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16 Dec 2018

Horse Racing: The Different Types of Races that You Need to Know About

Horse racing happens to be one of the most entertaining and exciting events that sports have to offer, but unfortunately, it is often misunderstood. It tends to get lumped together with other activities which makes it harder to be identified. Even some of the casual sports bettor often doesn’t know that there are different events and types of horse racing. 

Starting your journey in one of the oldest sports-betting game? Then, you definitely need to know the ins and out of this sport! Let’s first identify the different types of races this noble sport offers so that you could easily identify where to start and plan your way out to success. 

Flat Racing

Typically deals with Thoroughbred horses, the flat racing is by far the most popular type of horse racing which is held on a flat leveled surface. The Triple Crown events which are Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Preakness Stakes, at the 2019 Pegasus World Cup are easily the most popular. However, you should know that any race which is run on a flat surface without obstacles or other hurdles for the horses qualifies as a flat race. 

Depending on the event, flat races tend to be run on between 1-3 miles which can also be passed as a test of the horse’s speed and stamina. The leading running surface for horses across the world is the Turf but there are the dirt tracks that are also used in some countries, especially in the United States. 

Jump Racing (National Hunt)

Also referred to as Steeplechasing, jump racing, or also known as National Hunt as its official name overseas, is the type of racing wherein the horses are given obstacles to overcome beyond the track length or the surrounding competition. The horses in this kind of race avoid fences, ditches, and other obstacles in order to win. This type of race is incredibly popular in the United Kingdom, Ireland, and France. 

In terms of betting, jump races are a bit difficult to bet on since bettors need to consider a lot of different variables, with the horse’s jockey control and hurdling ability being the most important. 

Endurance Racing 

The third main type of horse racing, the endurance racing. This is a challenge where horses run for longer periods of time thus the tracks are much longer than the usual. Unlike the popular jump and flat racing events, this type of racing tests the endurance and longevity of a horse on a track. 

Now, if you’re thinking that endurance racing is about speed then you got it all wrong. The bettor's main focus here is the horses’ ability to be consistent on track and not fade over large courses. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t a hugely-popular horse race since as you know it, it can go on for a long duration which isn’t necessarily ideal for horses and jockeys. However, there is the current longest endurance race going on which is the Mongol Derby which stretches for 1,000 kilometres. 

Lastly, all breeds are welcomed to join in this race but the Arabian horse is the most popular breed for this competition due to their known stamina and endurance. 

Harness Racing

Harness racing is where the horses trot or pace at a predetermined speed without breaking its stride then the horses are penalized for galloping by being forced to slow down behind the competition. The top harness race in the world is the prestigious Prix d’Amerique which is held yearly in Paris and is event based on lifetime earnings with a prize competition worth of 1 million euros upwards. 

Quarter Horse Racing

Quarter horse racing is a less popular type of horse racing wherein it puts an extreme emphasis on speed. This horse race refers to a quarter of a mile or less, thus its name, and challenges the horses to compete and win on very short tracks. This can also be an exciting horse racing event due to the speed and talent involved however it doesn’t last that long. 


Knowing the different types of races is an important factor when you delve into this sport. Because contrary to popular belief, the Triple Crown — which is an award for winning a group of the three important events: Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, and Preakness— are not the only important horse racing events in a whole year and definitely not the only types of horse racing either. 

So, why’s it really important? Some races put an emphasis on speed and others might track endurance or some specific skills. In addition, there are also horse races which feature specific types of horses that compete at a certain level. 

Lastly, since this is a sport-betting game, thus you should know which is which before you place any money on a wager since there are types of horse racing that are far more worthy of your time.