Misconceptions About Horse Racing

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A horse and its jockey take the lead.
BetMGM @BETMGM Dec 09, 2021, 1:13 AM

Every major sport has myths and misconceptions connected to it, particularly if it’s one steeped in history, and if there is money or luck attached to the outcome. Horse racing is certainly no exception.

Common Horse Racing Myths

People have been betting on horse racing tournaments for as long as we’ve known we could climb on board and race against each other. In that time, several myths have developed about horse racing events and the athletes involved that have little basis in reality. But don’t let this deter you if you’re planning some online sports betting — read on as we dispel some of the misconceptions.

Races are Rigged

There are invariably attempts by shady characters to capitalize on high-profile sports, but it is highly unlikely that your favorite horse races have been rigged. Why? There are simply too many checks and balances in place to make it easy enough. Your NYRA bets are perfectly safe since NYRA horse racing – and other US horse racing – events are carefully monitored by various racing commissions to ensure that rules are adhered to. So no, it’s not run by the mafia!

Bet on Grays on Rainy Days

Somewhere during the history of horse racing bettors came up with the idea that gray horses run better in the mud than other horses, so it’s a good idea to bet on them if the weather turns wet. Obviously, there’s no scientific proof to this, although many owners of gray horses swear that they are magnetically attracted to dirt since they seem to love rolling in it and take hours to wash clean. It has no bearing on their running ability, however!

Bet on the White Foot

For generations, the myth has persisted that horses with one white hoof carry a gene that makes them good runners. There’s no basis for this theory. Similarly, horses with four white socks or stockings were said to be losers. Again, this has no grounding in fact, aside from the belief that white hooves were weaker, and therefore possibly more likely to lead to lameness.

It’s All About Luck

Any type of gambling – horse racing included – has an element of luck involved. But the sport of kings involves more than chance. Smart bettors know how to analyze patterns and develop a keen ability to examine a horse’s performance on the track. If you’re learning how to bet on horse racing, take some time to familiarize yourself with the different bloodlines, tracks, and types of going (the condition of the track). You might be surprised at how these aspects affect your betting choices. 

Always Bet on the Favorite

Racing is structured in such a way that the odds are generally stacked in favor of the favorites, which is hardly surprising. However, the winning horse is not always the favorite – and numerous races bear this out. Favorites are determined by the amount of money and the number of bets placed per horse, so it is the betting public who “create” the favorites. Statistics show that favorites only win 33% of the time, which means that if you consistently bet on them, you’ll lose two of every three bets. 

Don’t Bet on a Horse Trying Something New

Some bettors believe that it’s not smart to bet on a horse that is being introduced to a new variable, such as a different distance, or a change in grade. Consider that all horses have been faced with new factors as they’ve progressed through their careers. In some instances, a change of circumstances can give a horse a chance to shine at something new. 

Jockeys Have to be Short

Horse riders who race are generally expected to be incredibly short too, but this is not always the case. While most jockeys are around 5 ft tall, there’s no actual restriction on height. Weight is the most important factor when it comes to horse racing athletes.

Any Horse Can Race

While any horse can run, not all were bred to race. Thoroughbreds are a breed of horses that are basically made for speed. These horses have been selectively bred for hundreds of years to create an athlete that is not only physically designed for racing but loves the thrill of it too. There are other breeds used in different types of horse racing, such as Arabians in endurance, or Standardbreds in harness racing, but most of the flat races you’ll bet on will have Thoroughbreds competing.

Thoroughbreds are Ill-Tempered

It is sometimes said that Thoroughbred horses are highly-strung and bad-tempered. While it is true that these athletes are eager runners and keen to get moving, they don’t have bad temperaments. As a breed, they are recognized as intelligent, quick learners, and in the right hands can excel both on the track and in subsequent equestrian careers. 

Online horse racing with BetMGM

Ready to put your newfound faith in the sport to the test? You can register at BetMGM for a full range of online sports betting options from horse racing, to football, golf, and dozens of other events. If you’re also a fan of online slots and casino table games, there are numerous options to keep you entertained.

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Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.

Our BetMGM editors and authors are sports experts with a wealth of knowledge of the sports industry at all levels. Their coverage includes sports news, previews and predictions, fun facts, and betting.