Horse Racing 101: The Basics

Known as the “Sport of Kings,” horse racing has been around for over a thousand years. From chariot races practiced by Greeks and Romans to the multibillion worldwide industry that it is today, horse racing has indeed come a long way. Many changes have come and gone as the sport continues to evolve, but one thing has remained constant about the sport: It continues to generate as much enthusiasm as on the day it started.

The thrill of watching equestrians race their hearts out Brisbane Cricket is the reason why people continue to watch races or flock to various race tracks all over the country. This kind of excitement is also the reason why gambling is closely associated with horse racing. In fact, no talk of horse racing is ever complete without a corresponding take on betting out of luck or on one’s favorite horse. The idea of a win (or the thought of a loss) makes for a great adrenalin rush at the race track. There is never a dull nor boring moment at the races.

While we commonly see the thoroughbreds in big races like the Kentucky Derby or the Breeder’s Cup, they started out when they “broke their maiden.” Maiden races are held for those horses who haven’t won any race yet. Maiden Special Weight Races are held particularly for horses who display potential for winning and can be raced to higher competition.

Claiming races puts a price tag on the horse which can range from as low as $1,000 in minor tracks to as high as $100,000 in major tracks. In a claiming race, an individual requests to claim the horse before the race starts and becomes the horse’s new owner after the race. Even if the horse ends up injured or worse, dead in the course of the race, he still needs to pay for the horse. In case the horse wins, the previous owner gets the purse money.

Allowance races have generally higher purses than the previously mentioned races. They’re called allowance races because a certain allowance can be made off a predetermined weight if a horse meets certain conditions. This is especially done for those who haven’t won other races. Allowances may also be made if the horse hasn’t won since a certain date or if total winnings haven’t reached a particular amount.

The cream-of-the-crop in horse races are known as stakes races. This is where the best horses slug it out. Stake races also carry very high purses which can vary from track to track. Needless to say, winning a stakes race is very prestigious for both the horse and the owner. Stakes can run from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars (the Breeders’ Cup Classic runs for $5 million). Other high stakes races include the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.