What is a Horse Race?

A horse race is a contest in which horses are run over a measured course for the purpose of making a wager. The winners receive prizes ranging from cups to purses and in some cases money.

The most famous horse races are held in major cities around the world, including New York City and Melbourne, Australia. These events attract thousands of spectators and are often broadcast worldwide. The horse races have become popular betting opportunities for people of all ages and income levels.

Racing is a sport with roots in ancient Rome and Greece. By the 18th century, British colonists had established organized racing as a means of raising capital. The sport was dominated by stamina and endurance rather than speed, and the prize was a silver cup.

Modern medications, however, confused the picture. Powerful painkillers and anti-inflammatories designed for humans crossed over into race preparation, masking injury or illness in some horses and giving others the courage to run beyond their limits. In addition, race officials lacked the ability to keep up with the many new drugs that were being used in training and didn’t have stiff penalties for breaking rules.

As a result, the industry deteriorated rapidly. Santa Anita officials, for example, told anyone who would listen that their primary concern was the safety of the equine athletes. The track flooded the area with veterinarians and expensive imaging equipment, and trainers were forced to stop using drugs that had not been approved by the sport’s national authority. The result was an improvement in overall safety, but the problem did not disappear.

A slew of other issues afflicted the industry: abusive training practices, drug use and the slaughter of unfit or injured animals. A powerful investigation by PETA in 2019 sparked a series of improvements, including the implementation of a nationwide system for inspecting breeding and training facilities and the launch of a program to monitor the health and well-being of racehorses.

While some executives and governance observers are uncomfortable with the concept of a succession “horse race,” in which overt competition for the CEO position pits several candidates against each other within an established time frame, the method has produced exceptional leaders at companies including General Electric, GlaxoSmithKline and Abbott Laboratories. The key to success is ensuring that the board and current CEO understand the capabilities of each candidate and can evaluate the potential impact on the company. A careful assessment will also help determine whether the candidate is a good fit for the culture and organization. If the right leader does not emerge, the process may need to be repeated. In that case, the board should be prepared to reassess the criteria for selecting the next executive.