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Commonly referred to as the “Sport of Kings”, the history of horse racing has origins in the nomadic tribes of Asia, European mythology, and ancient civilizations throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. Archaeological records show that equestrian events such as chariot races and contests between horses and riders was prevalent in ancient Syrian, Egyptian and Grecian civilizations with horse racing events appearing in the Olympic Games during the 6th century BC.
Although many countries have developed rules and traditions governing horse racing, its premise has not changed; Namely it is a competitive, performance sport between a horse and its riders. A few examples of horse racing events include thoroughbred, flat, saddle, harness, jumping, and endurance racing. Most events impose restrictions and limits to specific types of breeds, track distances, surface types, course specifications, distance and time duration, rider weight, and horses qualified to compete.
Globally, horse racing is one of the most popular sports for spectators and betting enthusiasts with billions of dollars wagers being placed annually. Each year approximately in more than fifty countries the pari-mutuel wagering exceeds $100 billion annually. The world-wide popularity of horse racing is proven with more than 360 certified horse racing tracks in Australia (the most of any country), 250 racing facilities in France, 200 tracks in the United States and its territories, 60 tracks throughout the United Kingdom as well as international organizations dedicated to preserving and promoting this timeless sport.
Guide to Horse Racing
Horse Racing Resources
We have assembled some fast facts and trivia about horse racing. This information was compiled from a variety of resources including Wikipedia, Statista, NTRA, Veterinarians.com, U.S. Thoroughbred Association, International Federation of Horseracing, and Our World in Data.
Below is our profile containing some facts and information to familiarize you about horse racing.
- 1000 pounds (660 kg) – Average weight of a competitive racehorse
- 4 ft 10 in (147 cm) to 5 ft 6 in (168 cm) – Height range of a professional jockey
- 9 pounds (5.4 kg) – Weight of a horse’s heart
- 38 miles per hour (22 km) – Speed of horses in a race competition
- $100 Billion – Amount of annual wagering on horse racing events in 53 countries
- $300,000,000 – career earnings of Jockey Mike Smith
- Australia – the country with the most horseracing tracks
- Hippodrome – The name of horseracing tracks in Europe and many parts of the world
- 1875 – Year the first Kentucky Derby
- 1868 – The creation of the American Stud Book
- 12 – The number of Triple Crown winners
- “Run for the Roses” – Nickname of the Kentucky Derby
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