Horse races are an age-old spectator sport in which spectators place wagers on which horse will finish first. While this has evolved from simple speed or stamina contests into a multibillion dollar industry, one thing remains constant: the winner is determined by which one crosses the finish line first. Horse racing can be dangerous both for horses and jockeys (also called riders); injuries often include fractured leg bones and laminitis due to running at high speeds on hard packed dirt tracks at high speed; many racehorses must begin training before reaching full maturity, which can cause developmental problems such as shortening fetlock joint shortening or cracked hoofs resulting from overexercizing, creating developmental issues like shorter fetlock joints or cracked hoofs.
Horse racing remains an attractive pastime despite its inherent dangers, drawing huge sums of money every year. It boasts an enormous following in both the United States and many other countries alike; horse racing serves as a form of public entertainment favored by leisure class people alike. While previously races took place at different locations across the globe, nowadays they tend to take place exclusively on oval tracks.
The main type of race is known as a handicap race, in which fixed weights are assigned based on factors like age, distance, sex or other considerations to give all horses equal chances of victory. This system was pioneered in England during the 17th century but is now popular around the globe.
Triple Crown races are among the premier competitions, featuring Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes and Kentucky Derby races as part of an annual series. These three competitions serve as tests of speed and endurance and have become major events over time.
Bettors don’t only need to place bets on horses to win: they can also wager on those finishing second and third as an alternative, which typically pays out less but poses less of a risk; two or three places typically awarded in races with seven runners or more; however in Europe this term refers specifically to being placed. In America however, “placed” refers more generally.