A horse race is a competition in which horses are guided by jockeys through a course of obstacles, usually on a dirt or grass racing surface. The goal of the race is for the horse to reach the finish line first. The event is popular worldwide and attracts a large number of fans each year. The sport can be very dangerous for both the horses and their jockeys. Injuries such as cracked leg bones and hooves are common in horse races. The sport can also be very expensive for the owners of the horses and the jockeys.
In the United States, betting on horse races is a popular pastime that attracts a large number of fans each race day. There are a variety of bets that can be placed on the outcome of a horse race including win, place, and show bets. In addition to placing individual bets, fans can also make accumulator bets which pay out depending on the number of horses that cross the finish line in the correct order.
Despite the improvement in safety equipment, horse race injuries and breakdowns are still common. Most of the time, these horses are not killed, but are unable to complete the race due to serious physical damage. This is especially true in horse races that take place on fast tracks.
The emergence of a large number of independent nonprofit rescue groups and individuals have helped the sport address some of these problems, but the industry remains plagued by the lack of an adequately funded, fully comprehensive, industry-sponsored wraparound aftercare solution for ex-racehorses. Without this, the industry’s horses face a life of horror in the slaughter pipeline.
Even so, the majority of racing’s owners and trainers do not abuse their animals. In fact, they are some of the most honorable people in an industry filled with crooks and dupes.
There are essentially three types of people in the world of horse racing: the cheaters who do dangerous and illegal things to their horses; the innocents who labor under a fantasy that the industry is broadly fair and honest; and the far-too-silent majority of the middle — those folks who know that the industry is more crooked than it ought to be, but who do not give all they can to right the wrongs.
The death of Eight Belles and the horrific deaths of Medina Spirit have sparked a reckoning in the world of horse racing. It is time to move beyond the mere survival of this for-profit business and begin to consider whether it belongs in a society, culture, and justice system that recognizes that all creatures have fundamental rights, not least the right to a life free from cruelty. To this end, racing needs to begin by addressing its lack of an adequately funded industry-sponsored wraparound aftercare solution for all horses leaving the track. Then, and only then, can it start to improve the lives of its horses. Until then, we will continue to remember the horses who died in this terrible sport: Eight Belles, Medina Spirit, Keepthename, Creative Plan, and Laoban.