A horse race is a competition between two or more horses, usually over a fixed distance. The most prestigious flat races are over long courses, which are seen as tests of both speed and stamina. In some races, horses are assigned a weight to carry in order to maintain a fair contest. Generally, the faster a horse is, the more weight it carries. A horse’s performance can be influenced by the length of the race, its post position (initial placement in the starting gate), its gender, and its jockey.
The sport of horse racing was once a major entertainment industry and remains one in many countries. Its popularity has waned in recent decades as people have sought alternative forms of recreation. Many believe that a lack of marketing and efforts to keep horse races on TV has contributed to this decline.
In addition, the elitist image of the sport has made it difficult to attract new patrons. Horse racing leaders largely failed to embrace television after World War II, and the sport now struggles to compete with professional and collegiate team sports for spectators. It is also hampered by the fact that the typical track crowd is composed of older, blue-collar males.
A Thoroughbred is a breed of horse that is specifically bred and trained for racing. These horses are tall, well-muscled and have a very high level of endurance. They are usually ridden by jockeys, who sit in saddles attached to the horse’s back and guide them through the course of the race.
During a race, a steward and patrol judges monitor the progress of the horses from different points around the track. The patrol judges rely on a motion-picture camera to look for any violations of the rules. At the end of a race, the stewards determine the winner. A winner is awarded a cup, which is sometimes less valuable than a trophy. The name of the horse is often used to identify its win, especially if it is a favorite.
In some races, the number of horses competing is limited to ensure a fair contest. The most popular race is the handicap race, in which a group of horses are assigned different weights based on their ability to compete. The most talented horses may be allocated a very low weight while slower horses must bear more weight.
A term used to describe a horse that ran with moderate effort and with more effort than “breezing” but less effort than running “all out.” A horse is said to have run hands up when it was close to winning or nearly winning its race. This term is also used to describe a race that was not particularly exciting.