What is a Horse Race?

A horse race is a contest of speed and stamina between two or more horses. It has evolved from a primitive contest between horses for a wager to a huge global business and spectacle involving thousands of runners, elaborate electronic monitoring equipment, and immense sums of money, but its fundamental concept remains the same: the fastest horse wins.

To qualify for a horse race, a horse must have a pedigree (parentage) that meets certain criteria. For instance, in flat races, the horse’s sire and dam must both be purebred. In jumps racing, a horse must be sufficiently experienced to compete at the appropriate level. The horse must also be sufficiently healthy to compete.

During a horse race, the horse’s jockey will use his or her hands to guide the animal along a course laid out on a dirt or grass track. The horse may also be guided by other means, such as a mechanical device attached to the animal’s head. The horse must be able to maintain a consistent speed throughout the race, and it must not be injured during the course of the event.

The first horses to finish the race are called winners, and their winnings are calculated according to a number of factors. These include the distance of the race, the time taken to complete the race, and the odds of a particular horse finishing first or second. In addition, the winning horse’s jockey and owner receive significant prize money.

In the United States, most horse races are run over distances between two and four miles. Shorter races are known as sprints, while longer races are referred to as routes or staying races. The winner of a route or staying race is generally determined by the ability to accelerate at the end of the race, which requires quick acceleration and a high level of stamina.

To increase the chances of winning a race, many bettors place bets on multiple horses at once. This type of betting is known as accumulator bets and can be done online or at traditional betting windows. In addition to placing bets on individual horses, bettors can also place accumulator bets on different race outcomes such as the top three places or the winner of the entire event.

As the race progressed, it became apparent that Mongolian Groom was tiring. The grizzled dark-blue coat was rippling with sweat, but the beast’s jockey, Abel Cedillo, a journeyman from Guatemala, wasn’t convinced it was enough.

As a result, he decided to administer the drug furosemide, better known as Lasix, to the horse. The chemical is a diuretic that increases blood flow to the heart and lungs, helping a horse overcome pain and fatigue. It is illegal to use performance-enhancing drugs during a race, but the Jockey Club is conducting a three-year study of Lasix to determine whether it is actually safe for horses to take on race day. Animal welfare activists are calling for an outright ban on the drug, but some in the industry believe that more self-regulation is the solution.