Horse Racing: What Are the Types?


Horse racing is one of the oldest sports genres that involve betting from spectators. They’re exciting, entertaining, and they keep people surprised with unexpected results. There are different categories of horse racing, but they tend to get lumped into one term, which is “horse racing.”

Some casual spectators and bettors don’t know that they’re betting on an entirely different horse racing category. In fact, many horse racing events are just as fun as the term they’re lumped in.

Some races pick the winners based on speed, some on endurance, and some on the horse and the jockey’s specific skills. Some races are based on specific types of horses and their skill.

To give you an insight into what big of a term “horse racing” is, here are a few of the common types:

  1. Flat racing

Flat racing is by far the most popular out of all horse racing types. Flat racing events usually use Thoroughbred. Thoroughbred horses are grown in England for competitive or casual racing and jumping activities.

Flat races involve running on flat and leveled surfaces. In the North American sphere of horse racing, the Triple Crown events—the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes—are of huge popularity. Horses run on flat and leveled surfaces without hurdles and other types of obstacles, qualifying as flat races.

  1. Jump racing

Jump racing or National Hunt is run by horses on surfaces that include obstacles to overcome to make the event more competitive.

Horses need to pass through obstacles such as fences, ditches, and other known obstacles in jump racing to win the race. It’s popular in European countries such as France, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.

Jump races can be difficult to predict for betting purposes because there are many variables to be considered by the bettor. From hurdling ability and jockey control, they have to bet on many aspects of the race to make a winnable one.

  1. Endurance racing

Endurance racing involves racing tracks that are long or tracks ran for more laps than intended. They test the horse’s endurance—hence, the name—and the longevity of their ability to run with stability.

Speed isn’t a focus on endurance racing. Rather, the race focuses on consistency. Endurance racing isn’t popular because they last too long and aren’t ideal for all animals and humans involved.

The breed most used in this type of race are Arabian horses. They’re proven to be equipped with good stamina and endurance.

  1. Harness racing

Harness racing involves a horse being in charge of its own body weight, the jockey’s, and a sulky’s. Typical races usually involve the horse and the jockey, but harness racing needs horses to pull a sulky while running a specific trot or pace.

The goal of racing in a harness is to produce consistency because it runs at a determined trot, speed, and pace. Horses can be penalized for changing form by being forced to slow down and get behind the competition.

  1. Quarter horse racing

This type of horse racing puts a big emphasis on a horse’s speed. They are quarter-mile races for qualified breeds that are faster. This involves short tracks, meaning speed will be the prime winning ingredient.

  1. Stakes racing

After a horse has proven its abilities, it can be qualified for stake events. They are high-level horse races that have big cash prizes. The best owners, jockeys, trainers, and talents in horse racing are the main participants in stakes racing. The Triple Crown events are stakes races.

Now that you’re aware that horse racing isn’t just “horse racing,” you can identify races based on what you see, and you can make good observations and use them to your betting advantage.