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.

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