The Horse Race and Betting

horse race

The horse race is a contest of speed between horses that are either ridden by jockeys or pulled in sulkies by drivers. It is one of the world’s most famous sports, and betting on it has made it a hugely popular activity. It is a very dangerous sport and, although many people take it seriously, there are many accidents. Some of these accidents are serious and have resulted in the death of riders or sulkie drivers. Others are more minor but still have the potential to injure or kill people. The vast majority of the horse races in the world are run under strict rules set out by governing bodies. These rules are meant to ensure the safety of participants.

In addition to these rules, most governing bodies also have rules about how the horses are to be trained and treated in order to ensure that they can handle the rigours of racing. This includes rules governing how far they can travel between training sessions, how often they must be exercised and even what they are fed. These rules vary across the world, but are generally very similar.

For decades, nearly all thoroughbreds in the United States have been given race-day Lasix, a diuretic that is noted on the race form with a boldface “L.” The drug’s function is to prevent the pulmonary bleeding that hard running can cause in some horses, and its side effect of unloading epic amounts of urine (twenty or thirty pounds’ worth) makes it a very useful tool in the veterinary arsenal.

It would be difficult to imagine a more intense scene than the grandstand at Santa Anita on race day, where thousands of human spectators crowd in and stare down at banks of TV screens to watch the eleven horses pound up and down the track, their movements hypnotic and precise. The horses are drenched in the sun, and their jogs and sprints spit dirt into the air. Their ears are pricked up and their mouths opened. Their tails flutter and their nostrils flare, and they seem to exhale their exertion into the warm spring air.

Many of the spectators have bet on the horse that they believe will win. This is a common practice in the sport, and for some attendees it is the sole reason they attend the event. Some of the betting is done through an electronic system known as a bookmaker, while other bettors place their wagers directly with the track operator. Bettors can also bet online on a horse race, and this option is becoming increasingly popular.