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What is a Horse Race?

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A horse race is a contest of speed among horses, ridden by jockeys or pulled by sulkies and drivers. It is a form of formal competition and is an essential part of the Olympic Games. It is a popular pastime for many people and has a long history. It is not uncommon for races to be won by a nose or a hair’s width. The term has also been used to describe nail-biting elections, and the 2016 campaign has felt a lot like a horse race.

As a result, racing officials flooded the track with veterinarians and expensive imaging equipment, screening the equine athletes for any preexisting conditions. During morning workouts, vets would use binoculars to study the horses’ movements on the track. Thoroughbreds, which can weigh up to twelve hundred pounds, have delicate ankles.

Ultimately, the Breeders’ Cup officials were convinced that they had done all they could to ensure that the event would run smoothly. The eleven starters broke cleanly from the gate. War of Will took the lead, followed by McKinzie and Mongolian Groom. At the clubhouse turn, it appeared that a three-way battle for victory was imminent.

But then, as the horses approached the far turn, it became clear that War of Will was tiring. The big chestnut colt, who had hugged the inside rail all the way to the stretch, was losing ground on the leaders. In the midst of this, McKinzie and Mongolian Groom were pulling away with huge strides and hypnotic smoothness.

The race was a classic. As the horses accelerated, the crowd began to rise and chant curses in Spanish and Chinese. Some were for the jockeys; others were directed at the horses themselves. The cursing became louder as the horses hit the homestretch. But the horses kept going.

In a horse race, the goal is to place a bet on a particular horse or group of horses to win the total amount wagered. A bet on a single horse is called an across-the-board bet, and a bet on two or more horses to finish first through fifth are called show bets. The total monetary payout for a winning bet is known as the purse.

The earliest horse races were organized sometime before the seventh century B.C.E. The sport grew into an official event at the Olympic Games in 700 to 40 B.C.E. The sport drew heavily from ancient Greek culture, and the game spread to neighboring countries. In Italy, it is still an important tradition and is celebrated each July 2 and August 16 at the Palio di Siena, where a horse and rider represent one of seventeen Contrade (city wards) in the spirited pageant. The game later developed into the modern sport of horse racing. Today, there are more than forty different types of horse races worldwide. A race is typically held over distances ranging from two to ten miles. Some are flat and short, while others feature sharp turns and hills.

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