Horse races are events where horses sprint as fast as possible for a measured distance, typically on a circular track. The first horse to cross the finish line first is declared the winner; some races may be open to all horses while others are restricted by age or pedigree – to qualify, an animal must have both parents be purebred individuals of its breed.
At horse races, jockeys (or riders) mount horses and guide them to speed up, steer in the right direction and stay safe from other competitors. Because many races involve long distances that test endurance levels of even fittest horses, injuries such as broken bones, strained muscles or cracked leg bones may arise during long races; racing at such high speeds exposes horses to an increased risk of lung hemorrhaging due to high speeds.
Horse racing has long been subjected to criticism for being inhumane and corrupt due to doping and overbreeding practices, yet greater awareness of these concerns has led to improvements in animal welfare standards and investigations by groups such as PETA into abusive training practices for young horses, drug use, and transport to slaughterhouses overseas.
Thoroughbred horses are breeds that have been specifically selected to maximize speed and endurance. Most often used for horse races in the US, but also featured prominently at major international events like Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cups in Australia as well as Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini in Argentina as well as King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes of England; Durban July in South Africa and Arima Memorial in Japan.
As races begin, horses assemble in individual gated enclosures on either a dirt or turf track and wait for their doors to open at an agreed-upon time; racing then starts. Horses aim for an early start while saving energy for what is known as “The Home Stretch.”
Bettors typically place bets during horse races on which horse will win or place, the one winning the most money becoming the winner. Bettors also place bets with spectators on which horse will cross the finish line first or other special bets such as straight or parlay bets for example.