A horse race is a sporting event in which horses compete against each other for a purse of prize money. They are trained and ridden by jockeys, who mount them before the start of the race. They are forced to sprint at high speeds, which puts them at risk of serious injuries and even death from pulmonary hemorrhage. Many are also subjected to cocktails of legal and illegal drugs to mask injuries and enhance their performance.
Behind the romanticized facade of the Thoroughbred racing industry lies a world of drugs, injuries, and gruesome breakdowns. The sport can no longer afford to ignore the plight of its horses. It is time for reform.
The first step must be an industry-wide wraparound aftercare solution for all ex-racehorses, one that provides them with a safe retirement and a financially secure future. Otherwise, the slaughter pipeline will continue to hemorrhage horses into an existence that is hell for them in the purest sense of the word.
A horse that is considered to be the stable’s main fancy is referred to as the favourite. This is usually evident by the fact that it wears the first colours of its owner, is ridden by the trainer’s regular jockey and/or has shorter odds in the betting than a stablemate.
In handicap races each runner is allocated a certain weight which it must carry according to its official handicap rating. If it is carrying more than its ‘true’ handicap weight, it is said to be out of the handicap.
It is possible to place a bet on a specific horse in a race prior to the day of the event by placing an antepost bet. This will be priced at a higher figure than you would expect to see on the raceday and is based on the fact that horses can be ‘claimed’ by other owners/trainers for a specified price after the event.
In the USA, Group and Graded races are the highest tier of racing. They are the most prestigious races of the year, and are held at the top tracks in the country including Churchill Downs and Saratoga Race Course.
Those who have spent years as an exercise rider at the elite level of thoroughbred horse racing know what it means to see horses race, to work closely with them every day and to watch them train. The recently published video by animal rights group PETA that shines a light on the treatment of world-class racehorses at two of the most prestigious training facilities in America is a thunderclap of truth. It confirms what the vast majority of those who have spent their lives in horse racing already knew: The sport is not a fair or just business for the animals who are its lifeblood.