Top Horse Racing Questions Answered

Here at EZ Horse Betting we often receive emails from bettors and fans of horse racing who have questions. We’ve decided to put together a list of some of the most popular questions and give you the answers. The smart bettor is an educated bettor. The more you know, the better you are able to pick winners at your favorite online racebook.

Are Jockeys Short?

This might seem like a crazy question. Most people know that jockeys must be very light. Most of them weight between 108 and 112 pounds stripped. So, it stands to reason that a jockey must be small of stature in order to maintain that type of weight. Not in every case. It might surprise you to know that some jockeys are actually quite tall when compared to their racing rivals.


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The average height of a jockey in the US and abroad is about five feet. At this height most jockeys are able to maintain the appropriate riding weight. However, it is not uncommon to find jockeys from 4’10โ€ tall to 5’6โ€ tall. In rare cases, they can even be taller.

Stuart Brown is believed to be the tallest jockey that ever lived. Brown rode in Australia and stood an amazing 6’3โ€! His normal riding weight was around 137 pounds. This weight would not be acceptable at race tracks in the United States. Brown won more than 200 races in his career. Sadly he passed away in 2015 after a bout with lung cancer. His mother believes that a life of struggling to maintain a low weight contributed to her son’s illness.

The shortest jockey to ever compete in America is believed to be the legendary Julie Krone. She stands 4′ 10.5โ€ tall. Don’t let her small size fool you. During her career, Julie Krone was the first female to win the Belmont Stakes. She also became the first female rider to be inducted into the National Racing Hall of Fame. Krone was also famously involved in fisticuffs with male jockey Miguel Rujano after Rujano hit her in the head with a whip during a race. After the race Krone decked Rujano right in the Winner’s Circle!

Answer: Jockeys are usually short, but the rare individual can be tall.

How Heavy is a Race Horse?

The thoroughbred race horse is an amazing animal that can travel at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour over a distance of one mile or more. No other creature on the planet can run one mile as fast as a thoroughbred.

The speed of the thoroughbred is amazing when you consider that these horses weigh an average of 1,000 pounds. In addition to being a heavy animal, thoroughbreds are exceptionally fragile. The bones in their ankles and legs are very small and must surrender to a tremendous amount of force during a race. This is why many horse succumb to injuries that end their career.

Some believe that a horse named Holy Roller is the largest race horse to ever compete. He stands over 18 hands tall and his weight is estimated to be 1,800 pounds! An estimate has to be made because Holy Roller is too heavy to be weighed with scales. Just is head is believed to weigh more than the jockeys who have ridden him.

While it is hard to believe a horse this large could be competitive on the track, Holy Roller won 12 times in 25 races. This goes to prove that size doesn’t always matter in horse racing.

Answer: The average race horse weighs 1,000 pounds.

What is a Handicap in Horse Racing?

There are many different types of races held each day at race tracks. One of the race types that is slowly dying out is the handicap. A handicap is similar to a stakes racing event in that it generally includes many talented race horses that have proven themselves in competition. These races are competitive and difficult to bet.

Many handicaps are by invitation only. The purses for these events are also large compared to other races. One of the most famous handicap races in America is the Santa Anita Handicap which was won once by the great Seabiscuit.

When horses are entered in a handicap race each horse is assigned a weight at which they must compete. The weights are assigned by the track handicapper in order to promote fair competition. The hope is that assigning weights will level the playing field so that all horses have an equal chance. The handicap in horse racing is equivalent to the handicap a player is given in golf or bowling.

The most talented horses that are entered in a race receive the highest weights. Seabiscuit was once asked to carry thirty pounds more than his rivals because of his talent level. It is believed that carrying a greater amount of weight will slow a horse down by a certain measure. Other horses that carry less weight then have a better chance of competing with a more talented animal.

Those who bet races are divided on the importance of weight in a horse race. Some believe that it only matters over very long distances. Others believe that each pound a horse carries is able to slow the horse down by a specific measure of time.

Answer: A handicap in horse racing is an event where all horses are assigned weight based on their talent level.

Using Your Racing Knowledge

Now that you have the answers to a few of the questions we receive on a regular basis you can impress your racing friends with your knowledge. These answers may not win you any bets, but they will sure make you look like an expert. If you have questions that you would like for us to answer in a future article, please be sure to post them in the comments.

In the meantime, head on over to one of our recommended online horse betting sites and register an account. You will be able to watch and wager on horse racing events all over the country when you sign up today. You might even receive a horse bettingย  bonus when you make your first deposit, and some online racebooks are even accepting Bitcoin. Check our Bovada racebook review, Twinspires review or even our Betamerica review. All great choice if you are in the US. 5Dimes review for folks anywhere!


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