What Is a Horse Race?

A horse race is a form of leadership contest in which several strong internal candidates compete to become the company’s next leader. Proponents argue that the method promotes a culture of competitiveness and the notion that the best candidate will emerge from a transparent process. In addition, it serves as a powerful motivational tool for employees who see clear paths to more senior roles. However, a company’s decision to employ a horse race should be carefully considered as it can have both positive and negative impacts on organizational effectiveness.

BROADER- A racing surface that is either firm or soft (such as grass).

CHART- A statistical “picture” of a race, usually showing the position and margin of victory for each horse at designated points of call in a particular race, the age of the horse, the weight it carried, the owner, trainer, conditions, pay-off prices, odds, time and other data.

COMBINED- Two or more horses finishing in an exact dead heat at the wire.

DASHING- An early run of a race, generally the first part of a mile or less.

DAYRIDE- A strenuous workout for a horse, often with the jockey urging the horse on without using the whip. A hand ride means that the jockey is urging the horse on with his hands up and down its neck rather than by swinging his or her whip.

DOUBLE- A bet that calls for a winning horse to win both races in which it is entered.

ENCLOSURE- An area around a racetrack to protect spectators from falling horses or debris.

FRONTIER- A section of a racetrack which is enclosed and separated from the main track by fences.

HEAVY TRACK- A racing surface with a high percentage of dirt or mud.

HORSE- A male horse five years of age or older.

OBJECTIONS- A claim of a rule violation by a jockey after the completion of a race.

POLE- A pole placed near the finish line of a race to mark the distance of one lap.

RACE CARD- A card identifying a horse that has been entered in a race.

REGISTRATION- The procedure by which a jockey or handler registers the identity of his or her mount for a particular race.

RACING SECRETARY- The official in charge of the stewarding of a race.

While horse racing has been criticized for being cruel to the animals involved, many people still consider it a sport that should be treasured as long as it is fairly conducted. The cheaters who dangerously drug their horses and ignore the rules of fair play are a small, feral minority but still large enough to stain the integrity of the sport for everyone else. There are also masses of honest people — neither naive nor cheaters — who labor under the fantasy that the industry is broadly fair and honorable. These people must become the vocal, honorable majority if serious reform is to come about. If not, the horse race will surely die of its own corruption.