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- Thoroughbred Glossary of Terms.
Horse racing in North America is run at race track ovals from 1/2 mile to a mile in circumference. There are 3 predominant breeds; Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses and Standardbreds. Thoroughbreds compete between distances of 2 furlongs (1/4 mile) to 16 furlongs (2 miles). The classic distance is 10 furlongs however the majority of races these days are run at 6 furlongs (3/4 mile). Quarter horses compete between distances of 100 yards and 870 yards, however there can be a mix of thoroughbred and quarter horses at the longest distances. The classic distance for this breed is 440 yards and typically the biggest money is associated with 2 year old stakes races. Standard breds compete at the 1 mile distance although some tracks offer a few races at 1 mile and a 1/16th.
There are 3 main surface types on which Thoroughbred’s compete; Dirt, Turf and Synthetic. Within the synthetic category there are 3 types that exist in North America; Poly track, Cushion and Tapeta all of which closely resemble the Turf surface for horses. Horses may begin competing in April of their 2 year old year, however many do not until they have matured as this is comparable to an early teenager in humans. Jockeys wear the silks of the horse’s owners or in some cases those designated by the post position of the local race track.
There are at times fair meets that offer Arabian and Mule races and while they can be handicapped, these animals run at typically slower speeds.
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