What Happens in a Race With No Horses

min read
A turn on an empty horse racing track.
BetMGM @BETMGM Mar 23, 2023, 7:25 AM

We’ve all heard about miracles in horse racing where a completely unknown horse comes out of nowhere to take the lead and crosses the finish line in first place. But what about races where none of the horses actually finish? Or races where there aren’t even horses to begin with? How could this affect gamblers who enjoy offline or online sports betting?

Let’s explore these unusual circumstances in horse races and what happens when they take place.

What happens when there are no horses in a race?

It is extremely rare, but circumstances may unfold where horses are unable to make it to the track in time for a race. For example, if the only road to the racecourse is blocked and the horses are unable to reach the racetrack. A race will be declared abandoned in this scenario.

To any gamblers who are concerned about their bets, there’s no need to worry. In a situation where a race is being held, but no horses are able to enter a race, then no winner can be decided and all bets will be voided and returned. However, depending on the type of bet that you made, how much of your wager you get back may change. For example, if your wager is part of a multi-bet, your wager will be returned and the odds for the wager as a whole will be recalculated. However, bookies may not refund you your entire amount if you made an ante-post bet. 

What happens when no horses make it across the finish line?

If a race starts with multiple entries, but none of them make it over the finish line to complete the race, the race is voided. A race that is voided will result in all bets being returned, regardless of the type of bet you made. 

What happens when only one horse is left in the running?

While most people will agree with the idea that a race usually involves at least two racers, this isn’t the case in a horse race that only requires one horse for the race to be valid. This type of race is commonly referred to as a walkover. Even though a winner in the race is a given, the rules still require the horse and its jockey to cross the finish line in order to claim the win. 

Unfortunately for any gamblers looking for a sure thing, bookies may void and refund any bets made in this scenario. 

What happens if a jockey falls off their horse during a race?

If a jockey falls off their horse, even if both the rider and horse are fine, they are not allowed to remount. This rule was introduced in November 2009 due to protests from animal rights activists who were concerned about the horses and those who were worried about the health of the jockeys, including the Welfare and Training Group. This is because the main reason a jockey would fall is if the horse also took a tumble, and while both the rider and horse may appear to be in good health, this isn’t always the case.

What happens when a horse finishes a race without their jockey?

As unusual as some of the previous situations have been, it’s less uncommon for a jockey to fall off their horse and sometimes that horse is just so focused on finishing that they keep on going until they cross the finish line, sometimes even crossing in first place. But what happens if they do cross the finish line minus their jockey?

Unfortunately, no matter how much the horse may have wanted to win, if said horse crosses the finish line minus a rider, it is disqualified.

What happens if a horse finishes a race without some of its tack?

If a racehorse loses some of its tack, such as its saddle, during a race, the horse and the jockey won’t be penalized. The jockey just needs to hold on long enough for the horse to make it over the finish line, which is undoubtedly very difficult.

Bet on horse racing with NYRA Bets and BetMGM

When you’re looking for the best horse racing odds, it’s time to place your bets with BetMGM and NYRA racing betting options. We offer some of the best odds for a variety of races from around the world with our BetMGM Horse Racing app, including the prestigious Triple Crown. Regardless of whether you prefer single-horse bets, multiple-race bets, or exotic bets, you’ll find the right type of horse racing wager for you.

All you need to do is download the app, register at BetMGM, place your bet and see who crosses the finish line!

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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.