Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance, for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity.
|Highest governing body||Generally regulated by assorted national or regional governing bodies|
|Equipment||Horse, appropriate horse tack|
|Venue||Turf, dirt or synthetic surface race track suitable for horses|
|Country or region||Worldwide|
Horse races vary widely in format and many countries have developed their own particular traditions around the sport. Variations include restricting races to particular breeds, running over obstacles (cross-country), running over different distances (typically a mile, mile and a quarter, mile and an 8th, mile and a 16th), running on different track surfaces and running in different gaits.
While horses are sometimes raced purely for sport, a major part of horse racing's interest and economic importance is in the gambling associated with it, an activity that in 2008 generated a worldwide market worth around US$115 billion. Many people use a handicapper which is one who assigns weights for a handicap race and makes selections based on past performances.