What Is Horse Racing?

Horse racing is a sport in which horses, typically trained by professional jockeys, are guided by human handlers on a racetrack. It is a worldwide activity, with competitions dating back to ancient times. Archaeological records suggest that the sport was practiced in ancient Greece, Rome, Babylon, Egypt, Syria, and Arabia. In modern times, horse races are held in many countries, and are watched by millions of people.

The sport is often characterized as a form of gambling, but it also involves considerable skill and judgment from both the rider and the trainer. A great race requires a good combination of both, as demonstrated by the winning run of Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes in 1973.

A great race can be a true spectacle, and one that is well worth watching. It can be inspiring and awe-inspiring, as in the case of Secretariat in the Belmont Stakes, or the remarkable performance of Mandarin in the 1981 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

But behind the romanticized facade of Thoroughbred horse racing is a world of drugs, gruesome breakdowns, and slaughter. It is estimated that 3 thoroughbreds die every day in North America from injuries sustained during a race. And horses are forced to sprint-often under the threat of whips and illegal electric shockers-at speeds so high that they frequently sustain injuries to their lungs, tendons, or ligaments.

For this reason, a thoroughbred must have a pedigree that meets certain requirements in order to be eligible to race. Specifically, the horse’s sire and dam must both be purebreds of the same breed in order to compete in flat races (not including steeplechases).

In general, all horses are subject to a series of physical tests and examinations prior to their first race. In addition, they must undergo a period of quarantine after their last race. These tests are designed to identify any diseases or infections that may be present in the horse, as well as to determine whether a horse is fit to race.

Once these tests are complete, a horse will be assigned to a race based on its age and gender. Some races are confined to specific ages or genders, while others are open to all horses that have met minimum requirements for entry.

As a result of the extensive rules and regulations surrounding horse racing, it has been impacted by a variety of technological advancements over recent years. Some of these advancements have been in the areas of race safety and the care of injured or ailing horses. Thermal imaging cameras can detect when a horse is overheating post-race, and MRI scanners, X-rays, and endoscopes allow medical professionals to spot a number of health issues with horses before they develop into major problems. Other technological advances have allowed veterinarians to create casts, splints, and prosthetics for injured or ill horses through the use of 3D printing.