Harness racing is one of the most popular horse racing variations, and has been practised since the 17th century where it is said to have been developed by the Dutch. Harness racing is different from the standard horse racing as riders sit behind the horse in a two wheeled cart known as a sulky.
The horses participate in races of either one of two gaits, and are known as either trotters or pacers.
Harness racing betting types are similar to those of standard horse racing, and the sport is popular throughout the world, which means plenty of opportunities to place wagers.
Betting Forms for Harness Racing
Placing wagers on harness racing can present a few more challenges than standard track racing, as not all horses and drivers see the same position at the start. While the drivers generally start from a straight line up behind a mechanised gate, manoeuvrability is more difficult as racers have to ensure not to clip the carts of other drivers as this can have devastating consequences.
This can make moving from the rear of the pack difficult, as the driver and horse would have to swing out wide from the group, which can slow the horse down, and then attempt to speed up in order to remain in front.
Even though harness racing presents a few more challenges, placing wagers on the sport isn’t as tricky. The three main betting types are: show (horse can come in 1st, 2nd or 3rd), place (horse must come in either 1st or 2nd) and win (the horse must come in 1st place).
There are also multiple horse wagers available, of which the most popular are exacta, trifecta and superfecta. These are more difficult to be successful at as players must correctly predict in the precise order 1st & 2nd place, 1st & 2nd & 3rd place, and 1st & 2nd & 3rd & 4th place respectively.
Harness Racing Information
There are two categories in harness racing, and depending on the horses gait, they are categorised as either trotters or pacers. A trotter moves its legs in diagonal pairs with the right front and left hind leg hitting the ground simultaneously, followed by the left front and right hind leg.
A pacer moves its legs in a side long fashion, with the right front and right hind leg moving together, followed by the left front and left hind moving together. Different countries have different rules for harness racing, and some countries only offer racing for trotters.
Races for pacing horses are more popular, as they are more agile and less likely to break stride which is important for both the rider and the bettor to be successful. In either a trotter or pacer race, if the horse reaches a gallop at any time, they have to be slowed down and have to remain behind until they are brought back to a trot.
History of Harness Racing
The history of harness horse racing bets in its current form is attributed to the Dutch of the 17th century however it has far older origins owed to the Ancient Greek and Roman chariot racers.
The modern form of harness racing was brought stateside in the early 18th century when the Dutch began immigrating, and by the early 19th century there were many harness racing tracks in existence, and harness racing had reached far flung parts of the world.
Over its 200+ year history, the sport of harness racing has become more refined and remains one of the most popular forms of horse racing today.