The rules of horse racing are fairly simple to comprehend. Horses race around a circular track, and the first horse to cross the line after the allotted amount of tracks are completed wins the race. A standard horse race can be competed on grass, dirt or polytrack, while many horse races in the past have also taken place on sand. Each country has a different variation of horse racing, with their own rules and track length as well.
Although horse racing does not seem like a very dangerous sport, there are many errors that can happen and lead to injuries (and in severe cases death). There is always a possibly of a horse rider being thrown off and then trampled to death, and if not the horse and the rider can be injured should either of them fall to the ground. A study taken showed that the sport with the highest amount of fatalities per hundred thousand people was horse riding in the United States of America, with one hundred and twenty eight people having died. This study was taken in 1984, and since standards have improved in that time it is likely that the ordinary horse race is a lot safer than in was more than twenty years ago.
As horse racing is very popular in many countries, we must take a look at the major races in each part of the world. In the United States of America, the most famous horse race is the Kentucky Derby, which determines the best three-year old horses. The most famous event in South Africa is the Vodacom July, which attracts around 50,000 people per year to Durban and has been running since 1897. In Australia, the premier event is the Melbourne Cup. The world’s biggest horse race is the one that is held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates as prize money given out for winning is around six million dollars, making it the most lucrative horse race in the world. By the end of 2009, Dubai will have its own horse race city, named Meydan.
Betting is an extremely important part of horse racing, as it holds the same amount of attractiveness that football (soccer) does for those willing to take a punt on the game. Although it is not allowed in some places (like the United Arab Emirates) it is extremely popular in others, like Hong Kong. In Hong Kong betting is so profitable to the economy that it brings in 11% of the region’s tax revenue. More examples of how beneficial horse races can be to an economy is South Africa, where millions of rand are betted at the Vodacom July. Although betting on horse racing can be fun at times, it can prove addictive and cause financial or emotional problems (like depression) should the outcome of a horse race not go the way the better wants it to go.