Racing Terms National and International
The music that you heard when you opened this article is called, "Call to Post." It is sounded at the track when the horses are beginning to line up and enter the starting gate.
Have you ever gone to a race track and wondered what all the racing terms mean? Here is a list of terms that you might encounter. Understanding these expressions will help make your track experience and any horse racing experience be more enjoyable. This will be an on going list. Although this list is not complete it will give a basic understanding of track jargon. Any suggestions that you may have, please e-mail me and I will add them to the list.
- Abandoned A race meeting that has been cancelled. Usually there are insufficient nominations or bad weather which makes unsafe racing conditions. All bets are refunded.
- AbaxialAbaxial fracture occurs on the side of the sesamoid away from the ankle joint.
- Acceptor A runner officially listed to start in a race.
- Accumulator or Parlay A multiple wager. All must win or all is lost.
- Across the Board Three wagers combined into one win, place, show.
- Acey-Deucey Jockeys with their stirrups at uneven levels the inside or left iron lower than the right, ride acey-deucey.
- Action A horse's manner of moving or way of going. Action A horse may be said to have "a smooth action".
- Added Money Money added to a purse by the racing association or by sponsors, state-bred programs or other funds added to the money paid by horse owners as nomination, entry, sustaining and other fees.
- Added Purse Purse money that was enhanced by payments made by owners and/or breeders.
- Added Weight A horse carrying more weight than the conditions of the race require, usually because the jockey exceeds the stated limit.
- ADW Stands for Advanced Deposit Wagering, refers mostly to online wagering hubs and websites.
- Age The age of a racehorse is recorded as beginning on January 1 of the year in which the horse is foaled (born). Even if a horse is foaled December 31, it is considered 1 year old on January 1 (breeding is planned to avoid this). This policy makes it easy to enforce the age restrictions that go with every race.
- Aged In reacing terms this usually refers to a horse of seven years or older, however, for other purposes in referring to the age of a horse "aged" refers to a horse that is 14 years or older.
- Agent A person empowered to transact business of a stable owner or jockey. Also, a person empowered to sell or buy horses for an owner or breeder.
- Aired A workout wherein a horse runs as if it were only out for exercise.
- Aired Not running at best speed in a race.
- All Bet Means that you are using every horse in the race in some form of combination. Such as 4/all/all in the tri-fecta, meaning that if #4 wins you have every horse for 2nd and 3rd.
- All Out A horse who is trying to the best of his ability. Also means a workout or race performance where a horse shows maximum exertion.
- All Clear Signified by a siren at the end of a race, the all clear means that the stewards deem the finishing order of horses is correct and bets may be paid out. It also means that no protest or objection has been made by the connections of any horse in the race.
- All Weather Racing Racing that takes place on an artificial surface.
- All-Age Race A race for two-year-olds and up.
- All-the-Way Win To lead from start to finish in a race.
- Allowance Reduction in weight that a horse carries.
- Allowance Race A race for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions to determine weights to be carried based on the horse's age, sex and/or past performance.
- Also Eligible Horse officially entered in a race, but not permitted to start unless field is reduced by scratch(es).
- Also-Ran A horse that finishes out of the money (first, second or third).
- Altered A horse that has been castrated (gelded).
- Ante-Post or Futures Advance bets are placed to predict future outcomes.
- Apical (Fracture) Fractures of the first phalanx are not uncommon in racehorses. They may be small "chip" fractures along the dorsal margin of the proximal joint surface, longitudinal fractures (split pastern), or comminuted.
- Apprentice A jockey in training. A jockey who has been riding for less than a year or who hasn not won at least 45 races. Usually does not compete in steeplechase races only on flat ground. Also refers to a rider who has not ridden a specified amount of winners within a specific time period. These riders get weight allowances on all their mounts based on the number of winners they have. 10 pounds until the fifth winner, 7 pounds until the 35th winner and five pounds for one calendar year after the date of the 5th winner. Horses ridden by apprentices are allowed to carry five less pounds, sometimes more.
- Apprentice Allowance Weight concession to an apprentice rider usually 10 pounds until the fifth winner, seven pounds until the 35th winner and five pounds for one calendar year from the fifth winner. Also, three pounds are sometimes permitted for an additional year when riding for original contract holder. This rule varies from state to state.
- Apprentice Rider (Bug Rider) A student jockey. The term "bug" comes from the weight concession symbol found in the program (an asterisk "*") which looks like a bug.
- Apprentice Weight (Bug Weight) An apprentice rider is allowed to carry less weight due to his/her inexperience. When this weight concession is allowed the program denotes the weight in the program with an asterisk "*".
- Approximates The approximate price a horse is quoted at before a race begins. Bookmakers use these approximates as a guide to set their boards.
- Apron The (usually) paved area between the grandstand and the racing surface.
- Arbitrage Where a variation in odds available allows a punter to back both sides and guarantee a win.
- Art Artificial Turf.
- Assistant Starter The employee of a horse racetrack who, under direct supervision of the starter, helps place the starting gate for a race, leads horses into the gate, helps jockeys and handles horses while in the gate until the start.
- Assistant Trainer In many cases one trainer may have many horses under his care and these horses are spread out at several race tracks. Knowing a person can not be in two places at once, the Trainer will assign an assistant trainer to act in his absence.
- Ataxia Inability to walk, stand or maintain balance. Usually neurological. Horse often does not know where its legs are.
- At the Post A contest involving amateur riders where, in most cases, there is no wagering.
- At the Post The time when the horses have arrived and are ready to be loaded into the starting gate.
- Ats Against The Spread.
- Attack To challenge the leading horse during a race, in an attempt to take the lead. An attack can sap the horse's energy, or even that of the leader, and may leave both of those horses with little in reserve for the finish.
- Attendance The attendance figure at a given race track site usually includes the patrons that passed through the turnstiles, patrons that gained access with passes, and employees.
- Auxiliary Starting Gate A second starting gate used when the amount of horses in a race exceeds the capacity of the main starting gate.
- 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.
- AWT All Weather Track.
- Baby A 2-year-old, especially early in the year. Also referred to as a juvenile.
- Baby Race A race for 2-year-olds, usually at short distances in the spring and summer. Also Juvenile Race.
- Back Straight The straight track that is the farthest away from the spectators and finish line or winning post.
- Backside The stable and training area of a racetrack.
- Backstretch On the far side of the track it is the straight away. The straightaway opposite the homestretch, usually from the three-quarter-mile pole to the three-eighths pole.
- Backward A horse that is too young or not conditioned.
- Bad actor A horse that repeatedly misbehaves and proves troublesome.
- Bandages In a race, bandages are sometimes used for support or protection.
- Bar shoe A protective horseshoe that has a bar enclosing it to help support the heel of the hoof.
- Bay A horse color, varying from tan to bright auburn, with the mane and tail black.
- Bear In or Out To deviate from a straight course.
- Beyer Number, or Speed Figure A quantitative measure of performance that appears in The Daily Racing Form, so-called because the numbers were refined and popularized by . It is supposed to measure how fast a horse really ran, as opposed to just final times. The higher the number is supposedly better, with any number over 100 being stellar. A word of caution though, it is far from infallible and should only be one of many tools used in handicapping.
- Big Red Nickname applied to two famous chestnuts Man o' War and Secretariat.
- Bill Daly The lead, so named for a famous trainer who used to instruct jockeys to go to the lead at the start and improve their position.
- Bismarck A favorite the bookmakers do not expect to win.
- Bit A stainless steel, rubber or aluminum bar attached to the bridle and fitting in the horse's mouth; used to guide and control the horse.
- Black The color of some horses.
- Black Type Boldface type used in sales catalogs to identify horses that have won or placed in stakes races.
- Blanket Finish Horses finishing so closely in a race that they could be covered by a blanket.
- Blinkers A hood made of fabric, with cups sewn onto the eye openings. The hood is fitted to the horse's head. The cups force the horse to look straight ahead, removing any visual distractions during races.
- Bleeder A horse that bleeds after or during a workout or race; the result of a nasal hemorrhage caused from a ruptured throat vein. The condition can sometimes be controlled, the effects mollified, with the diuretic Lasix (Salix).
- Blew the Turn means the horse did not corner properly going into the turn, ran wide and most likely had a disastrous finish.
- Bloodline A horse's pedigree, basically his/her lineage. This information is kept for many generations to prove a race horses bloodlines are pure.
- Blowout A brief (usually 3 to 4 furlongs, or 0.6 to 0.8 km) final drill two days or the day before a race designed to further sharpen or maintain an edge of conditioning for the impending contest.
- "Blue Hen" Mare A mare which is a prolific producer of quality offspring. In addition, her sons and/or daughters also have a significant impact on the breed; i.e., Grey Flight, La Troienne.
- Bobble Bad step away from the starting gate.
- Boil-Over Reference to a longshot winner and unexpected outcome of a race. Also a reference to a heavy favorite losing.
- Bolt When a horse swerves sharply from the regular course, it is said to have bolted. To veer suddenly out of control.
- Bomber A reference to a long shot winner. A winner at high odds.
- Book 1) The group of mares bred to a stallion in a particular year. 2) A jockey's commitments as handled by his agent.
- Bounce An unusually poor performance following an unusually good one.
- Bowed Tendon Severe strain of the superficial flexor tendon between the knee and ankle, so named because of the bowed appearance resulting from swelling.
- Box Seat To sit right behind the front runners, in a perfect position.
- Boxed or Boxed In Surrounded by horses with no where to go. Lacked running room during the race.
- Bounce After a big race a horse is run again within a short period of time and regresses.
- Brace Bandages Resilient bandages on the legs of horses worn in some cases in an effort to support lame legs, worn in other cases to protect a horse from cutting and skinning its legs while racing.
- BreakingWhen a horse leaves its gait and breaks into a gallop, it is breaking. A trotter or pacer must remain on that gait in a race.
- BreederThe breeder of a horse is considered to be the owner of its dam, at the time of service.
- BreezeBreezing An easy workout under stout restraint by the exercise rider to stabilize an already sharp horse's condition between engagements.
- Break Start of a race.
- Breakage The money the track retains after the payoffs are rounded off to a nickel or dime on the dollar. An extra little fee for the track.
- Breakdown A horse that suffers a serious injury is said to break down.
- Break Maiden Winning for the first time.
- Breeder Owner of a pregnant mare at the time she delivers the foal (baby horse of either sex).
- Breeders' Cup Multi-Race event held at the end of the year in America to determine the champion horses by divisions. The finale is the featured Breeders Cup Classic which often determines the horse of the year. Millions of dollars are up for grabs in these Breeders Cup races.
- Bridge Jumper Someone who wagers a large sum, usually to show, on a short-priced favorite; so called because of the immediate impulse that follows the loss of such a wager.
- Broke Down Suffered an injury during the race. Usually a break or something similar.
- Broke In Air Came out of the starting gate with his front legs up high and off balance. Lunged up high at the break.
- Broke Poorly Was away slowly from the starting gate. Did not break with the field.
- Brushing This occurs when a horse strikes the fore or hind leg with the opposite one.The results are a cut near the joints of a fetlock.
- Bucked Shins Inflammation to the area covering the front of the cannon bone; common among young horses in training.
- Bug Boy An apprentice jockey, so-called because of the "bug" or asterisk denoting the 5-pound weight allowance in the official program.
- Bullet Workout The fastest workout of the morning at a particular distance.
- Bullring A small racetrack with tight turns.
- Bute Short for phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory medication.
- Buzzer A handheld device similar to a cattle prod that can be hidden inside a jockeys whip or equipment. Basically a way for the jockey to try and cheat by jolting his mount.
- Chalk The favorite or most heavily played horse in a race. The term originated in the days of bookmakers, when the odds were written on slates with chalk.
- Calks, or Mud Calks aka Stickers Cleat-like projections on the rear shoes, often used to prevent slipping on a muddy surface.
- Check To slow a horse momentarily to avoid traffic or collision.
- Check Rein A line running from the bit to the top of the horse's head, then to the saddle hook to keep a horse's head up. Trotters and pacers commonly race with heads high to maintain a balanced, reaching stride.
- Chefs-de-race Prepotent sires that have been especially influential.
The chefs are classified as brilliant, intermediate, classic, solid and professional, according to whether their influence is predominantly speed or stamina.
- Chestnut 1) A horse color that can vary from red-yellow to deep red. 2) One of the light-colored, irregular growths on the inside of a horse's legs; aka night eyes.
- Circuit A geographical grouping of tracks whose race meetings are coordinated to run in succession.
- Chute The straightaway entering onto the main oval track for races at 6 furlongs, (1.2 km) (starting on backstretch) and 10 furlongs (2 km) (beginning at left or grandstand). Also used in quarter-horse racing.
- Climbing A Thoroughbred is said to be climbing when striding in an unnatural, upward fashion, not reaching out forward as in a coordinated gait.
- Claiming Race A race in which the horses are literally for sale. Any claims must be made before the race, and the new owner assumes possession following the race.
- Claim Box The box in which claim certificates are deposited.
- Class Class is the quality of competition that the horse competes in. A horse that is said to be "the Class" or "Classy" will be the one that has raced against the best competition previously. A graded stakes winner fits the bill as a Classy individual. Back Class Means that the horse has prior experience against quality runners and therefore should be respected.
- Classic Used to refer to a few traditionally significant races, such as the Kentucky Derby. In America, the classic distance is 1 & 1/4 miles; in Europe it is 1 & 1/2 miles.
- Clerk of Scales The official who oversees the riders' "weighing out" of the jockeys' room for a race and afterward their "weighing in" to assure the horses carry the proper weight.
- Clocker The clocker times a horse's workouts, and these times are published for the benefit of the public. Almost all workouts are taken early in the morning during training hours.
- Closer A horse that does its best running in the closing stages of a race.
- Clubhouse Turn The turn after the finish line.
- Colic Abdominal pain, often caused by a twist or obstruction in the intestine; the leading cause of death in horses.
- Condition Book The book that sets forth the possible races with their conditions for which horses can be entered.
- Conformation A horse's physical makeup.
- Consolation Double A daily double payoff for the winner of the first race with a late scratch in the second.
- Colors The jockey's silk or nylon jacket and cap provided by the owner. Racing silks.
- Colt An ungelded male horse 4 years old or younger.
- Cool Out Return to normal body temperature after a workout or race.
- Coupled Two horses are coupled when they run as an entry, or single betting interest.
- Coupled Entry Two or more horses belonging to the same owner or trained by the same person are said to be coupled, and they run as an entry comprising a single betting unit. Their program number, regardless of post position, would be "1" and "1A." A second entry in the race would be listed in the program as "2" and "2B." A bet on one horse of a coupled entry is a bet on both.
- Crab Bit A bit with prongs extending at the horse's nose. Its purpose is to tip the horse's head up and help prevent it from ducking its head, bowing its neck, and pulling hard on the rein.
- Cribber A horse that habitually grips objects with its teeth and sucks air into its stomach.
- Crop (1) A group of horses born in the same year. (2) Number of foals by a particular stallion in a given year. A type of whip used to make the horse go faster.
- Cross Where a jockey joins the reins is his or her "cross." American riders generally ride with a shorter "cross" than elsewhere in the world.
- Cuppy Track condition characterized by a loose surface. Also an overused excuse by many trainers of why their horse ran poorly.
- Cushion The loose top surface of the racetrack.
- Cut Down Horse suffering from injuries from being struck by the shoes of another horse. A horse may cut itself down because of a faulty stride.
- Daily Double Selecting the winners of two consecutive races.
- Daily Racing Form Daily publication that includes past performances and charts.
- Dam The female parent.
- Dark day A day of no racing.
- Dark Horse A term used to reference a horse that may have a chance to win the race, yet is flying slightly under the radar of most prognosticators.
- Dash A race decided in a single trial.
- Dead Heat When the photo finish camera shows two horses inseparable at the finish, the race is declared a dead heat or tie.
- Dead Money A horse that looks hopeless with no chance of winning the race.
- Declaration Withdrawing an entered horse from a race before the closing of overnight entries. A horse that has been withdrawn is said to have been declared.
- Degenerate Horseplayer/Gambler A bettor that cannot stop no matter what. A born loser.
- Derby A stakes race exclusively for 3-year-olds.
- Disqualification A change in the order of finish, by the stewards' ruling and often following an objection or inquiry, because of a rules infraction.
- Distaff Female; e.g. the Breeders' Cup Distaff is for fillies and mares.
- Distanced So badly beaten as to lose contact with the field.
- DNF Stands for did not finish the race. Pulled up, eased or broke down.
- Dogs Cones or wooden barriers used to prevent horses from working or galloping close to the inner rail, usually used following heavy rains.
- Dosage Index (DI) In the dosage system, the ratio of speed to stamina in a horse's pedigree A low number suggests an inclination toward stamina.
- Dosage System Pedigree analysis based on the presence of chefs-de-race in the first four generations; popularized in recent years by Steven Roman. A DI of 4.00 or less suggests a horse can likely perform at the classic distance, according to Roman's analysis.
- Driver A driver is the person holding a license or permit to drive harness horses. There are different types of licenses, which correspond to differing levels of experience.
- Driving An all-out effort by horse and/or jockey.
- Drop Moving down in class.
- Dropped Foaled.
- Dwelt Remained in the starting gate long after the jockey, starter and prudence suggested leaving.
- Elbow Boots Sheepskin-lined pad worn high on front legs to protect elbows (points at rear and bottom of shoulders) from the front feet as they are folded back in top stride. Needed on high-gaited trotters.
- Exacta Picking the first two finishers in a race in exact order.
- Field The entire group of starters in a race is known collectively as the field.
- Field Horses Two or more horses coupled as one betting interest. A field appears when there are more than ten entries in a race. Horse number 10 on the program and over are the field. A bet on one field horse is bet on all field horses.
- Filly A female horse between 2 and 3 years of age. Often designated as (f).
- Flipping A term used to describe the act of throwing up food. Many jockies use this as a means to lower their weight before getting on the scale before a race. It is not advised as it can lead to some really bad health problems.
- Foul Any action by any jockey that tends to hinder another jockey or any horse in the proper running of the race.
- Free-for-All Horses (or races for such horses) that have won considerable money and must race in fast classes. Means "free for all to enter and open to all horses, regardless of earnings."
- Free legged pacer A pacer that races without hobbles.
- Furlong A measure of distance. It is 1/8 mile or 220 yards.
- Futurity Two year olds only. It is a stakes race.
- Grab This is the act of a horse catching his foreleg with a hind foot, because of faulty conformation. Causes stumbling and loss of stride.
- Grab a Quarter Injury to the back of the hoof or foot caused by a horse stepping on itself (usually affects the front foot). Being stepped on from behind in the same manner, usually affects the back foot. A very common injury during racing. Generally, the injury is minor.
- Gaiting Strap A special strap that is attached to the sulky to keep the horse travelling straight on his gait. Often a pacer will swing from right to left.
- Green Horse A trotter or pacer that has never raced in public and against time.
- Handle The aggregate amount of money passing in and out of the parimutuel machines for a specific amount of time.
- Head Pole An aid used to the keep the horse's head straight. It is usually fixed alongside the horse's head and neck.
- Heat One trip in a race that will be decided by winning two or more trials.
- Hind Shin Boots Guards on the hind legs (leather or neoprene) that protect cuts and bruises from the front shoes grazing the hind legs. This often happens with over striding or over reaching. Sometimes the word forging is used. This is usually over reaching from back to front.
- Hobbles A hobble is a device that prevents or limits the locomotion of a human or an animal, by tethering one or more legs. Although hobbles are most commonly used on horses, they are sometimes used also on other animals. On dogs, they are used especially during force-fetch training to limit the movement of a dog's front paws when training it to stay still. They are made from leather, rope or synthetic materials such as nylon and Neoprene. There are various designs for breeding, casting and mounting horses. Hobbles can be an extremely useful tool in horse training if used properly.
- Hopples (sometimes called hobbles) These are a piece of equipment used by Standardbred pacers to help the horse maintain its pacing gait.
- Horse A male horse of at least 4 years.
- Impost Weight assessment.
- In the Money Usually applied to a horse coming in first, second or third place. This often includes the fourth and fifth place, also, because they receive purse money.
- Inquiry An objection about the winners of the race which is usually made by the stewards or jockey. These objections are usually about interference.
- Irons Stirrups
- Jog Cart A cart used in warm up. It is heavier than a sulky. It is also more comfortable for the rider.
- Jogging A slow warm up or exercise going the wrong direction on the track.
- Key Horse or Pea Horse A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic wager.
- Kitchen The horsemen's eatery in the stable area.
- Knee Boots A protection worn by the horse to protect its knees from injury.
- Knee Spavin Bony growth at back of knee on inner side.
- Knees Sprung or Sprung at the Knees This is a conformation fault where the knees are bent forward when viewed from the side and are unsteady.
- Key Horse or Pea Horse A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic wager.
- L.T.W. Lifetime Wins The number of wins at licensed Trotting Meetings that the horse has accumulated during its lifetime.
- L.T.W.$. Lifetime Win Only $ The amount of winning prizemoney accumulated from Licensed Trotting Meetings by the horse during its lifetime.
- L.W.$ - 2yo$ Lifetime Win Only $ - 2YO Win $ The amount of Winning prizemoney accumulated from Licensed Trotting Meetings minus Winning prizemoney accumulated from 2YO wins by the horse during its lifetime.
- Lactic Acid Organic acid normally present in muscle tissue, produced by anaerobic muscle metabolism as a by-product of exercise. An increase in lactic acid causes muscle fatigue, inflammation and pain.
- Lame The term used to describe a horse which is limping or has difficulty walking properly. Lameness is often caused by an injury or problem with one or more of a horse's feet and/or legs. It can also be caused by conformation defects.
- Lameness (Off) The horse's stride is uneven. This is often checked at the trot. Watching the horse's head movement can often give information as to which leg is lame. Lameness is any alteration of the horse's gait. Such abnormalities can be caused by pain in the neck, withers, shoulders, back, loin, hips, legs, or feet. Identifying the source of the problem is essential to proper treatment.
- Laminae Membrane lining the hoof, inflamation causes laminitis.
- Laminitis An inflammation of the sensitive laminae of the foot. There are many factors involved, including changes in the blood flow through the capillaries of the foot. Many events can cause laminitis, including ingesting toxic levels of grain, eating lush grass, systemic disease problems, high temperature, toxemia, retained placenta, excessive weight-bearing as occurs when the opposite limb is injured, and the administration of some drugs. Laminitis usually manifests itself in the front feet, develops rapidly, and is life-threatening. In mild cases, however, a horse can resume a certain amount of athletic activity. Laminitis is the disease that caused the death of Secretariat. Also known as "founder."
- Laminitis (Founder) Laminitis is an inflammation of the sensitive laminae that are found on the inside of the wall of the hoof. It usually affects both forelegs at the same time. When the condition first occurs, the circulation in the foot is impeded and the hoses is in great pain. If the circulation is not re-established in 24 hours, the sole of the foot will usually drop and the horse will become a chronic cripple.
- Lasix A drug given to horses in proper dosages, upon approval of the Stewards, to control bleeding through the nostrils of horses as a result of exertion.
- Last Half The time recorded by a horse during the last half of the last mile travelled in a race. It is equal to the combined time recorded in the third and fourth sectionals or quarters.
- Late Change This term refers to any change in a race after the official program has been printed.
- Late Double A second daily double offered during the latter part of the program. The Daily Double is a wager on two races. You must select the winner of each race on one ticket, which you must purchase prior to the running of the first of the two races selected.
- Late Money This term is used to define money that has been bet within five minutes to post.
- Late Scratch This term refers to a horse withdrawn from a race after the official program has been printed.
- Late Scratching A horse which is scratched from a race after acceptances have been declared. Any trainer who scratches a horse after acceptance time without an acceptable reason may be penalised by the Stewards.
- Lateral Toward the side and farther from the center. Pertains to a side.
- Lathered (Up) Or Washed Out Sweat that foams up usually along neck and flanks, often before a race. Too much sweat is considered a bad sign before the start of a race, may indicate a nervous horse.
- Lay To occupy a certain running position deliberately, while waiting to make a strategic move.
- Lay Up A period of time in which a race horse is sent away from the racetrack to rest.
- Layoff An extended period of time where a horse is stopped from racing and usually shipped to a farm for rest, breeding or rehabilitation.
- Lead Lead weights carried in the pockets on both sides of the saddle, used to make up the difference between the actual weight of the jockey and the weight the horse has been assigned to carry during the race.
- Lead Pad Equipment placed under the saddle that allows lead weights to be placed so that the horse carries the assigned weight for a race. This makes up the difference when a rider weighs less than the poundage a horse is assigned to carry.
- Lead Pad The saddle pocket in which lead weights can be placed.
- Lead Time The time it takes for a horse to travel from the start of the race to the beginning of the last mile (1609m). For instance, in a 1760m race, the lead time would be recorded during the first 151m (1760-1609). A slow lead time may advantage those horses at the front, while a fast lead time may advantage horses racing at the rear of the field.
- Lead [Led] Lead weights carried in pockets on both sides of the saddle, used to make up the difference between the actual weight of the jockey and the weight the horse has been assigned to carry during the race.
- Lead (leed) Pony Any horse or pony that leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate. This term can also be used as a verb; He was ponied to the gate.
- Leader The horse which is out in front or leading during a race. This term may also be applied to a horse which most commonly wins races when in a leading position.
- Leaky Roof Circuit Minor tracks.
- Leasing As opposed to buying a harness horse, people have the option of leasing one. Just like some people lease a car instead of paying the money up-front, leasing a horse gives people use of a horse without large capital outlay. An agreement or contract must be drawn up between the two parties, and the lease must be registered with the relevant controlling body. Leasing also is done between parties outside of racing for different types of mounts and disciplines.
- Leg Lock This is when a jockey illegally hooks legs with another rider, impeding the other horse.
- Leg up An individual on the ground gives lift to the rider by placing his/her hands on the rider's bent, left leg. The rider springs onto the horse with the help of an upward lift. Care has to be taken by the rider to gently come down on the horse's back, a jockey having a mount or to strengthen a horse's legs through exercise.
- Length A unit of measurement in racing. In horse racing, a length is theoretically the distance from the horse's nose to the tip of its flying tail, approximately 8-9 feet. In greyhound racing, a length is approximately .07 of a second.
- Let Up Another term for a spell, however, a let-up usually refers to a short break, not a lengthy spell in the paddock.
- Ligament A band of fibrous tissue connecting bones, which serve to support and strengthen joints and to limit the range of motion. There are also ligaments that support certain organs.
- Line Pedigree; male side of the pedigree as contrasted with family, or female side. This is also used as a slang term for the odds on a horse.
- Listed Race A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality.
- Live Weight The weight of a jockey that a horse carries versus dead weight such as lead pad, which does not move with the horse's action.
- Lock When a horse is referred to as a "lock" it is a sure thing.
- Locked Up Another term for being boxed in.
- Long End (Of Purse) Winner's share.
- b>Long Shot Opposite of favorite.
- Loose Horse A horse that continues running after losing rider. This is also used as a slang term to refer to a person of inconsistent mannerisms.
- Loose Rein A horse on a loose rein is one which is allowed to run freely, without any pressure from the driver to speed up or slow down.
- Lug The action of a horse that tends to veer away from steering pressure exerted on either rein.
- Lug in To bear in towards the rail during a race.
- Lugging In and Out A horse who pulls on the reins to the inside or the outside. The way of going should be straight. This action of a tires the horse.
- Lugging and Pulling The pulling on the reins by a horse. It makes it difficult for the jockey to drive or ride the race.
- Lunge or Longe A horse that is rearing and plunging. A method of exercising a horse on a tether or lunge line.
- Machine, Battery or Joint A term for an illegal electrical device used by a jockey to stimulate a horse during a race.
- Maiden A horse (mare or gelding) who has never won a race or heat.
- Maiden Claiming A claiming race specified for horses that have never won a race.
- Maiden Claiming Race A horse race for non-winners who are eligible to be claimed. Maiden race A race for race animals that have never won a race.
- Maiden Race For horses that have never won. Once a thoroughbred wins a race, it must progress to another category.
- Maiden Special Weight An allowance race for horses that have never won a race.
- Main Track The dirt surface of a racetrack.
- Make a Run Of a horse that turns on the speed, makes a move, makes a bid.
- Marathon A horse race longer than 1 and 1/4 miles; a greyhound race at 7/16 mile.
- Mare A female horse four years or older.
- Mare's Month September. In theory, because mares that have not run well during the summer often "wake up" in September.
- Markings Any unique configurations found on a horses body used for identification are referred to as markings. These markings may be spots on the body, white hairs in the coat, white hairs at the base of the tail, brands, or scars, etc.
- Martingale A strap that prevents the horse from tossing his head or raising his head too high to rear. There are several kinds a running martingale, standing martingale, etc. They are straps that run from the girth to the reins.
- Massage Rubbing of various parts of the anatomy to stimulate healing.
- Match Race A challenge race between two race animals.
- Matinees Afternoon racing at tracks where night racing is the usual practice.
- Maturity A race for four-year-olds in which entries are make before their birth.
- Maturity Stakes An event or series of racing events for Sires' Stakes (Most Australian states have a Sires' Stakes programme. A horse is eligible for a Sires' Stakes series or race if his or her sire was at stud in that particular State where the horse was conceived. Therefore, horses whose sire stood in NSW are eligible for NSW Sires' Stakes races, which are programmed for two, three and four-year-olds.)horses that are four years old.
- Medication List A list kept by the track veterinarian and published by the track and Daily Racing Form (when provided by track officials) showing which horses have been treated with phenylbutazone and/or furosemide.
- Meet Race meeting.
- Meeting A collection of pacing and/or trotting races conducted by a club on the same day or night, forms a race meeting.
- Metacarpal (Fracture) Usually refers to a fracture of the cannon bone, located between the knee and the fetlock joint in the front leg. Also may refer to a fracture of the splint bone.
- Mid-Body (Fracture) See sesamoids.
- Middle Distance A horse race longer than seven furlongs but less than 1 and 1/4 miles; a greyhound race at 3/8 mile.
- Mile Rate A calculation for each race distance is applied to the overall time of a race, so as to give a comparison to a mile. It is the approximate time the pacer would have run, had the distance been one mile (1609m). The overall race time is multiplied by 1609 and then divided by the metre length of the race.
- Minus Pool An overly betted horse. There is not enough money to pay off the legally prescribed minimum after the taxes and commission have been paid. The race track or racing association make up the difference.
- Miracle Mile A coveted Grand Circuit race, which is conducted at Harold Park Paceway in Sydney. Each year, the NSW Harness Racing Club invites six champion pacers to contest the exciting event. It is commonly referred to as the Melbourne Cup of harness racing.
- Mobile Start The most commonly used form of starting a race in harness racing in NSW. A mobile barrier consists of two folding arms attached to a motor vehicle. The horses in a race follow the barrier as it gathers speed, until the arms fold back and a start is affected. The vehicle then speeds away out of the path of the horses. At most tracks, six horses are permitted to start abreast from the mobile barrier, with the remaining runners starting behind them on the second row.
- Money Rider A rider who excels in rich races.
- Monkey-on-a-Stick Type of riding with short stirrups popularized by old-time riding great Tod Sloan.
- Monorchid, Cryptorchid or Ridgling A male horse of any age that has only one testicle in his scrotum-the other testicle was either removed or is undescended.
- Moon Blindness (Periodic Ophthalmia) This is a disease of the eyes where recurrent attacks usually cause blindness. The condition is not contagious and is generally thought to be inherited.
- Morning Glory A horse who races well in the morning but does not run as well later in the day.
- Morning Line A forecast on betting. 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.
- Mount Fee The fee earned by a jockey for riding in a race.
- Move Up Gain ground; run in a higher class race.
- Muck Out Clean a horse's stall.
- Mudder or Mudlark Horse that races well on muddy tracks.
- Muddy or Muddy Track Deep condition of racetrack after being soaked with water. Horses who run will on wet tracks are generally referred to as mudders.
- Musculoskeletal System Consisting of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints of the head, vertebral column and limbs, together with the associated muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints.
- Mutuel Clerk An employee of the racetrack that except the patrons money and issues the betting ticket.
- Mutuel Field or Coupled 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.
- Mutuel Pool The total amount bet on a race in each ticket category. (Win, place, or show) The winnings are divided up depending on placement and type of race.
- Muzzle A term defining the nose and lips of a horse.
- Name (Of a Thoroughbred) Names of North American Thoroughbreds are registered by The Jockey Club. They can be no longer than 18 characters, including punctuation and spaces. The words "the," "and," "by," "for," "in" and "a" are almost always lower case unless they are the first word in the name. Examples "Love You by Heart," "Go for Wand" and "Strike the Gold."
- Nasogastric Tube A long tube that is capable of reaching from the nose to the stomach.
- Navicular Bone A small, flat bone within the confines of the hoof that helps-along with the short pastern bone and the coffin bone-to make up the coffin joint.
- Navicular Disease This is an ulcerated condition of a small bone called the navicular bone that lies across the rear of the hoof. It acts as a pulley for the flexor tendon. It is usually seen to affect both forelegs at the same time. The removal of the heel nerves is the usual method of treatment.
- Near Side The left side of a horse, the side on which a horse is mounted. The "far side" referes to opposite side of the horse or right side.
- Neck A unit of measurement in racing about a quarter of a length, about the length of a race animal's neck.
- Nerve To remove a nerve, eliminating pain but not the infirmity that causes it. Illegal in major racing.
- Nerved Operation that severs vital nerve to enable horses to race without pain. Illegal in most jurisdictions.
- Nerving A surgical procedure in which the nerve supply to the navicular area is removed. The toe and remainder of the foot have feeling. Also referred to as "posterior digital neurectomy," "heel nerve," or as "nerving."
- Netlon Brand name for a plastic mesh which is mixed into the soil of a turf course. The grass roots grow around and through the mesh, helping to prevent divoting, especially in wet weather.
- Neurectomy A surgical procedure in which the nerve supply to the navicular area is removed. The toe and remainder of the foot have feeling. Also referred to as "posterior digital neurectomy," "heel nerve," or as "nerving."
- Night Eye(s) or Chestnut(s) There are a number of different uses of the word chestnut when it comes to horses. A horse color which may vary from a red-yellow to golden-yellow. The mane, tail and legs are usually variations of coat color, except where white markings are present. Chestnuts area also horny, irregular growths found on the inside of the legs. On the forelegs, they are just above the knees. On the hind legs, they are just below the hocks. No two horses have been found to have the same chestnuts and so they may be used for identification. Chestnuts are also called "night eyes." Some scientists believe that chestnuts and ergots may be remnants of the pads that were under the toes of a very early ancestor of the horse. Scientists believe that about 50 million years ago the first known ancestor of the horse, Eohippus, had four padded toes on the front legs and three padded toes on the back legs.
- Nightcap The final race on a program.
- Nod Lowering of head. To win by a nod, a horse extends its head with its nose touching the finish line ahead of a close competitor.
- Nom De Course Name adopted by an owner or group of owners for racing purposes.
- Nomination Fee A fee paid by an owner to keep his/her horse eligible for a upcoming horse race.
- Nominations A list of the names of horses that have been entered for a race.
- Nominator One who owns a horse at the time it is named to compete in a stakes race.
- Non Starter A horse which has failed to come within a reasonable distance of the mobile barrier may be declared as a non-starter of the race by the starter or Stewards. All bets placed on a horse which is later declared as a non-starter, are refunded.
- Non-Sweater Anhydrosis is the nability to sweat in response to work output or increases in body temperature. Also known as a "non-sweater." Most are athletic horses though frequently the condition appears in pasteured horses not being ridden. Most commonly occurs when both the temperature and humidity are high. Horses raised in temperate regions and then transported to hot climates are most prone to develop the condition but even acclimated horses can be at risk. Clinical signs include inability to sweat, increased respiratory rate, elevated body temperature and decreased exercise tolerance. The condition can be reversed if the horse is moved to a more temperate climate.
- Nose Smallest advantage a horse can win by. In England called a short head.
- Nose Band A leather strap that goes over the bridge of a horse's nose to help secure the bridle. A "figure eight" nose band goes over the bridge of the nose and under the rings of the bit to help keep the horse's mouth closed. This keeps the tongue from sliding up over the bit and is used on horses that do not like having a tongue tie used.
- Oaks A classic race restricted to three-year-old fillies.
- Objection A verbal or written statement against the eligibility of a horse for a particular race, or one made against the judge's placings in a race, after the all clear has been signalled (as opposed to a protest, in which the complaint is lodged before the all clear has been signalled).
- Objection Sign A sign displayed on the tote board to indicate a foul has been claimed.
- Odds Number indicating amount of profit per dollar to be paid to holders of winning pari-mutuels tickets.
- Odds Board A large signboard in the infield in front of the grandstand where the odds are posted, usually in lights. Other information may be listed, all part of the tote board.
- Odds-on Odds of less than even money. In England it is simply called "on," thus a horse "5-4 on" is actually at odds of 4-5.
- Odm Outside draw mobiles. Horses which are required to requalify before competing again in registered races, may also be excluded from the barrier draw for future events and classified ODM, which means it will automatically be drawn in an outside barrier (such as barrier ten off the second row). A trainer may also request that a horse be declared ODM if they believe it is in the best interests of the horse and other runners.
- Ods Outside draw stands. (Similar to ODM, but in relation to standing start events).
- Off Bell The bell that rings at the start of a race, shutting off the betting.
- Off Side The right side of a horse.
- Off the Board When the odds against a horse are more that 99-1; failure to finish in the money.
- Off the Pace To run behind the early leaders.
- Off-Track A racing surface that is not fast - muddy, sloppy, holding, binding or soft. Usually means a wet surface.
- 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.
- Official The designation given to the result of a race by the stewards/racing judges when any occurrences that affected the actual order of finish have been decided in terms of pari-mutuel payoffs to winning bettors.
- Official Margins The length each horse in a race finished behind the winner, as determined by the judge. Official margins between the first and second placegetter, and second and third placegetter, are displayed for public viewing at the paceway.
- Officials Persons licensed by the state to ensure the rules of racing are enforced.
- Oiled (Oiling) Administration of mineral oil via nasogastric tube to relieve gas or pass blockage. Preventative procedure commonly used in long van rides to prevent impaction with subsequent colics.
- On the Bit When a horse is eager to run. Also known as "in the bridle."
- On the Board Finishing among the first three.
- On the Fence/Rails A horse racing in a position next to the inside running rail.
- On the Muscle Denotes a fit horse.
- On the Nose Betting a horse to win only.
- On the Pace A horse which is keeping up with the runner which is determining the speed of the race. It means it's right up there with a good chance of winning. In contrast, a horse which is just off the pace, is one which is slightly out of touch, but still has some chance of winning.
- On the Paint A horse racing very close to the inside running rail, almost scraping the paint off the rails so to speak.
- One Back The runners behind the leader and the death horse are referred to as being one back. The horses behind these runners would be two back and so on.
- Open Out The runners behind the horse in the one-one position are normally referred to as being one out (and two, three or four back etc, depending on its position). Similarly, a horse racing on the outside of the horse in the one-one, would be classified as being two out, a runner outside of this horse would be three out and so on.
The runners behind the horse in the one-one position are normally referred to as being one out (and two, three or four back etc, depending on its position). Similarly, a horse racing on the outside of the horse in the one-one, would be classified as being two out, a runner outside of this horse would be three out and so on.
- Open Bridle A bridle with no blinds or blinkers. There is no impairment of vision.
- Open Class Horses, generally four years of age and older, which compete in races open to the most well-performed horses.
- Open Knee A condition of young horses in which the physis of the knee has not closed; an immature knee. Often used to describe the status of the physis immediately above the knee and is an indicator of long bone growth in two-year-olds.
- Open Race A race with wide open eligibility conditions, permitting entry of a wide variety of horses.
- Optional Claimer A race for horses entered to be claimed at a fixed price or a price within a limited range.
- Otb Abbreviation for off-track betting.
- Ouchy Sore.
- Out An outstanding uncashed pari-mutuel ticket.
- Out of Line Price not consistent with a horse's ability.
- Out of Position A horse which is not in its designated barrier position at the start of a mobile event is deemed to have been out of position at the start.
- Out of the Money When a horse does not finish in the first three for the bettors.
- Outrider The person who leads the post parade at a horse racetrack and gets the horses and jockeys to the starting gates on time. The outriders also catch any loose horses on the track.
- Outside Draw The barrier positions furthest away from the inside running rail. For instance, in a ten horse standing start event, barrier six on the front line or barrier ten on the second line, would be considered an outside draw.
- Outside Drive A driver who regularly drives for his own stable, or that of another trainer, who is employed to drive a pacer for someone else, is considered to have picked up an outside drive.
- Outside Fence The outside running rail, closest to the spectators.
- Outstanding Ticket A winning pari-mutuel ticket that has not yet been cashed; also known as uncashed tickets or outs.
- Overall Time This is the time taken to complete the distance of the race, as opposed to the mile rate.
- Overcheck A strap that holds the bit in place.
- Overgirth An elastic band that goes completely around a horse, over the saddle, to keep the saddle from slipping.
- Overland Racing wide throughout, outside of other horses.
- Overlay or Underlay A horse's odds are greater or less than those estimated by the track's official morning line maker.
- Overnight The sheet available to horsemen at the racing secretary's office showing the entries, post positions, weights and jockeys for the next race day. Entries close 72 hours or less before the post time of a race.
- Overnight Line Approximate odds quoted the night before the race.
- Overnight Race A race in which entries close a specific number of hours before running (such as 48 hours), as opposed to a stakes race for which nominations close weeks and sometimes months in advance.
- Overnight Stake A race designed by the racing secretary for the local race horse. These races usually have smaller purses and small nominating fees.
- Overnights The sheets of paper listing entries for the following day.
- Overpay A case where the price paid to winning ticket-holders is more than the correct price, due to computer or human error.
- Overweight A horse carries a specific amount of weight. It cannot be more than 5 pounds over that weight.
- Owner Sole owner, part owner, or lessee of a horse.
- P.B.D./C. Preferential Barrier Draw On Country Assessment Indicates the computer shall draw for the lowest Country assessed horse/s progressively up to the highest Country assessed horse/s.
- P.B.D./C.a. Preferential Barrier Draw On Country Age Assessment Indicates the computer shall draw for the lowest Country Age assessed horse/s progressively up to the highest Country Age assessed horse/s.
- P.B.D./M.a Preferential Barrier Draw On Metropolitan Age Assessment Indicates the computer shall draw for the lowest Metropolitan Age assessed horse/s progressively up to the highest Metropolitan Age assessed horse/s.
- P.B.D./M Preferential Barrier Draw On Metropolitan Age Assessment Indicates the computer shall draw for the lowest Metropolitan assessed horse/s progressively up the highest Metropolitan assessed horse/s.
- P.D. Preferential Draw Means that the Barrier Draw for this event shall be effected by Preferential Draw (PD). PD usually means the that the slowest assessed horses may be drawn from the inside to the outside. In all cases horses which are excluded from the draw ODS or ODM, RODS or RODM shall be drawn to the outside.
- P.D.a. Preferential Draw on Age Indicates the computer shall draw for the youngest age first.
- P.D.H.D. Preferential Draw Handicappers Discretion Indicates the handicapper will apply a form of barrier draw for the computer to complete.
- P.D.L.T.W. Preferential Draw on Lifetime Wins Indicates the computer shall draw for the least number of wins first progressively up to the most number of wins.
- P.D.S. Preferential Draw on Sex Indicates the computer shall draw for fillies and mares first and other horses draw for thereafter.
- P.D.T.S.W. Preferential Draw on this Season's Wins Indicates the computer shall draw for the least number of wins this season first progressively up to the most number of wins this season.
- P.D.T.S.W.$ Preferential Draw This Season Win Prizemoney Indicates the computer shall draw for the lowest Winning prizemoney this season. First progressively up to the highest winning prizemoney this season.
P.D.W.$ Preferential Draw Lifetime Win Prizemoney Indicates the computer shall draw for the lowest Winning prizemoney first progressively up to the highest winning prizemoney.
- P.D.W.$ - 2yo$ Preferential Draw Lifetime Win Prizemoney - 2YO Win Prizemoney indicates the computer shall draw the lowest Winning prizemoney minus 2YO Winning prizemoney first progressively up to the highest Winning prizemoney minus 2YO winning prizemoney.
- P.D.W.C. Preferential Draw Within Conditions Indicates the computer will ignore 2YO wins in a horse's career when effecting a barrier draw that excludes 2YO wins.
- P.R.B.T. Pre Race Blood Test Indicates this horse was subject to a random blood test prior to his/her race.
- Pace The speed of the leaders at each stage of the race.
- Pacesetter The horse that is running in front (on the lead).
- Pacing Pacing is a 'laterial' gait in which the horse moves the legs on the same side back and forward together. Most pacers wear 'hopples' - straps connecting the legs on the same side. Pacing, or 'ambling', is a natural gait for some breeds of horse (as well as giraffes and camels) and is faster than trotting by roughly 3 seconds per mile. Pacers are also less likely to 'break,' so they are more popular with punters than trotters, where the two gaits exist. As a result pacing dominates harness racing in the English-speaking world.
- Paddle Toe In - A conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces in and looks pigeon-toed, often causing the leg to swing outward during locomotion ("paddling").
- Paddock Approximately 25 minutes before they race, horses are brought from the barn area to the Paddock. They are led to a row of stalls where they are inspected and identified by track officials, ensuring that the correct horses run in the race. After they have been inspected, the horses are saddled and led to a walking ring where owners, trainers and jockeys await them.
- Paddock Judge In horse racing, the racing official responsible for getting jockeys and horses in order to go to the starting gate; also checks the equipment used by each horse and supervises the saddling of the horses. In greyhound racing, the racing official responsible for supervising the leadouts, identifying greyhounds, and checking muzzles and blankets.
- Panel A slang term for a furlong.
- Pari-Mutuels A form of wagering that originated in France in which all money bet is divided up among those who have winning tickets, after taxes, takeout and other deductions are made.
- Parimutuel A form of wagering that originated in France in which all money bet is divided up among those who have winning tickets, after taxes, takeout and other deductions are made.
- 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."
- Parked Out A horse has further to go and often tires and falls back during a race. The horse's position is at the pole or rail. In the gaited community a horse parks out to make it easier to mount and dismount. Also in shows a judge will often ask the rider to make the horse park out. The front legs move forward while the hind feet remain stationary. The horse's back dips and his neck is arched. This has nothing to do with racing.
- Parlay A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on each succeeding race.
- Part Used by the International Cataloguing Standards Committee to separate races from different countries for sales cataloguing purposes. Races of Part I countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, the United States, the Hong Kong International Cup and the Japan Cup) are accepted for black-type and graded purposes; races of Part II countries (Belgium, Hong Kong [except Hong Kong International Cup, see above], India, Japan [except Japan Cup, see above], Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Scandinavia, Singapore, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela) are accepted for black-type purposes only, with no grade or group designators; races of Part III countries (all others) are not accepted for cataloguing purposes.
- Part Wheel Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations.
- Past Performances A compilation in Daily Racing Form of a horse's record, including all pertinent data, as a basis for handicapping.
- Pasteboard Track A lightning fast racing surface.
- Patrol Judge A racing official strategically located at different location on the racetrack to observe the horses and jockeys while they race and report any infraction to the stewards.
- Patrol Judges Officials who observe progress of race from various vantage points around the track.
- Pattern Race Group Races An elite group of races. A group one race is a grand circuit event, free-for-all, handicap or classic event of national importance, which offers minimum prizemoney of $50,000 with respect to pacing events. A provisional group one race is one that has a history of less than ten years. A group two race is a handicap, free-for-all or classic event of major or State importance, where with the exception of Sires' Stakes Finals, the primary eligibility of horses is not restricted by any conditions. Minimum prizemoney must be $20,000 in respect of races for pacers.
- Payoff The amount of money retuned on a successful bet.
- Peep A horse finishing third.
- Pegs The most recent term for the inside running rail. At many tracks these days, the railing itself has been removed, leaving behind markers or pegs which indicate where the inside of the track is.
- Penalties Extra weight a horse must carry, especially in a handicap.
- Perfecta 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.
- Phantom Race Call A make-believe description of a race that has not yet been held, or of an imaginary race.
- Photo A series of photographs taken split seconds apart of a race finish. Taken at every finish, they are posted for public viewing where a neck or less separates any of the first four horses.
- Photofinish or Photo Finiah A very close finish in which only careful viewing of the photofinish picture can determine the order of finish. Also, the equipment used by the officials to determine which race animal wins a close race.
- Pick A type of multi-race wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick three, pick six and pick nine are common.
- 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.
- Pick Six (Or More) A type of wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected.
- Pill A small, numbered ball used in a blind draw to determine post positions.
- Pinched Back A horse forced back due to racing in close quarters.
- Pinhooker or Pinhook To buy a horse at auction fo r the purpose of reselling him later at a profit.
- Pipe-Opener Exercise at a brisk speed, at a moderate speed. Also a breeze.
- To place or Place A horse runs a place if it finishes in the first three in fields of eight or more horses. If there are only six or seven runners the horse must finish first or second.
- Place Bet Betting a horse will finish second in a race, as against straight or show.
- Place Pool The total amount bet in any race on horses to place. Statutory deductions are removed according to law.
- Placing Judge The racing official in charge of the official placing or order of finish of race animals during and after the running of a race through the viewing of the race, especially at the finish, and the viewing of the photofinish strip with the stewards/racing judges.
Plate(s) A prize for a winner. Usually less valuable than a cup or a generic term for lightweight (usually) aluminum horseshoes used during a race.
- Plater Claiming horse and also a farrier.
- Plates Shoes horses wear in races. Racing plates.
- Platter Claiming horse, extremely large hooves as a draught horse might have (slang "platter feet") and also a farrier.
- Plodding A horse which is not racing as quickly as its ability allows is simply plodding along.
- Pocket A horse in a pocket is unable to obtain a clear run because it has other runners situated in front, behind and to the side of it. The horse is boxed in.
- Point(s) of Call A race animal's position at various locations on the racetrack where its running position is noted on a chart. The locations vary with the distance of the race.
- Pole Markers at measured distances around the track, marking the distance from the finish. The quarter pole, for instance, is a quarter of a mile from the finish, not from the start. The top of the head, between the ears.
- Pole Position The number one barrier position, which is on the front line closest to the inside fence.
- Pole(s) Markers at measured distances around the track designating the distance from the finish. The quarter pole, for instance, is a quarter of a mile from the finish, not from the start. The top of the head, between the ears.
- Poles The markers around the track indicating the distance to the finish line. The quarter pole, for instance, is a quarter of a mile from the finish, not from the start.
- Pony Any horse or pony that leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate. Also, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate. Also can be used as a verb He was ponied to the gate. Also known as a "lead [LEED] pony."
- Pony Person A person on horseback who accompanies a horse and jockey to the starting gate.
- Pool Mutual pool. Total sum bet on a race or even, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool.
- Popularity Harness racing outranks flat and jump racing (combined) in races run, prizemoney paid and betting turnover in every mainland country of Europe, except Spain and Greece. Trotting accounts for 51% of racing prizemoney in France, 57% in Germany, 62% in Italy and 90% or over in Scandinavia.
- Post The starting time for the race.
- Post Parade Lasting approximately 10 minutes, the time before the race when the horses leave the paddock, go to the track, walk in front of the stands, and are viewed by the people in the stands.
- Post Position A horse's position in the starting gate.
- Post Time The official time set by the stewards/racing judges and the mutuel department at which a race will start.
- Post Weight A greyhound's official weight reported before the greyhound enters the racetrack.
- Preference List A system used by racing secretaries to give preference in entries to horses that have not raced recently. The system is designed to ensure equity in determining which horses entered in a race will be allowed to race if there are more entries than available places in the race.
- Preferred List Horses with prior rights to starting, usually because they have previously been entered in races that have not filled with the minimum number of starters.
- Preliminary The warm-up given to a horse on the track just prior to its race. Runners are usually let out onto the track around ten minutes before the start of a race to warm up.
- Prelude A race designed as a lead-up for a major event, however, as opposed to heats, the winners and placegetters of a prelude are not automatically included in the field for the final or major race. For instance, the Qantas Sprints are held the week before the Miracle Mile and are referred to as preludes. The winners of these preludes may or may not be invited to contest the Miracle Mile.
- Prep (Or Prep Race) A workout or a race to prepare a horse for a future engagement.
- Prep (Race) A workout (or race) used to prepare a race animal for a future engagement.
- Preparation The period of time that a horse races for. Standardbreds usually have a spell or rest before returning to the race track for their next preparation.
- Price Equivalent odds to $1 which a horse paid, or would have paid if he had won.
Program The official program published and sold by the racing association. The program contains information about each race on the day's racing card, including race number, conditions, distance, types of betting, animals' names, numbers, jockeys, and weight.
- Prop Refusing to break with field from gate. Standing flat-footed. Also, when a horse suddenly stops running a full speed by extending his forefeet as "brakes."
- Protest A verbal or written dissent regarding the placings of a particular race, which is made to the stewards before the all clear is signalled. Connections of one of the horses in a race, for instance, may believe that they would have finished in a better position had in not been for the interference or inconvenience caused by another runner, and therefore issue a protest against that offending horse. The stewards will then defer the all clear (a protest is signified by a warning type siren as opposed to the all clear siren) until an inquiry or investigation into these claims can be made. They may agree with the claims and uphold the protest, in which case the placings may be amended, or they may disagree and dismiss the protest, in which case the placings would remain the same.
- Public Trainer One whose services are not exclusively engaged by a single stable and who accepts horses from a number of owners.
- Pull Up To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout.
- Pulled the Plugs Drivers who pull the plugs during a race are merely releasing the ear plugs that have been in their horse's ears up until that time. Ear plugs can help keep a horse's mind on the job and help nervy horses stay calm leading up to and during part of the race. When released, (often as the horse gets closer to the finish) the sudden exposure to more noise may help spur on the horse.
- Pulled Up A horse which has finished a race has pulled up. The term can also refer to the act of a driver stopping his horse from competing in a race, while that race is still in progress, for example, because of injury or broken gear.
- Pulling Some horses get fired-up during a race and try to run faster than the tempo of the other runners. These horses are 'pulling'. Horses that pull will usually waste a lot of energy in the process, leaving little in reserve for the finish.
- Pulling Out A horse which is pulling out in a race is one which is coming from a rails or running line position and heading out wider on the track in an effort to secure a clear run.
- Punter An investor or person who places bets on the outcome of a race.
- Purple Patch Refers to form or performance. A horse or trainer has hit a "purple patch" when experiencing a run of success.
- Purse The total monetary amount distributed after a race to the owners of the entrants who have finished in the (usually) top four or five positions. Some racing jurisdictions may pay purse money through other places.
- Quadrella You have to correctly select the winner of four specific races nominated by your TAB. The selected races vary from state to state.
- Quarantine A process used to isolate foreign horses for a short period of time to ensure they are not carrying any diseases. May be at a racetrack, airport or specially designated facility. Horses must be cleared by a federal veterinarian before being released from quarantine. Any facility used to keep infected horses away from the general equine population.
- Quarter Refers to a quarter of a mile (roughly 400 metres). There are four quarters in the last mile (1609 metres) of every race, which is used when determining sectional times.
- Quarter Boots Protective equipment for the heel of the horse's front feet.
- Quarter Horse Breed of horse especially fast for a quarter of a mile, from which its name is derived.
- Quarter Pole Colored post at infield rail exactly two furlongs from the finish line.
- Quinella Wager in which first two finishers must be picked, but payoff is made no matter which of the two wins and which runs second.
- Quinella Pool The total amount bet in a race designated as a quinella.
- R.B.D. Random Barrier Draw Indicates a random or non-preferential barrier draw.
- R.O.D.M. or R.O.D.S. This indicates that the horse in question is excluded right outside the barrier draw in Mobile or Standing Start Events (wherever applicable).
- Rabbit A horse that is considered to have little chance of winning a race but is entered purely to ensure a fat pace and tire out the other front-runners, softening up the competition for the benefit of an entrymate.
- Race Call The description of a race while it is in process, which includes such things as the positions of the runners at different stages, any moves made by drivers, and any incidents that occur. A race is called or described by a race caller.
- Racing Association A company that holds a license from the state racing commission to operate a pari-mutuel racetrack.
- Racing Commission An appointed body of men and women which governs and polices racing where legislation has been passed to permit use of the pari-mutuels system in connection with horse racing.
- Racing Conditions The physical conditions involved in a race.
- Racing Dates Specific dates allotted to horse and dog tracks to conduct business by racing commissions charged with granting licenses and monitoring the conduct of these tracks in conformation with the official rules of racing in their states.
- Racing Judge A greyhound racing official who presides over a race meeting, has jurisdiction over all racing officials, rules on protests, and imposes fines and suspensions. In Texas, all three racing judges presiding at a race meeting are Commission employees.
- Racing Plate A very light horseshoe with a toe grab or cleat for better traction.
- Racing Secretary The racing official who writes the conditions for the races, assigns the weights for handicap races, receives entries, conducts the draw, and is responsible for the operation and organization of the race office.
- Racing Sound A horse able to race and pass all veterinarian test, but not 100%.
- Radial Paralysis This condition causes the horse to have a partially paralyzed foreleg and is due to an injured radial nerve. When this occurs, the horse has great difficulty bringing the affected leg forward.
- Rail A barrier that forms the inside and outside perimeter of the racing surface. Also, at a greyhound racetrack, the metal strip that runs alongside the inside of the track on which the lure operates.
- Rail Runner A race animal that prefers to run next to the inside rail.
- Rails Run A horse can be stuck on the fence behind the leader, with other runners behind and next to it, and unable to get a clear run to the finish line. However, sometimes the leader will move out wider on the track when under pressure in the run home, enabling the horse to scoot through along the rail to the finish line.
- Raised Bar Bar plate which helps prevent running down.
- Rank A horse that refuses to settle under a jockey's handling in a race, running in a headstrong manner without respect to pace.
- Rate To restrain a horse early in a race, conserving its energies for later challenges.
- Rated Relating to the mile rate that a horse records over any race distance. Say a horse records a mile rate of 200.1 in a 2113 metre race, it is said to have rated 200.1 over 2113 metres.
- Rattle Used in the expression, "He likes to hear his feet rattle." A horse that likes a firm turf course.
- Receiving Barn Where horses stabled at other tracks are kept before they go to the paddock for their races. After the race, horses that get tagged for testing report here.
- Redboard or Red Board An old-time method of declaring a race official, by posting a red flag or board on the tote board. This is also considered a mildly derogatory phrase used to describe someone who claims to have selected the winner, but always after the race.
- Refuse When a horse will not break from the gate and also refers to horses in jumping races, balking at a jump.
- Reins Long straps, usually made of leather, that are connected to the bit and used by the jockey to control the horse.
- Reinsman or Reinswoman Another term for driver.
- Relegation Rule A rule which gives Stewards the power to relegate a horse/s to a different finishing position, should they believe, for example, it destroyed the chances of another runner which would have definitely finished ahead of it.
- Replays Films of races played back for the benefit of fans and officials after the completion of a race.
- Requalify A horse which has raced intractably in a registered event, or causes a false start or behaves intractably at the start, may be barred from racing by the Stewards until it can perform satisfactorily in one or more qualifying trials. Once the horse has achieved this, the horse has requalified to start in registered events.
- Reserve A minimum price, set by the consignor, for a horse in a public auction The horse did not reach its reserve.
- Reserved Held for a particular engagement or race. Also, held off the pace.
- Restricted Races Races which only certain horses are eligible for, meaning the race is restricted to a select group. A restricted race may be based on a horse's age, gender, winnings, or a combination of factors, for example, one that is restricted to two-year-old fillies only.
- Restricted Stakes A stakes race in which conditions limit the participants based upon certain criteria. The more common restricted stakes races are state-bred races and races written for horses purchased through or consigned to a certain sale.
- Return to Scale The period between the finish of the race and the signalling of the all clear. This term originated from the galloping code of racing, with jockeys having to return to the scale to check their weight before the all-clear for a race can be given.
- Ridden Out Finishing a race without rider urging him to do his utmost, even though he has a wide margin over the second horse.
- Ride Short Using short stirrup leathers.
- Ridgling, ridgeling or Rig A term describing either a cryptorchid or monorchid. A male horse that has not been castrated and has one testicle in his scrotum and one testicle undescended.
- Rim Horseshoe with long cleats or grabs on outer rim.
- Ring Bit A special bit that looks like a ring going through a horses mouth. One piece construction allows for more control for the jockey.
- Ringer A horse racing under the name and identity of another, or under a fictitious name.
- Rna "Reserve not achieved." A minimum price, set by the consignor, for a horse in a public auction The horse did not reach its reserve.
- Rogue An ill-tempered horse.
- Rogue's Badge Blinkers.
- Romp Running (or winning) with utmost ease.
- Round Robin A series of parlay bets on more than one horse in each race, betting all horses in the parlays in every possible combination.
- Route Broadly, a race distance of longer than 1- miles.
- Route Race A race run at a mile or longer, generally around two turns.
- Router A horse that does well covering a mile or more.
- Ruck Rear end of the field.
- Ruled Off or Exclusion When the stewards/racing judges or a racing association forbid a person to enter the grounds of the racetrack.
- Rules of Racing Official rules approved by the body responsible for the conduct of racing in conformance with the legislation permitting these races to be held in most cases, a Racing Commission.
- Run Down A change of odds in a book making establishment caused by heavy betting on a horse or horses; Abrasion to the horses heel.
- Run-Out Bit A special type of bit to prevent a horse from bearing out (or in).
- Rundown Of a horse, to suffer abrasions on the heels as a result of contact with the dirt and sand of the track surface.
- Rundown Bandages Bandages on the hind legs, usually with a pad inside, to keep a horse from scraping his heels when he runs.
- Runner A messenger who makes bets and cashes winning tickets for patrons of a track.
- Running Double You have to correctly select the winner in two consecutive races.
- Running Line Horses which are referred to as being in the running line are those racing behind the horses who occupy the death seat and one-one position. These horses are one out on the track and are racing with cover.
- Running Rail Another term for fence. It is the structure which acts as a barrier between the centre of the track (inside running rail) and the viewing facilities (outside running rail).
- Saddle A Thoroughbred racing saddle is the lightest saddle used, weighing less than two pounds.
- Saddle Cloth A cotton cloth which goes under the saddle to absorb sweat. It usually has the horse's program number and sometimes, in major races, its name.
- Saddle Cloth (Towel) A cloth under the saddle on which program numbers are displayed.
- Saliva Test Laboratory test to determine if a horse has been drugged or overdosed with permitted medication.
- Scoring Preliminary warming up of the horses before the start.
- Save Ground To cover the shortest possible distance in a race.
- Scale of Weights A schedule of set weights that must be carried by horses according to age, sex, distance and time of year to equalize competition.
- School To train a race animal.
- Schooling Process of familiarizing a horse with the starting gate and teaching it racing practices. A horse may also be schooled in the paddock. In steeplechasing, more particularly to teach a horse to jump.
- Schooling List List of horses required by the starter to school at the starting gate before being permitted to race.
- Schooling Race A practice race held using actual racing conditions, but in which no wagering is allowed.
- Scintigraphy A technique where radio-labeled technetium is injected intravenously into a horse. A gamma camera is used to record uptake of the nucleotide in the tissues. It is particularly useful diagnostically to localize an area of inflammation in the musculoskeletal system. The most common radioisotope used to image bones is technetium-99m.
- Score-Up The movement behind the mobile barrier before a start is initiated. All horses should be in their respective positions when the mobile gate begins to move. The mobile vehicle gradually increases its acceleration throughout the score-up until it reaches the starting point when the field is released.
- Scratch To be taken out of a race before it starts. Trainers usually scratch horses due to adverse track conditions or a horse's adverse health. A veterinarian can scratch a horse at any time.
- Scratch Sheet A daily publication that includes graded handicaps, tips, and scratches.
- Scratch Time The deadline established by the race office for horses to be scratched before printing the official program.
- Scratching A horse that is withdrawn (or scratched) from a race before the start. Horses can be scratched because of illness or injury.
- Second Call A secondary mount of a jockey in a race in the event the jockey's primary mount does not draw into the race.
- Second Dam or Grand Dam Grandmother of a horse.
- Second Sire Horse's paternal grandfather.
- Sectional Time There are four sectional times in every race, which are the four quarters of the last mile (1609m). An acceptable set of sectionals or quarters would read 30.5 seconds, 31.0, 29.5, 29.5, to equal the last mile in 200.5 (two minutes and five seconds).
- Seller A track employee who sells pari-mutual tickets.
- Selling Race See claiming race.
- Set A group of horses being exercised together.
- Set Down A suspension. When a jockey assumes a lower crouch in the saddle while urging the horse to pick up speed. The horse was set down for the drive to the wire.
- Seven Furlongs Seven-eighths of a mile; 1,540 yards; 4,620 feet.
- Sex Allowance Female horses (fillies and mares), according to their age and the time of year, are allowed to carry three to five pounds less when meeting males.
- Shadow Roll If a horse has been shying away from sudden changes in light that naturally occurs on the racetrack, it may be equipped with a shadow roll. This is a large Sheepskin band that is fitted over a horse's nose to keep its eyes focused forward and away from distractions underfoot.
- Shed Row The stable area with barns and walk-ways under a roof.
- Shedrow Stable area. A row of barns.
- 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.
- Shift Out To veer out wide on the track while racing. A horse may shift out when racing under pressure, and may sometimes cross into the path of other runners.
- Ship-in Horses that have to travel to be able to race.
- Short A horse in need of more work or racing to reach winning form.
- Short Field A race with seven or fewer race animals.
- Shorteners The implements used to shorten the length of a horse's hopples. Sometimes horses need a smaller stride during the beginning of a race, in order to ensure they maintain their gait and don't race too fiercely. In this case, a trainer would use hopple shorteners, which are pulled out at a later stage during the race to enable the horse to increase its stride and therefore speed.
- Short A Thoroughbred not in sufficient condition to run the entire race.
- Show Third position at the finish.
- Show Bet Wager on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.
- Shut Off Unable to improve position due to being surrounded by other horses.
- Silks or Colors Jacket and cap worn by jockeys or drivers to designate owner of the horse, or at some smaller tracks, to designate post positions (e.g., yellow for post position one, blue for two, etc.). A jockey's racing shirt and cap displaying the owner's or post position colors.
- Simulcast A simultaneous live television transmission of a race to other tracks, off-track betting offices or other outlets for the purpose of wagering.
- Sires' Stakes Most Australian states have a Sires' Stakes programme. A horse is eligible for a Sires' Stakes series or race if his or her sire was at stud in that particular State where the horse was conceived. Therefore, horses whose sire stood in NSW are eligible for NSW Sires' Stakes races, which are programmed for two, three and four-year-olds.
- Sit To race in a trailing position.
- Six Furlongs Three-quarter of a mile; 1,320 yards, 3,960 feet.
- Sixteenth One-sixteenth of a mile; 110 yards, 330 feet.
- Skinned Track Dirt racing strip as opposed to a turf or grass course.
- Sleeper An underrated race animal.
- Slipped A breeding term meaning spontaneous abortion.
- Sloppy (Track) A racing strip that is saturated with water; with standing water visible. Sloppy also refers to a racing surface on which the cushion is saturated, but the base is still firm. Footing is splashy but even, and the running time remains fast.
- Slow A track with some moisture in it that is not fast, between good and heavy.
- Slow Track A racing surface wetter than good, but not as thick as muddy. Footing is still wet, between heavy and good. A racing strip that is wet on both the surface and base.
- Smart Money Insider's bets.
- Snug Mild restraining hold by rider.
- Soft (Track) Condition of a turf course with a large amount of moisture. Horses sink very deeply into it.
- Soft Run An easy run. A horse which is not put under pressure in the running of the race, by receiving a favourable position throughout. For instance, a horse which travels in the one-one for most of the race, or travels in the lead without being taken on, may be referred to as having had a soft run.
- Solid Horse Contender.
- Sophomores Three-year-old horses. Called sophomores because age three is the second year of racing eligibility.
- Speed Figure A handicapping tool used to assign a numerical value to a horse's performance. See Beyer number.
- Speed Index (Si) A comparison of a horse's time in a race versus other times at the same track at the same distance.
- Speedy Cut The front foot hits the inside of the hock or the rear foot hits the outside of the front cannon bone. It is caused by poor conformation and/or poor shoeing.
- Spell The resting period between preparations or racing. Horses cannot remain in peak form and hard training all year round. Sooner or later they become stale and require a spell so that their system may regenerate.
- Spelling Paddock The resting place for a horse having a spell from racing. Sometimes it is used instead of the word spell - meaning, a horse has been sent to the spelling paddock, instead of a horse has been sent for a spell.
- Spit Box A generic term describing a barn where horses are brought for post-race testing. Tests may include saliva, urine and/or blood.
- Spit the Bit A term referring to a tired horse that begins to run less aggressively, backing off on the "pull" a rider normally feels on the reins from an eager horse. Also used as a generic term for an exhausted horse.
- Split A gap between two horses, usually towards the finish of a race, through which a fast finishing runner may race for the winning post.
- Sprint A horse race around one turn less than 1 mile long.
- Sprint Race A race run at less than a mile, generally with only one turn.
- Sprinter A race animal that shows a preference for short distances.
- Stable Entry Two or more horses in same race whose owners share financial interests.
- Stables Areas, enclosures or places on a Paceway used for the accommodation of horses competing at a meeting. Stables may also refer to the areas on a trainer's property or other property where their horses are accommodated.
- Stacked Up The opposite to strung out. In a field which is stacked up, the distances between the leader, rear horse and all other runners will be quite small.
- Stake A race (usually a feature race) for which owner must pay up a fee to run a horse. The fees can be for nominating, maintaining eligibility, entering and starting, to which the track adds more money to make up the total purse. Some stakes races ar e by invitation and require no payment or fee.
- Stake Race A race for which owners nominate race animals and pay fees to be added to the purse.
- Stakes A race for which the owner usually must pay a fee to run a horse. The fees can be for nominating, maintaining eligibility, entering and starting, to which the track adds more money to make up the total purse. Some stakes races are by invitation and require no payment or fee.
- Stakes Horse A horse whose level of competition includes mostly stakes races.
- Stakes Producer A mare that has produced at least one foal that finished first in a stakes race.
- Stakes-Placed Finishing first, second or third in a stakes race.
- Stallion A male horse, generally retired from racing, that stands at stud and is used for breeding purposes.
- Stallion Season The right to breed one mare to a particular stallion during one breeding season.
- Stallion Share A lifetime breeding right to a stallion; one mare per season per share.
- Standard bred Pure-bred trotting or pacing horses.
- Standardbred Most harness racehorses in Britain, North America and Australasia are 'Standardbreds,' so called because the American harness studbook, begun last century, used the ability to cover a mile in a 'standard' time (initially 2 min 30 secs) as the criteria for entry. In Europe the French Trotter, the Sandinavian 'cold-blood' and the Russian Orlov and Orlov Trotter are also used in harness racing, though Standardbreds and Standardbred crosses predominate everywhere except in France.
- Standing Starts A race start in which the horses are stationary at the time of release. A tape is drawn across in front of the runners and then released when the starter begins the event. Sometimes horses can be slow to get into a pace or trotting gait, and will often gallop way, ruining their chances in the race.
- Star Any of a number of white markings on the forehead. (The forehead is defined as being above an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.) Also a type of credit a horse receives from the racing secretary if it is excluded from an over-filled race, giving it priority in entering future races.
- Starter One of the track's officials. Has dominion over insuring a fair start.
- Starter The person responsible for starting a harness race, whether it be a mobile or standing start event. In a mobile event, the starter controls the start of the race from the back of the mobile vehicle, while in a standing start event, the starter controls the start from the track sidelines. The starter also decides when and if a false start should be declared.
- Starter Race An allowance or handicap race restricted to horses that have started for a specific claiming price or less.
- Starter's List List of horses ruled out of action by the official starter because of chronic misbehavior at gate.
- Starters Allowance An allowance or handicap race restricted to horses which have started for a specific claiming race.
- Starting Box An electro-mechanical device from which the greyhounds begin a race.
- Starting Gate An electro mechanical device into which Thoroughbreds and Quarters Horses are loaded. When ready a button is pushed the gates open, a bell sounds, and the field is dispatched.
- State Veterinarian The commission veterinarian is usually appointed by the state racing commission. This person serves as professional adviser and consultant to the state racing commission on veterinary matters including all regulatory aspects of the application and practice of veterinary medicine at the track.
- State-Bred A horse bred in a particular state and thus eligible to compete in special races restricted to state-breds.
- Stayer A horse which has the endurance to race well over long distances. Sometimes a person will comment that a horse can 'stay all day'. This means the horse in question is a good stayer and will continue to race at a said pace for however long is asked of them.
- Steadied A horse being taken in hand by his rider, usually because of being in close quarters.
- Steeplechase or Chase A race in which horses are required to jump over a series of obstacles on the course.
- Stepped Away Cleanly In a standing start event, a pacer or trotter which begins well (goes straight into their gait) when the start is affected, is referred to as having stepped away cleanly.
- Steps Up A horse moving up in class to meet better runners.
- Steward A horse racing official who presides over a race meeting, has jurisdiction over all racing officials, rules on protests and claims of foul, and imposes fines and suspensions. In Texas, all three stewards presiding at a race meeting are Commission employees.
- Stewards The persons appointed by the Harness Racing Authority to assist in the control of racing and other matters related to the sport. They ensure all rules relating to racing and betting are observed and enforced. Stewards are required to regulate, control and inquire into and adjudicate on the conduct of officials, owners, trainers, drivers, persons attending to horses, bookmakers and clerks - at any event where licensed persons are involved.
- Stewards Racetrack officials. There is a minimum of 3. The stewards have complete authority over a race meeting.
- Stick or bat The jockey's whip.
- Stipes Another term for the Stewards. The correct term is stipendiary stewards, hence the shortened nick-name of stipes.
- Straight Betting on a horse to win a race.
- Stick Bat or Crop A jockey's whip.
- Stickers or Calks Calks on shoes which give a horse better traction in mud or on soft tracks.
- Stirrups or Irons Metal "D" shaped rings into which a jockey places his/her feet. They can be raised or lowered depending on the jockey's reference.
- Stooper Individuals, at the racetrack, who go around picking up the thrown away betting receipts after the final race results are announced. They are hoping to find a winning ticket that was discarded by mistrake.
- Straight as a String Descriptive of a horse running at top speed.
- Straight Bet A straight bet means to wager a particular animal will either win, place, or show.
- Straight Six You have to correctly select the winner of six consecutive nominated races.
- Straightaway Straight part of a race course.
- Strapper or Attendant A groom, the person who assists the trainer, cares for the horse or helps to put on its equipment.
- Stretch The final straightaway portion of the racetrack to the finish line.
- Stretch Call The position of the race animals at designated pole markers, dependent upon the length of the race.
- Stretch Runner Horse that runs its fastest nearing the finish of a race.
- Stretch Turn Bend of track into the final straightaway.
- Stride Of a horse, its way of running or the ground it covers after each foot been in contact with the track once.
- Strung Out A field of horses in a race in which the distances between the leader, the rear horse and the other runners is quite great. Such a field would be referred to as being well strung out.
- Stud A farm or stable or place where registered stallions and/or mares are located for breeding purposes.
- Stud Book Registry and genealogical record of Thoroughbreds, maintained by the Jockey Club of the country in question. Use lower case when describing a generic stud book, all words, including "The," are capitalized when describing "The American Stud Book."
- Subscription Fee paid by owner to nominate a horse for a stakes race or to maintain eligibility for a stakes race.
- Substitute Race An alternate race used to replace a regularly scheduled race that does not fill or is canceled.
- Sulk When a horse refuses to extend himself.
- Sulky, Bike, Cart or Gig A light racing rig with bicycle type wheels used in harness races. They usually weight from 29 to 37 pounds or 25kg..
- Suspend (Or Suspension) Punishment for infraction of rules. Offender denied privileges of racetrack for specified period of time. If permanently suspended Ruled Off.
- Suspension A driver or trainer who is deemed, by the stewards, to have broken one or more of the rules of harness racing, may receive a suspension as punishment. A suspension means a driver cannot participate in any race and a trainer may not train for a set period of time. The length of time a trainer or driver is suspended is decided by the Stewards in relation to the severity of their offence. For instance, a driver with a previously unblemished record would receive a lighter penalty than another who had previously offended. A horse can also be placed under suspension, in which case it would be debarred from racing.
- Swabbing The taking of blood and/or urine samples from a horse for analysis by a testing laboratory. The stewards may direct any horse to be swabbed before or after it has raced, irrespective of where it finishes in the race. The samples are tested by the laboratory for any irregularities or prohibited substances or drugs. A positive swab is one which has been found to contain a prohibited substance.
- Sweating Up A horse which is sweating up has a lather of frothy looking sweat all over its body. This sweat may develop on a nervous, fractious or fired-up horse before it races, or on a horse that has experienced a hard run during a race, or one that is just plain hot.
- Sweepers Those horses which were racing at the rear of the field but are moved out to race wide on the track by their drivers in order to get a clear run down the home straight towards the finish line.
- Sweepstakes Stake races.
- Swipe A groom.
Track Condition The condition of the racing surface. For a dirt track, see fast; good; muddy; sloppy. For a turf course, see firm; yielding.
- T.S.W. This Season's Wins The number of wins by the horse in the current racing season.
- T.S.W.$. This Season Win Only $ The amount of Winning prize money accumulated from Licensed Trotting Meetings by the horse this season.
- Tack The equipment worn by a horse during the race and the rider's racing equipment.
- Tack Rooms Name given to rooms in the barn area of a race track in which items necessary for the training and racing of horses are kept.
- Tag Claiming price.
- Tailed Off A horse that drops so far back during a race, that it is out of touch with the rest of the field.
- Take (Or Takeout) Commission deducted from mutual pools which is shared by the track and local and state governing bodies in the form of tax.
- Taken On Attacked. The leader of the race is sometimes "taken on" by another runner.
- Taken Up A horse pulled up sharply by his rider because of being in close quarters.
- Takeout The percentage taken out of every dollar wager, and split between state, track and purses; generally, in pari-mutual racing, the percentage taken out is usually between 15-20% for straight wagers and 20-25% for exotic wagers.
- Tape A starting device used in steeplechasing consisting of an elastic band stretched across the racetrack which springs back when released. Also known as a "barrier."
- Tattoo A form of identification in which race animals are marked. Horses are tattooed under the upper lip.
- Teletheater Special facility for showing simulcast races.
- Teller See mutual clerk.
- The 'death' Also known as the death seat. The position outside the leader, one horse off the rails or fence. The death is usually the toughest run in a race because a horse will have to cover more ground than the inside competitors as well as bear the brunt of the wind resistance.
- The 'one-One The position occupied by the horse immediately behind the death position. It means the said horse is one runner off the rails and one runner back. The one-one is also referred to as the one out, one back trail. It is a desirable position as it provides cover from the wind and is close enough to tackle for the lead.
- The Jockey Club An organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. Incorporated Feb. 10, 1894 in New York City, The Jockey Club serves as North America's Thoroughbred registry, responsible for the maintenance of "The American Stud Book," a register of all Thoroughbreds foaled in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada; and of all Thoroughbreds imported into those countries from jurisdictions that have a registry recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee.
- The Stick A slang term for the whip used by drivers. A driver is the person holding a license or permit to drive harness horses. There are different types of licenses, which correspond to differing levels of experience.
- Thoroughbred Racing Associations (Tra) An industry group comprised of many of the racetracks in North America.
- Three Wide The same position that a horse which is two out occupies, in the third row of horses out from the inside rail. Similarly, a horse which is three out would be racing four wide (in the fourth row of horses out from the inside rail). Three and four wide is also termed three and four deep.
- Three-Eighths Pole Colored pole at inside rail, exactly three furlongs from the finish line.
- Three--Quarter Pole Colored pole at inside rail, exactly six furlongs from the finish line.
- Three-Quarter White Pastern (Leg Markings) The lower three-quarters of the pastern is white.
- Three-Quarter White Stocking (Leg Markings) The white marking extends up to and includes the lower three-quarters of the cannon.
- Toe Weights Used to extend the horse's stride.
- Totalisator Equipment used to record each wager and calculate odds.
- Totalisator or Tote Board A display board in the infield that gives all race information.
- Tote Board The totalisator board at the racetrack that electronically shows the money wagered and the resulting odds. Data includes approximate odds, total amount wagered in each pool, track condition, post time, time of day, result of race, official and inquiry signs, running time of each race and the mutual payoffs after each race is declared official, as well as other pertinent information.
- Tout A person who gives tips on the races for a profit. Touting is usually rated an honorable calling because many touts try to give good value for their money. Keeping in close touch with the latest developments around a track, bettor touts work solely on a commission basis.
Track Bias A racing surface that favors a particular running style or position. For example, a track bias can favor either front-runners, closers or horses running on the inside or outside.
Track Record Fastest time at various distances recorded at a particular track.
Track Superintendent The official responsible for maintaining acceptable racing and training track conditions during race meet.
Tracks Circuit Lengths are Half-Mile in America, five furlongs/1000 metres (predominant in Scandinavia and much of Europe) and mile, though the famous 'Grande piste' at Vincennes in Paris is 2000 metres. Racing 'one wide' outside another horse means covering an extra 63 feet (almost 6 lengths) per mile on a half mile track and 47 feet on a five-eights one.
Trail Racing immediately behind another horse, thus using it as a wind-break. A driver may place his horse in a trailing position in order to save enough energy for a fast finish down the home straight. A trail is also known as a sit.
Trail Off Used to describe a fit horse losing its competitive edge.
Train Off Become jaded after attaining racing fitness.
Trainer The person who conditions and prepares a race animal for racing, with the absolute responsibility to ensure the physical condition and eligibility of the race animal.
Trial A non-registered horse race. Trials allow previously unraced horses the opportunity to qualify to race at a registered meeting, and allows trainers of horses at various stages in their preparation to gauge their progress.
Trifecta A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order. Called a "triactor" in Canada and a "triple" in some parts of the USA.
Trifecta (Or Triple) A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order.
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 x-- 3x2+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.
Trifector See Trifecta.
Trip An individual horse's race, with specific reference to the difficulty (or lack of difficulty) the horse had during competition, e.g., whether the horse was repeatedly blocked or had an unobstructed run.
Trapped Epiglottis Condition, correctable by surgery, in which a flap of tissue interferes with a horse's breathing.
Trip Handicapping Looking for mishaps in a previous race that may have prevented a horse from doing its best.
Triple See trifecta.
Triple Crown Used generically to denote a series of three important races, but is always capitalized when referring to historical races for three-year-olds. In the United States, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. In England the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St. Leger Stakes. In Canada, the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes and Breeders' Stakes.
Trotting A slang term for harness racing in general. It also describes the gait of a "trotter." When trotting or square gaiting, a horse stretches its left front and right rear legs forward almost simultaneously and then follows suit with its right front and left rear legs.
Trouble Line Words at end of each past-performance line in the Daily Racing Form.
Turf An infield grass course on which races are run.
Turf Course A grass surface, usually towards the inside of racetracks.
Turn Down A protrusion on the bottom of a horseshoe added to give traction.
Turn Down(s) Rear shoe that is turned down --inch to one inch at the ends to provide better traction on an off-track. Illegal in many jurisdictions.
- Fast track Even footing, dry, a track at its best.
- Sloppy Wet track but still firm footing and fast.
- Muddy Deep and slow footing. Water has permeated track base which is soft and wet.
- Heavy Footing is heavy and sticky. A drying track that is muddy.
- Slow Still wet/footing heavy.
- Good Between slow and fast. Footing is firm, but track still wet.
- Off Other than fast.
- Under Contract A trainer or rider formally signed for a specified time and compensation.
- Under Double Wraps A horse that is racing exceptionally well and under restraint.
- Under Pressure To be given a hard time or experience a hard run during a race. A horse may be placed under pressure by another runner in the field, for instance, when being attacked for the lead. Under pressure may also refer to a horse that is finding it hard to keep up with the pace (is weakening), or is not responding to the jockey's command to accelerate.
- Under Punishment Horse being whipped and driven.
- Under Wraps Horse under stout restraint in a race or workout to keep it from pulling away from the competition by too large a margin.
- Underlay A horse racing at shorter odds than seems warranted by its past performances.
- Untried Not raced or tested for speed or a stallion that has not been bred.
- Unwind Gradually withdrawing a horse from intensive training.
- Up When riders mount their horses in the paddock.
- Urinalysis Testing urine of horse for drugs or medication. Urine test referes to a chemical analysis of horse's urine in effort to tell whether animal was drugged.
- Used Up An exhausted horse.
- V.M.D. Veterinary Medical Doctor.
- Valet Individual who takes care of the jockey's equipment and attends to saddling the horse, meets the rider after the race, insures that lead weights are in pad, attends to locker, etc.
- Van Front of field or sometimes referred to as head end.
- Vee (Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis) A highly contagious disease affecting the central nervous system that can cause illness or death in horses and humans.
- Veterinarian Commission The commission (or board) veterinarian, sometimes referred to as the state veterinarian, is usually appointed by the state racing commission. This person serves as professional adviser and consultant to the State Racing Commission on veterinary matters including all regulatory aspects of the application and practice of veterinary medicine at the track. Association Sometimes referred to as the track veterinarian, this person is employed by the racing association and serves as a professional adviser and consultant to the racing association and its operational staff at the track. Practicing Private practitioner employed by owners and trainers on an individual case or contract basis.
- Vet's List List of ill or injured horses declared ineligible for racing by the track veterinarian.
- Video Patrol The system by which video cameras are strategically placed around a racing oval to broadcast and record the running of each race from each possible angle.
- Volar Neurectomy (High Nerved) This operation is performed on the volar nerve that lies between the bottom of the knee and the fetlock joint. Horses that have been high nerved are barred at most race tracks.
- Wager Same as bet.
- Wagertype A type of bet offered at a racetrack.
- Walk Hots To cool a horse out after a workout or race.
- Walking Ring Oval near paddock enclosure, where horses walk and riders mount before the start of post parade.
- Walkover A race from which all entrants have been withdrawn. The remaining horse just walks the prescribed course to win.
- Warm Up or Warming Up A slow gallop or canter to the starting point of the race.
- Washed Out A horse that becomes so nervous that it sweats profusely. Also known as "washy" or "lathered (up)."
- Washy Horse breaking out in nervous sweat before race, sometimes to the point it will be dripping from his belly.
- Weakened A horse which started off well in a race and was in a position from which it could win, but could not keep up that pace or keep up with the pace of the other runners and dropped back in the field. That horse is said to have weakened.
- Weigh in At a horse racetrack, the procedure where the clerk of scales, prior to the race, checks the weights of the jockeys and their riding equipment against the officially assigned weight for each horse in the race.
- Weigh in (Out) The certification, by the clerk of scales, of a jockey or rider's weight before (after) a race. A jockey weighs in fully dressed with all equipment except for his/her helmet, whip and (in many jurisdictions) flak jacket.
- Weight How much weight a horse carries in a race is partly determined by its age and sex. Two and 3-year-olds carry less weight than older horses, and females carry less weight than males. These reductions or "allowances" are determined by a scale of weights that change depending on the time of year.
- Weight Allowance Weight permitted to be reduced because of the conditions of the race, such as a sex allowance or an apprentice allowance.
- Weight-for-Age An allowance condition in which each entrant is assigned a weight according to its age. Females usually receive a sex allowance as well. (Compare with a handicap race.)
- Weights (Saddle) Lead slabs carried in the saddle to increase weight of jockey and tack.
- Well Drawn To be given a favorable starting position or barrier, that suits the way that particular horse runs. For instance, a horse which is a good beginner (has a lot of early speed) would be considered to be well-drawn in the front row.
- Well Tried A horse which has been well supported by punters (someone who bets).
- Wheel A horse who turns around suddenly without being asked is said to wheel.
- Whip An implement used by the jockey to spur on the horse in the run to the finish line. Jockeys will tap their horse with the whip when they want the horse to accelerate. A jockey may only use the whip in an elbow action. Upper arm action is not permitted.
- Win Cross the finish line first.
- Win Bet A wager that a horse will come in first in a race.
- Win Pool The total amount bet in any race on horse to win after the deduction of taxes and race track commissions.
- Win Ticket A pari-mutuel ticket purchased on a horse to win.
- Winded Breathing with difficulty after workout or race.
- Window The place where a pari-mutuel clerk either sells tickets or cashes them.
- Winner's Circle The enclosure adjacent to the racing oval where a winning horse is brought for a ceremonial win photo with the owner, trainer, and their friends.
- Winner-Takes-All Winner receiving all the purse or stakes.
- Winning Post The post, usually stipulating the name of the paceway, which marks exactly where the finish line is for all races at that track.
- Wire Another term for the finish line.
- Without Cover To race in front of all other horses, without any protection from the wind resistance. A horse can be racing without cover if it is the leader, racing in the death seat, or racing out wide on the track.
- Work To exercise a race horse by galloping a pre-determined distance.
- Wrong Go amiss.
- Xeroradiography A costly type of x-ray procedure using specially sensitized screens that give higher resolution on the edges of bone and better visualization of soft tissue structures.
- Yearling The First year after birth.
- Yielding Condition of a turf course with a great deal of moisture. Horses sink into it noticeably.
- Zantac Trade name for the drug ranitidine, a medication used to treat ulcers.
For More Information on Horse Terminology
Dictionary of Horse Terms
Dictionary of Gambling Many of these definitions were taken from this link. I would like to note that there was no copyright notice posted on the site. Credit is being given.