Are you interested in the races?
Horse racing is popular amongst sports betters and casual viewers alike, but most outsiders don’t know a lot about it. Aside from the Kentucky Derby, many people never even catch a glimpse of a race.
Whether you’re a lover of horse racing or you’re newly interested, we have a few fun facts about horse racing that might interest you. Keep reading for five of our favorites.
- Horses Carry Specific Weight
In modern racing, all horses have a minimum amount of weight that they have to carry in order to race. Theoretically, this helps to “level the playing field” to make sure that everyone gets an equal shot. That said, weight is less important now than it once was.
Younger horses, female horses, and horses who are led by jockeys with less experience or wins carry less weight. In a handicap race, horses with substantial wins carry more weight. For a historical perspective, check out this blog post about one of the most famous heavyweight horses in history.
- Age Matters
Racehorses have decent lifespans, with most of them living to about 30. Like any athlete though, they only have a short period of time in which they’re in their prime for racing.
Horses don’t often race beyond the age of 15. No horse over the age of 18 has ever won a race (though that doesn’t mean that jockeys don’t try).
After their career is up, they usually live peaceful lives on farms or in equestrian centers.
- So What’s With Those Hats?
Have you ever noticed that women’s headwear is flamboyant at the derbies?
Large and intricate hats were a must-have for women during early British races, and the tradition has continued. While they once marked women of higher standing and popular socialites, they’re more of a memento of times past now.
The hats are large, colorful, and unique. They’re meant to stand out in a crowd!
- Racing Is a Historical Pastime
We’ve been racing horses for nearly as long as we’ve had domestic horses!
Ancient artwork shows that horse racing existed in ancient Greece and Rome. While the races were different, they paved the way for the sport that we have now. In other words, racing horses is a human tradition.
- Why Are Jockeys So Short?
You’ll notice that most jockeys are shorter than average. This has to do with the weight requirement (as well as the overall speed of the horse in non-weighted races).
Because of the low weight requirement, jockeys need to be under 115 pounds with tack. Because the tack adds between 4 and 6 pounds, jockeys can’t be over 100 pounds.
It stands to reason that shorter jockeys weigh less and have better chances at being able to compete without damaging their bodies as much as taller jockeys would.
Did You Know These Facts About Horse Racing?
Horse racing has changed throughout the years, so there will be plenty of new fun facts about horse racing as time passes. How many of these facts did you know already?
For more fun facts about all of your favorite topics, check out the rest of our site!