The Pros and Cons of Horse Racing

Horse races are competitive events in which horses pull sulkies (drawn carriages) or jockeys ride them to compete against one another for entertainment and gambling purposes. Winning racers receive an amount of money called the purse as prizes.

A horse’s ability to run is determined by its genetic makeup and training regimen, with more advanced genetics making for faster running speeds that could result in wins at races. A racetrack record can include speed, distance covered and number of wins or losses.

Handicap horse races are among the most popular forms of competition, in which horses carry different amounts of weight to compete against each other. Horse race secretaries assign these weights in an attempt to ensure all horses have an equal chance at victory – although good horses often opt out due to carrying greater burdens.

Watching horse races may seem like a leisurely pursuit, similar to watching any sporting event on TV. Yet this form of recreation does have its drawbacks and critics have voiced concerns that horseracing could be too risky for horses themselves.

Early after World War II, horse racing was one of America’s top five spectator sports. By 2004, however, its popularity had diminished as poor demographics prevented it from competing effectively against major professional and collegiate team sports for attention.

Though horse deaths have decreased, the industry has made progress toward improving track safety and horse welfare. Most tracks now provide padded barriers to protect horses from impact; many undergo extensive vet examinations prior to running in races; the number of deaths at Santa Anita led to reforms such as necropsy of all track deaths for analysis of contributing factors; etc.

Horses must run at speeds so fast that they often suffer injuries, such as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (the pooling of blood in the lungs). To protect their wellbeing and avoid serious injuries like this one, most are given legal and illegal drugs to alleviate pain and fatigue and enhance performance.

The author of this article has covered high school and college sports as well as journalism at local newspapers, while writing extensively about horse racing – something he considers his “passion”. Working-class fans who can often be heard cursing in Spanish or Chinese when their horses don’t perform are among his strongest admirers as these curses add ritualism that can be absent elsewhere in sports.