The secret world of horse racing | CNBC Sports

The secret world of horse racing | CNBC Sports


Referred to as the sport of kings, horse racing has been
part of British society for more than 400 years. It’s a sport fueled by money where the margins for
victory are tiny but the stakes are always high. I’m on a journey to learn what it takes to be part of
a sport loved by both gamblers and royalty. On it, I was given rare access to the people
who own, train and ride race horses as we attempt to shine a light on the inner workings
of a sport, that for many, is shrouded in mystery. But first, it’s important to understand
that there are two types of horse racing – flat and jump racing, also known as National Hunt. Traditionally flat racing was for the wealthy,
while National Hunt was for farmers and country folk. Today, national hunt occurs only in a handful
of countries while flat racing is global, attracting fans from Kentucky to Abu Dhabi. There’s also a lot more money in it. Winning National Hunt’s biggest race, the
Grand National, would earn you nearly $750,000. While in flat racing, you could take home
$7 million by winning America’s Pegasus World Cup. But the major money in flat horse racing isn’t
made out on the track, it’s made at discreet stud farms. I’ve come to one called Newsells Park in Hertfordshire. Here, stallions and mares are hand-picked
based on their own success on the track and their purebred pedigree of champion race horses. The mares are then covered by the
stallions in a controlled environment, as they aim to breed the next generation of winners. For the stallion’s owner, breeding is big business. Take for instance Frankel, arguably the
greatest racehorse that ever lived. He was unbeaten during a three year career
making his owner the Saudi Prince Khalid Abdullah around $4 million in prize money. Before his retirement in 2012, four-year-old Frankel had
the highest rating of any racehorse in history. If Frankel had kept racing, he would’ve likely
continued to win and earn more prize money. But for his owner, Frankel’s success and
super star status had sealed his fate. He would be a more lucrative
asset as a breeding stallion. In this new role, Frankel mated with hundreds
of horses every year earning a fee every time. In 2017, he mated with 195 mares. Each go cost $165,000, earning his owner
more than $30 million in just one year. Following the success of some of his first
foals such as Cracksman and Rostropovich, Frankel’s going rate has increased to $230,000. One man that paid for a Frankel foal
is entrepreneur Graham Smith-Bernal. A decade ago, he sold his litigation
software business for over $75 million. With some of his hard earned fortune, he bought
a number of successful race horses. “And all of a sudden my phone is going,
there’s text messages of ‘Congratulations,’ I say, ‘What is this?’ It cannot be that
Grey Britain has just won that race.” So what attracted him to becoming an owner? “You know, you win the race, you win some
nice prize money but mainly you’ve got the satisfaction and the thrill of having
your horse winning a race.” But now he wants to breed a champion race horse. So he purchased a broodmare called
La Mortola for more than $450,000. At the time, La Mortola was pregnant
with one of Frankel’s foals. This year she gave birth to that foal –
a young colt called Fabrizio. A colt is an uncastrated male
horse less than four years old. His development over the next year will be
closely monitored by Newsells Park and its general manager Julian Dollar. “Our job is not to mess things up really. They are highly strung and they’ll do lots of things
to try to hurt themselves on an almost daily basis.” “Everything is designed to make them
the best athlete they could be. You could sort of imagine some parent doing
it to some seven year old that they dreamt was going to be the next
Venus Williams of the tennis world.” “He’s all in proportion, he’s what
I call well balanced. He did, he’s a snapper. What’s changed over him – he’s now
three and half, nearly four months isn’t he?” “Just looking for the overall, when I say
balance of the horse it’s just as I say it’s making sure that everything fits together. So we want him to have a little bit of roundness
over the top, a good bit of muscle across his back and then here a good bit of hind quarter which he has because that’s where the power comes from. He’s got a good proportion of forearm, he’s not too light,
the muscle here that’s of course very important. He looks very chilled out in the sun today,
he’s half asleep but that’s good, that’s good because it says he’s got
a good relaxed temperament. If I was going to criticise the horse it would just be that
he’s a touch small but the most important thing is he’s all in proportion, everything flows together,
he walks well, he looks quite athletic. It’s hard to breed horses,
it’s bloody hard to breed horses. It’s much easier to go and buy a race horse,
so it’s nice when you get one like this.” But is Fabrizio’s owner happy with his
progress and what does his future hold? “It’s a hobby and it’s fun and I’m not doing it because
I think I’m going to make money from this. This is a really, really enjoyable
hobby to be involved with, but you have to be thinking
in part with your head as well. You’ve got to otherwise, you know,
it just doesn’t make any sense.” If Graham does decide he wants to
sell Fabrizio then he has got options. He could sell it either through a private
buyer or he could take it to auction. This is Tattersalls, the oldest bloodstock
auctioneers in the world and the largest in Europe. It sells over 10,000 horses every year. “One of the advantages of coming to
auction is that the horses all come to you.” On average how much money is being
spent at one of these auctions?” “It varies considerably, at a sale like
this one today they’ll probably be turnover of around 5 million guineas.” A guinea is £1 and 5 pence. It’s used mainly for
determining professional fees and auction prices. Horse racing is a lot about gambling and that
for a lot of people is the entertainment factor and you get a little bit of
that here as well don’t you? “Yeah, undoubtedly the adrenalin rush that you get
bidding might help you have another bid or two.” A high cost of a horse doesn’t
translate to a champion racer? “No, that’s one of the great things about
the game is that there’s no guarantees. Your person who comes along and buys a cheap
yearling, say 10 or 20 grand, can still hit the jackpot.” Two men that are trying to do just that are trainer
Hugo Palmer and bloodstock agent Mark McStay. They’ve agreed to give me unrestricted access as they
work to find the right horse for the right price. “You know it’s a great industry to be involved in. Most wealthy people can’t afford to buy
Manchester United, Chelsea or Tottenham Hotspur and win the premiership but if you walk into
that ring at Tattersalls here and you had half a million pounds you could have
bought Australia, who won a Derby. Most people who come into horse racing as
potential owners or new people to the sport are uninitiated and they need
to find someone they trust. I as a bloodstock agent would sell myself
on integrity and hopefully that’s why people will be attracted to me, come to me
for my advice and I’ll hopefully point them in the direction of
a nice horse or a nice trainer.” Today Mark and Hugo are on the hunt
to find a horse for Hugo’s yard. They’ll be looking at several, but for Mark
this is the last stage after weeks of research. He’s prepared a short list of horses
from the hundreds up for sale, now together they need to
make their final decision. So what are you doing
there Mark when you..? “You just see the front
of the canon bone there? There’s a little bit of a profile to it
where it comes out a little bit.” Okay, got you. “These horses Mark has seen them, he’s seen them
twice, we’re now coming back to see them a third time. If I like it and I think I might buy it I’ll
probably see it a fourth time and then I’ll send a vet to see it and they will check that
the horse is structurally okay and you know they’ll put a tube down its throat and see that it has the
right breathing apparatus to actually perform.” “So the colt, lovely big strong horse. His scope was a grade 2, normal pass, little
bit of extension in the knees and very slight pain on palpation of the shins. But all in all very solid.” “Happy with straight forward horse, yeah.” “The filly looks like she’s growing, she’s
going to be very big I think, high behind, she’s lame in front – I would not be proceeding
without getting some x-rays on those knees.” “Okay, right.” “Very good.” The time for talking is over. The horse they’ve decided to bid on is lot
number 186, a young colt called Havana Gold. But before the bidding war begins, Mark wants
to see how the whole auction is going and who he might be competing against. “I just want to follow him in out of interest
and get a gauge on the market.” And who is he competing against? “Somebody at the far side
of that partition over there.” It’s quite nerve racking isn’t it? “Oh it’s a little bit.” Lot 186 is up and as soon as Havana Gold strolls
into the sales ring the bidding starts. After some confusion with the auctioneer,
Mark and Hugo make a late bid. “That’ll do, that’ll do.” “That’s enough.” But is it enough? “Well done.” “Well done.” For $80,000 Mark finally gets his horse. Now it’s down to Hugo and his team to try
to turn this young colt into a champion racer. For Havana Gold, a new life
awaits of racing and ritual. But he won’t be going far. He’ll remain in this distinct corner of
England, along with 3,000 other race horses. Behind me is the town of Newmarket. It’s surrounded by wide open expanses which has led to
it becoming the home of flat horse racing in the U.K. This is a town where the pecking order between
horses and humans is a little blurred. And it will be no different for Havana Gold
while he’s living at Hugo Palmer’s yard. “I suppose in many ways we’re like a private
school that the owners, or in the school’s case, the parents send their child,
horse, to a school to be educated. So we take them in here just when
they’re about one and half years old, so they’re immature but they’re probably 90% of their
adult size and strength and we work out which ones are the scholarship pupils and are
likely to be turning up at Royal Ascot and which ones are,
you know, are less so.” In his eight year career Hugo has established himself
as one of the leading trainers in the business. But what’s it like for young trainers just
starting out and the challenges they face? We’re headed today to meet George Scott,
a young trainer whose only actually in his third season but he has had
already some big successes. We’re going to go have a look at his yard
and see what he does everyday to make sure his horses are in peak condition. “You can’t imagine the amount
that goes into getting that horse in the afternoon wearing
the silks at a big meeting. The amount of work, effort, concentration, time.” A lot of pressure being a horse race trainer? “If you push yourself to try and be
successful and want to achieve something then there’s always going to be pressure.” Routine for a horse race trainer I can imagine
it’s sort of early starts, long days… “I mean up at 5:15 and, we’d work
through then till 1 o’clock and then get home for a bit of lunch and I always have
to have a sleep in the afternoon, without fail, have to have a quick sleep and then
back in the afternoons or go racing.” When you don’t have winners, how hard is that? “It’s hard but I mean it’s part of the game. You have to take the rough with the
smooth and you have to remain level.” Is this your dream job? “Yeah definitely, I don’t really know
what I’d do if I wasn’t a trainer. I don’t get a rush out of anything
else other than the racing. You know I like football, I like rugby, I
like cricket, yeah yeah but I love racing. Dave, just save a little bit for the hill. Those are mine crossing now
so we need to get across.” What are you going to be looking for? “I like to see them just get up the hill nicely. I like to listen to their breathing. The horse in second is just struggling a bit
but he hasn’t been up here at all before, the horse in front’s doing well. And we’re going to walk
across and talk to them. So I like to get a comment from each rider. Are you hanging on in there Fletch? She’s done well hasn’t she?” What’s it like to have a winner? I mean that feeling where you’ve spent days,
months with this horse and got to know it quite intimately and then it wins this race
with thousands of people watching. “Yeah it’s absolutely unbelievable, like
it’s the best feeling in the world. You know I stand there with huge anticipation and
I enjoy sharing that moment with friends and family and it’s all consuming in that one moment. And it puts all of the bad days out the
back door. It’s an incredible moment.” That moment of crossing the line first, riding
a horse at nearly 40 miles an hour is an experience felt by only a select few. Fran Berry has been a professional
jockey for more than 20 years. “I can still remember my first
winner like it was yesterday and I think if that buzz you get
leaves you, then it’s time to give up.” The routine of a jockey must be pretty brutal, losing weight and keeping yourself fit and
strong at the same time. How tough is that? “It is quite tough. I’m 37 now you know, I kind of know what
I can and can’t do but the biggest thing is, as a jockey, is your weight, to find the time to keep yourself right and eat and do everything properly. You know it takes a bit of application.” Eating disorders amongst jockeys, is that a thing? “Yeah I don’t think it’s any secret, maybe
it’s more prevalent in the United States. They call it flipping, suppose which is a form of bulimia but I’ve come across it worldwide and it is an issue.” What have you had today for instance
in terms of food and drink? “I had a two egg omelet this morning,
that wouldn’t be every day. Some days you’re a bit restricted. I’ll exercise
more and cut down on the fluid intake. I’ve done a few laps of the track, just
to get my weight back to its normal level.” So you would have sped walk
the track or run the track? “Speed walk, speed walk with plenty of
clothes on me to get a good sweat up.” Can ask how much you get paid per race? “It’s about £150, 140 and then with deductions
it probably works out at £100 net before your tax and you’ve got to
pay your own diesel and expenses.” So for instance you’ve raced two horses,
you’re not making a great deal of money today? “No, no, not today. Some days you can have ten rides,
some days you’ve got two. Travel expenses are quite high and
riding fees for me pay my bills, pay everything that keeps the show on the
road at home but you’re relying on your win prize money and your place prize
money really to make money.” It’s an interesting sport isn’t it?
You’re kind of on your own. “Yeah, yeah, you know even golfers have a team
of lads around them or something you know. You got to kind of do everything for yourself in a way,
and if you don’t do it nobody else will.” What injuries have you had in the past? “Erm, have we got time? I’ve broken both my ankles. I’ve dislocated my right
ankle, fractured my left. I’ve had a T9 fracture. C6 displaced fracture. My vertebrae’s
had a T3 compressed fracture. Fractured sternum, fractured shoulder blade,
9 ribs on one occasion in the same fall So yeah I’ve had more than
your average flat jockey injuries. Some days you’re thinking
you’re having a bad day. You’ve got five or six rides and they all
get beaten and maybe people aren’t happy with you or something but if you can
get into that car and drive home you haven’t had a bad day and
that, you’re safe and sound.” Fran is risking life and limb doing this job,
for sometimes minimal financial reward. I’ve learnt it’s the love of horses and racing
that keeps him and many others invested in this game coming back. And for such an old sport, which can sometimes
be at odds with the outside world, it’s still after all this time the thrill of winning
that continues to captivate and entertain.

100 thoughts on “The secret world of horse racing | CNBC Sports

  1. Lot of ignorant people in the comments who you can clearly tell have never had a racehorse. My dad and family have had race horses, and they are loved like you would love a family dog. Don't even mention the money that goes into caring for them…

  2. Okay I would just like to say, that thoroughbreds love to run. They are made to run. Not all racehorses are used for money. yes they do get injured sometimes. Obviously if you do get a bad owner then yeah, I can understand what you all mean. But look at all the horses in this video, look at how well there treated. These horses are bred for racing. Anyone that says there’s any animal abuse in this video are utterly stupid.

  3. oMGgggg nO teH HoRsiEs ArE aBoooooSed AAAh

    we have 2 racehorses at our yard, they are the most spoilt little beasts here. not all horse racing is abuse. go see a real racehorse in their yard before you comment on em.

  4. I thought jockeys got more than 100 – 150 quid a race considering the risks. When a flat horse goes down it allways looks nasty. Like Fran said take out the transport the time and the dieting and it's not as glamorous a profession as it might first appear. Not so bad if your riding good horses and getting the prise money. What a really nice fella Fran Berry.

  5. I’m sorry but all those people saying people are clueless and racing should be banned, these jockeys put their life in danger as well as the horses, they are doing it because they love it. Any riding sport is the same from riding school to showjumping. A pony could trip over its own feet and have to be put down, horses get put down from playing in the field, racing is probs the best riding sport really as they are allowed to be free and just gallop as fast as they can, whereas showjumping for example you are always holding back to get the right stride and they are not allowed to run off. Just give the racing industry a break🤦‍♀️

  6. w/o horse racing most/many of these horses wouldnt exist…they'd be dog food….most are not making big money,(only at the bigger tracks) but , love their animals and the sport. nobody gets rich off of a 2500$ claimer…the horses get shelter, food, medical care. very well taken care of…..sorry, but, youre totally misguided if you think this is abuse….obtw horses LOVE to run…??

  7. pretending(or even worse, believing) all of these horses would otherwise just be running around a field enjoying life is nonsensical. most race horses live far better lives than those in the wild or on a working farm. after racing is over, they become pets and work horses.

  8. our horse just got back to newmarket to continue the success he found here, his family is good and we got a new trainer, every like is a prayer that he wins thank you. this man clearly never heard of good jockeys like frankie dettori, jerry bailey and mike smith, just to name a few there are many more

  9. Seems very unfair that those that own winning stallion and turn them into a stud horse and they make 30 million dollars a year on that horse certainly there are able to reimburse their jockeys for all the hard work it's unfair that jockies only get a decent salary if they win. They should get fair base salary for doing their job and the risks they take. These people can't afford millions of dollars for horse but then pay the jockey next to nothing seems they're not being fair to the jockey how about spending just a little bit less on the horse and a little more for the jockey.

  10. A lot of people here are sharing their opinions, so I’ll share mine.

    The horse racing industry is cruel to their horses no matter how you put it. Firstly, horses only start at 2 years old, which is when their still growing and their bones aren’t ready to take on a full track.

    Also, the horses get drugged before and even after races. They put drugs in their feed, and inject illegal drugs, alcohol, or even snake venom in their veins to make them run faster.

    Around 24 horses die each week in the US alone. Note, only US. So, this means, that even more horses probably died in other countries. Most horses die from when their bones break or shatter.

    Any horses that don’t win races (which are called “rats” in the industry) are sent to slaughter at just 5 or 6 years old. That’s pretty young considering horses can live to 30.

    Many racers are just in for horse racing and don’t care about what the stable does or how they care about the horses.

    Why would you support an industry who kills and slaughters animals for “not being good enough”. Please re think horse racing.

  11. Funny thing is none of these "people" seem to care about the money rather then the actual horse. Worship your god you slave. 😂

  12. I'm not sure a horse at a year and a half has ninety percent of his size and strength already….

  13. I will don't like the horse racing community
    10,000 horses are sent to the slaughter each year and nearly half of the 20,000 new foals that are born each year will eventually be killed for their flesh

  14. Horse racing is a vile industry with a dark and evil underbelly.  It is the only sport that can kill many animals in an open public venue…. for all to see and get away with it.  Include those thousands sent to slaughter.  The industry promotes, endorses and encourages drugging, beatings, confinement and the idiot fans cheer on.  SICK!

  15. Shame the interviewer, Tom Chitty, comes across so clueless and inept…he has a good job ( well paid i'm sure ), must be " connected " like some of the people in the Horseracing world. How grounded is Fran Berry, a breath of fresh air. I was surprised how clueless Hugo Palmer was looking over Havana Gold, he always comes across as an elitist toff with no empathy.
    I wonder who trains the horses in his yard?

  16. Omg this guy has no idea what he's on about. Seriously tho
    He's only talking about the money that people earn and some of the most successful racehorses
    He takes no time to learn about how abusive horse racing is and it is an equestrians job to teach people about what is wrong and what is right
    Horse racing is so cruel and it just blows my mind that people don't take the time to learn about the sport and just compliment things that aren't right. These poor horses get whipped and beat with all kinds of whips and electric prods. They get all kinds of drugs put into them so they can run at unnatural speeds and once they stop racing they get slaughtered and turned into meat for dog food and even people eat horse. These people have no idea what goes on behind the scenes and it just saddens me that people don't take the time to learn all the facts before telling other uneducated people that may go on to telling other people and horse racing will continue on with all the support it gets and more and more horses will die due to people's ignorance. 3 race horses in the us die every day and 1 horse every 3 days dies in Australia
    No one can hide from the facts. Horse racing needs to stop.

  17. They ride those horses so so young I have a two-year-old horse and I would not dream of riding him much less getting on his back and galloping him it’s not ok these horses are ridden way too young I never realized how bad the racing industry really is it evil

  18. British horses are started properly to begin with. They are properly trained , with ground manners,etc. which is why they are far easier to re-train as riding horses, show horses, etc. Most American horses do not always have that basis. I have had both, and the British horses were far superior. If more farm employees and trainers realized how important the beginning of a racehorse's training will be to their post racing careers…..

  19. There is dirt racing and turf racing
    Turf racing: running on grass
    Dirt racing: running on dirt
    And that jump racing is called a steeplechase

  20. not really a balanced look at the world of horse racing. where are the horses who don't work out as winners? where do they go? tell us about the kill pens; the horse meat trade. the horses killed in training and in competition.

    another rosy picture of a less than rosy game.

  21. they did not show the part were horses fall and die amd are abused search up on youtube the secret side of horse racing

  22. The greatest event in all sports was Secretariat and his performance in the Belmont Stakes. All of his records in the triple crown still stand. That’s greatness.

  23. The real secret is….it's all rigged. 65-1 wins the KD. lol Billionaires don't pick a 2-1 favorite, dear sheeple.

  24. 1:46 i dont think so….SECRETARIAT IS THE BEST HORSE THAT EVER LIVED…..WHY DO YOU THINK THEY CALLED HIM HORSE GOD BUILD….some people are so dumb these days

  25. Nah, you don't need to spent 10k-500k on a horse. Just wait until these rich assholes decide their horses aren't worth it anymore and they take them to sale barns. You can pick up a good thoroughbred a dime a dozen, nurse them back to health and start them on a new career. All for the price of their meat. Might sound harsh, but it's true. So many people in the racing industry take their horses to kill buyers because they were "disappointed" in them. Not to say all do it, but a huge percentage of them do. So go save a life rather than spend a bunch of money.

  26. Time to shut it down. Let them live out their life in peace too many horse races too many horses dying

  27. this guy never even thought to mention the dubai world cup, some of the best horses ever ran here, dubai millennium, arrogate cigar silver charm captain steve, he never mentioned godolphin coolmore and their horses like galileo and giants causeway, great horses. leading trainer, this guy never heard of bob baffert, sir henry cecil saeed bin suroor way adien obrain and john gosden way better than hugo and who the hell likes national hunt, its an 1700s to 1800s and stopped after ww1. what about the breeders cup challenge, so many good horses in that, tiznow cat theif and cigar

  28. £100 absolutely disgusting these jockeys have families and in 2019 should earn money that reflects 1st the danger there putting themselves in and also the money that’s in this sport#MORE£££££FORJOCKEYS

  29. To all the people who are talking about the American horses in the comments. I'm guessing the reason that they only talked about British horses is because they were I'm Europe.

    Also Man O' War and Secretariat were better than Frankel 🙂

  30. Horse racing, of any kind, is cruel, inhumane and deeply offensive to all animal lovers. It is a scathing indictment of all those who support this corrupt and heartless industry. I speak as a horse lover who learned to ride at the age of 4 and has loved these wonderful animals all my life.

  31. Why does anyone bother with horse racing anymore? The number of none runners makes it a mugs game.

    If the bookies just return all bets when there is a none runner that would be perfect and refuse to sponsor the event if the trainers are so unreliable to withdraw in the last 2 hours before a race starts that would make it fair for the punter. Otherwise the trainer has all the power, can withdraw when they feel like it and deliberately mess up the market.

    If a horse is unfit don't bring it along at all. Leave the bugger at home, don't bother coming to the event to save money and announce it a day before.

    The trainers have all the power in racing. They literally have too much control over the racing markets and can rig it as they like.

  32. As interesting as this is, Venus Williams has nothing to do with breeding a horse. Shame on you, CNBC. Inappropriate and should have been edited out for sure.

  33. Yes yes yes Still think horse racing is abuse…always thinking about money. People it is outrageous! Poor horses!

  34. To all the misguided 'animal rights nazi's' on here, is your ideal scenario to see all these horses back in the wild? Well if so without natural predators, the population would spiral until disease and starvation claimed them. And with predators, guess what, the slow or injured ones would be killed! The natural world sounds a bit like your complaints bar the guaranteed food, shelter and care these racehorses get

  35. The horse he buys isn’t Havana Gold, it’s a son of Havana Gold, they aren’t named as yearlings so just carry the name of the sires at sales

  36. I have very fond memories of the Galway Races, I used to go with my brother when we were young. I would watch him pick his horses with such care, then he would tell which horse to bet on. We would almost always win on one or two horses, then we would go to Lydons Restaurant for high tea.

  37. That's not Havana Gold lol, it's his progeny. Havana Gold was foaled in 2010 out of Teofilo, he went on to win big races.

  38. Clicked to see the horse in the thumbnail. I confess!
    I like how horsey at the start steps up to the guy talking…like he's awaiting his turn to speak. 🐴

  39. So nothing about the slaughter abuse non stop breeding if a horse isn’t fast enough there thrown away baby’s ripped from there true mothers given to a different mare just for milk so there true mother can be bred again and again the constant whipping and drugging but if they win there shipped around the world straining them of energy just to bred no ok the racing world isn’t as glorious as you say it is it’s most defiantly not for the love of the horse or sport but for the greed of the money

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