Fascinating Horse Racing Facts

Horse racing has a long and illustrious history, so it’s not surprising that there are huge number of facts surrounding the sport. A rich heritage filled with intriguing tales, big wins, huge losses, scandals and sensational headlines, there is nothing boring about this sport!

Take a look at these fascinating facts about the sport so that you know a bit more about its history, origins and the amazing horses that’s legends live on to this day.

The 1st Kentucky Derby Winner

In 1875 the inaugural Kentucky Derby was run, and Aristides came in first. The race was run over 1 and a half miles as opposed to the 1 and a quarter, and Aristides beat 14 other steeds to take home the title.

The Ultimate Hall of Fame

Any horse, jockey or trainer that makes it into the Racing Hall of Fame in Saratoga Springs, New York, has truly made it. Every year a list of inductees is welcomed into the hallowed space, where they are immortalised in the industry and remain respected and revered forever.

The Oldest Trainer

Art Sherman takes the honours here. Sherman was a whopping 777 years old when his charge, California Chrome, won first place in the Kentucky Derby in 2014. Incidentally, California Chrome is also the richest race horse in the USA and North America, with career earnings of more than $14,502,650.

Britain’s 2nd Favourite Sport

After football, horse racing is Britain’s favourite sport. Both spectator numbers and sponsorship across Britain is only topped by football. More than 6 million people watch the races live, and countless others watch on TV, while millions more put money on the outcome of a race, and play a bit at Giggle Bingo while they wait to see which horse wins.

Horse Racing Origins

The first organised horse races can be traced way back to the Nomadic tribesman in Central Asia in 4500 BC. In Britain, the first races only took place many years later, in around 200 AD.

Flat Racing Offers The Best Rewards

Flat racing is the more rewarding of all types of horse racing, with average prize money of £17,744.28 up for grabs. Just some of the most rewarding flat races are the 2000 Guineas Stakes at Newmarket, the QIPCO 1000 and the Investec Derby at Epsom Downs.

A True Sport of Kings

Horse racing is often referred to as the sport of kings and this is because King James the 1st was so interested in racing he was taken to ask by parliament in 1605 and ordered to pay less attention to the horses and more to ruling the country! King James established Newmarket as a royal resort and began racing there, and his son Charles II helped turn it into the headquarters of British racing.

Horses Are The Real Athletes

While jockeys need to be fit and in fine form, it’s the horses that really are the true athletes in the sport. A human heart beats between 60-100 times a minute at rest, but a thoroughbred horse’s only beats at 40BPM while at rest!


About Doreen Cohen