A horse race is a form of athletic competition between horses. The goal is for the horses to complete a specified number of laps around a track or field. It is a popular sport around the world. In the United States, races include the Kentucky Derby, Belmont Stakes, the Preakness, and the Triple Crown. Internationally, a few notable races are the Melbourne Cup, the Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini, the Arima Memorial, and the Sydney Cup.
There are many races and types of racing, and the dates and places of these events vary. However, there are many historical traditions in the sport. Some of the most important races are located in North America, England, France, Brazil, Australia, and South Africa.
In the United States, races are held at the Santa Anita Race Course, which was built in 1935. Racing began in North America in 1664, when the British occupied New Amsterdam. One of the first races was the Santa Anita Handicap, a $100,000 purse race. Among the richest races in the United States are the Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby.
Horses running in a horse race are prone to injuries, including broken bones, ligaments, and tendons. Their lower legs are also very strained by the hard pounding of the race. Therefore, it is important to encourage a tired horse to finish the race. Many horsemen have been known to abuse these animals, and PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) has made a stand against such abuse.
Horses are eligible for the race based on their age and qualification. They must have been born in a particular country, sex, and have performed well in previous races. Often, handicapping is used to make all horses equal. This ensures that all horses have a chance to compete and win.
Since the Civil War, speed has become a common goal for racers. Dash racing requires a skillful rider and judgment to outrun opponents.
In addition to the classic age of three years, many races now accept horses that are four years old. Two-year-olds carry fewer pounds than older horses.
Throughout the 19th century, races were governed by rules that required horses to be certified as to their age and to have certificates of origin. This was done in order to avoid horses being injected with illegal substances.
After the Civil War, the American Thoroughbred continued, although new drugs were developed that would affect the body’s ability to fight off illnesses. Antipsychotics, blood doping, and growth hormones were used. As these medications became available, racing officials could no longer keep up.
As the demand for more public racing increased, open races with larger fields of runners were created. These were referred to as “sponsored” races. For example, the Melbourne Cup was inaugurated in 1861.
A recent trend in horse racing is the use of 3D printing to create prosthetics and splints for injured horses. X-rays and MRI scanners are available to detect major health issues before they deteriorate.