How Much Do You Know About Horse Racing?


By: Kale Havervold

6 Min Quiz

Image: DigitalVision. / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

The world is full of great and exciting sports. While humans perform most sports, horse racing is one of the big exceptions. The fastest horses on the planet participate in races all across the globe, in front of thousands and thousands of viewers. Not only are these races popular to watch, but they can also fetch horse owners, trainers and jockeys a whole lot of money.

This sport dates back thousands of years back to ancient times, as horse racing was one of the most popular sports in the world. While lots in the horse racing space has changed over time, it still focuses on which horse is the fastest in any given race. While fans are interested in it purely for the sport, horse racing is incredibly popular for gamblers as well.

Although most people have heard of the Kentucky Derby or watched Seabiscuit, just how much do we really know about the fascinating world of horse racing? Do you know the total prize pool of the 2019 Kentucky Derby? How about what the largest race in Australia is called?

Without any further ado, climb on your trusty steed, grab the reins and get ready to challenge yourself on our quiz all about horse racing. 

Which surfaces do horse races take place on?

Because there are so many types of horse racing, the kinds of surface that horses race on will differ. The most common surfaces are dirt, turf or some kind of synthetic surface, as long as it is safe for the horse.


Of these horse racing types, which is no longer prominent?

There are several types of horse racing out there that all share the same idea: The fastest horses win. Flat racing, endurance racing and jump racing remain common. While harness races of some kind are still prevalent in areas of the world, chariot racing is no longer popular.


Which of these four races is not a leg of the Triple Crown?

The Triple Crown is among the most prestigious titles in all of horse racing, and it comes when a horse wins the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes in a single year.


How many horses have won the Triple Crown?

Despite the Triple Crown being around for over 100 years, only 13 different horses have ever won it. Many did it in the 1930s and '40s, and only two winners (Justify and American Pharaoh) are still alive today.


What is the longest endurance horse race in the world?

No other horse race in the world is as long as the Mongol Derby. It changes every year, but the race usually takes 10 days and is around 1000 km. The race recreates the path of the messenger-horse course developed by Genghis Khan.


When did horse races begin happening at the Freehold Raceway, which is the oldest track in the USA?

While the track began officially hosting a fair and races in 1854, races were occurring far before then. The oldest racetrack in the country started holding horse races unofficially in the 1830s.


What is the most popular horse race in Australia called?

Many great races take place in Australia, but none quite like the Melbourne Cup. It's legendary in the country and is so beloved that it's called the "race that stops a nation."


Many horse races are for different ages. What age of horse can race in the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is one of the premier races on the planet for 3-year-old horses. This is when most horses start running, though some begin to compete at the age of 2 as well.


What nickname for horse racing reflects the popularity of the sport among British royalty?

Horse racing, since its inception, has been incredibly popular among royalty, aristocrats and those in high power. This eventually helped horse racing to be known as the "Sport of Kings."


Which leg of the Triple Crown was inaugurated most recently?

While the Kentucky Derby is the most famous of all the horse races in the Triple Crown, it was actually the last one to be inaugurated. The Belmont Stakes was the first and was inaugurated in 1867.


The Dubai World Cup is one of the richest horse races on the planet. How much prize money is up for grabs?

While it's not the oldest or most prestigious race out there, it's one with an extremely high purse. In total, the 2019 running of the race will be for a total prize pool of $12 million.


How many fences do horses have to jump during the Grand National, one of the richest jump races in Europe?

There is no more valuable jump race in all of Europe than the Grand National. Taking place in England, this race consists of two laps around a track. In total, horses are responsible for jumping over 30 different fences.


Which race is generally seen as the most prestigious in Japanese horse racing?

Despite only beginning in 1981, the Japan Cup is among the most prestigious races in Japan. It has hosted several amazing finishes and, with a purse of nearly $6 million, is one of the richest races out there.


This horse had an unbelievable 54 wins in 54 career races. What was their name?

There have been many undefeated horses during the years, but none have the number of wins that Kincsem does. In 54 career races, they won every single race. No other undefeated horse has even 40 wins.


Which horse holds the record for the most wins in a racing career?

While many horses have won their fair share of races, none have won more than Kingston. The American horse won 89 races of the 138 he started. Not only that, but he only raced out of the money four times total.


Of these European countries, which hosts the prestigious race that is known as the "Arc"?

Prix de l'Arc Triomphe (or simply known as the Arc) is a prestigious horse race that takes place in Paris, France. It usually takes place on the first Sunday of October and is among the richest turf races on the planet.


How much was the total prize given out during the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby has a total prize pool of $3 million, with the winner of the race getting $1 million. While other races have a larger purse, Kentucky Derby winners often get more fame than any other horses out there.


Which horse has won more prize money than any other North American horse?

While he has only won four stakes races, Arrogate has won more prize money than any other North American horse with almost $17.5 million. This is because many of his wins came in extremely high purse races.


Every race in this series of races in England is attended by the Royal Family. What is the series called?

No, an ascot is not just a garment of clothing. The Royal Ascot is a series of 16 races that take place over a week in England. It's a huge part of British tradition, and the Royal Family typically attend all of the races in the event.


While it's now one of the richest and most popular races on the planet, the Dubai World Cup is still quite new. When was its first running?

While many races have been around for well over 100 years, the Dubai World Cup has barely been around for 20. That being said, it has already become one of the premier races on the planet, along with one of the richest.


When did the Melbourne Cup officially become a holiday in the state of Victoria?

Without a doubt, the Melbourne Cup is the biggest and most popular race in Australia. So much so that the race day is actually a holiday in the state of Victoria. It has been an official public holiday since back in 1877.


How much money is gambled on horse racing?

That's right, there's well over $100 billion gambled on horse racing around the world in dozens of countries for hundreds of races. It's prohibited in some places, but many allow it.


When did the first recorded quarter-mile horse race in the USA take place?

While horse racing has been around for thousands of years, the very first record quarter-mile race in the USA took place back in 1674, in Virginia. The race was between two horses, and they raced through the streets of a village.


Which horse was the most successful Canadian Thoroughbred of all time?

There have been a number of great Canadian racing horses, but none of them have been as famous or successful as Northern Dancer. He not only won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1964, he then went on to become one of the best sires of the entire 20th century.


What is a sire?

A sire is the male parent of any animal, and in this case, horses. As you could imagine, the sire and the female parent (a dam) is incredibly important to breeding incredibly fast and talented racehorses.


Being a jockey is dangerous. How many were killed in the USA from 1950-1987?

While there are more dangerous jobs, being a jockey ranks highly on the list. In addition to the 100 that died from 1950-1987 in the USA alone, countless more suffered significant injuries or trauma as a result of their job.


Which day do all Thoroughbreds in the Northern Hemisphere share as their birthday?

While horses are born every single day, every Thoroughbred in the Northern Hemisphere is given the same birthday of January 1st. This is done to keep track of the ages of the horses easier, as most races are only for horses of a specific age.


Since 1971, these awards have been given to the best horses, trainers and owners in racing. What are they called?

The Eclipse Awards are given out annually for a wide range of things. Many horses, riders, owners and trainers have been given the awards over the years. The awards are named after Eclipse, an undefeated racehorse.


What is the average weight of a racehorse?

The average racehorse weighs around 1000 pounds, though this can vary from horse to horse. While this may seem incredibly heavy, it's actually quite a bit lighter than many other kinds of horses.


How fast was the fastest speed a racehorse has ever run?

As you can imagine, racehorses can run pretty fast. However, one stands out as the fastest after reaching 43.97 mph during a race back in 2008. That horse was named Winning Brew, and he got the record during a run at the Penn National Race Course.


Which horse is not one of the three "Foundation Stallions"?

While Secretariat was a great horse, he was not one of the three foundation stallions. The three aforementioned horses are called the foundation stallions because all modern Thoroughbreds can be traced back to them.


Why are roses given to the winner of the Kentucky Derby?

Giving give roses to the winner of the Kentucky Derby began after roses were first given to ladies at a party back in 1883. They were a hit, and the rose was adopted as the official flower of the race.


Which horse was purchased from an auction for a record $16 million in 2006?

While horses have sold for more money in other circumstances, no horse has fetched more from an auction than The Green Monkey, when he was bought for a whopping $16 million back in 2006. Despite this price tag, the horse had a very unmemorable career.


How many years was it before another horse won a Triple Crown after Affirmed did so in 1978?

In 2014, a horse named American Pharaoh won the Triple Crown for the first time in 37 years. In addition to winning the Triple Crown, he also won the Breeder's Cup Classic and became the first horse ever to win the Grand Slam of Thoroughbred racing.


What is a handicap race?

In a handicap race, all horses will carry a different amount of weight. A handicapper will give more weight to faster horses, and the race is all about who can overcome their handicap to win.


Explore More Quizzes

About HowStuffWorks Play

How much do you know about dinosaurs? What is an octane rating? And how do you use a proper noun? Lucky for you, HowStuffWorks Play is here to help. Our award-winning website offers reliable, easy-to-understand explanations about how the world works. From fun quizzes that bring joy to your day, to compelling photography and fascinating lists, HowStuffWorks Play offers something for everyone. Sometimes we explain how stuff works, other times, we ask you, but we’re always exploring in the name of fun! Because learning is fun, so stick with us!