Understanding the Basics of Horse Racing

horse racing

In the earliest races, horses raced against each other, with wagers placed on their performance. This practice became known as match racing. The winners received a purse of cash or goods.

The exploitation of racehorses is pervasive in the industry. Hundreds of horses die on and off the track each year. This is unacceptable. There must be a change in the industry’s business model to prioritize the welfare of the horses.


Horse racing is a global sport that attracts horses and jockeys from all over the world. It has evolved from a primitive contest of speed or stamina into a spectacle requiring sophisticated electronic monitoring and immense sums of money. It has also become a major industry in breeding, training and betting.

In the 17th century, Thoroughbreds were developed from a mixture of Arab, Turk and Barb horses crossed with native English stock. Private stud books began to appear. By the late 1700’s, James Weatherby published An Introduction to the General Stud Book, which recorded pedigrees and race records.

Prizes were introduced to encourage jockeys and owners. Initially they were winner-take-all, but as the number of races increased, second prizes became popular. These were later followed by third and fourth prizes.


The rules of horse racing are complex and vary between nations. Before a race begins, horses are positioned in their stalls or in front of the starting gate, and jockeys help guide them along the course and over any hurdles (if present). In order to win a race, competitors must cross the finish line first. The winner will then receive a set amount of prize money. During a race, competitors must be respectful of other riders and avoid interfering with other horses. If they do, they may be disqualified.

In addition, every horse should be weighed directly before the start of the race. This is performed by a weighman to ensure that each horse does not gain or lose more than 0.3 kilos over the race.


Horse racing is a fascinating sport, and understanding the different distances can help you better understand the game. A horse race is usually a few miles long. Horses that are bred to run shorter distances have more speed than those that are bred to race longer. A horse can cover a furlong in about 12 seconds on average.

A horse’s optimum racing distance is determined by its pedigree and past performances. EZ Horse Betting experts know that a horse’s racing distance can make or break its chances of winning a race. A knowledge of the different distances that horses race can be a great asset for any handicapper. It can also help you spot some lucrative betting angles. The ideal scenario is that a horse is competing over its preferred racing distance.


Horse racing requires specialized equipment to make it safe and successful. It involves a human rider, called a jockey, saddling and riding a tame animal around the track at speeds of up to 40mph. It also involves jumping over hurdles and fences along the way.

The equipment used in horse races includes a helmet and whip, which are vital to a jockey’s safety. Some horses wear blinkers, which restrict a horse’s vision and prevent them from being spooked by shadows on the track. Blinkers can be added or removed before a race, and these changes should be noted in the program so that bettors can understand them.

Another piece of equipment is the bit, which is inserted into a horse’s mouth and helps the jockey communicate with the animal. A horse’s bit can be purchased from a variety of retailers and costs between $30 and $70.

Prize money

Horse racing is one of the world’s most popular spectator sports. Across the globe billions of dollars are wagered on the sport each year. Those funds help determine the prize money for each race. Whether placed onsite or through online or simulcast betting platforms, bettors play an important role in the overall prize purse.

The percentage of the total purse earned by a winner varies depending on the type of race and the rules of that particular event. In general, first place gets 60%, second place gets 20% and third place gets 10%. Jockeys and trainers receive their respective percentages as well.

Prize money is constantly growing, and in a select handful of uber-rich races the final prize pot can be a life-changing amount. So it’s no wonder that owners and trainers love to send their horses to the biggest races.