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What does handicap mean in horse racing?

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Quick Answer

In horse racing, the term handicap can refer to a type of race, the weight added to a horse to slow down or a way to compare horses for betting. The term comes from hand-in-cap, a lottery game popular in the 17th century, where bets were placed in a cap.

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Full Answer

A handicap race is often suitable for very good horses. The racing steward assigns weight based on the previous performance of a horse. All the equipment on the horse, including the saddle and the jockey count as the weight called handicap. Betting in a handicap race is usually difficult, as there are many variables to consider.

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