The Truth About Horse Racing

Horse racing is a form of gambling in which the horses and their jockeys compete for prize money. Its popularity is widespread and it has remained popular throughout history, with some of the most famous races being the American Triple Crown series (The Belmont Stakes, Preakness Stakes, and Kentucky Derby).

The horses in a race are bred specifically for this purpose. They are trained and conditioned to run fast, so they can win a race. The jockeys must also do their best to control the horses and guide them in a winning manner, while respecting the rules of the game. If they fail to do so, they may be disqualified or punished by a steward.

There are three types of people in the horse racing industry: crooks who dangerously drug their horses, dupes who labor under the fantasy that the sport is broadly fair and honest, and those in the middle who know that it’s a crooked business but don’t do all they could to stop it. Following spates of deaths, such as 30 at Santa Anita in 2019, the industry has embarked on a series of reforms.

But behind the romanticized facade of Thoroughbred horse racing lies a world of injuries, drugs, gruesome breakdowns, and slaughter. While spectators show off their fancy outfits and sip mint juleps, the horses are running for their lives, often pushed beyond their limits by whips that can cause serious injuries and even hemorrhage in the lungs.

Many of the horses are injected with a medication called Lasix on race day, a practice that’s been going on for decades. The drug’s given to reduce exercise-induced pulmonary bleeding, but it has the unintended side effect of making them pee like crazy. A horse might unload two or three pounds worth of urine during a race.

A plethora of medications are also used to mask injuries, and artificially enhance the horses’ performance. The most common is a steroid called furosemide, which acts as a diuretic and increases a horse’s endurance. But furosemide also can cause muscle deterioration, which leads to lameness and ultimately death.

Pushed beyond their limits, the majority of horses will eventually bleed from their lungs. This is a condition called exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, and it’s very dangerous for the horses and their jockeys. To prevent the bleeding, most horses are injected with a cocktail of legal and illegal drugs to mask injuries, decrease pain, and improve their performance. The results are a dangerous, dehumanizing, and violent sport in which horses suffer and die.

The Truth About Horse Racing
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