What’s a thoroughbred racehorse?

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Thoroughbred racehorses are known for their speed, endurance, and physical characteristics. Their ancestry can be traced back to three stallions from the Middle East. Pedigree records are important in the Thoroughbred racing industry, and DNA typing is now used for parentage verification. Notable Thoroughbreds include Man ‘O War, Citation, Native Dancer, Secretariat, and Seattle Slew.

Thoroughbred racehorses are a breed of horse known for their speed and endurance. Physical characteristics include an average height of 16 hands (64 inches or 62.56 cm), a refined head, long neck, uniformly curved back, and long, slender legs. They usually have bay, chestnut, black or gray coats and many have white markings on the face and legs. While Thoroughbreds are most widely known for their racing abilities, they have also been shown to be quite adept at other sports such as hunting, jumping, and polo, and are often used to upgrade horse breeds or to create entirely new breeds.

Each Thoroughbred’s ancestry can be traced back to three stallions – the Byerly Turk, Darley Arabian and Godolphin Arabian – who were brought to England from the Middle East in the late 17th century. They were then bred with native horses to create what is known as the Thoroughbred.

Since this selective breeding process began, pedigree records have played a vital role in the Thoroughbred racing industry. Beginning with the General Stud Book, published by James Weather in 1791, and continuing with The Jockey Club, which is the breed registry for all Thoroughbreds in North America, the names of more than 3 million horses have been recorded and can be traced back at the end of the 1800s. With the advent of DNA typing, the Jockey Club are now able to verify parentage using mane hair, with an accuracy rate of 99.9%, thus enabling them to better maintain the quality and excellence of their Thoroughbred heritage . The Jockey Club also records the results of daily Thoroughbred racing around the world.

Some notable 20th-century Thoroughbreds include Man ‘O War, who is considered by many to be the greatest American racehorse of all time; Citation, the first Thoroughbred to earn $1 million over his racing career; Native Dancer, affectionately known at the “Grey Ghost”; Secretariat, who set a world record by winning the Belmont Stakes with a win by 31 lengths; and Seattle Slew, the first undefeated winner of the Triple Crown.

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