Ever wondered who invented horse racing? It was the ancient Greeks apparently - if historians are to be believed, they started racing horses in around 500BC. It's not known whether the Greeks gave the sport to other countries or whether they came up with the idea on their own, however the British, Chinese and Mongolians also started breeding horses to race many hundreds of years ago.
Today of course the sport is popular across the world - in particular The UK, Ireland, USA, Australia, South Africa and the middle east.
What Is A Horse Race?
It seems pretty obvious - because it is. At least two horses, with a jockey on each, running over a predetermined distance to see which one is the fastest. Somewhere along the way, somebody came up with the idea of putting obstacles in the way, and thus jumps racing was born. In the UK, jumps racing normally runs through the winter and flat racing through the summer. There are also all weather tracks which can be used for flt racing all year round.
Races have their own variations and categories. The distance of the race varies, from sprints as short as 5 furlongs to steeplechases of over 3 miles. The class of race also varies. The better horses are put into higher class races, where the competition is more fierce but the prize money is far higher.
Betting On Horse Racing
Although advertising and sponsorship plays a part, the main souce of income for the horse racing industry is through betting. The bookmakers pay a levy to support the horse racing industry, and this is the major contributing factor to cover the overheads involved. This allows the bookmakers to accept bets on horse racing, which remains one of their major sources of income.
The income that the sport receives has allowed most UK jockeys to become professional, and also allows the UK government to collect millions in tax revenue from the gambling industry. All in all it's win-win, except for the punters of course!
However horse racing remains as popular now as it ever was, and with national TV and media coverage, and even two dedicated cable channels, this shows no sign of ending anytime soon.
Learn More About The History Of Horse Racing
If you want to find out more, why not visit the National Racing Museum and Hall of Fame in New York state. If there's one thing the USA does brilliantly it's museums, and this one is no exception. You'll discover everything there is to know about the history of horse racing through the ages.