A horse race is a competitive event in which horses are ridden by jockeys and guided over obstacles. The aim is to have the first horse cross the finish line before the others, and many bettors place bets on this outcome. There are a number of rules that must be followed to ensure the safety of both the riders and the horses. The most important rule is that the rider must remain on the horse for it to cross the finish line. If a rider falls off, the horse will stop and not finish the race. The other rules vary from country to country, but most horse racing organizations follow similar rules.
A person who breeds racehorses. He or she owns the dam (mother) at the time of the foal’s birth and is the legal owner of the colt when it becomes a two-year-old.
The most prestigious races on the Flat and over jumps, run over distances of around a mile and a half. They are considered tests of both speed and stamina and are renowned for the quality of their fields. There are five Group One races in England: the 2,000 Guineas, 1,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St Leger, while most European countries have their own version of these prestigious events.
A race in which a horse is allocated a weight to carry for fairness. These races, also known as handicaps, are divided into different categories based on the horse’s ability and allowances for age and sex (for example, mares are allowed to carry more weight than male horses in Cheltenham Gold Cup). The higher the handicap category, the greater the prize money.
Horses competing in a race must stand on official weighing scales before and after the race, so that a Clerk of the Scales can make sure they are carrying the correct weight. If a horse is carrying more than its assigned weight, it will be declared overweight and is not eligible to compete.
When a horse is expected to win a race based on its ability and the form it has shown. A horse that is backed heavily to win a race is usually considered a strong favourite.
In horse racing, it is common to place a bet on which horse will cross the finish line first. There are a number of ways to bet on horse races, including betting to win, placing and an accumulator bet. While betting on a horse race is popular worldwide, the most common way to bet on a horse is through a bookmaker.
In a race where no horse crosses the finish line, the race is deemed to be a dead heat and the winner will be decided according to Dead Heat Rules. A photo finish refers to a photograph of the finish of a race that is studied by the stewards to determine who crossed the line first. The horse whose image appears closest to the winning one is declared the winner.