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.
- Person who calls the position of horses
as they race, sometimes referred to as caller.
- Apprentice Allowance
- Pounds of weight off given "bug"
- Indicates the color of the horse as
- A horse with any shade of brown body
color and black points (mane, tail and lower legs).
- Barn area of a race track.
- Part of the race track with straightaway
on far side from grandstand.
- Wrappings for horses legs to protect and
- Beaten Favorite
- Horse that ran as the favorite in a
previous race and did not win.
- Indicates the color of the horse as
- Horse bleedes from the lungs after
- Headpiece or blinders restricting side
vision of horse.
- Blow Out
- Pre-race tune up.
- Veering abruptly from straight course.
- When a horse cannot run because of a
physical injury; becomes lame.
- Break Maiden
- To win a race for the first time.
- 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 (*).
- (Phenylbutazone) Medication used to kill
pain in horses.
- Metal cleats on horse shoes.
- Indicates the color of the horse as
- Change Leads
- Horse changes stride to lead with the
- A reddish-brown colored horse. Mane and
tail may be a different shade but not black.
- 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.
- The timer who records the workouts of the
horses at the race track.
- Clubhouse Turn
- The turn in the track closest to the
- Silks worn by jockey to distinguish
- 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.
- 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.
- Jockey's whip, sometimes referred to as
- One horse forcing another horse into the
inside rail of the track.
- Mother of a horse.
- 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.
- Indicates the color of the horse as dark
bay or brown.
- Horse finishing strong at the end of a
- Meeting the conditions of a race.
- Horse entered into a race.
- Exercise Rider
- A person who rides horses during morning
workouts. Many jockeys also excercise horses.
- Fast track.
- A female horse four years old or younger.
- Firm track (turf).
- 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.
- Frozen track.
- Times recorded during the running of the
race, usually at 1/4 mile intervals and at the finish.
- 1/8 of a mile (660 ft.).
- Good track condition.
- 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
- A castrated male horse.
- Noticeable lameness.
- Indicates the color of the horse as gray.
- To win for the first time and move up
from maiden classification.
- 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.
- Unit of measure for horses height from
the ground to the withers. One hand equals four inches.
- 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.
- 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.
- The part of the track in front of the
grandstand from the final turn to the finish. Often shortened to just
- 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
- Horse tired.
- In Foal
- Pregnant mare.
- Person who rides a horse in a race.
- Slow trot.
- Juvenile Stakes
- Stake race for two-year-olds.
- 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
- Leg Up
- Trainer helps jockey to mount the horse
by holding a hand under the jockey's knee and giving him a boost.
- 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.
- Horse paying good odds (usually 10-1 or
- Lug In/Lug Out
- Bearing in or out while running.
- A horse which has never won a race.
- Female horse five years old or older.
- Match Race
- A race between only two horses.
- 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
- A horse who runs well on a muddy track.
- 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.
- Claim of foul by jockey.
- On tote board, display confirms results
- Off Track
- When the track condition is other than
- Off Track Betting (OTB)
- Betting done at establishment away from
the race track--not legal in some states.
- Employed by the track to keep horses from
acting up, running away or getting out of control before, during or after
- Sheets put out by the race track which
list the entries for the following day.
- Carring more than the weight published in
- Area at the track where the horses are
- Sharing in money bet.
- When flashed on the tote board, two
horses finished so close a review of the film must be made to determine
- Come in second.
- Horse shoes.
- 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.
- Money bet on race in each
- 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.
- 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.
- Horse that can not be broken of bad
- Run Downs
- Elastic bandages that protect a horses
- Saddle Cloth
- Cloth under the saddle with the horses
program number on it.
- Taking a horse to practice in the
paddock, starting gate or on the track.
- Taken out of a race after being entered.
- Set Down
- Jockey suspended from racing for a
specific length of time.
- 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
- Come in third.
- The jacket worn by the jockey, usually
made of shiny nylon and displays the colors of the horse's owner.
- Father of a horse.
- Sloppy track condition.
- Speed Rating
- Number assigned to a horses performance
in a race. Above 80 is good. Above 100 is excellent.
- 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.
- 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
- Tote Board
- Display board in front of the grandstand
area which gives information regarding races.
- Grass track on the inside of the main
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- yielding track condition (turf).
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