(a) Silky Sullivan

A horse that makes a big run from far back. Named for the horse Silky Sullivan, who once made up 41 lengths to win a race.

(home) stretch

Final straight portion of the racetrack to the finish.

across the board

A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. Actually three wagers.

action

1) A horse’s manner of moving. 2) A term meaning wagering, for example, “The horse took a lot of action.”

added money

Money added to the purse of a race by the racing association or a breeding or other fund to the amount paid by owners in nomination, eligibility, entry and starting fees: for example, “the $1 million-added Kentucky Derby.”

added weight

A horse carrying more weight than the conditions of the race require, usually because the jockey exceeds the stated limit.

age

All Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthday on Jan. 1.

agent

A person empowered to transact business for a stable owner or jockey, or empowered to sell or buy horses for an owner or breeder.

airing

Not running at best speed in a race.

all out

When a horse extends itself to the utmost.

all-age race

A race for two-year-olds and up.

allowance race

A race for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions to determine weights to be carried based on the horse’s age, sex and/or past performance.

allowances

Reductions in weights to be carried, allowed because of the conditions of the race or because an apprentice jockey is on a horse. Also, a weight reduction female horses are entitled to when racing against males, or that three-year-olds receive against older horses.

also-eligible

A horse officially entered for a race, but not permitted to start unless the field is reduced by scratches below a specified number.

apprentice

Rider who has not ridden a certain number of winners within a specified period of time. Also known as a “bug,” from the asterisk used to denote the weight allowance such riders receive.

apprentice allowance

Weight concession given to an apprentice rider: usually 10 pounds until the fifth winner, seven pounds until the 35th winner and five pounds for one calendar year from the 35th winner. More rarely, a three-pound allowance is allowed to a rider under contract to a specific stable/owner for two years from his/her first win. This rule varies from state to state. Apprentices do not receive an allowance when riding in a stakes race. All jockeys going from track to track must have a receipt from the clerk of scales from their track verifying the jockeys’ most recent total number of wins. Also known as a “bug,” from the asterisk used to denote the weight allowance.

apron

The (usually) paved area between the grandstand and the racing surface.

auxiliary starting gate

A second starting gate used when the amount of horses in a race exceeds the capacity of the main starting gate.

Average-Earnings Index (AEI)

A breeding statistic that compares racing earnings of a stallion or mare’s foals to those of all other foals racing at that time. An AEI of 1.00 is considered average, 2.00 is twice the average, 0.50 half the average, etc.

baby race

A race for two-year-olds.

backside

Stable area, dormitories and often times a track kitchen, chapel and recreation area for stable employees. Also known as “backstretch,” for its proximity to the stable area.

backstretch

Straight portion of the far side of the racing surface between the turns.

barren

Used to describe a filly or mare that was bred and did not conceive during the last breeding season.

bay

A horse color that varies from a yellow-tan to a bright auburn. The mane, tail and lower portion of the legs are always black, except where white markings are present.

bearing in (or out)

Deviating from a straight course. May be due to weariness, infirmity, inexperience or the rider overusing the whip or reins to make a horse alter its course.

bell

Signal sounded when the starter opens the gates or, at some tracks, to mark the close of betting.

Beyer number

A handicapping tool, popularized by author Andrew Beyer, assigning a numerical value (speed figure) to each race run by a horse based on final time and track condition. This enables different horses running at different racetracks to be objectively compared.

Big Red

Refers to either of two famous chestnut-colored horses: Man o’ War or Secretariat.

Bill Daly (on the)

Taking a horse to the front at the start and remaining there to the finish. Term stems from “Father Bill” Daly, famous old-time horseman, who developed many great jockeys.

black

A horse color which is black, including the muzzle, flanks, mane, tail and legs unless white markings are present.

blaze

A generic term describing a large, white vertical marking on a horse’s face. The Jockey Club doesn’t use blaze, preferring more descriptive words. See snip; star; stripe.

blind switch

A circumstance in which a rider’s actions cause him/her to be impeded during a race.

board

Short for “tote board,” on which odds, betting pools and other information are displayed.

bobble

A bad step away from the starting gate, usually caused by the track surface breaking away from under a horse’s hooves, causing it to duck its head or nearly go to his knees.

bolt

Sudden veering from a straight course, usually to the outside rail.

bomb(er)

A winning horse sent off at extremely high odds.

book

1) The group of mares being bred to a stallion in a given year. If a stallion attracts the maximum number of mares allowed by the farm manager, he has a full book. 2) A term used to describe a jockey’s riding commitments with his agent: An agent handles a jockey’s book.

bounce

A poor race run directly following a career-best or near-best performance.

box

A wagering term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered.

boxed (in)

To be trapped between, behind or inside of other horses.

break

To leave from the starting gate.

break maiden

Horse or rider winning the first race of its career. Also known as “earning a diploma.”

breather

Easing off on a horse for a short distance in a race to permit it to conserve or renew its strength.

bred

1) A horse is considered to have been bred in the state or country of its birth: Secretariat was a Virginia-bred. 2) The past tense of “breed.”

breeder

Owner of the dam at time of foaling unless the dam was under a lease or foal-sharing arrangement at the time of foaling. In that case, the person(s) specified by the terms of the agreement is (are) the breeder(s) of the foal.

breeding fund

A state fund set up to provide bonuses for state-breds.

bridge jumper

A person who wagers large amounts of money, usually on short-priced horses to show, hoping to realize a small, but certain profit. The term comes from the structure these bettors may seek if they lose.

broodmare

A filly or mare that has been bred and is used to produce foals.

brush

During a race, two horses who slightly touch each other.

bug boy

An apprentice rider.

bullring

A small racetrack, usually less than one mile.

buy-back

A horse put through a public auction that did not reach a minimum (reserve) price set by the consignor and so was retained. The consignor must pay a fee to the auction company based on a percentage of the reserve, to cover the auction company’s marketing, advertising and other costs.

call

Running position of horses in a race at various points.

chalk

Wagering favorite in a race. Dates from the days when on-track bookmakers would write current odds on a chalkboard.

chalk player

Bettor who wagers on favorites.

chart

A statistical “picture” of a race (from which past performances are compiled), that shows the position and margin of each horse at designated points of call (depending on the distance of the race), as well as the horses’ age, weight carried, owner, trainer, jockey, and the race’s purse, conditions, payoff prices, odds, time and other data.

check(ed)

When a jockey slows a horse due to other horses impeding its progress.

chestnut

A horse color which may vary from a red-yellow to golden-yellow. The mane, tail and legs are usually variations of coat color, except where white markings are present.

chute

Extension of backstretch or homestretch to permit a straight running start in a race as opposed to starting on or near a turn.

claim

The process of a licensed person purchasing a horse from a designated race for a predetermined price.

claiming race

A race in which each horse entered is eligible to be purchased at a set price. Claims must be made before the race and only by licensed owners or their agents who have a horse registered to race at that meeting or who have received a claim certificate from the stewards.

clerk of scales

An official whose chief duty is to weigh the riders before and after a race to ensure proper weight is (was) carried.

climbing

When a horse lifts its front legs abnormally high as it gallops, causing it to run inefficiently.

closer

A horse that runs best in the latter part of the race, coming from off the pace.

clubhouse turn

Generally, the turn on a racing oval that is closest to the clubhouse facility; usually the first turn after the finish line.

colors

Colors accepted by The Jockey Club are bay, black, chestnut, dark bay or brown, gray, roan and white. See individual entries for definitions.

colt

A male horse or altered/gelded male horse 3 years of age or younger.

colt

An ungelded (entire) male horse four-years-old or younger.

commingle

Combining mutuel pools from off-track sites with the host track.

company

Class of horses in a race He last ran in stakes company.

Comparable Index (CI)

Indicates the average earnings of progeny produced from mares bred to one sire when these same mares are bred to other sires. A CI of 1.00 is considered average, 2.00 is twice the average, 0.50 half the average, etc.

condition book(s)

A series of booklets issued by a racing secretary which set forth conditions of races to be run at a particular racetrack.

conditions

The requirements of a particular race. This may include age, sex, money or races won, weight carried and the distance of the race.

congenital

Present at birth.

consolation double

A payoff to holders of daily double tickets combining the winning horse in the first race of the double with a scratched horse in the second.

county fair

A race meeting that is less than 10 days in duration, with or without pari-mutuel wagering, held in conjunction with an agricultural fair.

coupled (entry)

Two or more horses running as an entry in a single betting unit.

cover

A single breeding of a stallion to a mare For example, “He covered 70 mares.”

crop

1) The number of foals by a sire in a given year. 2) A group of horses born in the same year. For example, “An excellent crop of three-year-olds.”

cuppy

A dry and loose racing surface that breaks away under a horse’s hooves.

cushion

Top portion of a racetrack.

daily double

Type of wager calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first and second. See late double.

Daily Racing Form

A daily newspaper containing news, past performance data and handicapping information. Do not use definite article “The” when describing. For example, “According to Daily Racing Form…”

daily triple

A wager where the bettor must select the winner of three consecutive races. Not to be confused with “triple,” meaning trifecta in some regions.

dam

The mother of a horse.

dam’s sire (broodmare sire)

The sire of a broodmare. Used in reference to the maternal grandsire of a foal.

dark bay or brown

A horse color that ranges from brown with areas of tan on the shoulders, head and flanks, to a dark brown, with tan areas seen only in the flanks and/or muzzle. The mane, tail and lower portions of the legs are always black unless white markings are present.

dead heat

Two or more horses finishing a race in a tie.

dead track

Racing surface lacking resiliency.

declared

In the United States, a horse withdrawn from a stakes race in advance of scratch time. In Europe, a horse confirmed to start in a race.

deep stretch

A position very close to the finish line in race.

Derby

A stakes event for three-year-olds.

dh

Abbreviation for dead heat.

disqualification

Harness racing:Disqualified persons may not act as an official or start or drive a horse in a race. Disqualified horses shall not be allowed to start.
Thoroughbred racing: Change in order of finish by officials for an infraction of the rules.

distaff

A female horse.

distaff race

A race for female horses.

distanced

Horse so far behind the rest of the field of runners that it is out of contact and unable to regain a position of contention.

dogs

Rubber traffic cones (or a wooden barrier) placed at certain distances out from the inner rail, when the track is wet, muddy, soft, yielding or heavy, to prevent horses during the workout period from churning the footing along the rail. Used in the phrase, “The dogs are up,” or simply, “dogs up.”

Dosage index (DI)

A mathematical reduction of the Dosage profile to a number reflecting a horse’s potential for speed or stamina. The higher the number, the more likely the horse is suited to be a sprinter. The average Dosage index of all horses is about 4.0.

Dosage profile

A listing of Dosage points by category. Used to develop the Dosage index (DI).

dq

Abbreviation for disqualified.

draw

The process by which horses are selected to start in specific races and post positions for each race.

driver

A licensed person who drives a horse in a race.

driving

A horse that is all out to win and under strong urging from its jockey.

drop(ed) down

A horse meeting a lower class of rival than it had been running against.

drug

Any substance intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment or prevention of disease in humans or other animals.

dwelt

Extremely late in breaking from the gate.

eased

A horse that is gently pulled up during a race.

easily

Running or winning without being pressed by rider or opposition.

eligible

Qualified to start in a race, according to conditions.

engagement

1) Stakes nomination. 2) Riding commitment.

entry

Two or more horses with common ownership (or in some cases trained by the same trainer) that are paired as a single betting unit in one race and/or are placed together by the racing secretary as part of a mutuel field. Rules on entries vary from state to state. Also known as a “coupled entry.”

entry fee

Money paid by an owner to enter a horse in a stakes race.

Equibase

A partnership between The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to establish and maintain an industry-owned, central database of racing records. Equibase past-performance information is used in track programs across North America.

equivalent odds

Mutuel price horses would pay for each $1 bet.

evenly

Neither gaining nor losing position during a race.

exacta (or perfecta)

A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked. Called an “exactor” in Canada.

exacta box

A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet on. The total number of combinations can be calculated according to the formula x2-x, where x equals the amount of horses in the box. For example, boxing four horses would actually be 12 combinations (42-4). To arrive at the cost of the wager, multiply the total combinations by the cost of the individual wager.

exotic (wager)

Any wager other than win, place or show. For the mathematically inclined, the amount of combinations in any exotic wager can be figured by the formula n!/(n-a!), where n is the number of horses in your wager and a is the number of finishers in the wager (two in an exacta, three in a trifecta, etc.)

false favorite

Horse that is a race favorite despite being outclassed by other competition in the field. See underlay.

fast

Footing that is dry, even and resilient.

fee

1) Amount paid to a jockey for riding in a race. 2) The cost of nominating, entering or starting a horse in a stakes race.

field

The horses in a race.

field horse (or mutuel field)

Two or more starters running as a single betting unit (entry), when there are more starters in a race than positions on the totalizator board.

filly

Breeding: Female horse four-years-old or younger.
Harness racing: A female horse 3 years of age or younger.

fire

A burst of acceleration by a horse in a race. For example, “The horse did (didn’t) fire when asked.”

firm

A condition of a turf course corresponding to fast on a dirt track. A firm, resilient surface.

flag

Signal manually held at a short distance in front of the gate at the exact starting point of race. Official timing starts when flag is dropped by the “flagman” to denote proper start.

flatten out

A very tired horse that slows considerably, dropping its head on a straight line with its body. Some horses, however, like to run with their heads lowered.

floating

Flat plate or wooden implement (float) dragged over the surface of a wet track to aid in draining water.

foal

A newborn horse under 1 year of age.

foal(ed)

1) A horse of either sex in its first year of life. 2) As a verb, to give birth. Also known as “dropped.” 3) Can also denote the offspring of either a male or female parent.

Fontana safety rail

An aluminum rail, in use since 1981, designed to help reduce injuries to horse and rider. It has more of an offset (slant) to provide greater clearance between the rail and the vertical posts as well as a protective cover to keep horse and rider from striking the posts.

founding sires

The Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb. Every Thoroughbred must be able to trace its parentage to one of the three founding sires.

fractional time

Intermediate times recorded in a race, as at the quarter, half, three-quarters, etc. The “quarter time,” for example, refers to the time after the first quarter-mile, not the first 25 percent of the race.

free handicap

A race in which no nomination fees are required. More recently, and more commonly, a ranking of horses by weight for a theoretical race.

front-runner

A horse whose running style is to attempt to get on or near the lead at the start of the race and to continue there as long as possible.

frozen

A condition of a racetrack where any moisture present is frozen.

full-brother, full-sister

Horses that share the same sire and dam.

furlong

One-eighth of a mile, 220 yards, 660 feet.

futurity

A race for two-year-olds in which the owners make a continuous series of payments over a period of time to keep their horses eligible. Purses for these races vary but can be considerable.

gait

Harness racing: Either a trotting or pacing gait.
Thoroughbred racing: The characteristic footfall pattern of a horse in motion. Thoroughbreds have four natural gaits-walk, trot, canter and gallop. Thoroughbreds compete at a gallop.

gap

An opening in the rail where horses enter and leave the course.

garrison finish

A close victory, usually from off the pace. Derived from “Snapper” Garrison, old-time rider given to that practice.

gate card

A card, issued by the starter, stating that a horse is properly schooled in starting gate procedures.

gelding

A neutered (castrated) male horse of any age.

get

Progeny of sire.

good

A dirt track that is almost fast or a turf course slightly softer than firm.

good bottom

Track that is firm under the surface, which may be dry or wet.

graduate

1) Winning for the first time, horse or rider. 2) A horse that has moved up to allowance, stakes or handicap racing.

granddam

See second dam.

grandsire

The grandfather of a horse; father (“sire”) of the horse’s dam or sire.

gray

A horse color where the majority of the coat is a mixture of black and white hairs. The mane, tail and legs may be either black or gray unless white markings are present. Starting with foals of 1993, the color classifications gray and roan were combined as “roan or gray.”

half-brother, half-sister

Horses out of the same dam but by different sires. Horses with the same sire and different dams are not considered half-siblings in Thoroughbred racing.

hand

Four inches. A horse’s height is measured in hands and inches from the top of the shoulder (withers) to the ground, e.g., 15.2 hands is 15 hands, 2 inches. Thoroughbreds typically range from 15 to 17 hands.

hand ride

Urging a horse with the hands and not using the whip.

handicap

Betting: 1) Race for which the track handicapper assigns the weights to be carried. 2) To make selections on the basis of past performances.
Harness racing: A race in which performance, sex or distance allowance is made. Post positions for a handicap may be assigned by the racing secretary. Post positions in a handicap claiming race may be determined by claiming price.

handily

A horse racing well within itself, with little exertion from the jockey.

handle

Amount of money wagered in the parimutuels on a race, a program, during a meeting or for a year.

hard

A condition of a turf course where there is no resiliency to the surface.

hard boot

Denotes a well-traveled breeder whose boots are caked with mud and therefore hard. By extension, a breeder or trainer whose methods are characterized as old-fashioned. Generally used in the phrase, “Kentucky hard-boot.”

head

A margin between horses. One horse leading another by the length of its head.

head number

The wagering number for the horse or, in the case of a coupled entry, the wagering number of all horses that make up the coupled entry.

head of the stretch

Beginning of the straight run to the finish line.

heat

A single race or a single trial of a race that is one of a series of races that make up an event (race).

heavy

Wettest possible condition of a turf course; not usually found in North America.

high weight

Highest weight assigned or carried in a race.

hobbles

A leg harness used for controlling the gait of a pacer or trotter.

home stretch

The final stretch where the finish line is situated.

homebred

A horse bred by its owner.

hung

A horse that does not advance its position in a race when called upon by its jockey.

Impost

Weight carried or assigned.

in foal

Pregnant mare.

in hand

Running under moderate control, at less than top speed.

in the money

A horse that finishes first, second or third.

infield

Area encompassed by the inner rail of the racetrack.

inquiry

Reviewing the race to check into a possible infraction of the rules. Also, a sign flashed by officials on the tote board on such occasions. If lodged by a jockey, it is called an objection.

ITW

Intertrack wagering.

Jail

Refers to the requirement that a horse which has been claimed that next runs in a claiming race must run for a claiming price 25 percent higher for the next 30 days. Commonly used in the phrase The horse is in (out of) jail.

jockey fee

Sum paid to rider for competing in a race.

jockey’s race

A race whose outcome will hinge mostly on strategic thinking by the riders; i.e., one in which riders must pay close attention to pace to keep their horses fresh for a strong finish.

jog

Slow, easy gait.

judge

An official licensed by the USTA to perform specific duties as outlined under Rule 6.

juvenile

Two-year-old horse.

key horse

A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic wager.

lame

A term used to describe a horse that is limping, has difficulty walking or is sore.

lame

A term used to describe a horse that is limping, has difficulty walking or is sore.

late double

A second daily double offered during the latter part of the program.

lead [LED]

Lead weights carried in pockets on both sides of the saddle, used to make up the difference between the actual weight of the jockey and the weight the horse has been assigned to carry during the race.

leaky roof circuit

Minor tracks.

length

A measurement approximating the length of a horse, used to denote distance between horses in a race.

listed race

A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality.

lock

Slang for a “sure” winner.

maiden

Breeding: A female that has never been bred.
Harness racing: A stallion, mare or gelding that has never won a heat or race at the gait at which it is entered to start and for which a purse is offered.
Thoroughbred racing: A horse or rider that has not won a race.

maiden race

A race for non-winners.

mane

Long hairs growing on the crest of the horse’s neck, which are usually kept clipped to about six inches in length for neatness, or decoratively braided.

mare

A female horse 4 years of age or older.

mare

Female horse five-years-old or older.

mare’s month

September. In theory, because mares that have not run well during the summer often “wake up” in September.

medication

A substance, medicine or remedy used for healing or masking pain.

middle distance

Broadly, from one mile to 1-1/8 miles.

minus pool

A mutuel pool caused when a horse is so heavily played that, after deductions of state tax and commission, there is not enough money left to pay the legally prescribed minimum on each winning bet. The racing association usually makes up the difference.

money rider

A rider who excels in rich races.

morning glory

Horse that performs well in morning workouts but fails to reproduce that form in races.

morning line

Probable odds on each horse in a race, as determined by a mathematical formula used by the track handicapper, who tries to gauge both the ability of the horse and the likely final odds as determined by the bettors.

mudder

Horse that races well on muddy tracks. Also known as a “mudlark.”

muddy

A condition of a racetrack which is wet but has no standing water.

mutuel pool

Short for “parimutuel pool.” Sum of the wagers on a race or event, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool, etc.

name (of a Thoroughbred)

Names of North American Thoroughbreds are registered by The Jockey Club. They can be no longer than 18 characters, including punctuation and spaces. The words “the,” “and,” “by,” “for,” “in” and “a” are almost always lower case unless they are the first word in the name. Examples “Love You by Heart,” “Go for Wand” and “Strike the Gold.”

near side

Left side of a horse. Side on which a horse is mounted.

neck

Unit of measurement. About the length of a horse’s neck; a little less than a quarter of a length.

nod

Lowering of head. To win by a nod, a horse extends its head with its nose touching the finish line ahead of a close competitor.

Nom de Course

Name adopted by an owner or group of owners for racing purposes.

nominator

One who owns a horse at the time it is named to compete in a stakes race.

nose

Smallest advantage a horse can win by. Called a short head in Britain.

oaks

A stakes event for three-year-old fillies (females).

objection

Claim of foul lodged by rider, patrol judge or other official after the running of a race. If lodged by official, it is called an inquiry.

odds-on

Odds of less than even money.

off side

Right side of horse.

off-track betting

Wagering at legalized betting outlets usually run by the tracks, management companies specializing in parimutuel wagering, or, in New York State, by independent corporations chartered by the state. Wagers at OTB sites are usually commingled with on-track betting pools.

official

1) Notice displayed when a race result is confirmed. 2) Used to denote a racing official.

on the bit

When a horse is eager to run. Also known as “in the bridle.”

on the board

Finishing among the first three.

on the muscle

Denotes a fit horse.

on the nose

Betting a horse to win only.

OTB

Abbreviation for off-track betting.

out of the money

A horse that finishes worse than third.

overland

Racing wide throughout, outside of other horses.

overlay

A horse going off at higher odds than it appears to warrant based on its past performances.

overnight

A sheet published by the racing secretary’s office listing the entries for an upcoming racing card.

overnight race

A race in which entries close a specific number of hours before running (such as 48 hours), as opposed to a stakes race for which nominations close weeks and sometimes months in advance.

overweight

Surplus weight carried by a horse when the rider cannot make the required weight.

owner

The full owner or part owner of a registered Standardbred.

pace

A gait in which the legs of a horse move in lateral pairs.

pacesetter

The horse that is running in front (on the lead).

paddock

Area where horses are saddled and paraded before being taken onto the track.

paddock judge

Official in charge of paddock and saddling routine.

paddock/receiving barn

Areas enclosed by a fence or other means, at which all entrances are secured, and entrance to such structure is limited.

pari-mutuel wagering

A form of betting and of handling the betting on horse races at racetracks, in which those holding winning tickets divide the total amount bet in proportion to their wagers, less a percentage for the management, taxes, etc.

parimutuel(s)

A form of wagering originated in 1865 by Frenchman Pierre Oller in which all money bet is divided up among those who have winning tickets, after taxes, takeout and other deductions are made. Oller called his system “parier mutuel” meaning “mutual stake” or “betting among ourselves.” As this wagering method was adopted in England it became known as “Paris mutuals,” and soon after “parimutuels.”

parlay

A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on each succeeding race.

part wheel

Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations. See wheel.

past performances

A horse’s racing record, earnings, bloodlines and other data, presented in composite form.

pasteboard track

A lightning fast racing surface.

patrol judge(s)

Official(s) who observe the progress of a race from various vantage points around the track.

photo finish

A result so close it is necessary to use the finish-line camera to determine the order of finish.

photo finish

A result so close it is necessary to use the finish-line camera to determine the order of finish.

pick (number)

A type of multi-race wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick Three (sometimes called the “Daily Triple”), Pick Six and Pick Nine are common.

pill

Small numbered ball used in a blind draw to decide post positions.

pinched back

A horse forced back due to racing in close quarters.

pinhooker

A person who buys a racehorse with the specific intention of re-selling it at a profit.

place

Second position at finish.

place bet

Wager on a horse to finish first or second.

placing judge

Official who posts the order of finish in a race.

plate(s)

1) A prize for a winner. Usually less valuable than a cup. 2) Generic term for lightweight (usually) aluminum horseshoes used during a race.

plater

1) Claiming horse. 2) A farrier.

pocket

A position in a race with horses in front and alongside.

point(s) of call

A horse’s position at various locations on the racetrack where its running position is noted on a chart. The locations vary with the distance of the race.

pole(s)

Markers at measured distances around the track designating the distance from the finish. The quarter pole, for instance, is a quarter of a mile from the finish, not from the start.

pony

Any horse or pony that leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate. Also, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate. Also can be used as a verb He was ponied to the gate. Also known as a “lead [LEED] pony.”

positive test

Finding by an approved laboratory that a blood or urine sample indicates the presence of a drug, medication or other prohibited substance.

post

1) Starting point for a race. 2) An abbreviated version of post position. For example, “He drew post four.” 3) As a verb, to record a win. For example, “He’s posted 10 wins in 14 starts.”

post parade

Horses going from paddock to starting gate past the stands.

post position

The position assigned or drawn for a horse from which it will start the race.

post position

Position of stall in starting gate from which a horse starts.

post race test

A blood or urine sample, taken after the completion of a heat or dash, that indicates the presence of a drug, medication or other prohibited substance.

post time

The time set for the start of a race.

pre-race test

A blood or urine sample, taken prior to the completion of a heat or dash, that indicates the presence of a drug, medication or other prohibited substance.

preferred list

Horses with prior rights to starting, usually because they have previously been entered in races that have not filled with the minimum number of starters.

prop

When a horse suddenly stops moving by digging its front feet into the ground.

pull up

To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout.

purse

The monetary amount that is distributed to the finishers of a race.

qualifying race

A race in which a horse must establish its ability to participate at a race meeting, consistent with the qualifying standards establish for that class of horse.

quinella

Wager in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.

rabbit

A speed horse running as an entry with another, usually come-from-behind horse. The rabbit is expected to set a fast pace to help the chances of its stablemate.

race secretary

An official licensed by the USTA to perform specific duties as outlined under Rule 6.20.

racing secretary

Official who drafts conditions of races and assigns weights for handicap events.

rail

The barrier on either side of the racing strip. Sometimes referred to as the “fence.”

rail runner

Horse that prefers to run next to the inside rail.

rank

A horse that refuses to settle under a jockey’s handling in a race, running in a headstrong manner without respect to pace.

rattle

Used in the expression, “He likes to hear his feet rattle,” a horse that likes a firm turf course.

re-entered

The reason that the horse was scratched out of the race was that he was either a) entered in another race on that day, either at the same track or another track and opted to race in the other race OR b) was scratched out of this race to run in another race in the next few days.

receiving barn

Structure used by horses shipping in for a race who do not have a stall at that racetrack.

refuse

1) When a horse will not break from the gate. 2) In jumping races, balking at a jump.

reserve

A minimum price, set by the consignor, for a horse in a public auction. For example, “The horse did not reach its reserve.”

ridden out

A horse that finishes a race under mild urging, not as severe as driving.

ride short

Using short stirrups.

roan

A horse color where the majority of the coat of the horse is a mixture of red and white hairs or brown and white hairs. The mane, tail and legs may be black, chestnut or roan unless white markings are present. Starting with foals of 1993, the color classifications gray and roan were combined as “roan or gray.”

rogue

Ill-tempered horse.

route

Broadly, a race distance of longer than 1-1/8 miles.

router

Horse that performs well at longer distances.

savage

When a horse bites another horse or a person.

scale of weights

Fixed weights to be carried by horses according to their age, sex, race distance and time of year.

scratch

To be taken out of a race before it starts. Trainers usually scratch horses due to adverse track conditions or a horse’s adverse health. A veterinarian can scratch a horse at any time.

second call

A secondary mount of a jockey in a race in the event his primary mount is scratched.

second dam

Grandmother of a horse. Also known as a “granddam.”

set down

1) A suspension. For example, “The jockey was set down five days for careless riding.” 2) When a jockey assumes a lower crouch in the saddle while urging the horse to pick up speed. For example, “The horse was set down for the drive to the wire.”

shadow roll

A (usually sheepskin) roll that is secured over the bridge of a horse’s nose to keep it from seeing shadows on the track and shying away from or jumping them.

shank

Rope or strap attached to a halter or bridle by which a horse is led.

shedrow

Stable area. A row of barns.

sheets

A handicapping tool assigning a numerical value to each race run by a horse to enable different horses running at different racetracks to be objectively compared.

show

Third position at the finish.

show bet

Wager on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

shut off

Unable to improve position due to being surrounded by other horses.

simulcast

A simultaneous live television transmission of a race to other tracks, off-track betting offices or other outlets for the purpose of wagering.

sloppy

A racing strip that is saturated with water; with standing water visible.

slow

A racing strip that is wet on both the surface and base.

socks

Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the ankles.

soft

Condition of a turf course with a large amount of moisture. Horses sink very deeply into it.

solid horse

Contender.

sophomores

Three-year-old horses. Called sophomores because age three is the second year of racing eligibility.

speed figure

A handicapping tool used to assign a numerical value to a horse’s performance. See Beyer number.

spit the bit

A term referring to a tired horse that begins to run less aggressively, backing off on the “pull” a rider normally feels on the reins from an eager horse. Also used as a generic term for an exhausted horse.

sprint

Short race, less than one mile.

stake

A race that will be contested in a year subsequent to its closing, in which the money given by the track member conducting the same is added to the money contributed by the nominators.

stakes horse

A horse whose level of competition includes mostly stakes races.

stakes-placed

Finished second or third in a stakes race.

stall walker

Horse that moves about its stall constantly and frets rather than rests.

stallion

A male horse used for breeding.

stallion season

The right to breed one mare to a particular stallion during one breeding season.

stallion share

A lifetime breeding right to a stallion; one mare per season per share.

start

Any type of condition, unless specifically so stated, that includes only those performances in a purse race. Qualifying and matinee races are excluded.

starter

1) An official responsible for ensuring a fair start to the race, the starter supervises the loading of horses into the starting gate through a gate crew. He/she also has control of the opening the gate. 2) A horse that is in the starting gate when the race begins, whether he runs or not.

starter race

An allowance or handicap race restricted to horses that have started for a specific claiming price or less.

starting gate

A mobile device used to start horses in a race.

starting gate

Partitioned mechanical device having stalls in which the horses are confined until the starter releases the stalls’ confined front doors to begin the race.

state-bred

A horse bred in a particular state and thus eligible to compete in races restricted to state-breds.

stayer

A horse that can race long distances.

steadied

A horse being taken in hand by its rider, usually because of being in close quarters.

step up

A horse moving up in class to meet better competition.

stewards

Officials of the race meeting responsible for enforcing the rules of racing.

stockings

Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock.

stretch call

Position of horses at the eighth pole.

stretch runner

Horse that runs its fastest nearing the finish of a race.

stretch turn

Bend of track into the final straightaway.

stride

Manner of going. Also, distance covered between successive imprints of the same hoof.

stripe

A white marking running down a horse’s face, starting under an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.

stud

1) Male horse used for breeding. 2) A breeding farm.

stud book

Registry and genealogical record of Thoroughbreds, maintained by the Jockey Club of the country in question. Use lower case when describing a generic stud book, all words, including “The,” are capitalized when describing “The American Stud Book.”

subscription

Fee paid by owner to nominate a horse for a stakes race or to maintain eligibility for a stakes race.

substitute race

Alternate race used to replace a regularly scheduled race that does not fill or is canceled.

suckling

A foal in its first year of life, while it is still nursing.

sulk

When a horse refuses to extend itself.

swipe

A groom.

take (takeout)

Commission deducted from mutuel pools which is shared by the track, horsemen (in the form of purses) and local and state governing bodies in the form of tax.

taken up

A horse pulled up sharply by its rider because of being in close quarters.

teaser

A male horse used at breeding farms to determine whether a mare is ready to receive a stallion.

teletheater

Special facility for showing simulcast races.

The Jockey Club

An organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. Incorporated Feb. 10, 1894 in New York City, The Jockey Club serves as North America’s Thoroughbred registry, responsible for the maintenance of “The American Stud Book,” a register of all Thoroughbreds foaled in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada; and of all Thoroughbreds imported into those countries from jurisdictions that have a registry recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee.

Thoroughbred

A Thoroughbred is a horse whose parentage traces back to any of the three “founding sires” the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb, and who has satisfied the rules and requirements of The Jockey Club and is registered in “The American Stud Book” or in a foreign stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee. Any other horse, no matter what its parentage, is not considered a Thoroughbred for racing and/or breeding purposes.

tight

Ready to race.

top line

A Thoroughbred’s breeding on its sire’s side.

totalizator

An automated parimutuel system that dispenses and records betting tickets, calculates and displays odds and payoffs and provides the mechanism for cashing winning tickets. Often shortened to “tote.”

tote board

The (usually) electronic totalizator display in the infield which reflects up-to-the-minute odds. It may also show the amounts wagered in each mutuel pool as well as information such as jockey and equipment changes, etc. Also known as the “board.”

track bias

A racing surface that favors a particular running style or position. For example, a track bias can favor either front-runners or closers or horses running on the inside or outside.

track condition

Condition of the racetrack surface. See fast; good; muddy; sloppy; frozen; hard; firm; soft; yielding; heavy.

trail off

Used to describe a fit horse losing its competitive edge.

trial

In Thoroughbred racing, a preparatory race created in tandem with a subsequent, more important stakes race to be run a few days or weeks hence The Derby Trial.

trifecta

A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order. Called a “triactor” in Canada and a “triple” in some parts of the U.S.

trifecta box

A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon. The total number of combinations can be calculated according to the formula x3-3×2+2x, where x equals the amount of horses in the box. The sum of the formula is then multiplied by the amount wagered on each combination.

trip

An individual horse’s race, with specific reference to the difficulty (or lack of difficulty) the horse had during competition, e.g., whether the horse was repeatedly blocked or had an unobstructed run.

trot

A gait in which the legs of the horse move in diagonal pairs.

underlay

A horse racing at shorter odds than seems warranted by its past performances.

untried

A stallion that has not been bred.

valet

A person employed by a racing association to clean and care for a jockey’s tack and other riding equipment.

walkover

A race in which only one horse competes.

washed out

A horse that becomes so nervous that it sweats profusely. Also known as “washy” or “lathered (up).”

weanling

A foal that is less than one-year-old that has been separated from its dam.

weanling

A foal that is less than one-year-old that has been separated from its dam.

weigh in (out)

The certification, by the clerk of scales, of a rider’s weight before (after) a race. A jockey weighs in fully dressed with all equipment except for his/her helmet, whip and (in many jurisdictions) flak jacket.

weight-for-age

An allowance condition in which each entrant is assigned a weight according to its age. Females usually receive a sex allowance as well. (Compare with a handicap race.)

wheel

Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key. See part wheel.

white

A horse color, extremely rare, in which all the hairs are white. The horse’s eyes are brown, not pink, as would be the case for an albino.

wire

The finish line of a race.

yearling

A horse in its second calendar year of life, beginning Jan. 1 of the year following its birth.

yielding

Condition of a turf course with a great deal of moisture. Horses sink into it noticeably.

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