Horse racing is a sport where horses and jockeys compete to win by crossing the finishing line first. The sport of horse races has been around for thousands of years and is one of the most popular sports in the world. It is a thrilling and engaging experience for spectators and has even become a part of our culture. While betting on a horse race can be fun, it is important to understand the rules and regulations before placing a bet.
The underlying truth behind horse racing’s romanticized façade is a world of injuries, drug abuse, gruesome breakdowns and slaughter. While spectators show off their fancy outfits and sip mint juleps, horses are forced to run—often under the threat of whips and illegal electric-shocking devices—at speeds so fast they frequently sustain horrific injuries. Once they leave the track, many of these horses hemorrhage into the slaughter pipeline. If not for a few independent nonprofit rescues and individuals that network, fundraise, and work tirelessly to save them, these ex-racehorses would be condemned to a slow, painful and untimely death.
Betting on a horse race is a popular pastime for a growing number of fans. People can place bets on a single horse to win the race or on a group of horses in various combinations. In addition to placing a bet on the winner of the race, people can also place accumulator bets in which they bet on several horses to finish in the top three or more places. A winning bettors will receive all of the money wagered on the horse, less a specified percentage taken out by the track.
There are essentially three types of people in the horse-racing industry: the crooks who dangerously drug and abuse their horses, the dupes who labor under the fantasy that the sport is broadly fair and honest, and the masses in between who know the sport is more crooked than it ought to be but still don’t do what they can to change it. It is high time for the industry to start telling the truth.
In the beginning, Thoroughbreds were prized for their stamina, and the sport of horse racing grew out of the need to compete in marathon events over long distances. As dash racing became the norm, speed became the focus, and rules were established for determining eligibility for races based on age, sex, birthplace, and previous performance. In order to gain an edge over the competition, riders began using a technique called “hand riding,” in which they urged their mounts with just their hands rather than with whips or spurs.
As the popularity of horse racing increased, so did the number of crooks and dupes in the industry. As a result, horses in training were increasingly drugged to achieve a competitive advantage. The resulting injuries and deaths are unacceptable, and it is time for the racing industry to admit that there is a serious problem and commit to ending it.