A horse race is a sport in which a racehorse is ridden by a jockey and competes with other horses over a set distance. It is one of the world’s oldest sports, and has evolved from a primitive contest of speed or stamina into a spectacle involving large fields, sophisticated electronic monitoring equipment, and immense sums of money. The basic concept remains the same, however: a racehorse must finish first to win.
A slang term for a stable favorite – a horse that is considered to be the main fancy of the trainer or owner. This will often be reflected in the horse’s name (such as Lord Miles), its colouring, the fact that it is ridden by the stable jockey or a shorter price in betting than a stablemate.
The highest class of race – Group 1 – on the Flat or over jumps. These races are generally regarded as the most important in their class and are run at level weights, with allowances for age and sex. A race that is not graded is known as a handicap.
As a result of a heightened emphasis on speed in the modern sport, many horses are pushed beyond their limits and will bleed from their lungs (a condition known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage) when running at such speeds. To mask this bleeding, many of these horses are given cocktails of legal and illegal drugs to help them perform better – a practice called doping.
It is possible to place a bet on a particular horse before the day of the race, this is known as an antepost bet. These bets are often taken for major races such as the Classics or the big National Hunt races. The prices for a horse in an antepost bet will often get bigger as the day of the race approaches. This is because not every bet will be placed, and the odds on a horse will move in response to this.
The earliest recorded accounts of horse racing can be traced back to 700 B.C, when the Greek Olympic Games featured four-hitched chariots and mounted bareback racing. It later spread throughout the world, with a wide range of rules and regulations developed to govern the sport. Behind the romanticized facade of Thoroughbred horse racing, though, is a world of injuries and breakdowns, drug abuse, and slaughter. The growing awareness of these problems has prompted many people to support campaigns that aim to reform the industry. Learn more about these issues by visiting PETA’s articles on abusive training practices, overbreeding, and the transport of horses to foreign slaughterhouses. You can also read about the efforts of a number of organizations to put an end to racing’s dark side, including a new report that outlines a blueprint for reform. The report argues that the industry needs to change in order to remain viable, and notes that horseracing is losing fans and revenue and that there are too few race days for the current number of runners.