Little Known Facts About Horse Racing



By Joseph Connolly

Britain has not only witnessed, but also contributed to the evolution of horse racing, helping it grow into what it is today. Horse racing is embedded deep within our culture and has fans following (and betting on) the sport from every corner of the country.

Being one of the oldest competitive sports around, horse racing boasts a long and illustrious history filled with fascinating stories and unbelievable statistics. If you haven’t been actively following the sport, read on to know more about the fascinating world of horse racing:

horse racing

Enormity Of The Horse Racing Industry

  • While most people know that horse racing is a popular sport, few know that it is the second most popular sport in Britain. That’s right, surpassed only by football in terms of attendance, horse racing is more popular in the UK than cricket or rugby!
  • Every year, over £77 billion is bet on various horse races and the sport contributes a whopping £3.7 billion to the British economy. Even though the sport is incredibly popular, less than 5% of races make it to our television screens.
  • The unique interest of the people in watching the sport live has resulted in ultra-luxurious stadiums opening throughout the country. If you are looking to impress a client by treating them to a day at the races, corporate hospitality services such as White Label Hospitality offer some truly unforgettable race day experiences.

Age Of The Horses

  • The average lifespan of a racehorse is 30 years. The record for thoroughbred longevity rests with Tango Duke who lived to the age of 42 years. Since these horses are athletes, they have a prime and most horses retire by the age of 15. No horse over the age of 18 has ever won a race.
  • In order to make the process of categorising horses by their age, the birth date of a horse is universally considered to be January 1st of the year it was born.
  • The triple-crown races only admit three-year-old horses. While many stallions start racing at the age of two, and some even race until they are six, the premier events are only for three-year-old horses.


The Jockeys

  • Contrary to popular notions, jockeys don’t have a height restriction to enter any event. Instead, the body weight limit of 126 pounds is the reason most jockeys tend to be short.
  • A jockey is responsible for riding a 1,000 pound horse at 40 miles per hour. With bodyweight close to a tenth of the stallion, being a jockey is remarkably difficult.
  • The lowest recorded weight of a jockey is 49 pounds. Currently, Giovanni Porte is the lightest jockey weighing only 88 pounds.
  • The Breeder’s Cup is arguably the most competitive race across the globe. Mike E. Smith is the most successful jockey in the Breeder’s Cup with 26 wins in the annual race. In terms of career earnings, he sits at the second spot with total of £238 million. The top spot belongs to John R. Velasquez who has earnings of £296 million to his name.


Evidence suggests that the sport of horse racing has been around since 4,500 BC. Pottery artifacts from the ancient Greek period also feature references to chariot racing. Do the facts mentioned above spark your interest in this age-old sport? Did we miss out on any of your favorite facts? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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