The Horse Race and Politics
Horse racing is a sports that has a long history. There are races held around the world, including the Dubai World Cup and the Royal Ascot in England. Some countries like Australia, New Zealand and South Africa have their own versions of these events. The sport has also become a huge public entertainment event.
In the United States, the Belmont Stakes is a classic race. It is near New York City and tickets are typically general admission between $10 and $20. Usually, prize money is split between the first, second and third finishers. Those without connections are usually unable to get seats on Millionaires Row.
When it comes to politics and horse races, it is a shame that journalists have chosen to trivialize these issues. Instead of focusing on the substance of a candidate’s image, coverage is based on the composition of their pictures.
The media has covered elections since the 1940s, but the horse race metaphor has been around for centuries. Even the Boston Journal used it to cover an election as early as 1888.
Today, there are many countries that have instituted the Triple Crown of elite races, which include the Preakness Stakes in the U.S., the Durban July in South Africa, and the Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini in Argentina. Across the globe, there are numerous other prestigious international races.
Although the American Thoroughbred has continued until the Civil War, fewer races are held with horses that are older than four years old. This has been caused by the introduction of age restrictions. These rules have been instituted by a variety of national organizations, which may differ slightly.
After the Civil War, speed became the goal of the race. It became easier for the riders to follow a course, but the horses still needed to have enough stamina to run the distance. Eventually, the length of the race was reduced to two miles. Heats were also reduced to two, and the post position was deemed insignificant.
As the sport evolved, the number of runners grew. A standardized, two-mile course was laid out by Col. Richard Nicolls on the plains of Long Island. He also offered a silver cup to the best horses.
In the 1970s, a series of drugs and performance aids were introduced to the sport. They included powerful anti-inflammatories and antipsychotics, growth hormones, and blood doping. By the 1990s, racing officials were having a difficult time keeping up. Medications were becoming too effective and the testing capacity was not adequate.
At that point, the California ban on wagering on racing was rescinded. But the problem was not so much the welfare of the horse as the ban itself. Racing was a source of revenue for a corrupt criminal element.
As a result, there are a number of groups that oppose the sport. They argue that the athletes are drugged and trained too young. Rather than trying to win, these athletes are forced to the breaking point. Many of them are also whipped and spend most of their lives in stalls.