The eligibility of racers is checked the day before they are raced. Before the race, jockeys weigh out and report to the paddock for instructions by trainers and mount up, the identity of the horses having been checked. Horses and riders proceed to the track in a parade to the post for the stewards’ (race officials’) inspection and a brief warm-up gallop. Horses are almost universally started from electrically operated starting gates, the horses being walked or led into their stalls prior to the start of the race. The starter actuates the upward swing of the barrier from the stalls when all are in place. During the race, stewards and patrol judges are alert for racing violations, supplemented by a motion-picture patrol. The finish is photographed by a special camera, and, when the race is close, the picture is awaited before winners are announced. The race’s result does not become official until the jockeys have weighed in and the riders of horses that finished in the money are certified to have carried the proper weight. At weighing in, a jockey, owner, or trainer may claim foul against a horse that interfered with his mount. The judgment of the stewards may result in a horse being lowered in order of finish from first to last. The stewards declare the race official, and then payoffs are flashed on the totalizator. Postrace urine tests are made of winning horses and a sample of the field, and if results show the presence of forbidden substances, the results may be changed on payment of purses but not on bets.
Flat racing is the most common form of racing seen worldwide. Flat racing tracks are typically oval in shape and are generally level, although in Great Britain and Ireland there is much greater variation, including figure of eight tracks like Windsor and tracks with often severe gradients and changes of camber, such as Epsom Racecourse. Track surfaces vary, with turf most common in Europe, dirt more common in North America and Asia, and newly designed synthetic surfaces, such as Polytrack or Tapeta, seen at some tracks.
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Horse racing was banned in the Republic of China from 1945, and the People's Republic of China maintained the ban after 1949, although allowances were made for ethnic minority peoples for whom horse sports are a cultural tradition. Speed horse racing (速度赛马) was an event in the National Games of China, mainly introduced to cater for minority peoples, such as the Mongols. The race course was initially 5 km, but from 2005 (the 10th National Games) was extended to 12 km. The longer race led to deaths and injuries to participating horses in both 2005 and the 11th National Games in 2009. Also, with the entry into the sport of Han majority provinces such as Hubei, which are better funded and used Western, rather than traditional, breeding and training techniques, meant that the original purpose of the event to foster traditional horse racing for groups like the Mongols was at risk of being usurped. At the 2009 National Games, Hubei won both the gold and silver medals, with Inner Mongolia winning bronze. As a result of these factors, the event was abolished for the 12th National Games in 2013.
Benter taught himself advanced statistics and learned to write software on an early PC with a green-and-black screen. Meanwhile, in the fall of 1984, Woods flew to Hong Kong and sent back a stack of yearbooks containing the results of thousands of races. Benter hired two women to key the results into a database by hand so he could spend more time studying regressions and developing code. It took nine months. In September 1985 he flew to Hong Kong with three bulky IBM computers in his checked luggage.
Horse racing is an equestrian performance sport, typically involving two or more horses ridden by jockeys (or sometimes driven without riders) over a set distance for competition. It is one of the most ancient of all sports, as its basic premise – to identify which of two or more horses is the fastest over a set course or distance – has been unchanged since at least classical antiquity.