A race in which a horse is staked against others for a share of prize money. There are three main ways to bet money on a race: bet to win, bet to place, and bet to show. When you bet to win, you are betting on the horse to come in first place. When you bet to place, you are betting on the horse to finish in either second or third place. When you bet to show, you are betting on the horse to come to in any of the first three places (and sometimes fifth and sixth).
A white plastic rail is used to mark out a track on a racecourse. The rails closest to the grandstand are called the stands rail and those far from it are called the far rail. A horse ‘on the rails’ is running close to them, which can help it keep a straight line in the finish of a race. A horse that has ‘grabbed the rails’ is one that has manoeuvred itself into a position to be close to them.
In races over a long distance, there are often several turns and the horses have to take different lines around them. The horse that is quickest to make the turn is said to be on the lead. The horse that is slowest to take the turn and loses ground is called the laggard.
The most important races in which a horse is entered are known as Group and Graded races. The former are run on the flat and the latter over jumps. Typically, the ‘best’ horses are entered in these races. The best horses are also entered in the Triple Crown series – which comprises the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
While many people watch horse racing with the romanticized idea that it is a sport for noble, intelligent animals, behind the scenes there is a world of injuries and drug abuse. Horses are forced to run at such exorbitant speeds that they frequently sustain horrific injuries and, if they are old enough, can experience hemorrhage from their lungs.
Objections are raised when a jockey believes that another rider is interfering with his or her mount. Typically, the stewards will investigate the incident and make a ruling.
A’sloppy track’ refers to a track that is wet and covered with puddles, but not yet’muddy’. A muddy track makes it more difficult for horses to maintain their footing and can lead to an increased chance of slipping.