Thoroughbred Horseracing

Thoroughbred Horseracing in the Unite States

The United States first ever racetrack was constructed in 1665 in Long Island, New York. There is no other thoroughbred race in North America that is older. 1868 saw the beginning of the American Stud Book. This started the United States organized horse racing. By 1890 the U.S. was operating 314 racetracks. The American Jockey Club was formed in the U.S. four years later.

During the early 20th century, opponents of gambling were very prevalent. As a result bookmaking was banned by the majority of the 50 states. Elements of bookmaking include accepting bets as well as determining odds and paying bettors the money they win. As a result of bookmaking being banned, horse race was on the verge of being eliminated completely. In 1908 the introduction of pari-mutuel betting revitalized the racing industry. Until the start of World War II, horseracing was an extremely popular activity. However, it would not become popular in the United States again until Triple Crown winners began to emerge. The three races that make up the Triple Crown are the Belmont and Preakness Stakes as well as the Kentucky Derby.

Significant Horse Races

The Kentucky Derby is traditionally the highlight of the United States racing industry. This race is held in Louisville, Kentucky at the Churchill Downs racetrack on the first Saturday of May. The Preakness and Derby races both take place at Baltimore, Maryland’s Pimlico Racecourse, two weeks after the Kentucky Derby. Three weeks after it, the Belmont Stakes are run in Long Island at Belmont Park. Collectively these three races form the Triple Crown and take place yearly from May to June.

At the end of October or beginning of November The Breeders Cup takes place. This race is held in a different location almost every year, with locations being used for consecutive years in some cases. Though it isn’t as popular as the Triple Crown Series it still plays an important role in choosing the divisional winners of the yearly Eclipse Awards as well as the American Horse of the Year. The entire event encompasses 13 different races that take place within two days. The total in prize money awarded at the end of the event is $28 million.

Pacers and Trotters also have their own Triple Crown races. There is also an Arabian Triple Crown for California’s Drinkers of the Wind Derby, Texas’s Six Shooter Stakes and Delaware’s Bob Magness Derby. The Standardbred main event at the Arabian Triple Crown is known as Breeders Crown.

Gambling on Horseracing

Horse racing bets are sanctioned in America and each state sets the regulations for their own racetracks. Across state lines, simulcast betting is standard operating procedure. The only ones overseeing the simulcast betting are the companies that provide bettors with the opportunity to place pari-mutuel bets legally. A takeout a.k.a. take are withdrawn from betting pools and state laws determine how they are distributed. The money is distributed among the horsemen, state and racetrack. A 17% deduction is taken from most show pools and wins; 83% of that money goes back to the players who won the bet. Takeout is affected by factors such as the type and location of the bet placed. An example of this is when a U.S. regional track circuit boasts four rates for four bet types. The total blended rate is more than 20%.