The Horse Race

A horse race is a competition in which a horse is pitted against another to determine the winner. The horse race can be in many different forms, including a game of tug-of-war or a contest where one person pulls on the reins while another pulls on the whip to make the horse move faster. The horse race is a popular sport for both amateurs and professionals alike.

A new analysis of horse racing by mathematicians at EHESS, a Paris university, suggests that jockeys should let horses run as hard as they can at the start of a race and then ease up later on to conserve energy for the finish. This approach, they found, maximizes the output of muscles reliant on two pathways: powerful aerobic ones that use oxygen (which can be in short supply during a long race) and anaerobic ones that don’t need oxygen but build up waste products that lead to fatigue.

The EHESS study also provides evidence to support the theory that a strong early start leads to more rapid recovery from exercise, and it supports the practice of racing horses at shorter distances than the standard 2-mile heat. The researchers say their model could be used by trainers to customize racing strategies for individual horses, from pacing recommendations to ideal racing distances. It’s also possible that a smartphone app could be developed, in which trainers plug in parameters like each horse’s unique aerobic capacities to get customized advice on how best to train them for a race.

Despite the largely ceremonial nature of racing, technological advances have significantly impacted the industry. The latest innovations include thermal imaging cameras that can identify when a horse has overheated post-race, MRI scanners that spot many minor or major health problems before they become severe and 3D printing to produce casts, splints, and even prosthetic limbs for injured horses.

While some governance experts are wary of the “horse race” approach to CEO succession, which involves an overt competition for the top job among several candidates within a set timeframe, proponents argue that it can serve a number of important purposes. Aside from ensuring that high-performing executives will receive the right amount of challenge in their roles, it can signal to employees that they have a clear path to senior management and that the board is confident in its talent development processes.

The election cycle has felt more like a horse race than most past cycles, thanks to the proliferation of quick polls conducted by journalists and bloggers in key swing states. These polls are often based on very small samples and can be misleading, but they have made it easier for voters to compare the candidates’ positions and for media outlets to frame the race as a competitive game with the most positive attention given to frontrunners and underdogs gaining ground. However, a more accurate and reliable way to assess electoral strength may be just around the corner.