Horse racing has long been a part of culture and history, shaping our society and culture in profound ways. At its core though is an intensely competitive arena that puts horses’ lives in peril during competition or training sessions; when these animals die during racing or training it is a tragedy for all those concerned for their welfare; when people witnessing these deaths can walk away without feeling any sense of regret it does them no favor as sportspersons and competitors in this game are doing a disservice to this sport.
Horse races are competitions where jockeys mount horses and attempt to complete the fastest lap around a racetrack, in an attempt to win prizes for doing so. Depending on the type of race, additional activities such as jumps or speed tests may also be part of its requirement.
Countries vary on how to run horse races. The key aspects include having an approved pedigree (comprising both its mother and father) as well as being of the appropriate breed to race. Furthermore, they should be capable of withstanding exorbitant physical strain and recuperating quickly after such exertion.
Racetracks must be safe environments for horses and riders, in good condition and well maintained. Running surfaces should provide ample friction for running on, with good drainage to avoid accumulations of water on the track surface and free of weeds or debris that could potentially cause injury to horses or riders.
Before each race, horses are prepared for exercise by walking around in an exercise ring and having their coat examined to make sure it rippling with sweat. Bettors also look at each horse’s gait to assess its movement when walking; if its gait appears slow or labored it’s likely not fit to race.
At the starting gate, horses begin lining up. War of Will takes an early lead followed by Mongolian Groom and McKinzie. When racing begins, some horses may balk, signalling fear or anger at starting off; most will overcome this but some won’t; those that can’t will likely break down and their owners either euthanize them or sell them at auctions and slaughterhouses.
At its inception, organized racing in America focused on stamina over speed. But by the Civil War period, speed became an obsession for racing fans and many Thoroughbreds died due to this obsession with speed.
The New York Times article about PETA’s video release illuminates the brutality that pervades American thoroughbred racing today. However, its supporters attempt to sidestep it by shifting responsibility onto The Times or dismissing PETA altogether for their tactics – however this should not be confused with an evaluation of their work as no one outside racing cares how PETA obtained its video; only what it shows.