Horse racing is an ancient sport according to some experts, with evidence of it dating way back to ancient Greek and Roman times. Over the course of its incredibly long history, many cool and interesting facts about the sport have emerged that you may or may not yet know. Let’s look at some in this post and learn more about this world-renowned sport of kings.
Who Is the Largest Horse In Racing History?
Phar Lap was always considered a very big racehorse, standing at a lofty 17 hands tall. But Phar Lap is not the biggest ever recorded. That title belongs to a horse called Holy Roller, who stood at a massive 18.1 hands high. It’s estimated the horse weighed in at over 800kg. That’s one gigantic racehorse. The average modern day thoroughbred racehorse only weighs about half that.
The Career Lifespan of the Average Racehorse
Racehorses don’t start racing until at least the age of 2, and most are retired by the time they’ve reached 8 years old, sometimes less for horses that compete in flat races. For events such as steeplechase and the National Hunt, these horses tend to race until well into their teens. Apparently, although not confirmed, no horse over the age of 18 has ever been victorious in any form of horse race.
Were Roman Chariot Races the Earliest Form of Horse Racing?
It is an era steeped in history, and one that many Hollywood blockbuster films have been based on. It’s true that the romans used to have regular chariot races, and there’s a bit of debate about whether the Romans were the first to host some form of horse race, or whether that title belonged to Ancient Greece. It’s also claimed that horses were raced in Central Asia as early as 4500 BC.
Phar Lap Was From New Zealand
Many people erroneously believe that the legendary horse, Phar Lap, was an Australian born and bred thoroughbred racehorse. He was actually foaled in neighbouring New Zealand, but was brought to Australia by trainer, Harry Telford, where he did the majority of his racing and had the most success. Phar Lap went on to win 37 races, including victory in the 1930 Melbourne Cup.
A Stud Horse Is More Lucrative Than a Racehorse
Any successful racing stallions can actually make their owners more money as breeders than as actual race winners. While a champion stallion could bring home tens of millions of dollars in prize money, they can actually make more than that on the breeding market. Life certainly is a bed of roses for those who own champion stallions.
What is a Quarterbred Horse?
These horses are bred specifically for the American racing market and are designed to run quarter mile races. Because of this breeding, Quarterbred horses are much shorter and more muscular in stature than thoroughbred horses. Conversely, a standard bred horse is more suited to harness racing, specialising in trotting rather than galloping.
Is a “Big Hearted” Horse Just a Nice Horse?
We hear the term “big hearted” in horse racing quite regularly, but does it have the same meaning as when we call a person big hearted? Not exactly, although there are some nice horses out there for sure. When a horse physically has a bigger heart than its opponents, it’s a huge advantage over the competition because their heart can pump blood and oxygen through the horses body and muscles at a greater rate.
Eddie Arcaro Just Never Gave Up
Spare a thought for champion American jockey, Eddie Arcaro. The man rode 250 race losers before he experienced his first victory in the racing saddle. Now that’s determination and persistence personified. From that day forward, Arcaro won a total of 4778 races.
The Fastest Racehorse Ever Recorded
It’s officially in the Guinness Book of World Records. On the 14 May, 2008 in Grantville, Pennsylvania, United States, a racehorse named Winning Brew set a new world record for the fastest speed ever recorded for a racehorse. She clocked an incredible speed of 70.76 km/h (43.94 mph). She was just a 2-year-old filly at the time of the achievement.