It is hard to put into words just how much the world has changed in the past year. The pandemic, for one, has reshaped pretty much every part of our lives, from how we socialize our children to how we stay healthy ourselves. It is said that the only constant in life is change, and this certainly seems to be the case in our sport as well. For those who follow horse racing, perhaps the most significant development of the last year has been the introduction of the 1.8 wire gauge for thoroughbred racing. This change, which came into effect last September, has made it possible for horses to run faster and further than ever before, expanding the possibility of winning by more than one third.
A Brief History Of The 1.8 Wire
The one-eight (1.8) wire is named after the 17th century Dutchman Jan Gevers. Gevers is credited with developing the first functional snuff box. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the snuff box as we know it was developed. At this point in time, only the very wealthy could afford to buy and fill their snuff boxes with tobacco, a luxury at the time. The introduction of the one-eight (1.8) wire enabled people of all socioeconomic classes to indulge in this luxury. This was a massive breakthrough in the sense that it allowed people to place larger wagers on horse races, expanding the appeal of this oftentimes male-dominated sport. More importantly, it opened up a whole new world of betting possibilities for those who could afford to take advantage of it. It wasn’t long before state governments and racing associations across the U.S. weighed in, approving the use of this new wire and setting limits on how much one could wager.
The Importance Of Weight
While it is easy to point out the significance of the 1.8 wire in terms of allowing for larger wagers, it is important to note that not all bigger is necessarily better when it comes to horse racing. It is all about weight, and how much the horse pulls when raced against other horses of similar size. The heavier the horse, the faster it tends to go and the farther it tends to run. As a general rule of thumb, the heavier the animal, the faster it will run.
A Hybrid Of A Sport
Horse racing has always been a tricky sport to compare to traditional forms of athletic competition. This is because it is a combination of several sports rolled into one, most notably, running, jumping, and staying power. This makes it hard to compare the outcomes of one race to the next, due to the fact that the race itself is rarely run the same way twice. Things like the field size, weather conditions, and even the track can make a massive difference in terms of how a particular race will play out. It is a very game-like sport, which is also why it has always appealed to gamblers and sports enthusiasts alike.
More Than Meets The Eye
What is often forgotten about Jan Gevers is that he was not only a master blacksmith, but he was also a talented horseman and rider. It was as a horseman that he is best remembered today, due to the fact that he had a unique riding style that consisted of using a pistol-like grip on his reins. The reason why this is significant is that it enabled him to communicate more effectively with his mount, as well as provide better balance while riding. This, in turn, made it possible for him to stay in the saddle for much longer, thus enhancing his athletic ability.
Gevers was also known to use a technique called ‘waving’ while riding. This involved slowly moving his hand in a circular motion to encourage his horse to pick up the pace, all while keeping his hands on the reins. This is because whenever he let go of the reins, his horse would slow down almost immediately, causing him to constantly have to keep up the waving motion. When Gevers introduced the 1.8 wire, he also enabled the development of an alternative riding style that became known as the ‘American Ride’. In this method, arms are bent at the elbows as the hands are moved in a circular motion, resembling a windmill motion. It was as a result of this innovation that the term ‘riding the wire’ came into being, referring to the way in which this style enabled the rider to navigate tight corners and stay in the saddle for longer. This, in turn, made it possible for him to cover more ground and potentially win the race.
Racing On The Web
Back when the internet was in its infancy, the only way to place a wager on a horse race was to go to the track and place your bet on the outcome there. This, however, is no longer the case owing to the fact that many tracks now offer wagering on their races through online bookmakers. The availability of this option has made it much more convenient for people to place wagers and follow the results of any particular race or sporting event from the comfort of their homes. This has, in turn, made it possible for people to bet on virtually any sporting event, with the exception of professional football.
The Future Of Horse Racing
The future of horse racing is, in many ways, defined by its past. What was once considered the exclusive domain of the rich and powerful has now become a mainstream activity, with individuals ranging from children to adults engaging with this exciting sport on a regular basis. The pandemic, in particular, has opened up the world of horse racing, enabling individuals to socialize and develop their children’s talent, as well as allow them to indulge in a pastime they might not have been able to afford previously.
This is likely to continue in the future, with emerging technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality continuing to reshape our concept of what is possible, expanding the world of horse racing even further than we know it today.