Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in the world and is certainly one of the most attractive as it garners attention from just about every corner of the globe.
The result of a race doesn’t depend on the breed of horse as much as it does its training and the jockey who rides it. Still, not all breads are created equal and there are only a select few that meet the requirements to enter the world’s top races.
This list takes a look at five of the favorite jockeys prefer to race.
The thoroughbred is by far the most popular racehorse in the world and remains a jockey’s first choice. These horses are loved for their remarkable speed and endurance - they can reach top speeds of 50 mp/h and keep it up for as long as two miles.
This breed is the first choice among jockeys worldwide and is especially loved in America. Kentucky is the heartland of thoroughbred racing, making it all the more attractive to fans as they can take advantage of KY sportsbook bonuses due to sports betting being legalized in the state in late September.
Kentucky, renowned as the epicenter of thoroughbred racing, hosts some of the most prestigious horse races in the world. The most iconic among them is undoubtedly the Kentucky Derby, often called "The Run for the Roses." Held annually at Churchill Downs in Louisville, the Derby is the first leg of the American Triple Crown and attracts a global audience. It's celebrated not just for its high-stakes competition but also for its rich traditions, including mint juleps and elaborate hats.
Another notable event in Kentucky's horse racing calendar is the Keeneland Sales, which, while not a race, plays a pivotal role in the thoroughbred racing industry. This world-class horse auction in Lexington is where many future racing stars are bought and sold. Additionally, the Breeders' Cup, which rotates locations but often takes place at Keeneland or Churchill Downs, is a two-day event that marks the culmination of the horse racing season, attracting the best thoroughbreds from around the globe. These races, combined with the state's deep-rooted equestrian culture and the recent legalization of sports betting, make Kentucky an unrivaled destination for horse racing enthusiasts.
Thoroughbreds were considered ideal for racing as warm-blooded creatures consistently perform at peak levels.
Arabian horses originate from the Arabian Peninsula and are used for sport in many territories. While smaller than thoroughbreds, they are markedly smarter and more aggressive. They also have a more defined bone structure, carry their tails higher, and have shorter, arched necks. The differences between Arabian and thoroughbred breeds are immediately noticeable.
This breed is not as fast as a thoroughbred nor has as much stamina. However, it is still a favorite among jockeys and remains popular around Europe and the United Arab Emirates.
Spectators can typically enjoy and bet on an Arab race before thoroughbred events at many British competitive events.
The quarter horse, also known as the American quarter horse, is a favorite for short-distance races. It gets its name from its ability to outrun other breeds over a quarter of a mile or less and reach top speeds of 55 mp/h.
According to the American Quarter Horse Association, these horses have been bred in North America since the 1600s and remain the largest breed in the country. That is despite the popularity and money involved in thoroughbred racing.
The breed has a short head, a muscular body, a broad chest, and strong quarters. They are also used as working ranch horses, at rodeos, and other shows.
Standardbred horses, also known as trotters or pacers, are muscular breeds that are heavier than thoroughbreds and have longer bodies. They are typically used for harness racing, a type of race in which horses pull two-wheel carts instead of being ridden by a jockey.
They can be found in many other countries nowadays, having been developed in North America. Their lines can be traced back to England in the 1700s, however.
Harness racing has become popular in many U.S. states, parts of Europe and Australia.
The paint horse is another popular American breed. It was developed by the crossing of spotted horses with quarterhorses and thoroughbreds. They are normally black and white in color and have large pinto spotted patterns.
Paint horses are unlikely to take part in the same races as any other horses on this list but are still considered among the top sports breeds in the world. The breed is also used in other events such as show jumping or hint seats.
Selecting the right breed of horse is crucial for jockeys to win races. While the breed itself is not the only factor, it still plays a vital role in determining the outcome of a race.
It is worth noting that many other breeds of horses are used for racing, jumping, and other sports. However, the breeds listed above remain the most popular among jockeys and have a proven track record of success.
There are more interesting articles in our section on Racing & Wagering.