The 5 Main Types of Horse Racing Every Enthusiast Should Know About

Horse racing is a very famous sport both in North America and Europe. It can generate a lot of money coming especially from bettors. These are the five main types of races.

Flat racing

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This is by far the most popular type of horse racing. It involves Thoroughbreds and the racing surface is leveled. The three main flat racing events in America are known as the Triple Crown – Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes and Preakness Stakes. The Breeders’ Cup Classic is also very well-known.

Usually, flat races are run between one to three miles and put to test the horse’s speed and resistance. In the United States, the most used type of surface is still the dirt track.

Jump racing

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The jump races are also referred to as the National Hunt or the Steeplechasing. In these races, competing horses are given the additional challenge of overcoming obstacles. Jump racing events are significantly harder to bet on because the bettor needs to consider not only the horse’s speed but also its agility and skill, as well as the jockey control. The races are divided between hurdles and steeplechases. In hurdles events, these are the only obstacles horses have to jump over. Steeplechase events involve a multitude of obstacles, including fences, ditches and water.

The two most important jump racing events take place in England, although American enthusiasts can watch and bet. They are the Cheltenham Gold Cup and the Aintree Grand National.

Harness racing

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In harness racing, the horse is responsible for the additional weight of a sulky that carries the jockey. In these events, the speed of the horse’s trot or pace is predetermined. If horses start galloping, they are forced to slow down behind the competition.

The top harness race in the world is unarguably the Prix d’Amerique in Paris. The event is truly selective since only an elite of horses is allowed to enter based on lifetime earnings. Riders compete for a prize of up to 1 million euros (about $1,140,500).

Endurance racing

This type of racing tests horses over longer tracks and for longer periods of time. In endurance racing, resistance and longevity are more important than speed. Bettors need to evaluate which horses deliver top performances consistently without fading towards the end of the course. Some of these races are run for hundreds of miles. The longest endurance race in the world is the Mongol Derby, which stretches for a (likely unreasonable) 621 miles. All breeds can participate, although Arabian horses are typically preferred thanks to their incredible energy and perseverance.

Quarter Horse racing


The Quarter Horse racing is not as popular as the events above but still attracts a very considerable number of enthusiasts. In these events, the emphasis is on speed. Horses run for a quarter of a mile or less since the challenge is to produce speed immediately in very short tracks. The American Quarter Horse takes its name from the races it was bred to run. These horses can run a quarter of a mile in 22 seconds, and some of them are faster than the best Thoroughbreds. In terms of betting, the most popular Quarter Horse race is the All American Futurity.

Whether you want to bet or just watch, now you have a bigger understanding of what goes down.

4 of the Fastest Horse Breeds Worth Betting On

Take a look at four of the most spectacular horse breeds in the world.

Thoroughbred

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This breed is able to race mid-length distances. The Thoroughbred is a combination of Barb, Arabian and Turkoman bloodlines. It’s one of the most popular breeds worldwide, especially for racing.

Their overall build is what gives thoroughbreds impressive speed. They are athletic, tall and slim with incredibly powerful legs and hindquarters. Their fierce and hot-tempered nature is what makes them perfect for racing, but is also the main reason why they must go through regular health checks.

Appaloosa

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The Appaloosa’s gorgeous, unique and colorful coat is why many people know the breed. But it is also one of the fastest in the world. It has been through a huge preservation effort. Other bloodlines are now let into the breed to keep improving it. To a large extent, the speed of the Appaloosa is due to the gait, which is consistent, strong and has the perfect length.

Quarter Horse

The Quarter Horse is the ultimate sprinting breed in the world. The name was chosen to reflect the fact that the horse is incredibly fast even over the quarter-mile distance. Some reach 55 miles per hour. This is the most popular breed, with over 3 million registered horses. Their robust build and compact size are the features that allow them to excel at racing. They are also able to perform fast maneuvers impeccably.

Andalusian

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The Andalusian is also known as the Pure Spanish Horse. These horses are incredibly strong and intelligent. Besides amazing speed, this breed also has a lot of resistance and agility. That is why you can find them in both racing and obstacle events. The main reasons for the speed are the defined withers and an impressive chest. The agility comes from the long neck that allows for extended and elevated movements.

Other amazingly fast breeds include the Standardbred, the Akhal-Teke and the Black Forest.

A Brief History of Horse Racing in the USA

Horse racing in the US began in the 17th century when British settlers brought their horses and built the first racetrack in the country. It took quite a long time for the popularity of the sport to spread across the entire nation, but nowadays horse racing and horse race betting thrive in America.

History of Thoroughbred racing

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Not only in the US but all over the world, Thoroughbred racing is undoubtedly the most famous type of horse racing. In fact, it was the discipline that immediately started gaining popularity from the moment the Brits brought the sport to America.

Over 200 years later, in 1868, the official breed registry for American Thoroughbreds was created. It was the main contributor to the sport to finally kick off nationwide. Towards the end of the 19th century, there were more than 300 operating racetracks in the USA.

A few years after that, though, allegations of corruption and a widespread anti-gambling movement led to a drastic drop in interest. In the first years of the 20th century, only 25 tracks remained in operation. But just as quick, horse racing began to flourish yet again. In 1908, pari-mutuel betting was allowed in several states, which revitalized the sport. Despite some declines during the war times, the sport never fell back to the low point it reached during the turn of the century, and by the 1970s it was unstoppable.

From that decade onwards, the Thoroughbred has been getting better and better.

History of endurance racing

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Endurance horse racing originated in the United States in the middle of the 19th century. It was primarily an activity organized to help train both horses and riders. In 1955, endurance racing began as a sport. The inaugural race was a competitive ride across 100 miles of the Sierra Nevada Range.

This particular race still takes place every year and is known as the Tevis Cup. Many other endurance races are also very popular nowadays. In 1972, the American Endurance Ride Conference was founded. It is the body that oversees long distance endurance riding.

Today, in America, various types of horse racing attract a huge number of viewers and bettors.