A horse race is a sport that involves a jockey riding a horse around a course, leaping any hurdles (if present) and crossing the finish line before any other horses and riders. A photo finish occurs when two or more horses cross the finish line simultaneously, making it impossible to determine a victor with the naked eye. Those that win a race receive prize money. The first place winner usually receives the most prize money, followed by second and third place winners. Those that place fourth and beyond do not receive any prize money. A steward may declare a dead heat if no one is able to determine who won the race with a quick examination of a snapshot of the finish line.
The sport of horse racing has benefited from many technological advances in recent years. Horses and jockeys are now subjected to the highest safety standards on and off the racetrack. Safety measures include thermal imaging cameras, MRI scanners, X-rays and endoscopes. Additionally, 3D printing technology is used to produce casts, splints and prosthetics for injured horses. The industry has also begun using a more sophisticated drug-testing system.
However, despite these technological improvements, the horse racing industry still faces numerous challenges. It is losing its share of the market with a shrinking population of fans, and is facing declining revenues, race days and entries. Additionally, growing awareness of the dark side of horse racing has fueled demand for alternative forms of entertainment.
Moreover, animal rights activists are continuing to expose the cruelty of the industry. Horses used for racing are pushed to sprint at speeds that often cause injuries and painful breakdowns. They are often whipped and sometimes subjected to illegal electric shock devices. In addition, they are forced to drink cocktails of legal and illegal drugs designed to mask their injuries and enhance their performance. In fact, horses who are pushed too hard and do not perform well can bleed from their lungs, a condition known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.
Behind the romanticized facade of Thoroughbred horse racing is a world of abuse, drugs and gruesome breakdowns that ultimately leads to slaughter. Click here to read about PETA’s groundbreaking investigations into abusive training practices for young horses, drug use and the transport of American-bred racehorses to foreign slaughterhouses.