We all have at least a passing familiarity with thoroughbred racing, since the three largest events in thoroughbred racing are televised every year. These three events are known as the Thoroughbred Triple Crown and are comprised of the Kentucky Derby, the Belmont Stakes and the Preakness.
All three of the Thoroughbred Triple Crown races have one thing in common: the track which is used for the race. All three are run on a flat dirt track. Horses in the Triple Crown will usually pace themselves until near the finish, saving a surge of incredible speed in the effort to win the race. However, some horses have had so much speed that they have held the starting position from the second they came out of the gate until the finish line!
Spectators are often unaware that there are in fact other forms or Thoroughbred racing out there other than what is familiar to us all via our television sets. The Triple Crown is the most popular Thoroughbred horse racing event by far, but there are many others.
One variation on thoroughbred horse racing popular with enthusiasts is turf racing. These races are quite similar to other kinds of thoroughbred horse races, but with one important difference: they are run on a grass track rather than one of dirt. Other than this difference, they are by and large the same sort of event.
Turf courses for thoroughbred horse racing are just as long as the courses used for other race events. The difference is the turf; as well as the terms which are used in the sport. The difference is chiefly in the words used to describe the condition of the track used for the race. For example, in turf racing, "firm" is used where in dirt track racing, "fast" would be used instead.
Thoroughbred horse racing has other variations; such as steeplechases, where horses have to run the race while jumping over fences which are placed on the racecourse. These races are more difficult for jockeys and horses – but are nothing less than thrilling to fans.
On a flat race course, speed is the primary factor which is needed. Steeplechases, by contrast require the horse to have a great deal of stamina and the jockey to have some skills – the jockey must know the right time to tell the horse to jump in order to clear the fences. The number of jumps which will be needed is dependent on the length of the race course in this variation on Thoroughbred horse racing.