Horse racing is one of the most popular sports worldwide. It is a sport that attracts spectators from all walks of life and it has a great charm in it that can draw even the most casual fan to the racetrack. But behind the romanticized facade of horse races lies a world of broken bones, gruesome breakdowns and slaughter. Horses used for racing are forced to sprint—often with the threat of whipping—at speeds so fast that they suffer serious injuries, including hemorrhage in their lungs. In nature, horses understand the concept of self-preservation, and they avoid running at breakneck speeds unless they are absolutely necessary.
A century ago, horse breeding and racing took off with the popularity of chariot racing. Later, the demand for more skilful horses led to the development of mounted horse racing. As horse breeders improved their breeding techniques, more and more people started to compete in the racetracks and it became a global sport.
With the advent of modern technology, the process of betting on horse races has become easier. Spectators can now place bets from the comfort of their own home through online betting sites. But before you start placing your bets, it is essential to know the basics of horse racing. You should be aware of the terms and conditions that apply in order to make smart bets on your favorite horse.
To help you get familiar with the terminology of horse racing, below are a few common terms and definitions that will come in handy. Some of these terms are used for horse racing in the United States, while others are used internationally.
GRADED RACE: The most prestigious races in North America are assigned a grade by the racing secretary based on previous winners and the effect of the race on other races or championships. A race can also be considered a graded race if it meets certain minimum standards set by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.
STARTER HANDICAP: A type of allowance race that is open to horses who have previously run in inferior claiming races but are now at a point where they would not be exposed to claimers. This is an attempt to bridge the gap between claiming and stakes races by offering a new opportunity for horses to prove themselves at a higher level without having to risk losing their maiden status.
TIPS: Tips are predictions made by professionals about the outcome of a particular race. These predictions are often based on the performance of the horse and its jockey in the past as well as various statistics such as track surface, distance and pace. TIPS are offered to the public at large and can be very profitable for the knowledgeable bettor.
SCRATCHED: A horse is scratched from a race if it a) is entered in another race that day at the same or another track and opted to run in that race instead; or b) is ineligible to compete because it has failed to meet minimum requirements for eligibility (age, sex, and/or past performance). The reasons for a horse being scratched are listed on the redboard.