A horse race is a competition in which horses of different breeds and age compete to win a designated amount of prize money. Horses are driven by their jockeys to run a prescribed course that may include jumping over hurdles or not. They are then rewarded with their winning share of the prize pool. This is a sport that has been around for centuries, and while it has maintained many traditions and rules, technology has improved the racing experience. The onset of the Information Age has brought with it several innovations, including improved safety measures for horses and their riders.

The most important change in horse racing came with the computerization of pari-mutuel betting in 1984, which opened up a much wider market for horse races. This also helped to increase attendance and turnover.

Despite these advances, the industry is not without its problems. The widespread use of illegal drugs is a major issue. This is especially true in flat horse races. These substances are used to increase a horse’s performance and mask pain. They can also cause severe injuries and death.

In addition to illegal drug use, horse racing is plagued by abusive training practices. Many trainers push their horses too hard, causing them to break down. The injured horses are then sold to new owners, where they are likely to continue being pushed to the limit. This can lead to more injury and lameness, which eventually leads to the slaughterhouse.

Another serious problem is the lack of regulation in the sport. The industry is not subject to the same level of oversight that other industries are, allowing it to be a breeding ground for corruption and greed. In recent years, PETA has conducted several investigations into the treatment of top thoroughbred racehorses at Churchill Downs and Saratoga Race Course, two of the most prestigious tracks in America. The resulting video has shocked and outraged the public.

A horse must have a pedigree to participate in a race. The horse’s sire and dam must be purebred individuals of the same breed as the horse itself to be eligible for a race. This is necessary in order to maintain a consistent standard for the racehorses.

Some horses are not quite fast enough to compete in higher levels, so they are entered into a claiming race. These races allow horses that have not won a maiden, claiming, or starter allowance race to compete with one another at a lower level. The claiming race is an important check and balance system that keeps the quality of races high and prevents one horse from dominating the sport.

Despite these improvements, the sport still faces an uphill battle against growing awareness of animal cruelty and a lack of transparency in the business. As the number of people who choose to support racing continues to decline, it will continue to face pressure to address these issues.

What is a Horse Race?