What is a Horse Race?

A horse race is a contest of speed among horses that are either ridden by jockeys or pulled by sulkies and their drivers. It has long been one of the most popular spectator sports and wagering events on Earth. In recent years, though, horse racing has become the subject of growing controversy over animal welfare issues and a host of legal problems. Some critics, such as Patrick Battuello of the anti-racing organization Horseracing Wrongs, have described horse racing as "the Big Lie." Behind the romanticized facade of horse races are drugs, whipping, injuries, and even gruesome breakdowns. Many, if not most, of the horses used for racing are drugged with cocktails of legal and illegal drugs in order to mask their injuries and artificially enhance their performance. Pushed beyond their limits, many horses will bleed from the lungs (exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage), which is not only painful but often fatal to them.A good horse race requires both skill and judgment by the rider, and can be a real test of a jockey's ability to coax every bit of advantage out of his mount. A rider's style, known as his "ride," is important in the way he uses his hands and whip to urge his horse to run faster and harder. A rider who is able to "shake up" the other riders in a race, thereby making the field closer, will improve his chances of winning.There are a variety of different types of horse races, with distances from 440 yards (400 m) to over two miles (6.4 km) being the most common. Sprints are generally regarded as tests of speed, while longer races are often considered to be a test of endurance.In the United States, there are many different breeds of horses that can be found in a horse race. Some of the most common breeds are Thoroughbred, American Thoroughbred, and Quarter Horse. Each breed of horse has its own specific characteristics and tends to produce a certain type of horse.The term horse race can also be used in a more general sense to refer to any kind of close form of competition. This includes other sporting contests, such as tennis and golf, as well as political contests such as elections and debates.When journalists focus their coverage on who is winning or losing a political contest - what's sometimes called horse race reporting - voters, candidates and the news industry suffer, a growing body of research suggests. When reporters delve into the minutiae of an election, such as who is leading in the latest polls, they risk obscuring the underlying policy issues that are vital to democracy. A recent survey of political journalism found that more than half of the news outlets surveyed reported an increased amount of horse race coverage over the past three years, while fewer of them covered the policy issues that are most important to the public. The survey was published by the Pew Research Center for the Media and Public Life in September 2019.