We wouldn’t be surprised to learn that horse racing is your favourite sport. After all, it’s fun to watch, fun to wager on, and full of awesome racing action to bring excitement to your leisure time!
With that said, how much do you really know about your favourite racing pastime? Here are 15 fascinating facts about horse racing that you probably didn’t know until now.
#1: An Ancient Sport
The earliest example of formal, organised horse races dates back to the chariot races of ancient Rome. However, it is likely that horses were raced for sport much earlier in Central Asia – as far back as 4,500 BC.
#2: Do Your Research
A horse race bettor who wagers on every race in a standard 9-race meet will need to review 24,000 pieces of information on average in order to check the records of every participating horse.
#3: The Lightest Jockey
The lowest weight ever recorded for a jockey clocked in at just 49 pounds. By contrast, the average race horse weighs a much heftier 1,000 pounds.
#4: Bettors’ Delight
The world spends more than $100 billion on horse race betting every year! That is more than what is spent on most other types of sports betting, and even Pakistan real slots games, on an annual basis.
#5: Thoroughbred Ancestry
Most horse races use thoroughbred horses, which were specifically bred for their agility, speed and endurance. Their ancestry can be traced back to Arabian horses, which were bred with English stallions to produce the thoroughbreds we know today.
#6: Standard and Quarterbreds
Standard bred horses appear specifically in harness races. They are much better at racing at a trot rather than a gallop. There is also an American breed of horse called a quarterbred, which was bred to perform in quarter-mile races. These animals are more muscles and significantly shorter than their thoroughbred peers.
#7: Have a Heart
Big-hearted horses are sought after in the racing industry. Animals with larger hearts have a notable edge over horses whose hearts are average in size.
#8: Slow and Steady
The slowest recorded time for a race win dates back to 1945, when Never Mind II finished his 2 mile race in 11 minutes, 28 seconds. Never Mind II stopped at a fence and his jockey abandoned him, only to discover that all the other runners had been disqualified or fallen. The jockey returned to his horse and reached the finish line at his leisure.
#9: Overnight Weight Loss
Infamous jockey Alfred Johnson once lost 14 pound in a single day to reach the weight requirements for a race.
#10: Eddie Arcaco’s Legacy
One of America’s most well known jockeys, Eddie Arcaco, rode 250 losing horses before he won his first race. Arcaco then went on to win 4,778 more races before his career ended, including each of the races in the American Triple Crown!
#11: The Plow Horse That Could
The 1908 edition of the Grand National Steeplechase was won not by a thoroughbred, but by a 3 year old plow horse.
#12: World’s Oldest Runner
The record for thoroughbred horse longevity was set in 1978, when Tango Duke passed away at the ripe old age of 42.
#13: 18’s The Limit
No horse race in the recorded history of the sport has ever been won by a runner over the age of 18. the last 18 year old horse to win a race was Sonny Somers back in 1980.