The term horse race refers to an event in which horses compete against one another for a purse of money. The sport of horse racing originated in Europe and became popular in the United States during the Civil War. The war helped promote the breeding of thoroughbreds because cavalrymen need fast horses for battle. Currently, horse races are held at many tracks across the country. Some of these events are organized competitions known as stakes races, which offer more prize money than regular races. The horses participating in a horse race are called runners or starters, and the person who is responsible for each runner is the trainer or jockey.
A horse’s pedigree, which includes its parents’ and grandparents’ names, is important for qualifying to run in a horse race. A thoroughbred’s pedigree must be registered with a breed association in order to receive a racing license. The horse must also have a valid certificate of ownership from its owner. In addition, the runner must be at least three years old in order to participate in most races.
There are several different types of horse races, including handicap races and steeplechases. In handicap races, the weights that each runner carries are adjusted according to the age of the horse. Generally, younger horses have to carry more weight than older ones. Additionally, there are sex allowances and handicaps for fillies and males.
Horse racing is an extremely lucrative business for owners, trainers, jockeys and the track. However, the industry’s high turnover rate has raised concerns about horse welfare, especially for foals, horses that leave racing early, or at any stage in their career. The conditions of thousands of horses who enter and exit the racing industry each year raise serious questions about the overall welfare of these animals.
During a horse race, the trainer and jockey are tasked with keeping the horses in the best possible condition. Various injuries and illnesses can affect the health of a racehorse, and some may even be fatal.
A common injury to a horse is laminitis, an infection of the hoof that causes the foot to become inflamed and painful. This can lead to severe deterioration of the hoof, and eventually cause the horse to be pulled from the race. Other injuries include splints, bowed tendons, and pulled suspensory ligaments.
There are a variety of betting options available on horse races, including parimutuel wagering, in which winning bettors receive all the money wagered by all other bettors, less a percentage taken out by the track (Take Out). Other popular betting methods include win/place and exacta bets. There are also exotic bets, such as the pick 3, 4 and 5 wheel, which are a combination of multiple bets.