A horse race is a competition between horses, typically over a distance of a mile or more, with two or more turns. It is usually held at a track, but can also be run in outdoor parks or in the streets. It is an important form of sport, but has a number of negative aspects.
A racehorse is a type of horse that has been specifically bred for racing. This means that it is genetically adapted to the sport and that it can achieve peak performance at a specific age.
The average lifespan of a racehorse is around three years. However, some horses are trained to perform better than others at a younger age and may have a shorter lifespan. In these cases, they are called “precocious” or “speed” horses.
Precocity and speed are influenced by a number of factors, including genetics, training methods and a racehorse’s environment. Some precocity and speed traits are polygenic (influenced by multiple genes), while other traits are inherited, such as the ability to produce an adequate supply of milk, to maintain weight or to produce high-quality offspring.
In addition, a racing horse’s temperament and physical characteristics can be affected by its diet. A well-balanced diet is essential for a racehorse to compete at its best. A racehorse’s diet can be supplemented with minerals, amino acids, and vitamins to maximize its potential.
A horse’s stamina and strength are likewise influenced by her genetics and the environment in which she is raised. The endurance of a racehorse is primarily governed by her DNA, as the presence or absence of certain variants in her genetic code affects her ability to perform at her peak.
There are a number of different types of horse races, each with its own rules and criteria. These include route, sprint, and overnight races. Some are major sporting events and have purses worth millions of dollars.
One of the oldest forms of horse racing was four-hitch chariot races, which took place in ancient Greece. The game is believed to have migrated to the Roman Empire and the Middle East.
During the 18th century, racing began to become more organized in Europe. This development largely involved the breeding of racehorses. Breeders sought to breed a wide variety of horses. They often had a strong preference for fast or precocious horses, and they also sought to develop stamina in their runners.
Early European horse racing was dominated by British and Irish breeders. They maintained a stable of racehorses, most of them Thoroughbreds. These horses were bred to be winners and to be competitive on the flat, but some of them could also race over shorter distances such as a fence or a track.
By the mid-18th century, the popularity of races had expanded to include more open events with larger fields and a greater emphasis on speed and precocity. A large proportion of the world’s races are still run over distances under a mile.