Beginner’s Guide To Horse Racing

Horse racing is one of the oldest sports out there. It has been kept as a popular sport due to the betting activity around it. Whatever kind of betting you do, if you bet online, at the races, or if you like betting the Kentucky Derby with TVG, it is great fun! 

If you are new to the sport, however, then you will need to get to know the sport, and this includes more than just the betting styles and bets you can place. 

Horse racing is great, and there is so much to it, from the types of races, to how to know if a horse is a great racer, has a high chance of winning, and more. 

So, let’s get you started on your way to enjoying the races, and betting on your first horse. 

The Types Of Horse Racing

There are four main types of horse racing. These races are all enjoyable to watch. However, it is important to know how they differ. Some people may prefer one type of racing over the others. And it is also worth noting that different horse breeds specialize in different races.

The most popular type of race is the flat race, this is the one we often see, and the Kentucky Derby, among other big races, fall into this category. But, we should never forget about the others. 

Flat Racing

Flat racing is the most common type of horse racing we know, and it’s been happening for years, even going back to Ancient Rome. This type of race depends on the speed, strength, and stamina of the horse, and horses will usually be bred for this race. 

The breed that typically takes on flat races is Thoroughbreds. 

The distance of these races can range from something as small as only 5 furlongs to a much more hefty 1 and ½ miles. 

Flat races will be divided into categories more, and this then makes the races even more entertaining


You might call steeplechasing ‘jump racing’, as this is not too different from flat races, bar the incorporation of jumps. The horse will race, as usual, but will also have to combat fences and water, jumping over them. 

It is a very old form of racing, and can be dated back to 1776, or further. 

The most popular race in this category is the Grand National, at a length of over 4 miles. Thoroughbreds also usually compete in this race.

Harness Racing

Harness racing is a race in which the horses trot, or more commonly, pace, while they pull a driver in a lightweight small two-wheeled carriage. The person is not known as a jockey in these races, instead, they are a driver. 

The drivers are imperative to success in this type of racing, in many cases, the fastest is not always the winner, it is typically the one with the most skill. 

The most common breed used in harness racing is Standardbred horses.

Endurance Racing

Endurance racing is what it sounds like. These events can range up to 150 miles over many days. They need to be able to endure grueling rides across vast distances without slowing. 

The best horses for these races are typically Arabian horses, but many breeds are used. 

Know Your Odds

Now you know about the 4 main types of horse racing, we hope you have picked your favorite or at least have an idea of where you will place your bets. 

When you bet on a horse, you will need to understand the odds. The odds in racing is the chance that the horse will win, the smaller the odds are the more the bookmakers think the horse will win.

This means a horse that has odds of 2/1 will be believed to have a higher chance at winning than a horse that has odds of 5/1. 

If you bet on a horse that has odds of 6/1 then this means that when you bet, if the horse wins it will time your bet by 6. So, if you bet $10 on the horse, and it won, you could get $70 overall. $60 and your original $10 returned.

Do remember, however, that bookmakers are not always just considering the track record of the horse, but also how much betting action they are getting. If a horse attracts a lot of attention from bettors then its odds will be smaller, and it will be favored. 

This doesn’t mean the horse is great though, so know your horses before you know the odds.

Consider Handicaps

Do not forget handicaps. Steeplechases are often handicapped. This means that these horses need to carry more weight, thus influencing the outcome of the race. There will be numbers under each horse, these will indicate age and weight. 

Remember these numbers, as these are often the handicapping factors, and knowing what they mean for the horse can benefit you. 

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