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14 Interesting Horse Racing Facts You May Not Know

Horse racing has been a popular sport that spans millennia. The origins of horse racing can be traced back to the nomadic tribespeople in Central Asia around 4500 BC. As it became a tradition among various cultures in the world, modern horse racing as we know today start its development in the 12th century.

14 Interesting Horse Racing

Amongst the type of races (including jump and harness races), flat racing remains the most popular racing event because of its thrills and intensity. The Thoroughbred racehorses are the most common breed for racing because it has one of the most powerful endurance and stamina for racing prowess.

Today, it is a beloved pastime as people gather at racetracks to bet and watch the fastest horses compete to their fortune glory.

Here are fun facts about horse racing you may not know.

1. 43.97 MPH is the Fastest Speed Recorded by a Racehorse

The racehorse Winning Brew puts its name in the Guinness World Records for recording the highest race speed of 43.97 MPH over two furlongs. Winning Brew achieved this record at Penn National Race Course in Grantville, Pennsylvania, on 14th May 2008.

2. Most Thoroughbreds Begin Racing at Two Years Old

It is common to find most Thoroughbreds begin their racing careers at just two years old. This is because two and three-year-old are their most energetic, youthful period and in their prime for racing. Some horses do race until five or six years old before retiring and begin their stint in the horse breeding industry.

3. All Thoroughbreds Share the Same Birthday

No matter the date they are born, all Thoroughbreds share a common birthday. Some big races have an age limit, hence, this rule is enforced to make it simpler to keep track of the horse’s age. For instance, race horses must be three years of age to compete in the Kentucky Derby.

Another trivia you should know is that birth dates of Thoroughbreds born in the Northern Hemisphere is January 1. Whilst in the Southern Hemisphere, their birthdays are August 1. 

Many breeders in the Northern Hemisphere will plan their breeding thoroughly so the foals can be born as close to January 1 as possible. This gives more time for their peak development and maturity, in time for their first race. Sometimes, the breeders utilise lights to fool the mares and stallions to mate early gestation period so that they will give birth to foals quicker.

Interesting Horse Racing

4. Also Known as “The Sport of Kings”

In 1605, King James I had a big obsession with the sports that he established Newmarket as a royal resort with much priority for horse racing events. His interest was so strong that Parliament urged him to refocus on his duty as King. 

As the sport continues to grow, his son, King James II, turned Newmarket into the headquarters of British racing. Horse racing became popular among the royalty and aristocrats of British society, earning the title “The Sports of Kings.”

5. Queen Elizabeth II is an Avid & Famous Horse Racing Fan

And she owned many successful race horses over the years, which have earned more than 1,600 wins. Her horses have won all British Classic Races including the Epsom Derby and the Grand National. Oh! There are even races named after her such as Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

6. Horse Racing is Britain’s Second Most-Watch Sport 

Football is the most favourite sport to watch in Britain, and horse racing comes in second. There are over 6 million spectators who visit Britain’s racetracks every year which contributes to this lucrative billion-dollar industry.

7. A Multi-Billion-Dollar Industry

In the United States alone, horse racing brings approximately $36.6 billion into their economy every year. Also, it gives many job opportunities to people as there are around 472,000 people working in the horse racing industry. The staff include trainers, stewards, jockeys, racetrack food workers and more.

8. The Jockey Club Must Approve Thoroughbred Names

There are much effort and thoughts when naming a horse. Owners must adhere to guidelines set by the Jockey Club prior to naming their Thoroughbred horse. Owners can submit up to six names for the Jockey Club to decide with naming (crucial) criteria:

– No longer than 18 characters including spaces and punctuation

– No naming after graded stakes races and or race tracks.

– No names consisting entirely of numbers, except for numbers above thirty. 

– No naming after actual people unless received written permission from that said person. 

– Names cannot be reused until at least five years after the horse has left racing and breeding. 

– No naming after Hall of Fame or Eclipse Award winners.

Horse Racing Facts You May Not Know

9. A Jockey Must be Qualified

Not just anyone can be qualified as a jockey. There are many criteria to be met for this role, and some of the main ones are:

– Individuals must be 18 years old or above to get jockey license.

– Jockeys should ideally weigh around 48-54kg (108-118 pounds) because weigh is an important aspect of racing.

– No height limit, but jockeys ideal height is around 4’10”- 5’6”.

– One must have knowledge and experience with horses and racing.

Many jockeys earn their degree at North American Racing Academy (NARA), Kentucky. NARA is the only jockey school in the country and one of the best in the world. Some jockeys earn their qualification through horse racing apprenticeship.

10. From Lip Tattoos to Microchipped Horses

Traditionally, all racehorses are required to have a letter that corresponds with the horse’s birth year and four or five numbers tattooed at the inside of their lip for identification purposes.

In 2017, as the world progresses digitally, the identification was switched to microchips as tattooed figures are hard to be read. The microchip can be scanned to view the full details of the horse with better readability. Tattoos are wholly discontinued in 2020 and every Thoroughbred must be microchipped upon registration with the Jockey Club.

11. The Kiplingcotes Derby is the Oldest Horse Race in the World 

The Kiplingcotes Derby commences from the year 1519. It is officially the oldest horse race in the world that still takes place today. A four-mile race across the farm’s track and field, it is an annual event that takes place in East Riding of Yorkshire, England. There is no age limit for horses to compete in the race.

Rain or shine, the race must go on every year or be canceled forever to keep up with their 500-year tradition. The race is also ran during the heat of the Covid-19 pandemic with only two riders racing each other in 2020.

12. The Most Expensive Horse Ever Sold Was a Racehorse

Fusaichi Pegasus, a Thoroughbred, is the most expensive horse (and racehorse) ever sold at a whopping $70 million to breeder Coolmore Stud in 2000. Born in 1997, the colt was bought by Fusao Sekiguchi for $4 million. Sekiguchi combined his first name with “Ichi”, the Japanese word for “best” to create the name Fusaichi Pegasus.

Unfortunately, as a breeding horse, Fusaichi Pegasus performs averagely for the price he was sold for. Perhaps, a racing horse should always remain as a racing horse for life.

13. Only One Horse Has Ever Won the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred Racing

13 horses have won the Triple Crown, but American Pharaoh is the first and only horse in history which has won the elite Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing in 2015. A horse must win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, the Belmont Stakes and the Breeders Cup Classic in the same year to win the Grand Slam. A tough and respected feat indeed! During American Pharaoh’s racing career, he has won nine of his 11 starts and earned $8,650,300!

14. Secretariat Holds the Record for the Fastest Time in 3 Major Races

Secretariat also known as ‘Big Red’, one of the greatest racehorse of all time, won the prized Triple Crown in 1973 and setting the fastest records (still unbroken) in all its three races; Kentucky Derby in 1:59.4 minutes, Preakness Stakes in 1:53.00 minutes, and the Belmont Stakes in 2:24.00 minutes. Secretariat also won the biggest distance at 31 lengths!

Until his death, Secretariat has won 16 of his 21 starts, earning up to $1,316,808 in his racing career. It was discovered that he has a heart over two times bigger than the average horse. With that, he is the only horse to accomplished feats that no other horse can.

READ MORE: All know About Horse Racing Betting at DON99 Singapore


Those are some of the most interesting horse racing facts you must know to enhance your gambling experience in horse racing bets. Come and perform your best horse racing wagering with online casino Singapore.

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