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Glossary of Racing Terms

Added Money
Money added to purse (usually by owners in the nominating process, to make a horse eligible to start)--entry fee.
 
Allowance Race
A race in which horses competing cannot be claimed; race conditions specified in condition book.
 
Also Ran
Out of the money finishers.
 
Announcer
Person who calls the position of horses as they race, sometimes referred to as caller.
 
Apprentice Allowance
Pounds of weight off given "bug" (apprentice) riders.
 
b
Indicates the color of the horse as "bay".
 
Bay
A horse with any shade of brown body color and black points (mane, tail and lower legs).
 
Backside
Barn area of a race track.
 
Backstretch
Part of the race track with straightaway on far side from grandstand.
 
Bandages
Wrappings for horses legs to protect and support.
 
Beaten Favorite
Horse that ran as the favorite in a previous race and did not win.
 
blk
Indicates the color of the horse as black.
 
Bleeder
Horse bleedes from the lungs after exertion.
 
Blinkers
Headpiece or blinders restricting side vision of horse.
 
Blow Out
Pre-race tune up.
 
Bolt
Veering abruptly from straight course.
 
Breakdown
When a horse cannot run because of a physical injury; becomes lame.
 
Break Maiden
To win a race for the first time.
 
Breeze
Fast workout of ahorse. Clocker can get an official time from a breeze.
 
Bug Rider
Jockey who is an apprentice. He is entitled to carry less weight in a race depending on teh number of races he has won. Bugs are indicated in the program by asterisks (*).
 
Bute
(Phenylbutazone) Medication used to kill pain in horses.
 
Caulks
Metal cleats on horse shoes.
 
ch
Indicates the color of the horse as "chestnut".
 
Change Leads
Horse changes stride to lead with the opposite leg.
 
Chestnut
A reddish-brown colored horse. Mane and tail may be a different shade but not black.
 
Chutes
An extension to the track making a straightaway run, so horses do not have to make an immediate turn when they run a race.
 
Claiming Race
A race in which horses competing in the race can be purchased (claimed) by a qualified buyer by entering a claim slip before the race is run. Equalizes competition by requiring owners to put a price tag on entries.
 
Clerk of Scales
Person employed by the track who weighs each jockey before each race to verify that the horse will be carrying its assigned weight. Jockeys are also weighed after each race.
 
Clocker
The timer who records the workouts of the horses at the race track.
 
Clubhouse Turn
The turn in the track closest to the Clubhouse.
 
Colors
Silks worn by jockey to distinguish owner's horses.
 
Condition Book
Book issued by the racing secretary and officers of each track. The book explains in detail rules and regulations regarding eligibility for entering races. Each day's racing conditions are spelled out for the program of the day.
 
Cool Out
Walking a horse after a race or workout to cool it down.
 
Coupled
Two horses entered by the same trainer in a race. Listed in the program as 1 and 1A. If two trainers couple horses the second group will be listed as 2 and 2B.
 
Crop
Jockey's whip, sometimes referred to as bat.
 
Crowding
One horse forcing another horse into the inside rail of the track.
 
Dam
Mother of a horse.
 
Dark
There is no racing on a dark day.
 
Dead Heat
Two or more horses are tied at the finish of the race. If tied for first, the purse for first and second will be divided equally. The same applies for other ties.
 
Dk.B./Br.
Indicates the color of the horse as dark bay or brown.
 
Driving
Horse finishing strong at the end of a race.
 
Eligible
Meeting the conditions of a race.
 
Entry
Horse entered into a race.
 
Exercise Rider
A person who rides horses during morning workouts. Many jockeys also excercise horses.
 
fst
Fast track.
 
Filly
A female horse four years old or younger.
 
fm
Firm track (turf).
 
Foal
Baby horse, either sex.
 
Foal Papers
A Thoroughbred race horses must be registered with The Jockey Club. A copy of the registration papers must be kept on file at the race track during the period that the horse is racing. These papers include the horse's name, pedigree and physical description.
 
fr
Frozen track.
 
Fractions
Times recorded during the running of the race, usually at 1/4 mile intervals and at the finish.
 
Furlong
1/8 of a mile (660 ft.).
 
gd
Good track condition.
 
Gait
The way a horse moves. The main four gaits of a horse are walk, trot (jog), canter and gallop.
 
Gate Card
Permission from officials for a horse to start in a race based on the fact that he has practiced in the starting gate and can break from the gate without endangering the other horses or riders.
 
Gelding
A castrated male horse.
 
Gimpy
Noticeable lameness.
 
gr
Indicates the color of the horse as gray.
 
Graduate
To win for the first time and move up from maiden classification.
 
Grooms
Stable hands hired by the trainer to care for the horses. They feed and water the horses, wash them down, bandage their legs, etc. Grooms lead the horses to the paddock before the race.
 
Hand
Unit of measure for horses height from the ground to the withers. One hand equals four inches.
 
Handicap
To consider all the variables and try to select a winner of a race.
 
Handicap Race
Race in which the weights carried are adjusted to equalize the horses' chances of winning.
 
Handle
Total money bet, may be in terms of a race, day, meet, year or other period of time.
 
Hand Ride
Jockey uses only his hands, not a whip, to command the horse.
 
Hit the Board
Those horses whose numbers appear on the tote board as first, second, third or fourth.
 
Homestretch
The part of the track in front of the grandstand from the final turn to the finish. Often shortened to just "stretch".
 
Horse Shoes
Every track displays a board describing the type of shoes worn by horse. Shoes are made of aluminum and weigh approximately 8 oz. Shoes are replaced often while racing or training. Although the shoes are nailed to the horses hooves the process is painless to the horse.
 
Hot Walkers
Stable hands who cool horses down gradually by walking them around. If this is not done the horse may catch cold.
 
Hung
Horse tired.
 
In Foal
Pregnant mare.
 
Irons
Stirrups.
 
Jockey
Person who rides a horse in a race.
 
Jog
Slow trot.
 
Juvenile Stakes
Stake race for two-year-olds.
 
Lasix
Medication for a horse who is a bleeder.
 
Lead Shank
Leather strap with a metal chain which attaches to the halter to lead a horse.
 
Lead Weight
Metal carried in the saddle to make weight assigned.
 
Leg Up
Trainer helps jockey to mount the horse by holding a hand under the jockey's knee and giving him a boost.
 
Length
Distance between horses in a race equivalent to the length of a horse.
 
Lip Tattoo
Before a horse can race, it is assigned a tattoo number and this number is tattooed on it's upper lip. This becomes a permanent identification for that horse.
 
Longshot
Horse paying good odds (usually 10-1 or better).
 
Lug In/Lug Out
Bearing in or out while running.
 
Maiden
A horse which has never won a race.
 
Mare
Female horse five years old or older.
 
Match Race
A race between only two horses.
 
Medication
Each state has its own medication rules.
 
Morning Line
Early estimate of probable odds handicapped by the track handicapper. These odds area listed in the program.
 
Mudder
A horse who runs well on a muddy track.
 
my
Muddy track condition.
 
Near Side
Left side of horse; off side is the right side. Most handling of the horse including mounting and leading is done from the near side.
 
Objection
Claim of foul by jockey.
 
Official
On tote board, display confirms results official.
 
Off Track
When the track condition is other than fast.
 
Off Track Betting (OTB)
Betting done at establishment away from the race track--not legal in some states.
 
Outrider
Employed by the track to keep horses from acting up, running away or getting out of control before, during or after a race.
 
Overnights
Sheets put out by the race track which list the entries for the following day.
 
Overweight
Carring more than the weight published in the program.
 
Paddock
Area at the track where the horses are saddled.
 
Parimutuel
Sharing in money bet.
 
Photo
When flashed on the tote board, two horses finished so close a review of the film must be made to determine the winner.
 
Place
Come in second.
 
Plates
Horse shoes.
 
Pole
Markers placed around the track. Quarter miles marked by red and white poles, eighth's (furlongs) are green and white, and sixteenth poles are black and white.
 
Pony Rider
Person riding a calm horse to lead the race horse to the track.
 
Pool
Money bet on race in each pool--win/place/show, etc.
 
Post Parade
Horses parade from the paddock to the starting gate before each race.
 
Post Position
The position from which a horse starts a race--from the inside rail which is position #1.
 
Post Time
The starting time for each race.
 
Purse
The amount of money distributed to the top finishers in a race.
 
Receiving Barn
Back side area where horses shipped in for a race are housed.
 
Rogue
Horse that can not be broken of bad habits.
 
Run Downs
Elastic bandages that protect a horses legs.
 
Saddle Cloth
Cloth under the saddle with the horses program number on it.
 
Schooling
Taking a horse to practice in the paddock, starting gate or on the track.
 
Scratched
Taken out of a race after being entered.
 
Set Down
Jockey suspended from racing for a specific length of time.
 
sf
Soft track (turf).
 
Shadow Roll
Thick, wooley material under eyes to keep horse from seeing shadows on the ground so that the horse doesn't spook.
 
Shed Row
A row of stalls used to house horses on the backside.
 
Show
Come in third.
 
Silks
The jacket worn by the jockey, usually made of shiny nylon and displays the colors of the horse's owner.
 
Sire
Father of a horse.
 
sly
Sloppy track condition.
 
Speed Rating
Number assigned to a horses performance in a race. Above 80 is good. Above 100 is excellent.
 
Spook
A horse's reaction when startled.
 
Starting Gate
The gate which horses are loaded into before a race and break from to begin the race.
 
Tack
Any special equipment for riding and caring for a horse.
 
Tip Sheet
Professional handicappers pick horses they think will win and sell sheets at the race track.
 
Tongue Tie
Strip of material tied around a horse's tongue and jaw to keep it from swallowing its tongue and clogging its air passage.
 
Tote Board
Display board in front of the grandstand area which gives information regarding races.
 
Turf
Grass track on the inside of the main track.
 
Valet
A person who assists a jockey by keeping his clothing and equipment in order.
 
Washy Horse
One that sweats excessively showing signs of nervousness. Usually indicates pre-race tension. When a horse is washy it uses up too much energy; and this may affect its performance.
 
Weanling
A foal which is a suckling ready to be weaned (separated from its mother). A foal is usually weaned when it is approximately six months old.
 
Winner's Circle
Winning horse enters the area designated as winner's circle. Winner's picture with owners, trainers, jockeys, and interested people involved with horse's performance is taken in winner's circle.
 
Yearling
A horse which is one year old. January 1 after the year of the birth of a foal is the birthday for all thoroughbred horses. On January 1, a foal becomes a yearling, and on the following January1, it becomes a two-year-old, etc.
 
yld
yielding track condition (turf).
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