Winning Colors in Horse Racing

For centuries, horse racing fans have speculated that certain colors of horses are more adept at winning races. This has prompted equine researchers in Poland to look into the genetic linkages between coat color and race earnings.

The scientists wondered whether the genes that determine a horse's color could be related to genetic traits conducive to winning races.

The study investigated the racing performance of 1100 thoroughbred and 800 purebred Arabian horses. They also examined three aspects of those horses' hair color: brightness, redness and presence of grey.

horse race

While no strong connections between color and winnings emerged, there was a tendency for some color characteristics to be associated with top performing horses.

The results were clear that whether or not a horse is grey or turning grey has no bearing on its racing performance. The other two color factors aren't strongly related to racing records, although trends did emerge.

The genes which determine if there's red in a horse's coat have some connection with how well a horse races. Horses with light bay or chestnut coats are also distinguished in performance from those colored bay, dark bay, seal brown or black.


A. Stachurska, M. Pieta, J. Lojekb and J. Szulowska. 2007. Performance in racehorses of various colours. Livestock Science. 106(2-3): 282-286.

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