The 30 Most Memorable Horse Racing Quotes Ever

Humankind has engaged in horse racing for millennia. There are records of chariot racing dating back to ancient times, with the sport a feature of the Greek Olympics in the 7th century BC.

While UK racecourses such as Newmarket were established in the 1600s, it wasn’t until the second half of the 1700s that horse racing became a major sport. Since then, it has become a much-loved endeavour that has spawned countless legends, memorable moments and many wealthy bookmakers!

Below, I provide 30 quotes that encapsulate the Sport of Kings, encompassing everything from the absurd to the humorous, with a dose of reality sprinkled in.

The 30 Best Horse Racing Quotes and Sayings

There are countless quotes to choose from, so narrowing it down to 30 wasn’t as easy as I originally thought! 

However, I eventually settled on the following, dividing them into a handful of suitable categories:

Funny Quotes

“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.”

W.C Fields, American actor

“Money, horse racing, and women: three things the boys just can’t figure out.”

Will Rogers, American vaudeville performer

“I played a great horse yesterday! It took seven horses to beat him.”

Henny Youngman, British-American comedian

“If anyone falls at the last fence, we’ve got an expert to talk about it!”

AP McCoy – Directed at Ruby Walsh

“As long as he doesn’t go over there shouting at all the French ladies. He’s a bit fond of that!”

John Gosden – He was referring to Stradivarius before the great horse attempted to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

“The only sport I’m not interested in is horse racing. That’s because I don’t know the horses personally.”

Nat King Cole

“I have stood in a bar in Lambourn and been offered, in the space of five minutes, a poached salmon, a leg of a horse, a free trip to Chantilly, marriage, a large unsolicited loan, ten tips for a ten-horse race, two second-hand cars, a fight, and the copyright to a dying jockey’s life story.”

Jeffrey Bernard, English journalist

“A horse doesn’t know whether the rider on his back wears a dress or pants away from the track.”

Diane Crump, American jockey

The Realities of Horse Racing

“Horse racing is animated roulette.”

Roger Kahn, American sports author

A side profile of a woman in a russet-colored turtleneck and white bag. She looks up with her eyes closed.

“The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.”

John Steinbeck, American novelist

“Hopefully, you can catch that lightning in a bottle again. 4400 registered foals, and only 16 or 18 of them make it to the Derby”

John Sosby, One-time manager of Claiborne Farm, a legendary thoroughbred breeding farm in Kentucky

“You don’t have to be Einstein to see that horse racing is dangerous. Those two ambulances driving behind you ain’t there for the scenery. I will never get over the fatalities of colleagues. It is the saddest and toughest part of this sport.”

AP McCoy

“Horse racing is really much more intimidating than anything having to do with literature. When I had horses at the racetrack, I would wake up in terror in a way that I would never wake up while working on a novel.”

Jane Smiley, American novelist and racehorse owner

“When a jockey retires, he just becomes another little man.”

Eddie Arcaro, American jockey

“Racing is a funny industry. One week you can be going terrible and the next week you’re on top of the world. So, you just keep showing up: I keep working harder to get more opportunities, but what do you do – that’s life.”

Michelle Payne, Australian jockey

General Quotes

“There is no secret as close as that between a rider and his horse.”

Robert Smith Surtees, 19th-century English novelist

“When you are on a great horse, you have the best seat you will ever have.”

Winston Churchill

“To ride on a horse is to fly without wings.”


“A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle.”

Ian Fleming

“You don’t have to have been a horse to be a jockey.”

Arrigo Sacchi, Italian football manager

“No jockey ever won a race by carrying the horse across the finish line; no coach ever won a volleyball match by touching the ball during play.”

John Kessel, American writer

“Never think of your car as a cold machine, but as a hot-blooded horse.”

Juan Manual Fangio, Argentine racing car driver

Quotes from Insiders

“A good jockey doesn’t need orders and a bad jockey couldn’t carry them out anyway; so, it’s best not to give them any.”

Lester Piggott

“If you want to understand the effect of weight on a horse, try running for a bus with nothing in your hands. Then try doing it with your hands full of shopping. Then think about doing that for four and a half miles.”

— Anna Wong, Volunteer

“I tell you waiting for the Derby to start is the longest day of your life… It’s just a unique time of thrill and tension and worry.”

Penny Chenery, Breeder and Owners of Secretariat

“There is no place for arrogance or complacency in racing because you are up there one minute and on your backside the next.”

AP McCoy

“A jump jockey has to throw his heart over the fence – and then go over and catch it.”

Dick Francis

“Working horses is a little like being married. Sometimes you need to adjust and change your plan.”

Buck Brannaman, American trainer

“After winning the Derby aged just 18 – Why all the fuss? After all, the Derby is just another race.”

Lester Piggott

“When you touch the dirt on the track you have the feeling, at that moment, that you are on the center stage of the universe.”

Steve Cauthen, American jockey

Horse Racing Quotes – It’s A Wrap

Hopefully, you found the quotes inspirational and funny while providing at least a small insight into what it’s like to be involved in the horse racing industry. There’s a lot to love about the sport, but there are also tough times for jockeys, trainers, owners, and punters! If you’re looking for more levity, click the link to check out some funny horse racing jokes.

Once you’ve finished reflecting, take a moment to create a free account with Race Advisor and look around. Of those that do, quite a few users have quotes, mainly about how they pick more winners with less research than ever!

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