Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in the world. Although there is no certain date of its origin, archeological evidence indicates that horse races occurred in the Middle East and North Africa. In the Roman Empire, public entertainment in the form of horse races was well organized. Archeological records also indicate that racing was held in Babylon and Persia.
Racing has evolved into a huge public entertainment business. It is known for its speed and stamina and the thrill of watching a large field of runners. Today, there are several prestigious races, such as the Preakness, Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby. However, the history of horse racing goes much further.
During the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), the sport of gambling and horse racing was common. A new drug, growth hormones, was developed and powerful painkillers were used. As the drug industry became more sophisticated, a new kind of doping was introduced. Among these drugs was Lasix, a diuretic that causes horses to flush epic amounts of urine. These horses were prone to pulmonary bleeding, which is unsightly and can be dangerous.
The American Thoroughbred is a type of race horse with a reputation for stamina and speed. This breed was bred in the United States for more than two centuries, until the Civil War. Despite its success, the ban on wagering on horse races in California was instituted in 1909. Instead of promoting the welfare of the animal, the ban was used to suppress the criminal element. After a ballot measure was passed in 1933, the ban was lifted.
Today, horse racing takes place in a variety of countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, Venezuela, and South Africa. While there are differences in rules, the overall concept has remained unchanged over the years.
There are three basic kinds of race: sprints, dash races and longer stay races. Sprints are shorter races that usually take place over a distance of 440 yards to 2 miles. Dash races require a skillful rider and a lot of judgment. To win any of these, fast acceleration is required. If a race is called a sprint, the first two horses to cross the finish line are declared the winners.
Handicaps, or weights, are set by the track or organization that controls the race. Weights vary from one horse to the next, depending on their ability. Typically, the younger horses are given allowances, and the older horses are penalized.
There are also special allowances for fillies and mares. They are allowed to run against males. In a handicap race, the goal is to make all horses equal.
One of the biggest changes in the history of horse racing has been the introduction of electronic monitoring equipment. MRI scanners and thermal imaging cameras have been incorporated into the preparation and post-race tracking of horses. Other devices include 3D printing of casts for injured horses and splints.
The Jockey Club, the breeding registry for thoroughbreds in North America, aims to establish fairness among all horses and to end “doping” in its race meetings. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) praised Stronach for standing up to abusive horsemen.