This isn’t a very easy question to answer, since both sides of the argument can be expressed rather eloquently. The factors in this question are many. They include the horses themselves, the types of races and your own beliefs on animal cruelty. Finally, it’s a decision you must make yourself. Still, most reformers suggest that the sports can be rather inhumane. However, this need not always be true. Champion horses are valuable, and are therefore treated as such. They are fed well, kept healthy and are trained by competent professionals for their races. The best horses also get the best treatment. Since horses are by nature competitive creatures, once cannot certainly say that horse racing is an inhumane sport.
Once the horse is too old to race, the horse is retires to sire new champions, or to become a broodmare. Either way, these horses are treated very carefully and are kept happy and well-fed. This is done to ensure that their offspring are also going to be rugged, competitive creatures that will do well in the future races. The horses are also given proper attention and veterinary care at all times. Sadly, this cannot be said for all horses. After all, there is only so much money that can be spent on a horse. As you go down the rungs of the racing ladder, you will find that it can be a rather gruesome world for a horse. Horses who cannot race are considered as commodities rather than living creatures. Sometimes the horses are treated mercilessly. Older horses are run to the ground before they are sent to the slaughter houses. The horses can live a rather unpleasant existence, owing to bad medical care, drugs and performance enhancers.
Even for a mid-range horse, life is not particularly easy. The future of a racehorse can be put into question by a single injury on or off the track. And if the horse is not a champion, it is unlikely that the owner would want to spend a great deal of money trying to nurse the animal back to health. While hundreds of horses are sold at the yearlings auctions, few make it to the big races. One can only presume what happens to all the others.
It is worthy to note that in most regards, horse racing is much like any human sport. There are chances of overtraining and doping. Other financial problems can disappoint people who have joined it just for the love of horses. People gunning for reforms are trying to increase the number of medical tests to be performed on the horses. Others are trying to find good homes for injured or retired racehorses, to make sure that the animal can live a safe life.