When we go to the horse racing events held across the country every day of the week, few of us will bother to realize what the track surface is actually made from. To the untrained gambler or horse racing aficionado, the mounted equines run on grass. But the track horses race across is not always on grass and indeed in the United States there are more dirt tracks than grass tracks.

In countries like the United Kingdom and many parts of Europe, horses run primarily on grass. There are some dirt tracks but these tend to be few and far between, unlike the grassless tracks more familiar in countries like Australia and the United States.

Grass tracks, whether they are in the United States or Europe, are not referred to as grass but as turf. Turf is by far the most common track surface used in Europe and is favored much more than the dirt surfaces favored by American track owners.

In addition to turf or dirt tracks there are artificial track surfaces or synthetic surfaces (man-made) where the horses will run on a track that will allow them to run much faster and less-labored than a bumpy, long-grassed turf track.

Artificial and synthetic track surfaces were once used in English and Scottish football pitches during the late 1980s and because the ball sped faster over such surfaces it often favored the home side. As a result of this the artificial and synthetic pitches were banned in the UK and all teams had to adopt a grass surface.

The advantages of the synthetic surface are that the track is made for all weathers. During periods of heavy rain, frost, ice or snow the artificial surface can easily be scrapped to make the track useable despite the harsh weather conditions.

The companies and owners behind the synthetic tracks also boast that its surfaces allow racing to continue where other turf or dirt tracks have to be canceled. Many synthetic tracks at horse racing venues have drainage facilities which allow surface water to quickly drain away allowing for the event to go ahead as planned.

Many horse racing events are canceled because of weather conditions and trainers, venues and betting companies stand to lose a lot of money when events cannot take place. In addition to the turf, dirt and artificial tracks used in horse racing venues, sand is used in some cases. However, the use of sand tends to be limited to some countries in the Arab region and northern African states only.

So next time your at your favorite horse racing event, check out what type they are using.

Horse Racing and Living in South Florida