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.

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