What Is a Horse Race?

A horse race is a sport that involves two or more horses running around a circular course and jumping any obstacles (if present) in the path of the race. Prize money is awarded to the first, second, and third-place finishers. A horse race may be started by a stall, starting gate, or flag (requires special permission from the starter). Riders must ride in a safe manner and follow the prescribed course, jumping each obstacle if present, to complete the race and win the prize money.

For spectators, a horse race can be a thrilling event to watch. However, for the horses involved in the race, it is a brutal and unnatural act. Horses are forced to run at speeds so fast that they sustain many injuries and, in some cases, even bleed out from their lungs (exertion-induced pulmonary hemorrhage). Injuries such as fractured bones, lacerations, a severed spine, or shattered limbs can be fatal.

Most horse races are handicapped races, which involve a group of horses divided into different categories by their ability to perform in the race. A horse’s performance is influenced by a number of factors, including its position in the race, its sex (females or males), and the amount of weight it must carry, which is based on the age and history of the horse and its previous races.

The oldest known written records of horse racing come from ancient Asia, where chariot races were held as early as the 8th or 9th century bc. Bareback and saddled horse races were contested at the Olympics as early as 740 bc, and hurdle racing appeared in Europe during the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715).

A splint: A hard object placed on a wound to help keep it intact. A splint is usually made of wood, steel, or plastic and is covered with a protective layer.

Injuries are common in horse racing, ranging from minor grazes to fatal head trauma. The death of a racehorse is a devastating loss for fans, owners, and trainers. For the animals themselves, however, it is an all-too-frequent occurrence.

When journalists focus primarily on horse-race coverage of elections, instead of examining the policy issues at stake, voters and candidates lose, a growing body of research shows. This collection of new and updated research examines how this type of coverage undermines democratic ideals and muddies the public’s understanding of complex issues.

Behind the romanticized façade of Thoroughbred horse racing lies a world of drugs, gruesome breakdowns and slaughter. The sport is a costly enterprise for the animals that are forced to sprint around a track at such high speeds that they can suffer fatal cardiovascular collapse, pulmonary hemorrhage, and broken legs, to name just a few of their injuries. And for all the talk of being the sport of kings, not even athletes would accept the gruesome deaths of so many “athletes.”