Horse racing is a multibillion-dollar industry that is rife with drug abuse, injuries, and race fixing. Its victims are racehorses, animals that are whipped and forced to run around tracks made of hard-packed dirt and cement at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour while carrying people on their backs. Many of the horses suffer from a variety of medical conditions, and most of their careers end at the slaughterhouse. There are essentially three types of people involved in the sport: the crooks who dangerously drug their horses, those who labor under the illusion that the sport is generally fair and honest, and those masses of middle-class dupes who know that it’s more crooked than it ought to be but do nothing about it.
The earliest recorded accounts of horse races date from about 1500 b.c. In Greece, chariot and mounted bareback races were part of the Olympic Games from 700 to 40 b.c., and the sport quickly spread to neighboring countries.
In the earliest days of the sport, races were open to anyone who could afford to pay a fee to enter a horse. As the popularity of the sport grew, so did the number of participants, and rules were established to restrict who could compete. The age, sex, birthplace, and previous performance of the horse are all factored in when qualifying for a race. In addition, a fixed amount of weight must be carried by each horse in order to be eligible for a particular race.
As the popularity of horse races grew, more and more people began to bet on them. Initially, bettors placed their wagers directly with the racetrack owners, but by the late 19th century the system had evolved into one in which winning bettors received all of the money that had been wagered on the winner, after a deduction of a percentage by the track (Take Out).
Some companies believe that an overt contest for the CEO position can help drive business momentum by encouraging the strongest candidates to stretch themselves in functional assignments and leadership roles. Proponents also argue that the ability of several high-performing internal candidates to vie for the role reflects a strong culture of leadership development and a belief that the best leader will emerge from the competition.
Many boards, however, fear that an overt succession horse race will lead to a loss of business momentum and are reluctant to let the process drag on for too long. The most successful businesses, according to some experts, are able to manage the process by clearly communicating the importance of the job and establishing a timeline in which the candidate is expected to be prepared for the role.
In order to be ready to compete in a horse race, the horse must first be inspected and weighed in the paddock, or the area at the track where horses are saddled and paraded before stewards. The horse must also pass a pre-race drug test and be cleared to begin the race. During the race, the jockey, or rider, must keep close contact with the horse and follow the prescribed course, including jumping any obstacles.