Horse racing is a popular form of gambling in which bettors try to predict the outcome of a race by placing a wager on a horse. It is practiced throughout the world, with the most prestigious races forming the Triple Crown (Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes, and Kentucky Derby), which are held every year at American racetracks. The sport is also a popular spectator event, and large crowds gather at the tracks to watch the races. Some people have used horse races as an analogy for business leadership, particularly when discussing the process of appointing a new CEO from among several qualified candidates.
When the horses entered the track, their coats gleamed in the soft pink light. They moved with huge strides and hypnotic smoothness, and the sound of their hooves on the dirt echoed through the grandstand. The jockeys perched on the backs of the horses urged them on with the whip. In the wild, horses understand the imperative of self-preservation and stop running if they get tired; in the humanized world of racing, however, they are often pushed past their limits in a bid to win.
In the early stages of the race, War of Will forged ahead. Mongolian Groom, a small-framed bay colt, followed closely behind, and McKinzie was a nose behind that. At the clubhouse turn, however, it became clear that War of Will was tiring, and on the far-outside a big chestnut colt named Vino Rosso made a powerful move.
The crowd grew louder. Some in the audience were betting, and others simply gathered to watch the spectacle of eleven horses galloping around the track at breakneck speed. A few of them were wearing hats and shirts with the names of their favorite horses; the rest wore ripped jeans and T-shirts bearing horse logos. The fans booed and cheered as the horses accelerated toward the finish line.
The top three finishers in the race would be awarded large purses: $100,000 for first place, $75,000 for second, and $50,000 for third. It was a classic race for the best two-year olds in the country, and it was a chance for each of them to earn a shot at the richest prize in thoroughbred racing.
The horse race has been a popular spectator sport for centuries, and betting was legalized in the United States in 1902. But in 2022 Congress decided it was unwilling to tolerate horses dying to entertain humans, and it established a set of safety standards that have dramatically reduced the number of fatalities. But the industry is still fighting to overcome the lingering perception that it is an exploitive, cruel and dangerous sport. In the days leading up to the Breeders’ Cup, the management at Santa Anita was adamant that the safety of the horses was their primary concern. They flooded the track with veterinarians and expensive imaging equipment, and the horses were repeatedly tested for banned substances during morning workouts.