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What Is a Horse Race?

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A horse race is a sport in which a number of horses are lined up on a track and race each other. Each of the horses has a rider who steers it throughout the course. At the end of the race, the first, second and third finishers receive an amount of prize money.

The most famous horse race is the Kentucky Derby, which takes place at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It is considered the most important race of the year for Thoroughbred horses and attracts over 100,000 spectators each day. Spectators usually wear fancy attire and drink mint juleps during the race.

In the beginning, horse races were match contests between two or at most three horses. Pressure by the public eventually led to events with larger fields of runners. The length of a race varies depending on the customs of the country in which the race is run. For example, the British Royal Ascot Gold Cup is run over a 21/2-mile (4-kilometer) course, while most American races are held on a one-mile track.

During the Civil War, Union officials promoted the breeding of thoroughbreds because cavalrymen needed fast horses to win battles against Confederate forces. By the late 1850s, horse racing was America’s top spectator sport and was drawing crowds of seventy thousand people.

After the war, however, the popularity of horse racing waned, and the sport is currently struggling to compete with professional and collegiate team sports. Many critics attribute this decline to the lack of a marketing effort, and others blame it on a failure to embrace television.

A company that uses a horse race strategy may emphasize competition for the top position, which can motivate individuals to work hard and strive for success. Companies that do this may also promote a culture of cooperation and collaboration. They may even reward employees with stock options as a way of encouraging employee loyalty and retention.

However, the horse race metaphor runs the risk of emphasizing beauty — some horses are gorgeous animals — and neglecting differences on issues of substance. It also runs the risk of promoting quick polls in key swing states, which are expensive to conduct and may cause the results to fluctuate unnecessarily. This election cycle has seemed less like a horse race than past ones have. However, there is still much to be decided in the coming weeks and months.

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