Age of Horses in Horse Racing

If you are a fan of EZ Horse Betting then you should learn to take note of a horse’s age and how this affects racing ability. This can sometimes be an important factor to consider in your handicapping. This is especially true when you encounter younger horses that are competing against older horses. You might think that youth would hold an advantage, but in the case of thoroughbred race horses you would be wrong. Horses can actually improve as they age.

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2 Year Old Juvenile Race Horses

A horse that is two years old is regarded as a juvenile. These are horses that are just beginning their racing careers. They are still in the process of growth and development and require time to mature. They always race only against other two year old horses. Why is this the case?

Think about young children and how they are introduced to sports. Many of them begin by playing Little League baseball or youth soccer against children their own age. This experience is teaching the young people how to compete in sports as their bodies grow. It would be very unfair if you were to ask these children to compete against older children or adults. They simply aren’t prepared to take that step yet.

The same can be said for thoroughbred horses. The young juveniles would not fare well against older horses because they simply do not possess the physical tools to compete with these larger animals. Therefore, juveniles only compete against juveniles and are not permitted in other races.

3 Year Old Race Horses

When a horse reaches the age of three you could compare this to a human athlete in their late high school or college years. In some ways they may be at the peak of their game. In others, like experience, they will be behind many older horses.

A derby is a race that is only for three-year-old horses. The most famous of these is the Kentucky Derby. The other races of the Triple Crown series are also restricted to horses aged three. These races serve an important purpose in letting owners and trainers gauge the ability of their horse against the ability of other three year olds. By doing this they can get a more realistic assessment of a horse’s talent.

Three-year-old races are some of the most exciting contests that racing has to offer. These horses tend to perform very well and make the races fun to watch. Many track records are set by three year old racehorses.

Horses Aged Four and Older

In many cases the fourth year of a race horse becomes a sort of continuation of year three. If the horse is permitted to continue racing, that is. These days it is becoming more and more common to see exceptionally talented race horses retired when they reach aged four. There is simply too much money to be made from stud fees and the risk of injury is too great.

Race tracks are striking back at this notion by creating races like the Pegasus World Cup which are meant for older horses. The timing of the Pegasus and Dubai World Cup races are especially suited to older horses. They are held in the early part of the year when these horses are just beginning to embark upon their new campaigns.

It is also the norm for older horses to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Classic held in November of each year. It is the rare exception for a horse aged three to compete in this race, but is has been successfully done by none other than the most recent winner of the Triple Crown, American Pharoah.

The magical age of five is an outstanding year for many thoroughbreds. Some of them achieve very great things at age five and beyond. One need look no farther than the story of Lava Man to find an example of a horse that blossomed with age. Mucho Macho Man and California Chrome were two others of recent memory. No trainer would want to engage these older horses with a three-year-old horse. It would not be a wise choice.

When Must Race Horses Stop Competing?

This is a tricky question. The truth is that a race horse should cease racing when it is no longer physically able to do so. Or perhaps it should stop racing when its owners feel like their potential stud investment is at risk. Sadly, these rules only seem to be applied to expensive horses. The common claimer is often punished by lack of compassion from its owner and trainer.

A cheap claiming horse has no stud future to look forward to. Many of them are geldings. Their value rests in how long they can continue to race. This often makes owners push claiming horses far beyond a point at which they should retire. Race tracks have had to put in restrictions to prevent horses from being raced beyond a certain age.

On many race tracks this age is 12. As soon as the horse turns 13 on January 1 it is no longer allowed to race. While this is a good measure for the protection of horses, it can turn into a double edged sword. Once a cheap claiming horse is no longer allowed to race it has no real value for its owner. These horses can wind up neglected in a pasture or even sent to slaughter.

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