Horse Racing: The Sport of Kings
Most horse races last about two minutes, but horse racing fans will tell you there’s more excitement in those two minutes than in an entire football or baseball game. This Web guide explains how horse racing has evolved to its current form, directs you to the best news and handicapping sources, shows you how and where you can wager, and helps you become involved in the sport.
Horse racing dates back to 4500 B.C.; today, it is one of the most ubiquitous sports, contested on six continents in many forms. The sites in this section address the evolution of horse racing from ancient times to today.
- There are many forms of horse racing, including steeplechase racing, harness racing and quarter horse racing. This section includes information on horse racing in general, but the rest of the Web Guide focuses on thoroughbred racing.
For different types of horse racing …
offers descriptions of nine different forms of horse racing, listed in the left menu.
For the history of horse racing …
For the history of thoroughbred racing …
This section helps you understand the different types of horses and races, and teaches you important horse racing terminology.
- Horse racing beginners should also check out the introduction to handicapping in the “Betting on Horse Racing” section of this Web guide.
- A thoroughbred is a breed of horse whose ancestry traces to three foundation sires—the Darley Arabian, the Godolphin Arabian and the Byerly Turk. These three stallions were brought to England from the Middle East during the 17th century and bred with English horses. The result was an animal that could carry weight with sustained speed over extended distances.
- The Jockey Club is the official registrar of thoroughbreds in the United States. There are similar authorities in other countries.
For an introduction to thoroughbred racing …
National Thoroughbred Racing Association
has a “Virtual Q&A” designed to help beginners understand the sport. Receive a video answer by typing in a question or clicking the “Help” button and choosing from a list of phrases.
Oaklawn Jockey Club
describes how thoroughbreds differ in colors and running styles, and how races vary in level, distance, surface and track conditions.
For glossaries on thoroughbred racing …
has a glossary of horse racing terms.
The Jockey Club
has a glossary of terms for horses, explaining what a horse is called based on its sex, age and other factors.
Professional horse races are operated by track owners under the observation of national associations. This section links to the official Web sites of prominent associations, tracks and races.
- The Web sites of the tracks listed below all feature visitor information, ticket sales, race schedules and daily entrants, live odds and results.
- For more links to tracks across the country, see the directories on the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and Thoroughbred Racing Associations Web sites.
For governing bodies of horse racing …
For racetracks …
Churchill Downs Incorporated
owns not only Churchill Downs (home of the Kentucky Derby) but also Arlington (Illinois), Calder (Miami) and Fair Grounds (New Orleans).
manages many well-known tracks, including Pimlico (Baltimore), Gulfstream (Florida) and Santa Anita (California).
For horse races …
The Kentucky Derby
is the first jewel of the Triple Crown. Contested annually since 1875, the Derby is run on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Its Web site includes news, blogs, profiles of contending horses and coverage of prep races. Visit the “History” section to see lists of winning horses and connections, charts of past races and a glance at the role women and African-Americans have played.
The Breeders’ Cup
is a series of championship races run over two days in late fall, at a rotating list of host tracks. The site has bios of all the horses, jockeys and trainers contending for a spot in the Breeders’ Cup, as well as historical stats and records in PDF format. There are also recaps and video for each of last year’s races.
This section features the best sources for news on racing and breeding, as well as valuable handicapping information.
- The following sites all focus exclusively on horse racing. You can also find horse racing sections on the do-it-all sports sites found in the findingDulcinea Sports Web Guide.
- Serious horse racing bettors make their selections by analyzing data about the previous races run by each horse; this trove of data, known as “past performances,” is most definitely indicative of future performance.
For horse racing news …
may not be the best-looking site, but it is the single best source of horse racing news on the Internet. Run by one individual with a tremendous passion for the sport, the site provides links (updated daily) to relevant stories about horse racing from newspapers around the world, grouped by subject matter.
is a well-regarded publication on the subject of breeding thoroughbred racehorses that also features news and analysis of racing. It offers information on breeding, horse health and auctions, as well as a directory of stallions. On the racing side, you’ll find transcripts of chats with prominent figures in the racing world
and a “Blog Stable
” with several blogs on subjects such as breeding, Triple Crown racing, maidens and general thoroughbred racing.
The Thoroughbred Times
is a Kentucky-based weekly magazine featuring news and commentary on racing, breeding and buying horses. Its Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup sections are quite detailed, with news stories and profiles of competing horses. Look for news stories, an international stallion directory and a schedule of upcoming sales. The Buyer’s Guides
and yearly Auction Review
can be purchased online.
offers horse racing analysis and commentary from John Pricci, longtime horse racing writer for Newsday, as well as several other veteran racing writers.
For handicapping information …
The Daily Racing Form
is the most popular choice for bettors planning their wagering strategies. Free registration gives you access to news, entries, results and analysis from a large collection of experts. Subscribers receive past performances, speed figures and race charts as part of a $9.95 monthly (or $89.95 yearly) subscription. For major races like the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup, past performances are available for free to registrants.
is the thoroughbred industry’s official database of racing information and stats and the sole provider of data to the Daily Racing Form. It provides a wide range of handicapping information sold individually and through monthly and yearly subscriptions. Available information includes race programs, past performances of varying detail, race charts and video race replays. The Equineline service offers lifetime past performances and five-generation pedigrees for all horses.
is a handicapping tool that relies on a performance rating system to assess a horse’s potential and where the horse is in its current form cycle. View analyses of established patterns and a sample of The Sheets before purchasing by e-mail, fax, FedEx or at selected tracks.
This section teaches you how to handicap and shows you the best Web sites to place online bets.
- Online wagering is not available in all states. Be sure to read an online betting site’s Terms and Conditions or FAQs before signing up.
For an introduction to handicapping …
The Daily Racing Form
teaches you how to read the form with an interactive Flash tutorial, a glossary of symbols and abbreviations, and advice on what to look for.
explains how to handicap through its “Learn To Play” instructional videos. It explains how races are set up, how wagering works and what to look for when handicapping. It also allows you to practice handicapping by betting virtual money on real races.
For online wagering …
is a horse racing television network that allows you to bet online, by phone and with your television remote. A $19.95-per-month account gives you access to unlimited wagering and live video streaming. The “Handicapping Store” features race programs, past performances and other handicapping information for small fees.
is the largest online horse racing wagering site. Placing wagers on races requires no membership costs, but there are subscription plans that offer live streaming and race replays.
offers wagering online and by phone to residents in 32 states. Opening an account is free with a $50 deposit.
is managed by Churchill Downs Incorporated and offers wagering for all U.S. residents. Accounts require an initial $50 deposit, but there is no monthly subscription fee. Account holders have access to live streaming video and race replays, past performances and handicapping software.
Many premier horses are owned by wealthy breeders who have been in the game for decades. But just as often a horse crowned champion at the end of the year is a bargain-bin horse owned by a small group of friends who pooled their money. If you want to chase your own Derby dream, use this section to find information on buying horses.
For help buying a horse …
For breed registry …
The Jockey Club
is the registrar for all thoroughbreds bred in the United States. It maintains “The American Stud Book
”, which certifies the correct pedigree for all thoroughbreds, as well as a database of horse names, stable names and silks currently in use. The site is full of resources for horse owners
, including the rules and requirements of “The American Stud Book,” guides to breeding and the thoroughbred industry, and breeding statistics.
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