Lady and The Track | December 14, 2018

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The FAQs of Horse Racing

The FAQs of Horse Racing

The FAQs of Horse Racing: Horse Racing can be confusing to a lot of people. There are many questions that some are too afraid to ask and just shy away from the sport entirely. Instead, these questions can be answered quickly and efficiently by just asking. Here are some simple answers for some simple questions.

How old do horses have to be to run in the Triple Crown and can they run in the races more than once?
Horses have to be three-years-old, determined by the universal birthday of January 1st, and can only compete on the Triple Crown trail only once. Horses of either sex can compete, but now, with the points system, have to qualify to even make the Kentucky Derby. The Preakness and Belmont Stakes do not have qualifying races worth points like the Kentucky Derby does.

The FAQs of Horse Racing

A day at the races can be enjoyable for beginners and expert handicappers. Photo: LATT

What does it mean to scratch a horse?
Scratching a horse means to take the horse out of the race for various reasons. Scratching a horse means that the horse will not enter and run in the race. Doing this can be by trainer or veterinarian due to wanting to run in another race, the horse was not 100% healthy, or something else looks wrong once the horse gets onto the track.

When horses do not have numbers on their saddlecloths, does that mean they are not racing?
Correct. Those horses in the paddock without numbers on their saddlecloths are schooling, or practicing/preparing for their race coming up later that day or the week.

What age can horses start racing? When do horses retire?
Horses can race as young as age two, designated by their universal birthday of January 1st. However, horses usually don’t start until as early as June of their two-year-old year. Retiring depends on many different variables. Horses can race as long as they are healthy and competitive. However, normally horses retire between 3 and 6-years-old so they can either retire to breeding or for a second career.

How small does someone have to be to be a jockey?
Jockeys are some of the smallest athletes but also most likely the most physically fit of any athlete. Jockey’s must maintain weight between 110-115 pounds. Most jockeys stand around 5 foot 3 inches tall, but can be shorter or taller, so long as their weight it maintained.

What are silks?
Silks are custom “uniforms” that are special to each owner. No two silks are the same. Some may be similar, but there are differences. A jockey must wear the appropriate silks for each race they ride in.

What are those hoods that horses wear on their head?
Those hoods are called blinkers. These pieces of equipment are meant to help keep the horse focused on the task at hand. Some horses only wear them when racing while others wear them during training and racing.

Written by Casey Laughter