What is Harness Racing?

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Harness Racing in Virginia
Harness Racing in Virginia

What is Harness Racing?

The USA has several Harness Racing tracks, which measure a mile in the round and thus races are generally 1,609 metres long. The vast majority of races are run on tracks that were purposely built for the sport but a handful of tracks cater for both Harness and Thoroughbred Flat Racing.

Even though the mile distance is the industry norm, some races will take place over both half a mile and five eighths of a mile. When it comes to strategy, this distance is key just like in flat racing. Some horses prefer fewer turns and shorter races.

Races over the shorter distance tend to favor horses who get up to speed quickly. It is a bit like how Usain Bolt would be favored over a shorter sprint distance but Michael Johnson would be the pick over the longer sprint distance.

An important part of the strategy is ensuring that the horse doesn’t get boxed in. With the addition of the two-wheeled cart that is called either a sulky or a spider, this leads to less room for the horses to bunch up. Therefore any horse boxed in doesn’t have to just avoid the other horses but also the cart they are pulling with a driver on board. This makes it all the more tricky to gain ground in such short races.

US Harness Racing Tracks:

With Harness Racing taking place all over the Globe, we are concentrating on the sport in the USA. 16 states have at least one Harness Racing track in operation with the sport pretty much concentrated on the East coast and in the MidWest. The only track outside of this region is the Cal Expo in California.

New York is the center of the US Harness Racing world with seven tracks operating, the most famous probably being Yonkers Raceway, which hosts racing every month of the year. 

There are Harness Racing tracks in California, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Betting on Harness Racing:

All four of the companies offering Horse Racing betting in the US take bets on harness racing as well as thoroughbred racing.

4NJBets, BetAmerica, TVG and Twinspires all accept new customers and have lists of daily Harness Races to bet on. So take advantage of one of their great sign-up offers on the right-hand side of the page and start betting on Harness Racing today!

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