Horse racing

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.[1]

Horse racing
Horse racing at Golden Gate Fields, 2017
Highest governing bodyGenerally regulated by assorted national or regional governing bodies
Characteristics
ContactYes
Mixed genderYes
TypeOutdoor
EquipmentHorse, appropriate horse tack
VenueTurf, dirt or synthetic surface race track suitable for horses
Presence
Country or regionWorldwide
Steeplechase racing at Deauville
Harness racing in Adelaide
Horse racing in Palio di Legnano 2013

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,[2] an activity that in 2008 generated a worldwide market worth around US$115 billion.[3] Many people use a handicapper which is one who assigns weights for a handicap race and makes selections based on past performances.[4]