Throughout the nineteenth century, horse racing became an international sensation. While the first known horse race took place in Greece in the year 700 B.C., it was probably due to a wager between two noblemen. As racing evolved into a worldwide sport, it spread to neighboring countries in the Middle East and North Africa. In the nineteenth century, it became an important source of entertainment for Americans. Here are some interesting facts about horse racing in the United States:
Pace refers to the pace of the leaders at different stages in the race. Another term used to describe pace is “head,” which is similar to the phrase “top of the stretch.” A horse that is tired is known as a hung horse. A horse that cannot make up a distance on the winner is called a “hung horse.”
In 1913, the English Jockey Club passed the Jersey Act, which disqualified horses bred outside of England and Ireland from racing. The act was intended to protect the British Thoroughbred from North American sprinting blood. However, a number of French horses with “tainted” American blood won prestigious English races. The Jersey Act was repealed in 1949. Until then, horse racing has followed patchwork regulations in 38 states.
While the vast majority of rules and traditions of the sport haven’t changed, technological advances have greatly impacted the sport. Although horse racing retains its traditional charm, the Information Age has also benefited the industry. One of the biggest changes is in the realm of race safety. Thermal imaging cameras detect overheating horses post-race. MRI scanners, X-rays, and endoscopes can detect health issues before they become life-threatening. 3D printers can produce casts and splints for injured horses.