Horse racing is one of the most cherished sports around the world. While the money aspect associated with horse racing often shadows the skill and stamina of the horses and jockeys, the thrill of the game attracts thousands of fans to racetracks across the globe regularly.
Horse racing has long been a sport that combines a number of passions for both participants and fans. From the care that goes into raising a winning horse to the strict diet of a jockey, many elements of the sport are fascinating and new for first-time enthusiasts. Moreover, the horse racing community is very tight-knit. When on the one hand they mourn over the possible closure of a few tracks in New Zealand, they are also the first to come together and celebrate any and all victories, no matter how small or big. If you are looking to join this merry band of people who know how to mix business with pleasure, it is a good idea to also know about some of the unknown facts that make horse racing such a beloved sport.
The Age Factor
Al Jabal is in the record books for being the oldest horse to win a race. At 19 years old, this thoroughbred won The Three Horses Handicap Stakes in 2002. Typically, horses live for 30 years with their prime being early in their life. Usually, most horses retire from professional racing around the age of 15.
The Weight Limit
There is a common misconception amongst horse racing fans that jockeys need to be of a certain height if they want to race professionally. That is not true, although most riders are shorter in stature. The reason being that while there is no height limit, there is a weight limit of 126 pounds. To date, the shortest American jockey is Julie Krone at the height of four feet ten and a half. She won the Triple Crown race in 1993, becoming the first woman jockey to do so.
A Forbidden Clause
One of the lesser-known facts about horse racing is that jockeys are forbidden to race a horse that they own, even in a partnership. Since horse racing is a premier event when it comes to sports betting, races amount to a lot of money changing hands. Therefore, while the jockey can be a part of a team, they themselves cannot own even a percentage of the horse they are running. One of the strictest rules in horse racing, the penalty for not following it can lead a jockey straight into jail.
Kentucky Derby is the most eagerly awaited horse racing competition in the world. Its first instalment took place in 1875 and saw Aristides take home the winning amount of $2850. In 2019, Maximum Security won the race but was later disqualified, as a result of which, Country House got to take home the prize money of $1.86 million.
A Favourite Sport
Football is a sport with the highest following in England. What many do not know is that in terms of viewership, horse racing surpasses every other game, except football, in the country. With over six million fans cheering at the races, there are more people involved in horse racing than other regional sports such as cricket, tennis, and rugby.