While the sport is popular all over the world, Japan is one of the principal nations in which the sport flourishes – with more than 20,000 races being held annually in that nation The top race is the Japan Cup which offers a purse of an eye-watering $5.8 million.
In the U.K. horse racing began in around 1660 when Newmarket officially became the first venue for the sport, which at first involved a race between only two horses. In the early 1700s, under the reign of Queen Anne, this was expanded to include races between several horses. This was also when betting on who would be the winner really started.
The sport was threatened in 2019 by a spike in racehorse fatalities in California, which led to widespread criticism of the industry for unethical destruction of horses. The question was asked in the mainstream media: Are those who love horse racing just using the animals for their own entertainment?
Our answer is no. In actual fact horse racing is a partnership that benefits both humans and horses. There are numerous studies into the economic benefits of the horse-racing industry. It provides jobs for farm workers, feed companies, grooms, trainers, and more. It is also more environmentally friendly than many other uses of the land.
In addition, racehorses generally live a good life, and their lives depend on the existence of the industry. They are mostly well cared for and fed an excellent diet. Most owners, trainers, grooms and jockeys actually love their horses deeply. It has also been proven that the horses themselves love to race – and to win! Many jockeys will testify to the fact that they have to prevent their mounts from running as fast as they want to – because they love to run at full speed. In fact, it could be said that horses were created to run – and to run fast!
The reason jockeys have to restrain their horses is because success hinges upon their ability to have something left in reserve for the final burst of effort at the end of each race.
Racing horses is more than a job, it’s a cherished way of life. This is why the majority of those involved in the industry welcome the many regulations that are in place to govern every aspect of horse racing. This includes the strict and detailed control of performance-enhancing drugs that unscrupulous people have used to try and influence the results of races and the enormous financial benefits that can result from this.
Of course there are risks involved – after all nothing worth doing is completely without risk. What is needed is constant vigilance over all the practices and conditions that could possibly bring harm to racehorses and active addressing and controlling of these issues to ensure safety for all concerned in this “sport of kings”.