Horse racing has been around for what seems like forever, but how much do you actually know about this long-standing tradition and equestrian sport event? Don’t worry if the answer to this is “not much”, as we are about to delve right into the history behind horse racing.
To help you learn more about one of the most popular sports in American history and throughout the world, we have put together this article that contains a list of 10 fun facts about horse racing compiled for you in one place. So, without further ado, let’s get into it!
Yep, you heard us right. Not because all racehorses are born on the same day, of course, but regardless of what day they were actually born on, all racehorses celebrate their birthday on the same day. This day happens to be January 1st, so at least it is easily remembered…
Unless you live somewhere along the southern hemisphere, that is. The racehorses in these countries will all celebrate their birthday on the 1st of August. Why, I hear you ask? Well, the simple answer is because it allows thoroughbreds to be grouped together by age for races.
Horses are hefty creatures at the best of times, but have you ever stopped to wonder just how heavy a thoroughbred can be? Especially when you consider their size and the fact that they need to have enough strength in their body to power them around a racecourse…
The answer is that the average racehorse weighs around a half-ton, which would put them at approximately 1,000 lbs. Not something your average weightlifter could attempt then.
Horse racing has been popular in America for centuries which has led many people who have come before you to assume that the sport originated here, but guess what? It didn’t.
Not only did horse racing not originate in the US, but it was not invented in the UK either, and this is another country that loves to both spectate and bet on the horse races. Instead, horse racing can actually be traced back to Central Asia as far back as 4500 BC.
In terms of the first horseback tournaments and official races or competitions, these are typically believed to have begun in the UK around the time of 200 AD. So, a while ago.
Another fun fact about horse racing is that compared to other sporting events, it generates a huge amount of money through gambling as people get ready to bet on the horse races.
Provided you’ve done enough research on the jockeys are horses that are in the race, which includes checking what odds are available to you at https://www.tvg.com/. This will also teach you how to bet on the horse races which can help maximize your chance of winning.
Did you know that originally, thoroughbred horses were not intended to be race animals, but instead they were bred and ridden in battle. Horse breeds such as Darley Arabian, Byerley Turk, and Godolphin Arabian are all thoroughbred breeds with the strength to handle war.
Thankfully, horses are no longer widely used in warfare and are mainly bred for farmwork and racing purposes, although some animal activist groups are campaigning for the end of horses being used for any type of labor or purely for human entertainment.
Race horses do not get their names from choosing a bunch of words and picking them out of a hat, despite the fact that a lot of them sound like they get their names from exactly that.
In actual fact, every name for a race horse needs to be officially approved by the breed registry which is called The Jockey Club in the US. This is to avoid two horses from having the same name in a race, as this could lead to confusion regarding the winner or for people who are betting on a specific horse to win a certain race, as well as other reasons.
There is actually a list of rules that every horse name must abide by, such as how many characters there are in the name and obviously whether or not it is an appropriate name.
The classic Kentucky Derby is one of the most popular but also the shortest races at one and a quarter miles long. The fastest that this distance has been covered and completed in is a record 1:57.16, although it is worth noting that this took place on grass, not a dirt track.
The horse that set the record for this time and distance was named Red Giant and the race occured in Santa Anita Park in 2008. Any jockeys out there feel like taking this on…?
Most people probably won’t know this, but something we recently found out about thoroughbred race horses is that their hooves (and the hooves of every other breed of horse) are made up of keratin. This is the same protein that is found in human fingernails!
One of the sad consequences of a long racing career is that horses who have spent their youth galloping around a race track will often experience issues with their hooves in later life.
Those poor momma horses – can you imagine being pregnant for that length of time? A racehorse has an 11 month gestation period after which the mother will birth her foal.
Typically, foals come out weighing about 100 lbs and it only takes a few hours for them to be hungry for their first feed. Can you blame them after an 11-month stint inside their mother’s belly? Not to mention the fact that the foal will need to grow big and strong for horse racing.
If you have always dreamed of owning your own race horse, then take a deep breath, because they do not come cheap. Depending on how much experience a horse has and how promising (or already well-established) they are, horses can cost millions of dollars.
Throughout history, the highest amount on record that a horse has ever been sold for at a public auction is $16 million. This was paid for a horse that was 2 years old and was given the name ‘The Green Monkey’ after being purchased, although he would never win a race.
That’s a lot of money for a horse that didn’t end up producing a win… but those are the risks!
We hope that you have enjoyed these fun facts about horse racing and that they have been informative as well as fun. These are not things that you should learn or that you need to know in order to enjoy the horse races, but doesn’t it make things more interesting?
We certainly think so, and we hope that you do too!
Just remember that if you are planning to place a bet on any of the races this horse racing season, one thing you will need to know is how to check what are the best odds available to you and how to work out the likelihood that your horse will win!