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The Rise and Fall of Horse Racing

horse race

Horse racing, one of the oldest sports in the world, has changed little over the centuries, but it has been impacted by technological advances. The sport has also seen a rise in awareness of its dark side with investigations by PETA into abusive training methods for young horses, drug use and the transport of American racehorses to foreign slaughterhouses. The sport has a long way to go to meet the standards of equine welfare, but there is hope that things will change.

The death of Eight Belles, a superstar in America’s most famous horse race, in 2008 and that of another star, Medina Spirit, last summer sparked a reckoning of the sport’s integrity and ethics. The two sparked a public outcry over the physical stress that horses endure during racing and training. The sport responded by implementing stricter rules on the use of medications and by banning anabolic steroids. In addition, it stepped up efforts to monitor horses with thermal imaging cameras, MRI scanners and X-ray machines. It has also pushed for improved medical care with 3D printing now being used to make casts, splints and prosthetics for horses.

A slew of new technological developments is making the sport more scientific, which is being welcomed by some fans. But the industry faces a fundamental issue: how to get more people into the stands. It’s been a long time since tracks were packed with screaming fans, and even now the sport is struggling to retain its popularity. It’s losing money, revenue and races and it isn’t being helped by a growing awareness of the cruelty of the industry with horse-rights groups calling for an overhaul of its business model to put the best interests of the horses at its core.

Betting on horse races is popular around the world, and it can be fun to place a bet on your favorite horse. You can bet on whether a particular horse will win or lose and on the total number of winning places in a race. You can also bet on accumulator bets which combine multiple bets into one.

Horse racing in America has waxed and waned along with economic prosperity, war and peace, but great horses like Man o’ War, Secretariat and Seattle Slew helped it enjoy its greatest boom during the post-World War II era. But even then, the widespread cultural interest in horse racing peaked and then started to decline again.