Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in human history. It dates all the way back to the Greek Olympic Games of 700 to 40 B.C., where riders competed in four-hitched chariot races and mounted bareback races. Later, the sport spread to China, Persia and Arabia. Today, horses are raced in over 100 countries. While horse racing has maintained many of its traditions and rules over the centuries, it has also benefitted from a number of technological advances in recent years. These include thermal imaging cameras that can detect when a horse is overheating post-race, MRI scanners and endoscopes that can spot a variety of minor and major health issues, and 3D printing technology that can produce casts, splints, and prosthetics for injured horses.
In addition to the technological advances, there have been significant changes in horse racing since the 2008 deaths of Eight Belles and Medina Spirit. The sport has become more open and competitive, with horses competing in a wide range of distances and races. The industry has also come to realize that the deaths of their horses, due to exorbitant physical stress and the underlying causes, have to be addressed in order for it to retain its credibility as a legitimate, ethical, and morally just enterprise.
Despite these efforts, there are still serious concerns about the sport. Injuries and breakdowns are commonplace, and horses often die under the intense and unnatural pressure of competition. Horses that are used for racing are pushed far beyond their limits, subjected to cocktails of legal and illegal drugs designed to mask injuries and enhance performance, and forced to race at breakneck speeds in close quarters with other horses. Injuries can be severe, and some horses are left with broken legs, shattered spines, ruptured ligaments and ripped lungs, all of which can lead to death.
In an attempt to address these concerns, the horse racing industry has developed a series of safety regulations and procedures. It is these protocols and policies, along with improved training methods and better care for horses, that are expected to improve the safety of both the horses and their handlers. In addition, horse racing has embraced technological advancements in the form of data analytics, digital technology, and social media. This has helped to create a more interactive and engaging experience for fans, as well as increase betting participation and overall fan satisfaction. These improvements are also expected to increase the legitimacy of the sport and make it more attractive to new audiences. The increased visibility and accessibility of horse racing has led to an uptick in interest from prospective investors, as the industry seeks to diversify its revenue streams. This increase in interest has prompted horse racing to move away from its traditional gambling and sponsorship models, and towards more modern and reputable practices.