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What You Need to Know About Horse Racing

horse race

Horse racing is one of the world’s oldest sports. Its popularity has ebbed and flowed with economic prosperity and depression, war and peace.

It is a sport in which horses are raced by bareback riders. The races were originally held to demonstrate a horse’s speed and endurance to potential buyers.


Horse racing is a centuries-old sport that involves a contest of speed and stamina between two horses. It has been practiced in many civilizations, including Ancient Greece, Rome, Babylon, Syria and Arabia. It also plays a role in myth and legend, such as the contest between the steeds of Odin and Hrungnir in Norse mythology.

Early race records show that horses may have participated in informal racing as early as 1610. These races were not conducted on a track, but in the streets. This led to pedestrians being run over, so the natural next step was building a track.

By 1730, Charles II, who reigned from 1660 to 1785, had established the King’s Plate races. He also started Newmarket as the center of English racing.


Horse races are held in a variety of formats and have different rules and regulations. The most common are stakes and allowance races, but there are also handicap and turf races. These races can be conducted by a number of race tracks.

Stakes races are considered the pinnacle of thoroughbred racing in North America. They are the top rung of the class ladder, but horses must work their way up through several lower levels before competing in them.

Stakes races are usually restricted to specific gender or age groups. They are also typically run over a wide range of distances. The racing secretary assigns weights designed to level the playing field among entrants.


In order to compete in horse racing, horses must meet a set of rules. These include a minimum age, weight allocation and training. Prize money is distributed based on the performance of each horse. Some races are more prestigious than others, and winning one can boost a horse’s prestige and breeding value.

Each owner who enters a horse into a race is required to contribute to a pool that is used to fund the purse for each race. The money from this pool is then awarded to the first five finishers. The APHC also awards champion running horses in 13 categories. These winners receive a trophy.


Prize money in horse racing can be a huge draw for owners and jockeys. The money is determined by the class of race and can vary widely. Generally, the higher the class of the race, the more prize money is offered.

The main source of horse race prize money is from the pari-mutuel system. This tax on wagering is used to pay for overhead expenses, maintenance costs for the track, and employee wages.

In addition, a number of owners contribute through their entry fees. These contributions are then added to the stake pool. Most tracks also offer starter’s bonuses for horses that do not finish first or second in a race.


Horses in horse races are susceptible to injuries due to their line of work. These injuries may be sustained in the form of fractures, soft tissue injuries, or puncture wounds. A veterinarian can treat these injuries using a combination of medication and physical therapy.

Tendons, which connect muscle to bone, are frequently injured in race horses. The most common type of tendon injury is the superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT). These injuries are usually treated with box rest and anti-inflammatory medications.

Another injury that commonly occurs in horses is the suspensory ligament. This ligament runs down the back of the cannon bone and divides into two branches that attach to the inside and outside sesamoid bones on the back of the fetlock.


Horses have stood by human beings as companions, and they deserve to be treated with respect. Sadly, for every racehorse euthanized due to a racing injury, dozens more are sent to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico to be killed for meat.

Slaughtered horses are a byproduct of an industry that is blind to its failings. From the 200 on-course deaths in Britain each year, to the poor provision for horses after they retire from racing, this is an exploitative and greedy business.

Despite efforts to ban horse slaughter—including legislation such as the Save America’s Forgotten Equines Act—promotion of this cruel sport continues. Currently, the law only covers New York state racing horses, but many more equines end up in kill pens.

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