(A furlong is 1/8 mile.) The horse that crosses the finish line first wins. The very best horses race in graded stakes races. Jockeys are a little heavier. In flat racing, the horses break from a starting gate and run aound a track.
It’s difficult to summarize an entire sport in a few paragraphs, but I’ll try. There is no starting gate. The longer the odds, the higher the payout. Distances of races vary from about 4-1/2 furlongs (shorter for some Quarter Horse races) to almost 2 miles.
Betting on horse races is legal. Most are “claiming races” in which the horse is for sale at vvarious prices. Horses are generally young. Standardbreds do not gallop; instead, they either trot or pace. There is racing on every continent except Antarctica. Famous harness races include the Little Brown Jug and the Hambletonian. The horses must jump over hedges and other obstacles. . There are different levels of racing based on the horses’ talents. In the U.S., wagering is parimutuel. flat races include the Triple Crown races (Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Belmont) and the Breeders’ Cup races. There are intermediate levels. racing. Jockeys tend to be rather small people. Horses are ridden by jockeys, who are professional athletes. Each horse carries an assigned weight that depends on its age, gender, level of accomplishment, and other factors. They may start at age 2, and most are retired well before age 10.
Horses that race on the flat are mostly Thoroughbreds, but races for Quarter Horses are popular as well. For simplicity’s sake I will stick with U.S. Tracks are dirt. Standardbreds are the breed used in harness racing. They may be grass, dirt, or synthetic. One also finds races for Arabians, Appaloosas, Paints, and even mules.
There are three types of horse racing: flat, jump/steeplechase, and harness. Understand that horse racing is much, much more complicated. Flat racing is the most popular in the U.S and is what most people think of when they hear “horse racing.”
A few famous American racehorses: Man O’ War, Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Seattle Slew, Ruffian, John Henry, Curlin, Zenyatta.
Some important people in racing:
*Jockey–rides the horse (or driver–drives the sulky)
*Trainer–the “coach” who trains the horse and directs its care
*Owner(s)–pay the bills
*Groom, exercise rider, hot walker, farrier, assistant trainers–barn personnel who help care for the horse
*Starters–man the starting gate
*Stewards–act as referees/reviewers
*Race caller/track announcer: verbally describes the race as it occurs
Both male and female horses race. A driver sits in the sulky. Note, however, that horse racing is an international sport. That is, bettors are betting against each other, not a “house.” Winnings are determined by the odds on the horse. tracks are oval-shaped. The first horse across the finish line wins.
Jump racing is popular mostly in the Eastern U.S. There are many others.
In harness racing, the horses pull a light cart called a sulky. Most U.S