What is a Horse Race?

A horse race is a competition among several candidates to become a company’s next leader. Proponents argue that a well-run contest for the top job can help foster a culture of collaboration and innovation, as well as attract strong leaders deeper in the organization who might otherwise have aligned themselves with an unsuccessful candidate. However, overt horse race contests can also damage a company’s reputation and may result in disruptions to critical business processes.

The earliest written manuals on horse care, training and racing date from about 1500 bc in Asia Minor. The sport developed rapidly, and by the 9th century bc chariot races and bareback (mounted) horse races were included in the Olympic Games. The modern Thoroughbred racehorse is derived from the descendants of a stock brought to England in the 16th century, but the breed evolved further by selective breeding. It is bred for speed, but requires stamina as well. Large mature horses are preferred; the best horses are able to race through age 10. In addition to the physical demands of the sport, there are psychological stresses involved. Humans perched on the backs of these creatures compel them with whips to run at breakneck speeds, a far cry from their natural herding instincts, and, in many cases, they are injured or even killed while doing so.

As dash racing became the norm, a few yards gained in a race could make the difference between winning and losing. In order to win, a jockey must use his or her skill and judgment in coaxing that advantage from his mount. This is made possible by a combination of factors, including a thorough understanding of the track’s contours and the ability to anticipate the moves of opponents.

A horse’s position is determined by a series of markers called poles, which are located at measured distances around the track. The first horse to cross the pole marking the distance to the finish line is declared the winner. There are some exceptions to this rule, but the majority of races are won by a few inches or less.

Behind the romanticized facade of a horse race is a world of injuries, drug abuse and gruesome breakdowns. It is a sport that does not police itself well, and too many in the industry still equate real reform with a loss of revenue and market share.