The Big Lie About Horse Racing

A horse race is a competition in which a team of horses or jockeys attempt to win a wager on the winner. The sport was first introduced to the world in ancient Greece, and its popularity has risen since then. Today, many people enjoy horse races by attending a local track or watching a horse race on television. However, some people are concerned about the safety and welfare of the animals.

The horses had all been injected that morning with Lasix, which is marked on the racing form with a boldface “L.” The drug is a diuretic that causes the animals to unload epic amounts of urine, sometimes twenty or thirty pounds’ worth. Lasix is intended to prevent pulmonary bleeding, which hard running often causes in thoroughbreds.

It was a beautiful afternoon at Santa Anita, and the betting ring was full of gamblers in pressed white shirts and khaki pants. They squinted down at banks of TVs showing horse races from around the country, and shouted in Spanish and Chinese. Occasionally, a jockey’s name would flash on the screen. Often, the names were misspelled or abbreviated. The shouts of encouragement, despair, and frustration had a rhythm that rose with the horses’ strides. Among the most pronounced was an imprecation, and the word was usually accompanied by a hand gesture.

Horse racing has long been a popular form of entertainment in the United States. The sport’s appeal is rooted in the fact that it involves humans riding and steering a majestic animal that can reach speeds of up to 60 miles per hour. The horses are bred to be fast and beautiful, and the winning jockey typically receives a substantial bonus.

But the racing industry is in crisis. While donations from wealthy people and betting by the public have helped, they cannot cancel out the ongoing exploitation of young running horses who are drugged, whipped, pushed to their limits and beyond, and then slaughtered. A few hundred thousand of the ten million American thoroughbreds are killed each year, and a great many of those are euthanized. Patrick Battuello, who runs a horse-racing advocacy group called Horseracing Wrongs, calls this the Big Lie of horse racing.

Media scholars have studied the impact of horse race reporting, in which news outlets frame elections as a competitive game by emphasizing public opinion polls and giving the most attention to frontrunners and underdogs who are gaining support. This approach can give novel or unusual candidates an edge and hurt third-party and independent contenders, who often have slim chances of winning compared with Democratic and Republican candidates. Moreover, the quick polling process may lead to superficial coverage that is misleading or inaccurate. Fortunately, new technology is helping to provide more accurate probabilistic forecasting of electoral outcomes. It’s an approach that could help to make horse races more fair for everyone.