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.”

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.

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.

board

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

bomb(er)

A winning horse sent off at extremely high odds.

box

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

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.

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.

commingle

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

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.

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.

coupled (entry)

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

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.

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).

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.”

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.

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.

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.

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.

handle

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

in the money

A horse that finishes first, second or third.

ITW

Intertrack wagering.

key horse

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

late double

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

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.

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.

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.

odds-on

Odds of less than even money.

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.

on the nose

Betting a horse to win only.

OTB

Abbreviation for off-track betting.

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.

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.

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.

place bet

Wager on a horse to finish first or second.

quinella

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

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 bet

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

speed figure

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

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.

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.

underlay

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

wheel

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

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