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What is a Horse Race?

horse race

A race for horses in which each participant carries a set amount of weight, typically based on the horse’s pedigree and/or its performances. The goal is to finish the race in first place and win a prize, which is awarded to the owner of the winning horse. The term ‘horse race’ may also be used to describe a competition in which the participants are human, such as a football match or marathon.

A horse race is an endurance test of physical and mental fitness for both the jockey and the mount. In addition, the heightened adrenaline produced by the sport can make it a dangerous activity, and there have been a number of catastrophic injuries to horses and riders over the years. The most common causes of fatal accidents are a fall and a collision.

Many horses are pushed to their limits in order to produce record-breaking times. As a result, they frequently bleed from their lungs during races (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage) and require treatment with drugs such as Lasix. Such medications mask the pain of injury, but they also have performance-enhancing properties.

There are essentially three types of people in horse racing: the crooks who dangerously drug their horses, the dupes who labor under the fantasy that the sport is broadly fair and honest, and those in the middle who know it’s more crooked than it ought to be but who still don’t do all they can to fix it. The story that broke this week involving trainer Steve Asmussen and his top assistant, Scott Blasi, is a thunderclap for those in the latter camp.

antepost bet: A bet placed on a horse before the day of a race. A horse’s antepost price is typically much higher than its actual odds on the day of the race.

closing time: The final furlong of a race (five on the Flat, six over jumps). The final section of the track is usually a long straight with a long home stretch.

cup: A type of race for two-year-olds that takes place over a distance of at least a mile and up to and including one and a quarter miles. A Cup winner is a racehorse that wins a Classic.

pin firing: The use of a thermocautery device to increase blood flow to the hoof, supposedly to promote healing.

post position: A specific spot along the racecourse, which differs according to the distance of a race. A horse’s starting position is indicated by a number, or symbol, in front of its name on the official race chart.

patrol judge(s): Officials who observe the progress of a race from various vantage points around the track.

pole(s): Markers at measured distances around the racecourse designating a position from the finish, eg a quarter pole is a quarter of a mile from the start.

A bet in which the player tries to predict both the winner and runner-up of a race in the correct order. The most commonly used exotic wagering combinations are a straight forecast and a double forecast.

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