A horse race is a fast-paced contest of speed or stamina between a number of horses. The one that crosses the finish line first is declared the winner of the race. Horse races are held at a variety of distances on flat tracks, and some include jumps. The sport of horse racing has a long history, and has been practiced in civilizations across the globe for thousands of years. It has evolved from a primitive contest to a sophisticated spectacle with huge fields of runners, state-of-the-art electronic monitoring equipment and enormous sums of money on the line for bettors. But behind the romance of horse races, there is a brutal world of injuries and drug abuse that frequently leads to gruesome breakdowns and slaughter.
A major type of horse race is a handicap race. In this type of race the weights that the horses must carry are adjusted in relation to their age and sex. For example, a two-year-old, being the youngest racer, must compete with more weight than a three-year old horse. Fillies also receive a sex allowance, and must carry slightly less weight than male horses.
The equestrian sport of horse racing is very popular, and attracts millions of spectators each year. The sport is extremely fast-paced, and many races involve jumps, which add an extra element of danger for the horses involved. The horses are ridden by jockeys, who sit on them and control how fast the horses should go at certain points during the race. The horses are often trained to run at very fast speeds, and their trainers use a variety of drills to improve their pace.
During a horse race, stewards keep watch over the safety of the horses and jockeys. If a horse is injured during a race, the stewards may call the veterinarian to examine it. Injuries to the horses can include broken legs, lacerations and cuts. They can also suffer from muscle fatigue and other problems.
The rules of horse racing differ from country to country, but most are based on the original rulebook of the British Horseracing Authority. In the event that a race is tied, a photo finish is conducted, in which a group of stewards study a photograph of the finish to determine who crossed the line first. If the stewards cannot determine a winner, the dead heat rule applies. A horse that finishes in the top four is said to be “in the money.” This usually entitles the owner to a share of the purse, or prize money.