All You Need To Know About Flat Racing
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Learn what is flat racing and the horse breed that is often used in this race. Know where to wager on flat horse racing.


If you want to get into horse racing and do not know where to start, you need to know about flat racing. This would give you all the information you need on how the other races work. Additionally, the basic concept rooted in horse racing is obvious in flat races. The concept is that races are fun and exciting.

Flat racing is one of the most common horse races there are in the world. This is especially true around Europe and Asia. The Japan flat race is one of the most frequently attended competition in the world with over 21,000 races held each year.

This is because flat racing tests the speed, stamina, or both of a horse on a smooth racetrack. The jockey is expected to restrain the horse or urge it to run faster in order to finish first. This is generally called sprints, middle distance, and stayers races.

The distance that horses run in flat racing depends on the racetrack and in the country it is played in. However, horses usually run from two furlongs to three miles (402 meters - 4,828 meters).


However, running on a flat surface is not all there is to it. If you want to see a more difficult race, there are two different variations to flat racing. These are conditions races and handicap races. This can be found in most of Europe but other countries in the world have this kind of race.



Conditions Race


This is where the horses are given varying weights on their body. This is done to give horses that have less speed and agility a higher chance of winning against faster horses. However, the weights placed on the horses depend on their sex and age. This means younger and female horses are given less weight compared to males.

Conditions races around Europe are usually placed on their most prestigious races like the Queen Alexandra Stakes. This is why conditions races can also be called a Group race. This is the highest level of Thoroughbred horse racing. This means that horses who participate in conditions races are considered to be the best horses.

This is different in North America and Australia where conditions races are part of their graded race system.


Handicap Race


Horses are given varying weights to give a handicap to the other horses. Unlike the conditions race, an official handicapper is the one who decides how much weight the horses will have. Either the racing secretary or a steward will assign the weight.

The specific weight that is carried by the horses is called an impost which are lead weights placed in saddle pads. The amount of weight they get is based on their past performances. 

Additionally, there are classic flat races that are in place around Europe. This is considered to be one of the oldest annual competitions in traditional flat racing. The horses allowed to compete are three-year-old horses that are in-tact. This means castrated horses are not allowed to participate.


Furthermore, horses that compete in the British classic races are the most skilled. This means the horse who wins the classics are considered to be the best in their generation.

The five classic races around Europe are:

  1. 2,000 Guineas Stakes This is a Group 1 flat horse race for   Thoroughbred colts and fillies. They run a distance of 1 mile every late April and early May.
  2. 1,000 Guineas Stakes This Group 1 race is open to all three-year-old Thoroughbred fillies. As of 2019, it has a purse of £500,000.
  3. Epsom Oaks Epsom Oaks is open to all three-year-old fillies where they run one mile, four furlongs, and six yards. It has a purse of £523,750 as of 2019.
  4. Epsom Derby The Epsom Derby or also known as the Derby is for all three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. It is considered to be the most prestigious of all classic races. It also has the highest purse out of the classics with £1,623,900 as of 2019.
  5. St. Leger Stakes The St. Leger is considered to be the oldest race among the classics because it was established in 1776. It is for all three-year-old Thoroughbreds. It has a purse of £743,000 as of 2018.



The Race Track of Flat Races


There are different track surfaces used for flat racing but turf is often used in most racetracks. In North America, tracks are a mix of sand and local dirt.

Additionally, a different race track is used during the winter to make it easier for the horses to run on. It is a surface that is often a blend of sand with synthetic fibre and coated with wax or a similar substance. This kind of track can often be found in Dubai and other countries.

Another track surface often used in flat races is dirt courses. Most western countries like the United States use soil-based tracks. The material in Japan dirt courses is sand because of the rainy weather in the country. This is because it is easier to drain water out of sand unlike in soil.



Common Breed Used in Flat Races


There are many kinds of horses used in horse racing. However, the Thoroughbred is the most common breed you can find in these races. This is because they are a light horse known for their speed and agility.

Additionally, they are recognized to be a hot-blooded horse. This means they are very excitable and has a lot of energy they can use to race through the tracks.



READ MORE: The Horse Races You Should Know