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Horse Racing History

Horse racing dates back as far back as horses have been ridden. Whether people have raced them in harness, riding, or jumping, spectators have flocked to watch the horses run. People delighted in seeing whose horse is faster or more skilled. Betting on horses is still referred to as the sport of kings as it was a favored past time of nobility.

Regardless of if the horse races were simple match races held in the streets or an official race at a track, people love betting on the winners. Horse racing may not be as dangerous or as rife with cheating as it was in the early years, but it’s popularity has only increased in time. With this popularity has also brought controversy. When the multi-horse races on official tracks starting growing in popularity it made racing horses a very profitable past time. These races didn’t only depend on winning wagers, but the race itself had a “purse” or prize pool for the winning horses. These purses in modern times can get as high as $1,000,000. The most famous races such as the Kentucky Derby boasted over 16.5 million television viewers. Horse racing is currently the second most attended sport in the US today.There is a great controversy surrounding synthetic track materials, and spectators, bettors, fans, and the horse owners themselves have differing opinions on the three different types of track material.

Spectators love watching horse competitions which makes betting on them susceptible to cheating and fraud. Spectator betting did not truly boom in popularity until betting on horse races was legalized. Knowing if horse race betting is legal where you live is an important step before placing wagers yourself. Legalizing horse race betting made odds more fair for bettors and legislation and standardization made it much harder for bookmakers to pass unfair odds. The UK went so far as to create a government sanctioned Tote bookmaker who is the only bookmaker legally allowed to create parimutuel odds.

Betting has evolved over the course of history. Beginning with simple wagers between horse owners, horse betting now has a vast lingo and an array of statistics that are impressive. New bettors can use this glossary to understand some of the most important terms to know. Before the advent of parimutuel betting, odds were set by bookmakers. Whether or not the odds were fair, bettors knew the odds from the moment they placed their bet. They rarely changed. Parimutuel betting only increases the thrill of betting on horse racing and while it can be difficult to understand the option for the big payout is irresistible to many gamblers.

Horses have been specially bred over thousands of years to enhance the best features of certain breeds. Different breeds excel at different types of races- Thoroughbreds are excellent racers and jumpers, but by no means do they have a corner on the racing world. Arabian horses are prized around the world for their exceptional endurance and stamina. Standardbred are very well known in harness racing for temperament and a fast, smooth gaited walk. While flat racing is typically what people think of when “horse racing” is mentioned, steeplechase races, harness races, and endurance races continue to grow in popularity in both the US and Europe.