Horse racing is a long-standing sport with roots in ancient Greece and Roman chariot races. In modern times, the horse race has evolved into a large public-entertainment business. Several cultures have held horse races, from the Greeks to the Bedouin of the Arabian desert. However, despite the popularity of horse racing in the past, it has been declining in recent years.
One of the more interesting aspects of horse racing is how it has adapted to technology. The Information Age has helped bring technological advancements to horse races, including the use of electronic monitoring equipment and 3D printing prostheses for injured horses.
The latest technological advances include thermal imaging cameras that detect overheating horses after a race. New medications, such as antipsychotics and growth hormones, also bled over into the preparation of races.
A classic succession “horse race” pits two or three senior executives against each other. Traditionally, the winner becomes the next chief executive officer. While some executives are uncomfortable with this approach, the horse race has proven to be a boon for companies of all sizes. By identifying the top performers early in their careers, these superstars are groomed for leadership roles later on.
Some of the most iconic horse races are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, and American Triple Crown. These classics are broadcast on TV around the world. Among the other notable horse races are the Durban July in South Africa and the Gran Premio Internacional Carlos Pellegrini in Argentina.
Another horse-related achievement is the development of the photo finish. This is a race-inspired system that involves a photo of a horse’s final position, which is studied by stewards. Usually, prize money is divided among first, second, and third finishers.
During the 17th century, Col. Richard Nicolls established organized racing in the colonies and laid out a two-mile course on the plains of Long Island. He offered a silver cup to the winner of the event.
During the reign of Louis XIV (1643-1715), gambling and horse races were commonplace. He ordered extra weight to be placed on foreign horses. There were also restrictions on age. Five-year-olds could run in King’s Plates, and six-year-olds were admitted to heats carrying 168 pounds.
Despite the changes in horse racing in the past few decades, the most important aspect has remained unchanged: a thoroughbred is the best at running a race. Typically, a horse is considered fully mature at five years old. But if it is a horse with a storied history, it may be eligible for a higher class of race.
The most expensive part of a horse race isn’t necessarily the winning prize. If the company decides to select a winner, it may lose other senior-level leaders, which isn’t always a good thing. Nevertheless, overt competition for the top job does demonstrate that the board and management believe in the development of future leaders.
Even though the horse race has been around for centuries, the most advanced horse-related technologies are only now making their mark. MRI scanners can detect minor health conditions in a horse, and 3D printing has produced casts for injured horses.