You know how to bet on horse racing if you’ve spent time watching it on any of the world’s circuits or on the best bookmakers for horse racing. You’re probably aware that not every horse is made equal. However, you might be shocked to hear that there are major differences in the breeds utilized for different sorts of racing.

Let’s start with the types of horse racing and then move on to the fastest horse breeds that perform best on the track from the list…

Horse Racing Types

Horses come in diverse shapes and sizes, owing to the fact that they were designed to do specific roles. A massive, strong-boned horse, for example, will be utilized to drive a plow, whilst a smaller, more athletic animal will be better suited to rounding up cattle.

This theory also applies to racing. Different styles of racing necessitate different physical characteristics. You might wonder how different they are. Some races take place at high speeds on a level track, while others involve obstacles and span hundreds of miles through rugged terrain. Horses competing in these events can differ as much as a sprinter from a marathon runner. Consider Usain Bolt vs. Eliud Kipchoge: one is built for short bursts of speed, while the other is slender and capable of maintaining a steady pace for hours.

Let’s look at what these races entail in more detail.

Flat Racing

The majority of bettors are familiar with flat racing, which can be found via online horse racing or tracks all around the globe. You may have put flat racing bets on events at one of the widely-known competitions, either the Kentucky Derby, Pegasus World Cup, or Dubai World Cup.

Flat races are typically run on a level oval track over distances ranging from 440 yards to 2.5 miles. The speed of the race can be affected by the type of track used, which can range from dirt to turf to synthetic surfaces.


Steeplechasing, also known as jump racing in the United Kingdom, is a popular sport that blends flat-track racing with high-speed jumping over track hurdles.

Human hurdlers, like horses, take the obstacles with stride. Many of these horses began their careers in flat racing. Steeplechasing is typically appealed to those who have demonstrated athleticism and quickness. Steeplechase horses, on the other hand, are often older than flat racing horses.

Endurance Racing

Endurance competitions are horse races that cover distances ranging from 10 to 250 miles (the Mongol Derby is over 620 km) across difficult terrain. Longer events are broken up into legs and completed over multiple days. To guarantee that horses finish the race in good health, these races necessitate a high level of horsemanship and strategy.

Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list. There are variations on this as well as competitions that are somewhat distinct, such as barrel racing, which involves individual riders galloping around barrels at high speed.

Harness Racing

Horses pull a two-wheeled cart (called a sulky) around a track with a driver in these flat races. Races are held at the trot, or at a pacing gait.

Harness races, which are usually run over a one-mile track (although distances can vary), require a good degree of strategy. Regardless of how quick the horse is, position on the track can make or break a race, therefore driver competence is important.

Saddle Trotting

These races are held on an oval track and are similar to flat racing. Horses, on the other hand, must trot rather than gallop.

Horse Breeds With the Fastest Speeds

So, now that you have a better concept of the standards, what breeds can you anticipate seeing on the track?


Some may refer to the thoroughbred as the ‘king of the flat track’, which isn’t to be confused with the word pure-bred. If you follow horse racing, you’re definitely familiar with this breed. Since the mid-17th century, the thoroughbred has been selectively bred through a rigorous studbook and the majority of them like running.

Thoroughbreds are a ‘hot-blooded’ breed that is fiery, athletic, and sometimes high-strung. They are tall and lanky. They are developed for speeds of up to 44 mph over short distances, with deep chests, short backs, and good hindquarter depth. They are utilized in steeplechasing as well as flat racing, and many go on to compete in other equestrian sports once they retire from racing.

American Quarter-Horse

The American quarter-horse has been measured at nearly 55 mph over a quarter-mile, making it the fastest horse in the world. Such horses are more sturdy and slender than thoroughbreds, with extraordinarily strong hindquarters capable of driving them at high speeds. Flat racing is comparable to quarter horse racing, however, some races are breed-specific.

Quarter-horses are also popular in barrel racing due to their flexibility and stamina for bursts of speed. These horses’ calm dispositions make them ideal for leisure riding and other equestrian sports when their racing careers are over.


Although the thoroughbred reigns supreme on the flat, the Arabian horse is unrivaled in endurance races. The Arabian is one of the oldest breeds in existence, with several other breeds deriving from it. This breed is known for its tremendous stamina and strength under harsh situations, as well as its attractive dished heads, expressive eyes, and flowing manes.

Even though they are smaller than thoroughbreds and quarter-horses, they are nevertheless capable of carrying an adult rider. They are hot-blooded, but not as much as thoroughbreds. Arabians are thought to be one of the smartest breeds. While many flat racing fans are unfamiliar with endurance racing, it has a large following in the United Arab Emirates, where Arabians are also employed in breed-specific flat racing.


The standardbred, which evolved in North America in the 17th century, has a structure that is slightly more muscly and robust than the thoroughbred, yet having a sophisticated head and legs.

They are exceedingly easy to train, placid, and intelligent, which is a must for the harness racing for which they are famed, as these races involve as much forethought as pace. They’re also used in saddle trot racing.

Orlov and French Trotters

Despite the fact that these are two distinct breeds, they have enough in common to be appropriate for both harness racing and saddle trot. The Orlov, which originated in Russia, and the French trotter, which is clearly of French ancestry, are both athletic and trainable dogs with gentle temperaments.

They’ve been intentionally bred to generate a long-striding trot that allows them to cover large distances quickly, and they can trot at speeds of up to 40 mph.

Akhal Teke

Although the Akhal Teke is no longer a common appearance on the racetrack, it’s one of the first breeds utilized for horse racing. They have a 3,000-year history in Turkmenistan, where they were utilized in battle and on the racetrack.

Although they aren’t as tall as thoroughbreds, they share many of the same physical qualities, such as strong limbs and an athletic physique. The breed is distinguished by the glittering shine of its coat, which isn’t common with any other breed.



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