racing practiced by the British royalty, horse racing has earned its place among the biggest sports globally.

Types of horse racing

• Flat racing, the most common one we see, is also the easiest one, where the horses gallop directly from start to finish, on a straight or oval track.

• Jump racing, mostly known through Great Britain and Ireland, is the race in which horses jump over different type of obstacles to make it to the finish line, these obstacles usually getting progressively bigger throughout the track. 

• Harness racing is the one race in which the horses go around the same tracks, either oval or straight, but this time the increased difficulty comes from pulling along a sulky with a driver in it. One of the most well-known harness racing competitions is the Hambletonian.

• Last but not least, most people’s favorite, the Saddle trot racing. As mentioned in the name, horses go around the track with a saddle on their back and driven by jockeys. This type of horse racing is most common in Europe and New Zealand.

Horse Breeds

When talking about horse racing, one shall not forget the beauty and strength of the horses, and where it comes from. Horses come in different breeds, all with their specific set of skills.

• The thoroughbred came up of the Darley Arabian and the Godolphin Arabian, combined with mares from English and other bloodlines. Strong and agile, the thoroughbred gallops very fast on small to medium distances.

• The Standardbreds, a descendant from the previously mentioned bred, are really peaceful towards human and pretty easy to train, as they don’t get easily scared. They are mostly used for harness racing, but are able to perform anywhere.

• The Arabian horse is a distinct and beautiful bred, with big legs and an abundance of muscles. They can travel long distance at a medium speed.

• Incredibly strong and powerful comes the quarter horse. Firstly used in cattle work due to their strength, they are a mixture between Spanish horses and English ones. Nowadays, they run tracks at high speed.

Most famous horse races around the world

A sport loved and enjoyed by many, horse racing claims its spot amongst the most popular sports globally. While United Kingdom and Ireland hold the ground at first position, the United States, Canada, France, Japan or Saudi Arabia, as many more developed their own industry of horse racing.

The Grand National is by far the most watched race, taking place in Ireland and the UK, holds figures as big as 80.000 in attendance and the huge number of 600 million watching from home.

The Kentucky Derby holds the spot for the United States, being the biggest and most famous around the states. The American version of the Grand National holds good figures around 150.000 attendants and 15 million viewers.

The Royal Ascot might not be the most popular, but is clearly up there with the best, taking place in the UK.

Australians made their way on this list, with the Melbourne Cup, attracting some of the biggest names in horse racing with prizes up to 5 million USD.

The Arabian countries, as in many other sports, have started to become serious players for a good time. When talking horse racing, we have the Dubai world cup and the Saudi cup. As you’d probably guess, the price pools vary from 12m USD to even 32m USD, obviously attracting the bigger of names in this industry. While still in progress and king of fresh, don’t be surprised when these races will explode. 


While many tend to underestimate horse racing, we can clearly see that is a well-known and really loved sport all around the world. From the horses to the jockeys and the viewers, it makes the perfect package for and industry that has been around a long time, and will surely stay with us, while evolving.

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