Horse racing is a beloved pastime for countless people, and it has left a mark on our culture and history. While the sport has been around for centuries, it continues to evolve as technology advances. From thermal imaging cameras to MRI scanners, and from 3D printing prosthetics for injured horses to a more scientific approach to training, technological advances are transforming the way horse races are conducted.
One of the most popular aspects of horse races is betting on the outcome of a race. Fans can place a bet on the winner of a single race or an entire day’s worth of races, or even accumulator bets in which they bet on multiple horses to finish in the top three. In addition to placing bets, many attendees attend races to watch the horses perform, and many are captivated by the beauty of the animals.
While Thoroughbred horse racing has a reputation for being glamorous, behind the scenes is a world of injuries, drug abuse and gruesome breakdowns. Most racehorses are forced to run — often under the threat of whips and illegal electric-shocking devices — at speeds that cause them to sustain serious, sometimes fatal injuries, including hemorrhage from their lungs. The only way these horses can survive is with the help of a few dedicated individuals who network, fundraise and work tirelessly to save them.
In the United States, racehorses usually start in flat races as juveniles, then move on to hurdling and steeplechasing. In Europe, jumps races are typically open to a wide range of horses and age groups. These races are more intense and challenging than flat races because the horses must navigate fences and bridges, often at a gallop. A skilled jockey can often gain an advantage by reading the horse’s movements and using his or her judgment in coaxing a few extra yards out of the animal.
The classic horse races include the Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes, and Kentucky Derby, which together make up the American Triple Crown series. These events are considered the pinnacle of the sport. In addition to attracting high purses, they have also helped to shape horse-racing laws and regulations in countries around the globe. The emergence of modern technological advancements has transformed the sport, but the horses remain at its heart. As horse racing embraces the new era, it must ensure that horses are safe both on and off the track. For example, the use of thermal imaging cameras can detect signs of heat exhaustion in horses and prevent them from becoming ill or injured during a race. Moreover, MRI scanners can pick up health issues like lameness or bone injury early and provide the horse with proper treatment. In addition, a new type of statistical analysis has been developed to better predict the winning chances of horses in a race. This new method can help to give more novel or unusual candidates an edge and reduce the partisanship that has plagued some races.