A horse race is a sporting event in which teams of jockeys, or riders, compete to win a wager placed by the audience. The wagers are parimutuel, meaning that winners get all the money wagered, minus a certain percentage deducted by the track. The bettor must correctly predict the winner of a race to make a profit. The odds are set by the bookmakers, and can be found on the tote board at the racetrack. A bettor can also place a wager called a pick 3, which requires them to choose the winning horses in three or more races.
The racing industry claims that its horses are born to run and love competing, but it is unequivocally unnatural for a horse to be forced to sprint-often under the threat of whips and illegal electric shock devices-at such high speeds that many horses will bleed from their lungs, known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. To compensate for these injuries, a cocktail of legal and illegal drugs is often administered to the animals, including Lasix or Salix, a diuretic with performance-enhancing properties.
Injuries and breakdowns are common for racehorses, and the horses are often rushed into racing while their skeletal systems are still developing, which can cause developmental disorders. The strain of running at such high speeds can also lead to cracked leg bones and hooves. A condition called roaring, which is caused by the partial paralysis of muscles that elevate the arytenoid cartilages, making it difficult for the horse to inhale, is another dangerous side effect.
While the plight of racehorses has improved somewhat over the years through improvements in medical treatment, technology and regulation, more needs to be done to ensure that horses are safe and well cared for. Until the sport embraces modern society and culture, as well as potentially a justice system that recognizes that horses are entitled to basic human rights beyond survival of the for-profit business which created them, it will continue to lose fans, revenue and race days.
A growing number of academic studies have examined the consequences of horse race reporting, with some researchers finding that when journalists frame elections as a game in which one candidate is ahead or behind, voters, candidates and the news industry itself suffer. Other studies examine how faulty analysis of opinion polls and a tendency to shortchange third-party candidates can also have negative effects.