Recently while surfing the net we stumbled across something interesting, something surprising about Thoroughbred horses. Familiar with the track at Tampa Bay Downs, the horses and their riders we decided to delve deeper! We hope you enjoy this somewhat-thorough history of Thoroughbred racers in, Who Knew! Thoroughbred History and Fun Facts.

“Aaaand they’re off!” These are the familiar words we hear as a row of horses festooned with bright colors bearing crazy names burst out of the gate as they make their run to the finish line (hopefully winning you some money, right?). But what exactly is a Thoroughbred? Yes, obviously they’re horses, but where did the breeding begin? One fun fact to surprise us is this, did you know Thoroughbred is a breed and that every Thoroughbred can be traced back to just three stallions? 

According to research, Thoroughbreds today can trace their pedigrees to three stallions imported into England in the 17th century and 18th century.  The three stallions were Byerley Turk, the Darley Arabian, and the Godolphin Arabian. Brought over from the Middle East and the Orient to England, these horses were the foundation of what we know as the racing stallion. There are several other stallion breeds that make up this genetic masterpiece, no more than 28, but the roots of the family tree remain with the three aforementioned stallions. 

When it comes to any athletic event, a competitor with the best genes is generally the heavy favorite. Someone with a long, lanky body with big hands, feet, and great lung capacity, for instance, would be a great swimmer. The taller you are, the better chance you’d have on the basketball court, etc. etc.
The same mentality goes into horse racing. If you’re going to invest a ton of money into breeding a horse and raising him/her from birth to race, then you’re going to want your horse to come with the genetic history of successful racing to have the best chances of winning and becoming a profitable investment. This practice—not just with horses but domesticated animals in general—is the oldest form of genetic engineering, and is the very definition of predestination.

The horses with the best record and best pedigree are the ones who get the big money to breed and produce high-end race horses of equal, pure breed. And in the case of the Thoroughbred, it all started with three stallions arriving in England from Arabia in the 17th and 18th century! To this day, every Thoroughbred's family tree can be traced, no more than 28 breeds will be found amidst their genetic makeup and the trail will end with one of three stallions!
So the next time you are livin' it up at The Downs, and marveling at the strength, speed and pageantry that is Thoroughbred horse racing, remember their family tree, and the fun facts surrounding this breed!