Glossary of North American horse racing
Glossary of North American horse racing:
Additional glossaries at:
- Advance-deposit wagering
- Advance-deposit wagering (ADW) is a form of horse race gambling in which the bettor must fund his or her account before being allowed to place bets. ADW is often conducted online or by phone.
- Allowance race
- A race for which entries are restricted to horses meeting certain earnings or other race criteria. The track operator's designated official (usually the Racing Secretary) establishes specific conditions that determine what weights are to be carried by any competing horse based on factors from the horse's previous performances including races won and/or earnings.
- Adjustments in weight "allowed" in a race. Examples are those granted because an apprentice is riding, for three-year-olds running against older horses, or for female horses running against male horses. Sometimes the conditions of a particular race allow weight allowances for other reasons.
- Allowance optional claiming
- See Optional claiming
- Also eligible
- A horse officially entered in a race who is not allowed to start because the field is too large, an also-eligible horse is allowed to enter if other horses are scratched prior to a set deadline.
- A young jockey, sometimes called a "bug," who is still in training. An apprentice is required to ride a given number of winners in a specified period of time before completing his or her apprenticeship.
- Also sometimes called the backstretch (see "backstretch", below), an area with restricted access, usually behind the track, where the stables and residential living areas for staff are located.
- The straightway on the farther side of an elliptical or oval racecourse. It typically runs parallel to the grandstand and the homestretch where the finish line is located. Also refers to the stabling area adjacent to the racetrack (see "backside", above).
- Bearing In (or out)
- When a horse does not run straight on the course. There are many causes, including fatigue, infirmity, reaction to being whipped, or the rider's inability to control the horse.
- Black type
- In a sales catalogue, black type is boldface print and indicates a stakes winner if the name is in all caps, or a stakes-placed runner if in upper and lower mixed case letters.
- Blanket finish
- A finish "so close that a blanket would cover all the contestants involved."
- When a horse bleeds from the nostrils either during the running of a race, or when returning to be unsaddled. May explain a poor effort See also: Furosemide (Lasix).
- A hood designed with partial cups behind the horse's eyes that limit a horse's rear vision and some side vision, depending on design. Blinkers may prevent a horse from ducking away from objects or other horses.
- Bloodstock agent
- People who specialize in buying and selling horses on behalf of clients and offer advice on purchasing horses.See also: Pinhooking
- Blue hen
- A mare who produces many high quality offspring who also have a significant impact on the breed.
- 1) The list of mares that a stallion will breed in a given breeding season. A full book is when the maximum number of mares the stallion is deemed able to breed has been reached. 2) A jockey's riding commitments for races. An agent usually is the person who manages and books the races a jockey is to ride.
- A horse that runs a poor race directly following a career-best or near-best performance.
- Break or broke
- To leave the starting gate in the initial strides of a race.
- Break maiden
- When a horse wins a race for the first time in its career.
- Allowing a horse to slow or to run easy for a short distance in a race for the purpose of conserving the horse's stamina or allowing the horse to regain his strength.
- 1. To win easily. 2. A timed workout where the horse is not being asked for full speed; less effort than handily; or can refer to a light training workout over a short distance that is used to gauge a horse's racing potential and performance.
- Broke down
- A horse that has a serious leg problem during a race where he is limping or cannot put a limb on the ground, resulting in either being removed from the track in a horse ambulance or, in the worst cases, euthanized.
- Bullet or bullet work
- The best workout time at a track on a given day at a specific distance. The past performance listings indicate this work by a printer's "bullet" in front of that particular workout time.
- Butazolidin or bute
- See Phenylbutazone, below.
- The horse who runs a particular race at the lowest win odds; the favorite. The horse with the second-lowest win odds is sometimes called "Second Chalk" and so on. If all the races run so far have been won by horses with relatively low win odds, then today's results so far are called "Chalky." A bettor who routinely places wagers on favorites is called a "Chalk Player."
- A detailed list of statistics about a race. The chart lists the position of each horse at various points of the race, the margin between horses, plus the odds for the race, and each horse's sex, age, weight carried, owner, and trainer. The chart also describes the purse, race conditions, the prices paid for various winning bets, winning times and so on.
- An extension to a straightaway on either the homestretch or the backstretch used for establishing a distance to eliminate the need to begin the race on a turn.
- Circle the field
- When a horse is forced to go very wide around other horses in order to move into a winning position.
- Claiming race
- Race in which any competing horse is subject to be purchased for a preset price. A claim is made before the race and can only be acted upon by a licensed owner or their agent. The price is set by the conditions of the race. If the horse wins prize money during the race, the money goes to the previous owner.
- A horse that performs best during the final part of the race, usually coming from behind against most of its race competitors.
- Clubhouse turn
- The turn to the right of the grandstand, so called because the clubhouse is usually to the right of the general stands
- Conditions are requirements for horses to be entered into a specific race, such as age, sex, number of wins, and amount of money won. Racetracks publish a Conditions Book listing the upcoming stakes that set the eligibility requirements and any restrictions for each race.
- The owner and trainer of a horse. The term can also be extended to other members of a racing team or partnership.
- Dead heat
- Term to denote a tie at the finish of the race between two or more horses. A tie with three horses is very rare.
- A stakes race for three-year-olds. As of 2016, there are over 20 derbies in the United States, often named for the racetrack or the state in which the race is run.
- Did not finish (DNF)
- A horse that did not finish the race, for any of a number of reasons
- Far turn
- The turn off the backstretch into the homestretch. So called because it is farthest from the finish line.
- Fast pace
- When the leading horses in a race set fractional times that are substantially faster than normal for the distance.
- A horse that has a preferred running style to run at or near the head of the field; such horses generally lead or try to lead. Compare: stalker, closer. See also: Pacemaker, "rabbit"
- A distance equal to 220 yards (1⁄8 mile or 200 m)
- Generic name of a medication used to treat bleeders, also commonly known by the trade name Lasix. Indicated on past performance tables by the letter L.
- A race for two-year-old horses for which they have been nominated for entry while still a foal; the owners make payments over time to maintain the horse's eligibility. Purses are usually large
- Half-brother, half-sister
- Horses who are out of the same dam, but sired by different stallions. Only horses with the same dam are considered half-siblings.
- 1. A race designed to create equality by the horses being assigned different, specific weights determined by the track handicapper based on an assessment of each entrant's potential. 2. The process of selecting winners based on past performances. 3. The amount of weight, sometimes called an impost, carried by the horse.
- Working or racing with moderate effort, more than a breeze.
- Hand ride
- When the jockey urges a horse just with his/her hands and does not use the whip.
- The amount wagered in the various pari-mutuel pools for either a specified race, program (ie, all races at a given track on a given day), meeting or year.
- Head of the stretch, top of the stretch
- The beginning of the homestretch.
- Hit the board
- To finish in the top four placings, literally, to appear on the tote board.
- Homestretch or stretch
- The final straight section of the track leading to the finish.
- In the money
- 1. For a horse to finish in the top three placings, where bettors win money. 2. Less often, for the horse to finish in the top four, where the horses win prize money.
- 1) When track stewards review the race to determine if there was an infraction of the rules. 2) When the "inquiry" sign is placed on the tote board. Inquiries lodged by a jockey are called objections.
- Two-year-old horses.
- Maiden race
- Specific race for runners that have never won a race, usually by age, but not always.
- The distance between horses at a given point in the race, usually measured in lengths (see above). For the leader, it is the distance he/she was ahead of the second place horse. For other horses, it is the distance by which they trailed the leader. Shown in past performance charts as the small number after the horse's position at a given call.
- Minus pool
- When there is not enough money left in the parimutuel pool to pay the legally required minimum on each winning bet. This usually happens when one horse is very heavily bet upon. In these cases, the racing association usually is the entity that makes up the difference.
- Morning line
- The approximate odds before wagering begins and exact odds are established.
- Stakes race for three-year-old fillies.
- Odds of less than even money ($1 to $1). A winning bet returns the amount wagered plus the ratio specified by the odds. A winner at a payoff of under $4.00 for a $2 bet is "odds on."
- Optional claiming
- A race where a horse can either meet the conditions of the race or be entered as a claimer.
- Out of the money
- For a horse to finish worse than third, meaning that bettors do not win money. Opposite of "in the money".
- The speed of a race. To run a horse "off the pace" means that the horse will not be in the lead for the early part of the race but will advance to the front shortly before the finish of the race.
- A horse who goes to the front of the field to ensure a suitable pace, usually to set up the race for a stablemate who runs off the pace. Also called a Rabbit. In contrast, a Frontrunner is trying to win the race.
- A frontrunner. Compare: closer, stalker
- Saddling and parading area where horses can be seen prior to the race. See also: paddock for agricultural uses.
- Past performances
- A list of the horses in a race showing each horse's previous racing record, earnings, pedigree and so on.
- Generic term for a widely used analgesic medication in horses. Most common trade name is Butazolidin; often called "bute". Shown on past performance tables as a B.
- Photo finish
- A race result so close that the judges cannot decide the order of finish until they consult photographs taken of the race finish.
- Pinhook, pinhooking
- Buying young race horses, usually yearlings, with an intent to resell later at a profit.See also: Bloodstock agent
- Second position at finish. A place bet is a wager on a horse to finish first or second.
- Markers placed at specific locations around the track marking the distance from the finish line, named after the distance remaining, not the distance run, i.e. the quarter pole, eighth pole, sixteenth pole each measure the distance left in the race. One-sixteenth poles are black and white striped. Eighth poles are green and white. Quarter poles are red and white.
- 1. The starting point of a race 2. Post position (see below) 3. (verb) To reference or record a win.
- Post parade
- When the horses in a race travel from the paddock to the starting gate ("post"), past the grandstands.
- Post position
- The number of the individual stalls in the starting gate where horses will begin a race. The first stall (#1 or inside position) is next to the rail at most racetracks with higher numbers on the outside of the track. Post position can be a hindrance or tactical advantage for horses depending on their racing style.
- Pull up
- To pull back on the reins to slowly stop a horse. Jockeys will typically ease a horse to a stop after passing the finish line or if there is a problem with the horse, such as injury, that necessitates a withdrawal from a race.
- A horse with speed entered to set a fast early pace to help the chances of a stablemate. Also known as a Pacemaker
- A program for a race day that lists the individual races and the name, age, and sex of each horse scheduled to compete along with their recent performances plus the name of their jockey, trainer and owner. See also: Racecard
- Female horse (mare) who has competed in sanctioned Thoroughbred races.
- Race meet
- A racetrack meeting over a designated number of specific days to run Thoroughbred races.
- Racetrack or racecourse
- A flat surface made of dirt, grass (turf) or synthetic material, usually arranged in an oval, where races are conducted. Races can either be run in a counterclockwise (left-handed) or clockwise (right-handed) direction around the track. Left-handed, dirt tracks are the predominant form in the United States, mostly due to tradition. Tracks typically consist of two turns, a backstretch, a straight (or homestretch) arranged around a central infield and various surrounding structures such as the finish line and stands for spectators.
- Inside fence on a racetrack.
- A horse that is fractious and hard for the jockey to handle.
- Rank outsider
- A horse that is not expected to win a race.
- A deliberate action by the jockey to keep a horse "off the pace".
- Ridden out
- When a horse is not whipped but rather works out or wins with a strong hand ride.
- To remove a horse from a race before it is run.
- Sealed track
- Packing down a track surface when it rains so that the water drains off the surface.
- To finish in third position. Betting on a horse to show pays out if the horse finishes third or better.
- The silk or nylon jacket and cap worn by a jockey to indicate the owner of the horse. Each owner's unique colors are registered with the national and/or regional racing authority. The first use of registered "colours" occurred in 1762 at Newmarket Racecourse in England.
- Stakes race
- A race where a fee must be paid to enter, which may include a fee for nominating, paying additional fees to maintain eligibility, then fees for entry and starting. The track usually adds additional money to the total purse.see also: Graded stakes race
- A horse whose running style is to stay just behind the leaders. Compare: Closer, front-runner, pacesetter.
- Steward or track steward
- Racetrack official responsible for enforcement of racing regulations.
- see homestretch, above.
- Top of the stretch
- See Head of the stretch
- Track record/course record
- The fastest time on a specific racetrack it has taken any Thoroughbred to complete a set race distance on a specific surface. Many tracks have more than one surface (typically dirt and turf), so there are separate track records maintained for each course, also known as a course record.
- The races on the same day that precede a major or important race.
- Race with only one horse going to the post. As a result, the sole starter needs only to gallop the distance of the race to be the official winner, but covering the distance is required by racing rules.
- Washy, Washed out
- A horse that is sweating profusely due to nerves.
- Weight for Age
- Race with a fixed amount of weight carried by horses based on their age, sex or other parameters such as time of year or distance of race.
- Winner's circle
- The area next to a racetrack, usually enclosed, where the winning horse and jockey are brought for photographs and awards.
- Wire to wire
- When a horse leads the race from start to finish.
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