10 Interesting Facts About Horse Racing
Horse racing is one of the oldest and most popular sports in the world. This sport has been around for hundreds of years in America, Europe, and Asia and it’s still very popular at the current time. Each year, many races are held in the UK, USA, and Emirates and hundreds of princes, presidents, and ardent fans flock to it enthusiastically!
Origin of Horse Racing
There is no accurate historical evidence about where this sport originated, but most historians believe that the origins of horse racing go back to Asian nomadic tribes in 4,500 BC. Many biological fossils confirm this conclusion. In addition, the Mughal Empire was able to invade and conquer huge chunks in Asia and Europe during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The Mongolians managed to form the largest empire in history because they had the most rapid and powerful war machine at that time, the horses! while the unfortunate European and African countries did not have this strange creature.
The British Empire recognized the power of horses and relied on it to extend its control over the world to become the largest contiguous land empire in history, surpassing even the Mughal Empire.
In ancient times, horses were the only mode of transportation, travel, trade, and racing which become an established tradition in almost every country in the world. The real beginning of horse racing dates to the twelfth century AD, where it was organized by a club or some entity to bring together the most skilled jockeys and the best horses in the country to compete for a trophy.
At present, flat horse racing is the most popular in which horses compete over a barrier-free turf course and the winner is he that finish the racetrack first before the rest. There are also other kinds of horse races like steeplechasing, harness racing, and endurance racing. Different breeds are used in these races, but Thoroughbreds are the most common, followed by Quarters, Arabian horses and Standardbreds.
Here are 10 interesting facts about horse racing that you may not have known before.
It’s Called the “Sport of Kings”
If you notice, you will not find any sport, individual or team, called “the sport of kings”; This title is unique to horse racing only! What is the reason?! In 1605, King James I was so interested in the sport that Parliament issued a decree requiring him to focus on his duties as king rather than on horse racing. However, James’s first passion for horse racing did not stop, he established Newmarket as a racecourse and royal resort. His son, James II, later completed Newmarket to be the official headquarters of British horse racing. Because the two kings were fond of this sport, it spread among the royalty and the British aristocracy and earned its title, Sports of kings, which is still common till now!
One of the Largest Sports Industries
We can’t compare horse racing to football or even Formula 1 in terms of industry size, yet it’s a multibillion-dollar industry. In the United States alone, this sport provides $36.6 billion to the American economy and employs more than 1,472,000 people including jockeys, coaches and workers. In the United Kingdom, the annual value of the horse racing industry is half a million pounds sterling, and it employs thousands of people and of course, it benefits the British economy.
Horses Start Their Racing Career When They Are 2 Years Old!
What can a human two-year-old do?! Ending his breastfeeding period successfully! At the age of two years, the horses begin their racing career and endure strenuous training to build muscle mass that qualifies them to enter the races and compete with other expert horses. Sometimes, horses may need three, four, or even five years to start their career.
All Horses Are Capricorns!
All Thoroughbreds from the Northern Hemisphere are born at the same time, which is the first day of January, meaning that all racehorses are of Capricorn zodiac sign! Not only do horses share Capricorn traits, but they also share biological traits! Whereas, horses belonging to the southern hemisphere are born on the first day of August.
This rule was created to make it easier to determine the age of a horse because many large races place strict limits on the ages of the horses involved. For example, Kentucky Derby accepts 3 years old houses only, no horse with older or younger age can participate. The horse’s gestation period is 11 months and mares are fertilized during the spring to give birth between January and March.
The Queen of the UK has a lot of horses
It comes as no surprise that horse racing is the sport of kings, as her majesty queen Elizabeth II is one of the most famous horse lovers and owns many horses whose exact number is not known, but it is estimated to be in the hundreds. Queen Elizabeth’s horses have won more than 1,600 victories in the various races they have run till now.
The Jockey Club Must Approve Thoroughbreds Names!
Imagine that to give your pet a name you need first to get approval from a certain authority, in fact, this is exactly what happens with horses! Thoroughbred horse breeders have to follow the guidelines set by the Jockey Club and get their approval in naming their horses. Since the standards of the Jockey Club are strict, breeders give them a sheet of 6-12 names to choose from, and the name must meet the following criteria:
- The name must not exceed 18 characters including spaces and punctuation marks.
- It must not be repetitive.
- It cannot be a number.
- A horse can only be named after a real person if the breeder has the written consent of that person!
- No other horse’s name can be used until at least five years after the previous horse has been retired.
The Kiplingcotes Derby Is the Oldest Race Still Running Today
The British Kiplingcotes Derby was launched in 1519 and has been held every year from that date to the present day. This race is held in the East Riding of Yorkshire within 4 miles of tracks. There is no age limit for the horses participating in this race. In 2020, the race was held but only two took part due to social distancing restrictions!
American horse racing dates back to 1665
The United States of America has a long history of horse racing, even older than the United States Declaration of Independence! The first horse racing track was established in 1665, and the American Republic itself was founded in 1776! Although the races were organized locally, the first officially organized race was launched in 1868. By 1890, the USA has more than 315 races and they are increasing until now.
The Second Most Followed Sport in the UK
Right after football, horse racing is Britain’s most popular sport. The UK horse races are attended by more than 6 million spectators annually.
It’s Not Easy to Be a Jockey
Like all other sports, there are a set of standards that jocks must follow, and these rules may be strict for some, as follows:
- A jockey must be at least 18 years old.
- The jockey’s weight must be less than 118 lbs.
- A jockey must complete a two-year training programme before entering his first race.
There are a lot of reasons why horse racing is so popular right now, on top of them is sports betting! For sports bettors, horse racing is not only fun but also profitable. If you are interested in horse racing and want to learn more info about it or bet on races to make profits, you can go to justuk.club website and you will find on it all the info you need.