Horse racing has long attracted fans enthralled by the thrill of watching huge animals with huge strides thunder down a lightning-fast track. Behind the romanticized facade, however, lies a world of injuries, drug abuse and slaughter.
Often, horses die from the exorbitant physical stress of the sport, and they die young. Despite this, the for-profit industry has long been plagued by a lack of regulation, transparency and willingness to change. The deaths of Eight Belles, Medina Spirit and other horses in recent years has prompted a review of the sport.
A race is a competition in which horses are ridden by jockeys and are tethered to poles (poles being placed in the middle of each lane). The object is to be the first horse across the finish line. The winning jockey is rewarded with money, usually in the form of cash, tickets or other prizes.
The sport of horse racing is popular worldwide and has a variety of betting options, including placing bets on individual horses to win or place and accumulator bets in which multiple bet types are combined. The most common method of betting on a horse race is to bet on who will cross the finish line first. The other main types of bets are predicting which horse will win, the total number of horses who will finish in the top three places, and the top five or six positions.
Many races are held at major venues in the United States and around the globe. These include major stakes races such as the Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby that make up the American Triple Crown. These events attract large crowds, and they also serve as a forum for betting.
In addition to major stakes races, smaller and more informal contests are frequently held. These include local races and handicaps, which are races in which the handicapper assigns weights to horses. The higher the weight, the more difficult it is for a horse to win.
Another type of race is the quarter horse race, which is a race for horses that are faster than Thoroughbreds but slower than other breeds of domesticated livestock. Typically, these races are run at a distance of between 100 and 870 yards.
A favored racehorse is one that draws a crowd of bettors and the attention of the media. In the past, a favorite was Seabiscuit, who won many major races and garnered the support of fans who rooted for him by name rather than by his number. Today, there are fewer such crowd-pleasers, and horse racing is losing spectators, revenue and entries in the face of growing awareness of the dark side of the sport. PETA’s groundbreaking investigations have exposed cruel training practices for young horses, widespread drug use and the transport of American racehorses to slaughterhouses abroad. We invite you to learn more about these issues and take a stand for reform.