Horse races are one of the world’s oldest and most thrilling sports. Whether you are a novice bettor or an experienced gambler, there is something for everyone in the world of horse racing. But, like many other sports, horse racing has been tarnished by scandals and safety concerns. Many would-be fans are turned off by these issues and are hesitant to give the sport a try.
The good news is that horse racing is changing for the better. Several technological advances have helped to make racing safer for horses. New technology such as thermal imaging cameras, MRI scanners, and endoscopes can detect a range of minor or major health conditions in horses before they cause significant injuries or sickness. 3D printing has also made it easier to construct casts, splints and prosthetics for injured horses.
Unlike human athletes, who are usually motivated to win races in record-breaking times, racehorses have no such incentives. The winning time for a horse is a complex combination of the horse’s own innate desire to run modified by a variety of human inputs, such as its jockey’s position in the starting gate and track conditions (the ‘going’). Similarly, race tactics can also influence the winner’s time.
For these reasons, it is not surprising that the winning time for a racehorse may not be the best measure of its performance. In addition, most horses are pushed beyond their limits and subjected to cocktails of legal and illegal drugs that mask injuries and enhance performance. As a result, many horses will bleed from their lungs when they are forced to race too hard, an illness known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage or EIPH. In order to decrease the bleeding and improve their chances of winning, horses are often given a cocktail of legal and illegal drugs including Lasix and Salix.
Fortunately, the crooks who drug and abuse their horses are being caught and prosecuted, while the majority of trainers, owners, and stables strive to provide the best possible care for their charges. Despite these positive changes, there is still much work to do to ensure that horse racing remains a sport that can be enjoyed by all.
Whether you are a fan or not, it is impossible to ignore the impact of horse racing on our culture and society. From the countless movies and songs that have been inspired by the sport to the numerous sporting events that take place around the world, horse racing has had a significant effect on our world. But, even if you do not bet or watch a race, there is no doubt that the enduring appeal of the sport is due to its unique and timeless qualities. And, as long as it continues to inspire and excite, horse racing will continue to have a powerful influence on our lives. Ahead are some of the most iconic moments in the history of horse racing.