Horse race is a form of sporting event in which two or more horses compete over distances ranging from 440 yards (400 m) to more than two and a half miles (4 km). It is an important part of world sport.
Racing has a long history and is practiced in civilisations throughout the world. Archaeological records indicate that horse races have been recorded in Ancient Greece, Rome, Babylon, Syria and Egypt.
The earliest races were arranged over short distances and were based on wagering. As horse breeding increased, the popularity of racing expanded as it was seen as a means of entertainment and as an extension of the fantasy that life was a chivalric pageant out of medieval England.
Today, racing is still a major industry in the United States and around the world. There are many different types of racing, from sprints to routes and staying races. The most famous are the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.
These three races are linked and have become known as the Triple Crown series. It is very difficult to win all three in a single year, and there has only been eleven horses that have accomplished this feat.
There are a number of different types of horse race, each with their own rules. Generally, the first horse to cross the finish line is declared the winner. However, if it is impossible to tell which horse crossed the line first, then a photo finish may be used.
In a photo finish, the race stewards will look at a photograph of the finish and decide which horse won the race. This method is not used often, but it does happen occasionally.
A horse race can be a stressful and dangerous activity for the horses, as well as for the spectators. The animals are confined to narrow quarters and are often ridden by jockeys who have little experience with the animal.
The horses are also prone to stereotypical behaviour that stems from their training and their surroundings. Some of these behaviours include crib-biting, which involves a horse sucking air into its mouth to avoid running out, and weaving, which involves the horse swaying on its forelegs and shifting weight back and forth.
Some racing tracks have strict rules on how a horse is to be ridden, as well as on the type of ground that they must run on. These rules can vary between national horse racing organisations but are usually similar.
Handicap races are one of the most common types of horse race in which the weights a horse must carry during a race are adjusted according to the age of the animal. These handicaps are designed to ensure that the average horse in a race has an equal chance of winning.
There are also handicaps for different types of racing, such as speed, precocity and stamina. These can be set centrally by a race track, or by individual tracks on the basis of their past performance.