Horse races involve numerous players: owners who breed and race the horses; trainers who prepare horses for races; jockeys who ride them; tracks which organize these races and collect all bet money bet on each race; state governments which oversee this industry and collect tax on bets on each one.
When a horse wins a race, its owner receives the full amount betted on it in the form of the prize purse. When second or third place horses place, their owners receive a portion known as place and show payout. Horse race wagering also offers pari-mutuel betting; all bettors share in its total amount wagered minus a small commission to cover track expenses.
Racehorses have been bred for speed and agility since the 18th century. Union officials encouraged crossbreeding and North-South racing during the Civil War in order to help train faster horses for cavalry use; by its conclusion most American racehorses had crossed breeds with thoroughbreds.
Involvement in horse racing can be complex and interdependent; each stakeholder has different motivations and incentives. Owners and breeders who have financial stakes in its success include trainers who prepare horses for races; jockeys whose riding must be skillful yet courageous; tracks which collect bets placed on individual horses before paying out winnings to owners; fans who watch races and place wagers, while veterinarians ensure horses remain healthy and safe during races.
Eight Belles and Medina Spirit’s deaths prompted widespread scrutiny on the integrity and treatment of horse racing. While there have been improvements made, declining attendance remains a serious problem and perception among many Americans that horse racing is old-fashioned and outdated sport.
Horse racing stands out among team sports in that it doesn’t appeal to younger participants like football, basketball and baseball do; as such, most of its participants tend to be older people due to economic and societal shifts that have contributed to a decline in its participation over recent decades.
Racing has seen revenue, races and fan interest decline for some time. This decline has been compounded by growing awareness of its industry’s brutal practices: abusive training techniques, drug use and transportation and slaughter of thousands of American horses each year. Furthermore, public awareness has grown regarding inadequate track safety protocols which fall below standards established for other sporting events; furthermore some horse owners may have witnessed illegal breeding or racing of sickly or poorly treated animals without sanction from authorities; this action poses serious threats to horse welfare and is being condemned by the AAEP through resolution endorsed by them against them.