Spots on the Racetrack

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Appaloosas have been known to hold their own on the racetrack

Kid Wrangler, Jess Streakin and Pocket Full of Bugs are all racehorses, but they’re not Thoroughbreds, or even Standardbreds for that matter. They’re Appaloosas.

According to the Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC), Appys have long been an integral part of horse racing. Beginning in 1962, the ApHC officially recognized the sport. That same year there were four races and 23 starters competing for $12,000 in total purses. In 2006, 203 starters competed in 440 races for $2,904,774 in total purses. Racing fans can find Appaloosas crossing the finish line in Arizona, California, Colorado, Kansas, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

But Appaloosas aren’t the only breed to show their spots on the racetrack. The American Paint Horse Association officially recognized racing in 1966. That year, the purse money offered at the nine official races totaled $1,290. In comparison, the purses in 2004 for the 785 recognized Paint races totaled $4,864,675.

Although some might argue that they’re not as colorful, American Quarter Horses have always demonstrated their sprinting ability. When the American Quarter Horse Association was formed in 1940, it officially recognized racing. And the original racehorse, the Arabian, regularly shows off its speed in races sanctioned by the Arabian Horse Association. Even mules get into the action—they are raced under the jurisdiction of the American Mule Racing Association.

So while Thoroughbreds may be the most notable racehorses, their speedy—and sometimes colorful–cousins have demonstrated that they too have what it takes on the turf.

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