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Horse racing is known as the “sport of kings.” If you’re not familiar with the sport, or only associate it with hats and mint juleps, here are some fun facts:
Spending the day at the racetrack means dressing up. A few racetracks have a strict dress code. Others allow you to dress casually in jeans and t-shirts if you stay in the common areas. A wide brimmed sun hat is traditional for the races. Top tier races call for a more fashionable dress code. Planning on what to wear at the racetrack is part of the fun experience of going to the races.
Horses can belong to multiple owners. In this case, owners go into group purchase agreements or syndicates. This works by each owner contributing a sum of money towards the horse’s purchase price, and also paying a percentage of the boarding, training, veterinary, farrier, and feeding bills.
There are horse racing stud farms based around the world. These blood stock and consulting enterprises help provide clients and their partners with top quality equine and business services, and also help maximize each race horse’s value. In many cases different countries collaborate on breeding. For example, by having Europe and the U.S work together, racing offspring from European stallions do well in the United States, and racehorses that have American sires, do well racing in Europe.
Horses earn a lot in stud fees. Retired racehorses like Justify — who earned $3.8 million on the track — and American Pharaoh are out to stud, and command as much as $200,000 in stud fees. In the U.S., American Pharaoh had as many as 150 live foals in Kentucky from each Spring breeding program, and received as much as $30 million per year in stallion fees. American Pharaoh also will travel to Australia in the fall, where he commands $50,000 per live foal while he’s there.
Jockeys make a lot of money, too. The most talented jockeys like Mike Smith, who won the Belmont Stakes, Preakness and Triple Crown on Justify, have all-time career earnings in excess of $306 million. John Velazquez has earned over $307 million, with Pat Day a close $298 million earned over the course of his career. Jerry Bailey has all-time career earnings of $295 million, and Chris McCarron earned $264 million. Laffit Pincay earned $237 million, with Kent Desormeaux lifetime earnings at $220 million. Edgar Prado has $220 million in lifetime earnings.
There are different types of bets. With betting and horse racing going hand in hand, you can bet on the name and the number you like, or a “win bet” on a specific horse. A “place bet” means that your horse has to finish second or first in the race. A “show bet” means that you’re betting on your horse to finish first, second or third. The win is based on where your horse places. Win bets pay out more because your horse has to finish in first place, whereas a show bet pays less because the horse has to place first, second or third. Many people will bet on a horse that they feel will win the race, and that they relate to, most especially in the bigger races. A bet of 3-5 means that for every $5 you bet, you will win $3.
Horse racing is enjoyed all over the world. It is a sport with a long history, and a huge fan base from regular people, to horse trainers and breeders. Do you watch horse races?