Horse racing is a sport in which horses race against each other on a flat or curved oval track. The horses are ridden by jockeys who try to steer them through turns and over jumps at high speeds. The goal is to win a race and receive the prize money, known as the purse. The winning horse is usually a favored selection, but other horses may also be considered to have a chance of winning. The odds on a horse vary depending on the strength of competition, the quality of the track, and whether or not the race is open to handicappers.
The oldest and most famous horse races are the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France, the Melbourne Cup in Australia, and the Caulfield Cup and Sydney Cup in England. These races are considered to be the pinnacle of Flat racing and attract the top horses from around the world.
Races can range in length from 440 yards to four miles. Short races are referred to as sprints and longer races are known as routes or staying races. A horse’s ability to accelerate quickly is key for a sprint, and a high level of stamina is needed for a long-distance race.
Several factors can contribute to the loss of a horse during a race, including an injury, a breakdown, or an inability to compete at the same pace as other runners. The most common cause of a lost horse is an unforeseeable problem such as a collision with another competitor, an accident while jumping, or an illness or injury suffered by the animal.
The veterinary care of a horse during and after a race is extremely important, especially in the event of an injury or breakdown. The use of equine medical technology is helping to advance the sport of horseracing and improve safety. Using thermal imaging cameras, MRI scanners, X-rays, and 3D printing to produce casts and splints have all helped increase the safety and quality of care for injured horses.
However, the biggest improvements horse racing can make would be to implement a wraparound industry-sponsored aftercare solution for all ex-racehorses. Right now, thousands of ex-racehorses are left to hemorrhage into the slaughter pipeline. Some are euthanized while others are sold at auction to foreign slaughterhouses, where they will be slaughtered for their meat. A well-funded, comprehensive industry-sponsored aftercare solution will help to ensure that no racehorse is ever left to die a slow, painful death.