What is a Horse Race?

A horse race is a contest, usually a sporting event, in which humans ride horses to compete. The contest is usually conducted over a set distance and participants wager on the outcome. The term is also used as a metaphor for a closely contested political contest or any other close competition. For example, a pundit might say that the election is a horse race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The phrase is also widely used in sports journalism to refer to a tight competition between two teams or players.

The equine industry promotes racing as an exciting, exhilarating sport. But in reality, it’s unequivocally unnatural and cruel to the animals who are forced to participate. Animal welfare advocates, such as the group Horseracing Wrongs, say that horse racing is akin to slavery and should be banned. The sport relies on the exploitation of horses, who are drugged, whipped, trained and raced too young, and pushed to their limits. Thousands of these animals are killed every year, according to PETA. But even those who are not killed suffer from the stress and strain of racing, which is often a short-lived career for most thoroughbreds.

While it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact origin of horse races, historians believe they began in the 12th century, when English knights returning from the Crusades brought swift Arab stallions back to their home country. These were then bred to English mares, creating horses with speed and endurance. The nobility would wager privately on match races between these champions. By the 16th century, horse racing was so popular that Oliver Cromwell outlawed it, along with gambling, wrestling and other sports he deemed sinful.

A horse’s physical appearance, especially its imposing size and graceful movement, can make it a crowd favorite at the track. In addition, the horse’s jockey is a key component of its appeal. The skill of the jockey is demonstrated through his use of the whip to propel the horse and guide it down the stretch toward victory. The dazzling array of colors and shapes of the horses is a spectacle, and the hypnotic rhythm of the horses’ steps draws tens of thousands of humans to the tracks.

During the race, bettors place wagers on a horse’s chances of winning by placing a Win (first), Place (finish first or second), or Show (first, second, or third) bet. Other bets include the daily double, the exacta, and the quinella.

In recent years, researchers have begun to study the impact of horse race coverage in news media. They have found that when journalists focus mainly on who’s winning and losing instead of reporting on the policy issues at stake, voters, candidates, and the news industry itself suffer. The practice may be particularly damaging for third-party and independent candidates, whose chances of winning are slim compared to the leading Democratic and Republican contenders.

Posted in: Gambling Post