Horse racing is an equestrian sport in which horses compete in flat and jump races over various distances. Horses are tethered at starting stalls or, for steeple chases and hurdle races, from a flag (requiring special permission). The aim is to win prize money offered by race organizers; those most successful at winning usually overcome odds to finish in first place and become popular among spectators; one such famed competitor was Seabiscuit who attracted great numbers of viewers.
Horse races are highly regulated events. Horses must meet weight standards before being examined to meet training and drug regulations. Jockeys may ride only one horse during each race and must do their best with each mount they are given to ride; should any rule violations arise, disqualification could occur from disqualifying any horses from racing as well as potential disciplinary measures for jockeys; additionally stewards are responsible for inspecting for banned substances before declaring winners.
Modern horse racing provides several ways to bet on the outcome of races. Betting to win, place or show are all viable betting strategies; with first being the safest bet and second and third riskier yet offering higher potential returns on average than betting exclusively first place or last place.
There are various kinds of horse races, each offering its own set of rules and prizes. Some races may only be open to specific age groups while others are reserved for fillies and mares or handicap races – an event in which track stewards assign weightings for all competing horses in an effort to make them as equitable as possible.
Major races include the annual Triple Crown series held in the US. This comprises three races each year: Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Of these events, Kentucky Derby stands out as being particularly renowned, drawing millions of fans each year to its track.
There are a number of issues facing horse racing industry, such as treatment of young horses in training, using illegal drugs during races and slaughtering retired horses after no longer useful. As a response, horse racing is working towards improving standards by implementing new safety measures and using drug-free ways to relieve pain and stress for animals; but more needs to be done until horse racing becomes ethical; however growing awareness has spurred improvement and promises further pressuring reform within this industry.