A horse race is a thrilling event for spectators, but it’s a cruel and dangerous world behind the romanticized facade. The sport is full of drug abuse, gruesome breakdowns, and slaughter. The horse must be pushed to sprint for long distances, often in close quarters with other horses. It’s not a good environment for prey animals, and the stress is often compounded by the use of whips and other equipment such as electric shockers.
While the sport has evolved and changed dramatically in recent years, many of its rules and traditions remain intact. Nevertheless, technological advances have dramatically impacted racing, especially in the area of safety. While horse racing has always been a hazardous sport, modern technology has helped to increase both safety and the likelihood of winning. Thermal imaging cameras can detect overheating, MRIs and X-rays can pick up a variety of minor or major health issues, and 3D printing is now capable of producing casts, splints, and prosthetics for injured or ailing horses.
One of the most significant innovations has been the introduction of race-day Lasix. During the race, this diuretic is injected into the horses’ veins to prevent pulmonary bleeding that can occur from hard running. A boldface “L” is noted on a race program as a reminder to the trainer to administer Lasix to each horse. The drug’s secondary effect of causing the horses to expel epic amounts of water can make a race even more difficult for both horse and jockey.
The race to decide the winner of a horse race is governed by a set of rules and regulations, which are designed to promote fairness, security, and public confidence in the sport. However, the industry has a long way to go before it can earn back its tarnished image. The most important step is to protect the horses, which should be a top priority for the billions of dollars that racehorses bring in each year. The industry must adopt an aggressive and dramatic overhaul of the status quo for medicating and training these equine athletes, and invite federal oversight.
A horse’s long and short pastern bones are connected by a large ligament. Most pacers wear hobbles to prevent them from breaking stride when they run.
During a horse race, the patrol judge(s) observe the progress of the competitors from different vantage points around the track. They then determine the order of finish. The winners receive prize money, which is a portion of the total amount wagered on a race. Generally, the higher the place, the more prize money a winner receives. The remainder of the prize money is shared by the second- and third-place finishers. A person who bets on a specific horse or combination of horses to win the race.