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Horse Racing Terms and Definitions
Glossary of Horse Racing Terms
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ACROSS THE BOARD- A bet on a horse to win, place and show.
If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if
second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win
and place bets.
ACTION- A horse's manner of moving.
ADDED MONEY- Money added to the purse of a race by
the racing association (or sometimes by a breeding or
other fund) to the amount paid by owners in nomination,
eligibility, entry and starting fees.
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.
ALL OUT- When a horse extends himself to the utmost.
ALLOWANCE RACE- A race other than claiming for which
the racing secretary drafts certain conditions to determine
ALLOWANCES- Weight permitted to be reduced because
of the conditions of the race or because an apprentice
is on a horse. Also, a weight females are entitled to
when racing against males.
ALSO-ELIGIBLE- A horse officially entered, but not
permitted to start unless the field is reduced by scratches
below a specified number.
ALSO-RAN- A horse who finishes out of the money.
APPRENTICE- Rider who has not ridden a certain number
of winners within a specified period of time. Also known
as a bug boy.
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 35th winner.
BABY RACE- A race for 2-year-olds.
BACKSTRETCH- Straight of far side of track between
the turns. Also stable area.
BACKSIDE- Stable area
BAD ACTOR- Fractious horse.
BAD DOER- Horse with poor appetite.
BALD (or BALD FACE)- White face of horse, including
eyes, nostrils or part of the latter.
BANDAGE- Strips of cloth wound around the lower part
of a horse's legs for support or protection against
BAR SHOE- A horse shoe with a rear bar to protect an
injured foot; bar shoes may be worn with aluminum pads
to protect a bruised frog, or my be worn alone.
BAY- Color of horse varying from yellowish tan (light
bay) to brown or dark, rich shade of mahogany (sometimes
listed as dark bay or brown) with black points- black
mane, tail and shadings of black low on the legs.
BEARING IN (or OUT)- Deviating from a straight course.
May be due to weariness, infirmity, punishment by rider
or rider's inability to control mount.
BELL- Signal sounded when starter opens the gates or,
at some tracks, to mark the close of betting.
BIT- Bar in horse's mouth by which he is guided and
BLACK- Body, head muzzle, flanks and legs are covered
with uniform black hair.
BLACK TYPE- Designation for a stakes winner or stakes-placed
horse in sales catalogues.
BRACE (or BRACER)- Rubdown liniment used on a horse
after a race or a workout.
BLANKET FINISH- Horses finishing so closely together
they could be covered by a blanket.
BLAZE- White patch on face of a horse.
BLEEDER- Horse who bleeds during or after a workout
or race due to ruptured blood vessel.
BLIND SWITCH- Being caught in a pocket or such a position
behind or between horses that a free course cannot be
BLINKERS- Device to limit a horse's vision to prevent
him from swerving from objects or other horses on either
side of him.
BLISTER- Counter-irritant to ease pain or to treat
BLOOD WORMS- Parasites that get into the blood stream.
BLOWOUT- A short, final workout, usually a day or two
before a race, designed to sharpen a horse's speed.
BOARD- Totalisator board on which odds, betting pools
and other information is displayed.
BOBBLE- A bad step away from the starting gate, usually
caused by the track breaking away from under a horse's
hoof and causing him to duck his head or nearly go to
BOG SPAVIN- Puffy swelling on the inside and slightly
in front of the back, usually caused by overwork or
BOLT- Sudden veering from a straight course.
BOTTOM- Stamina in a horse. Also, sub-surface of racing
BOTTOM LINE- Thoroughbred's breeding on female side.
The bottom half of an extended pedigree diagram.
BOWED TENDON (a BOW)- Rupture of the sheath enclosing
the tendon from the knee to the fetlock joint.
BREAK (A horse)- To accustom a young horse to racing
equipment and methods, and to carry a rider.
BREAKAGE- In pari-mutuel payoffs which are rounded
out to a nickel or dime, those pennies that are left
over. Breakage is generally split between the track
and state and, in some cases, breeding or other funds,
in varying proportions.
BREAKDOWN- When a horse suffered an injury; lameness.
BREAK MAIDEN- Horse or rider winning first race of
BREATHER- Restraining or easing off on a horse for
a short distance in a race to permit him to conserve
or renew his strength.
BRED- A horse is bred at the place of his birth. Also,
the mating of horses.
BREEDER- Owner of dam at time foal is dropped.
BREEDING FUND- A fund set up by many states to provide
bonus prizes for state- breds.
BREEZE- Working a horse at a moderate speed; less effort
BRIDGE-JUMPER- Someone who makes large show bets on
BROODMARE- Female Thoroughbred used for breeding.
BROWN- Sometimes difficult to separate from black or
dark bay. This color can usually be distinguished by
noting finer tan or brown hairs on the muzzles or flanks.
BUCKED SHINS- Inflammation of front of cannon bone
to which young horses are particularly susceptible.
BUG- Apprentice allowance. Apprentice rider.
BULLET (WORK)- The best time for the distance on the
work tab for a given day at a track.
BULL RING- Small racetrack; usually less than one mile.
BUTE (or BUTAZOLIDIN)- Trade name for phenylbutazone,
a commonly used analgesic for horses.
CALK- Projection bottom of shoe to give horse greater
traction, especially on a wet track.
CALL (the)- Running position of horses in a race at
CALLER- One who calls the running positions of horses
in a race.
CAPPED HOCK- Injury to hock caused by kicking or rubbing.
CAST- A horse is a cast when he lies down in the stall
in such a way that he is too close to the wall, and
there is a danger that he may not be able to get up
by himself without injury.
CENTER OF DISTRIBUTION- The balance point of speed
and stamina influences in a horse's pedigree.
CHART- A statistical "picture" of a race (from which
past performances are compiled), which shows the position
and margin of each horse at designated points of call
(depending on distance of the race), age, weight carried,
owner, trainer, purse, conditions, pay-off prices, odds,
time and other data.
CHECKED- A horse pulled up by his jockey for an instant
because he is cut off or in tight quarters.
CHESTNUT- Varies from light, washy yellow to dark liver
color, between which comes red, gold and liver shades.
A chestnut never has black points, mane or tail.
CHUTE- Extension of backstretch or homestretch to permit
straightaway run from start.
CLAIMING- Buying a horse out of race for entered price.
CLAIMING BOX- Box in which claims are deposited before
CLAIMING RACE- Race in which horses are entered subject
to claim for a specified price.
CLASSIC- Race of traditional importance. In the U.S.
specifically the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont
stakes for colts, and Coaching Club American Oaks for
CLERK OF SCALES- An official whose chief duty is to
weigh the riders before and after a race to be sure
proper weight is carried.
CLIMBING- A fault in a horse's stride in which, instead
of reaching out, his action is abnormally high.
CLOCKER- One who times workouts and races.
CLOSER- A horse who runs best in the latter part of
the race, coming from off the pace.
CLUBHOUSE TURN- Generally, the turn closest to the
COLORS- Racing silks-jacket and cap-worn by riders
to denote the owner(s) of horse.
COLT- Male horse under 5 years of age.
COMPANY- Class of horses in a race. Members of the
CONDITION BOOK- Book issued by racing secretary which
sets forth conditions of races to be run.
CONDITION RACE- An event with conditions limiting it
to a certain class of horse. Such as: Fillies, 3-year-olds,
non-winners of two races other than maiden or claiming,
CONFORMATION- A horse's build and general physical
structure; the way he is put together.
CONTRACT RIDER- Jockey under contract to a stable.
COOLING OUT- Restoring a horse, usually by walking,
to normal temperature after becoming overheated in a
race or workout.
COUGH- Broadly, a cold. More prevalent in spring among
COUPLED- Two or more horses running as an entry in
a single betting unit.
CRIBBER (A WIND SUCKER)- A horse who clings to objects
with his teeth and sucks air into his stomach.
CUP- Trophy awarded to owners of winners. Also distance
race of a mile and a half or more.
CUP HORSE- One qualified to engage in distance races.
CUPPY (TRACK)- A surface which breaks away under a
CUSHION- Surface of track or a layer of the track.
DAILY DOUBLE- Type of wager calling for the selection
of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first
DAM- Mother of a Thoroughbred.
DAMSIRE (BROODMARE SIRE)- The sire of a broodmare.
DEAD-HEAT- Two or more horses finishing in an exact
tie at the wire.
DEAD TRACK- Racing surface lacking resiliency.
DECLARED- In U.S., a horse withdrawn from a stake in
advance of scratch time. In Europe, a horse confirmed
to start in a race.
DIPLOMA (Earning a...)- Breaking a maiden, winning
for the first time.
DISQUALIFICATION- Change of order of finish by officials
for an infraction of the rules.
DISTAFF (DISTAFF RACE)- Female. A race for fillies,
mares, or both.
DISTANCED- Well beaten, finishing a great distance
behind the winner.
DOGS- Wooden barrier (or rubber traffic cones) placed
a certain distance out from the inner rail, to prevent
horses during workout period, when track is wet, muddy,
soft yielding or heavy, from churning the footing along
DOSAGE DIAGRAM- A diagram showing the number and placement
of chefs-de-race in a horse's pedigree.
DOSAGE INDEX- Mathematical reduction of the Dosage
Diagram to a number reflecting a horse's potential for
speed or stamina.
DRIVING- Strong urging by rider.
DROPDOWN- A horse meeting a lower class of rival than
he had been running against.
DWELT- Tardy in breaking fromthe gate.
EASED- Chart caller's assessment of a horse that is being
deliberately slowed by the jockey to prevent injury or
harm to the horse.
EASILY- Running or winning without being pressed by
rider or opposition.
EIGHTH- A furlong; 220 yards; 660 feet.
ELIGIBLE- Qualified to start in a race, according to
ENGAGEMENT- Stake nomination. Riding commitment.
ENTRY- Two or more horses owned by the same stable
or (in some cases) trained by the same trainer and thus
running as a single betting unit..
EQUIPMENT- Whip, blinkers, etc. Gear carried by a horse
in a race.
EQUIVALENT ODDS- Mutuel price horses pay for each $1
EVENLY- Neither gaining nor losing position or distance
during a race.
EXACTA (or PERFECTA)- A wager in which the first two
finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must
EXCUSED- Withdrawal from a race (sometimes on a veterinarian's
recommendation) with consent of stewards.
EXERCISE RIDER- Male or female rider who is aboard
a horse in the mornings.
EXTENDED- Forced to run at top speed.
EXTRA WEIGHT (ADDED WEIGHT)- More weight than conditions
of race require.
FALTERED- Used for a horse that was in contention early
and drops back in the late stages. It is more drastic
than weakened but less drastic than stopped.
FALSE FAVORITE- Horse who is bet down to favoritism
when others would appear to outclass him on form.
FAST TRACK- Footing at best, dry, fast and even.
FEES- Amount paid to rider or the cost of nominating,
entering or starting a horse in a stakes race.
FENCE- Sometimes called "outside rail." More properly
the barrier between the front of the stands and the
FIELD- The horses in a race.
FIELD HORSE (or MUTUEL FIELD)- Two or more starters
running as a single betting unit, when there are more
entrants than positions on the totalisator board can
FILLY- Female horse up to and including the age of
FIRING- Applying a searing instrument, hot iron or
electric needle to an injured portion of the leg to
promote healing of injury or infirmity.
FIRM- A condition of a turf course corresponding to
fast on a dirt track.
FIRST TURN- Bend in the track beyond the starting point.
FLAG- Signal held by man stationed a short distance
in front of the gate at exact starting point of race.
Official timing starts when flag is dropped to denote
FLAT RACE- Contested on level ground as opposed to
hurdle race or steeplechase.
FLATTEN OUT- When a horse drops his head almost on
straight line with body. May indicate exhaustion.
FLOAT- Piece of track equipment dragged over racing
strip to squeeze off surface water.
FOAL- Newly born Thoroughbred, or until weaned. Male
FOUNDER- See Laminitis.
FOUR FURLONGS- Half a mile; 880 yards; 2,640 feet.
FRACTIONAL TIME- Interme-diate time recorded in a race,
as at the quarter, half, three-quarters, etc.
FRESH (FRESHENED)- A rested horse.
FREE HANDICAP- A race in which no nomination fees.
FRONT-RUNNER- A horse who usually leads (or tries to
lead) the field for as far as he can.
FURLONG- One-eighth of a mile; 220 yards; 660 feet.
FUROSEMIDE- Generic term for a medication for the treatment
of bleeders. Most common trade name is Lasix.
GAIT- The ways in which a horse can move-walk, trot, canter,
gallop, run, etc.
GALLOP- A type of gait, a fast canter. Also, to ride
a horse at that gait.
GATE- Starting mechanism.
GELDING- Castrated male horse.
GET- Progeny of sire.
GOOD BOTTOM- Track that is firm under the surface,
which may be sloppy or wet.
GOOD TRACK- Condition between fast and slow.
GRAB A QUARTER- To strike the side of a front foot
with a hind foot. This is racetrack jargon that would
be expressed more clearly by saying that the horse overstepped
or overreached and cut himself; reserve grabbed a quarater
for direct quotes.
GRADUATE- Winning first time, horse or rider. Also,
graduate of the claiming ranks-a horse, that has moved
up to allowance, stakes or handicap racing.
GRANDDAM (SECOND DAM)- Grandmother of a horse.
GRANDSIRE- Grandfather of a horse, sire of the horse's
GRAY- A mixture of white and black hairs.
GROOM- A person who cares for a horse in a stable.
GROUP RACE- European equivalent to North American graded
HALF- Half a mile, four furlongs; 880 yards; 2,640 feet.
HALF-BROTHER, HALF-SISTER- Horses out of the same dam
but by different sires.
HALTER- Like a bridle, but lacing a bit. Used in handling
horses around the stable and when not being ridden.
HALTER (TO)- To claim a horse.
HAND- Four inches. Unit used in measuring height of
horses from withers to ground.
HANDICAP- Race for which a handicapper assigns weights
to be carried. Also, to handicap a race, to make selections
on the basis of the past performances.
HANDICAPPER- One who assigns weights for handicap race.
Also one who makes selections based on past performances.
HANDICAPPING- One who assigns weights for a handicap
race. Also one who makes selctions based on past performances.
HANDILY- Working or racing with moderate effort, but
more effort than breezing.
HANDLE- Amount of money wagered in the pari-mutuel
on a race, a program, a meeting or a year.
HAND RIDE- Urging a horse with the hands and not using
HARDBOOT- Kentucky horsemen.
HEAD- A margin between horses. One horse leading another
by the length of his head.
HEAD OF THE STRETCH- Beginning of the straight run
HEAVY- Condition of track similar to, but even slower
HIGHWEIGHT HANDICAP- Race in which the topweight is
assigned no less than 140 pounds.
HOMEBRED- A horse bred by his owner.
HORSE- Broadly, in any Thoroughbred regardless of sex.
Specifically, an entire male 5 years old or older.
HORSING- Mare in heat.
HOTWALKER- Person who walks horses to cool them out
after workout or races.
HUNG- Horse tiring, but holding position.
HURDLE RACE- Contested over obstacles. A jumping race
over lower fences than steeplechase races.
ICING- Standing a horse in a bucket of ice or applying
ice packs to the legs to encourage circulation.
IN FOAL- Pregnant mare.
IN THE MONEY- Finishing first, second or third.
INFIELD- Area within the inner rail of the racetrack.
INFIELD RACING (SPORT)- Turf racing.
IN HAND- Running under moderate control, at less than
IMPOST- Weight carried or assigned.
INTER-STATE (Wagering)- Wagering on a simulcast of
a race from another state.
INTER-TRACK (Wagering)- Wagering on a simulcast of
a race from another track within the state.
INQUIRY- Reviewing the race to check into a possible
infraction of the rules. Also, a sign flashed by officials
on tote board on such occasions.
JOCKEY FEE- Sum paid to a rider.
JOG- Slow, easy gait.
JUMPER- Steeplechase or hurdle horse.
JUVENILE- Two-year-old horse.
LAMINITIS- Inflammation under horny wall of foot.
LASIX- See furosemide.
LATE DOUBLE- A second daily double offered on the latter
part of the program. (See Daily Double)
LEAD- Strap attached to halter to lead a horse.
LEAD (or LEAD PAD)- Weights carried to make up the
difference when a rider weighs less than the poundage
a horse is assigned to carry.
LEAD PONY- Horse or pony who heads parade of field
from paddock to starting gate. Also a horse or pony
who accompanies a starter to post.
LEAKY ROOF CIRCUIT- Minor tracks.
LEG UP- To help a jockey mount his horse. Also a jockey
having a mount. Also to strengthen a horse's legs through
LENGTH- Length of a horse from nose to tail, about
8 feet. Also distance between horses in a race.
LISTED RACE- A European race just below a group race
LOCK- Slang for a "sure thing" winner.
LUG (in or out)- Action of a tiring horse, bearing
in or out.
LUNGE- Horse rearing or plunging.
MAIDEN- A horse who has not won a race. Also applied to
MAIDEN RACE- A race for non winners.
MAKE A RUN- Charge by a horse in a race.
MARE- Female horse 5 years old or older. Also, female
of any age who has been bred.
MASH- Moist mixture, hot or cold, of grain and other
feed given to horses.
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.
MIDDLE DISTANCE- Broadly from one mile to less than
a mile and an eighth.
MINUS POOL- A mutuel pool caused when one horse is
so heavily played that, after deductions of state tax
and commission, there is not enough money left to pay
the legally prescribed minimum on each winning bet.
The racing association usually makes up the difference.
MONEY RIDER- A rider who excels in rich races.
MORNING GLORY- Horse who performs well in morning workouts
but fails to reproduce that form in races.
MORNING LINE- Approximate odds quoted before wagering
determines exact odds.
MUDDY TRACK- Deep condition of racetrack after being
soaked with water.
MUDDER- Horse who races well on muddy tracks.
MUDLARK- Superior mudder.
MUZZLE- Nose and lips of a horse. Also a guard placed
over a horse's mouth to prevent him from biting or eating.
NAVICULAR DISEASE- Corrosive ulcer on the navicular bone,
usually in the fore feet.
NEAR SIDE- Left side of a horse, side on which he is
NECK- Unit of measurement, about the length of a horse's
neck; a quarter of a length.
NERVED- Operation that severs vital nerve to enable
horses to race without pain. Illegal in most jurisdictions.
NOD- Lowering of head. Winning in that manner.
NOM DE COURSE- Assumed name of owner or racing partnership.
NOSE- Smallest advantage a horse can win by. In England
called a short head.
OAKS- A classic stakes event for 3-year-old fillies.
OBJECTION- Claim of foul lodged by rider, patrol judge
or other official. If lodged by official, it is called
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.
OFFICIAL- Sign displayed when result is confirmed.
Also racing official.
OFF SIDE- Right side of horse.
OFF TRACK- An off track refers to a wet racing surface.
OFF-TRACK BETTING- Wagering on horses at legalized
betting offices run usually by the state or the tracks,
or, in New York, by independent corporations chartered
by the state, with wagers commingled with on-track betting
ON THE BIT- When a horse is eager to run.
ON THE BOARD- Finishing among the first four.
ON THE NOSE- Betting a horse to win only.
OSSELETS- Bony growth on the fetlock or ankle joint
resulting in inflammation of the enveloping membrane
of the bone.
OVER-REACHING- Toe of hind shoe striking forelegs on
heel, or back of coronet.
OVERLAND- Racing wide throughout, outside of other
OVERLAY- A horse going off at a higher price than he
appears to warrant based on his past performances.
OVERNIGHT LINE- Prices quoted 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.
OVERWEIGHT- Surplus weight carried by a horse when
the rider cannot make the required weight.
PADDOCK- Structure or area where horses are saddled and
kept before post time.
PADDOCK JUDGE- Official in charge of paddock and saddling
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.
PAST PERFORMANCES- A compilation in Daily Racing Form
of a horse's record, including all pertinent data, as
a basis for handicapping.
PATROL JUDGES- Officials who observe progress of race
from various vantage points around the track.
PENALTIES- Extra weight a horse must carry, especially
in a handicap.
PHOTO FINISH- A result so close it is necessary to
use a finish-line camera to determine order of finish.
PICK SIX (or more)- A type of wager in which the winners
of all the included races must be selected.
PILL- Small numbered ball drawn to decide post positions.
PINCHED BACK- Horse in close quarters and forced back.
PINHOOKER; PINHOOK- To buy a horse at auction fo r
the purpose of reselling him later.
PLACE- Second position at finish.
PLACE BET- Wager on a horse to finish first or second.
PLACING JUDGES- Officials who determine the order in
which horses reach the finish line.
PLATTER- Claiming horse. Also a farrier.
PLATES- Shoes horses wear in races. Racing plates.
POCKET- Boxed in, shut off. Running in a position with
horses in front and alongside.
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.
POST- Starting point or position in starting gate.
POOL- Mutuel pool. Total sum bet on a race or even,
such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool.
POST PARADE- Horses going from paddock to starting
gate past the stands.
POST POSITION- Position of stall in starting gate from
which a horse starts.
POST TIME- Designated time from race to start.
PREFERRED LIST- Horses with prior rights to starting
for various reasons.
PREP (or PREP RACE)- A workout or a race to prepare
a horse for a future engagement.
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."
PUBLIC TRAINER- One whose services are not exclusively
engaged by a single stable and who accepts horses from
a number of owners.
PURSE- A prize of money to which owners do not contribute.
QUARTER- One-quarter of a mile; 440 yards; 1,320 feet.
QUARTER CRACK- Crack in wall of hoof running downwards
QUARTER HORSE- Breed of horse especially fast for a
quarter of a mile, from which its name is derived.
QUARTER POLE- Marker one-quarter mile from the finish.
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.
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.
RACING SECRETARY- Official who drafts conditions of
races and assigns weights for handicap events.
RAIL RUNNER- Horse who prefers to run next to inside
RECEIVING BARN- Structure at which horses entered are
isolated for a certain period of time before a race.
REFUSE- When a horse will not break from the gate.
In jumping races, balking at the jump.
RESERVED- Held for a particular engagement or race.
Also, held off the pace.
RIDDEN OUT- Refers to a horse that wins under a vigorous
hand ride but is not being whipped.
RIDE SHORT- Using short stirrup leathers.
RIDGLING- A horse with one or both undescended testes.
ROAN- Mixture of white and red (or brown) hairs.
ROARING- Deep, prolonged cough, generally when a horse
ROGUE- Ill-tempered horse.
ROMP- Running (or winning) with utmost ease.
ROUTE- Race distance of a mile or longer.
ROUTER- Horse who performs well at distance races.
RUNDOWN- Of a horse, to suffer abrasions on the heels
as a result of contact with the dirt and sand of the
RUNDOWN BANDAGES (or WRAPS)- Bandages on the hind legs,
usually with a pad inside, to keep a horse from "burning"
or scraping his heels when he races.
RUN-OUT BIT- A special type of bit to prevent a horse
from bearing out (or in).
SADDLE CLOTH- Cloth under the saddle on which number (and
sometimes horse's name) denoting post position is displayed.
SAVAGE- To bite another horse or a person.
SCALE OF WEIGHTS- Fixed imposts to be carried by horses
in a race according to age, distance, sex, and time
SCHOOLING- Accustoming a horse to starting from the
gate and to teach him racing practices. 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
SCRATCH- To be taken out of a race.
SECOND CALL- A second engagement of jockey who already
is listed for a mount in a race.
SECOND DAM- Grandmother; granddam.
SELLING RACE- A claiming race.
SESAMOID- Sesamoid bones are located at the back of
the fetlock, the joint formed by the pastern bone and
the cannon bone.
SET- A group of horses working together.
SET DOWN- A suspension. Also, put to a drive, or asked
to run by a jockey.
SEVEN FURLONGS- Seven-eighths of a mile; 1,540 yards;
SEX ALLOWANCE- Fillies and mares, according to their
age and time of year, are allowed to carry three to
five pounds less when meeting males.
SHADOW ROLL- Usually a lamb's wool roll half way up
the horse's face to keep him from seeing his own shadow.
SHANK- Rope or strap attached to a halter or bridle
by which a horse is led.
SHED ROW- Stable area. A row of barns.
SHORT- A horse in need of more work or racing to reach
SHOW- Third position at the finish.
SHOW BET- Wager on a horse to finish in the money;
third or better.
SHUT OFF- Pocketed. Unable to improve position.
SILKS- Jacket and cap worn by riders which designate
owner of the horse.
SIMULCAST- Televising a race to other tracks, OTB offices
or other outlets for the purpose of wagering.
SIRE- Father of a horse.
SIX FURLONGS- Three-quarter of a mile; 1,320 yards,
SIXTEENTH- One-sixteenth of a mile; 110 yards, 330
SLOPPY- Condition of footing. Wet on surface with firm
SLOW- Footing that is not fast, between good and heavy.
SNUG- Mild restraining hold by rider.
SOLID HORSE- Contender.
SOPHOMORE- Three-year-old horse.
SPEEDY CUT- Injury to knee or hock caused by a strike
from the opposite foot.
SPIT BOX- Receptacle for urine and blood taken from
a horse for testing.
SPIT THE BIT- When a horse quits running against the
bit, usually because of fatigue; often said disdainfully:
"Luck Lady really spit out the bit".
STAKES-PLACED- Finishing first, second or third in
a stakes race.
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 are by invitation and require
no payment or fee.
STAKES HORSE- One capable of competing in such events.
STALLION- Entire male horse.
STALL WALKER- Horse that moves about his stall and
frets rather than rests.
STAR- Small patch of white hair on a horse's forehead.
Also a credit a horse receives from being forced out
of an overcrowded race, giving him priority in future
STARTER RACE- An allowance or handicap race restricted
to horses who have started for a specific claiming price
STARTING GATE- Mechanical device having partitions
(stalls) for horses in which they are confined until
the starter releases the doors in front to begin the
STATE-BRED- A horse bred in a particular state and
thus eligible to compete in special races restricted
STAYER- Stout-hearted horse who can race long distances.
STEADIED- A horse being taken in hand by his rider,
usually because of being in close quarters.
STEPS UP- A horse moving up in class to meet better
STEWARDS- Top officials of the meeting responsible
for enforcing the rules.
STEEPLECHASE- A jumping race over high obstacles.
STICK- A jockey's whip.
STICKERS- Calks on shoes which give a horse better
traction in mud or on soft tracks.
STOCKINGS- White legs below the knees.
STRETCH- Final straight portion of the racetrack to
STRETCH CALL- Position of horses at the eighth pole,
usually about halfway down the stretch.
STRETCH RUNNER- Horse who finishes fast.
STRETCH TURN- Bend of track into homestretch.
STRIDE- Manner of going. Also distance covered after
each foot has touched the ground once.
STRIP- Markings of a horse. White hairs running part-way
down the face.
STRIPE- A white marking running down a horse's face
to bridge of nose or below.
STUD- Male horse used for breeding. Also breeding farm.
STUD BOOK- Registry and genealogical record of the
breeding of Thoroughbreds maintained by The Jockey Club.
SUBSCRIPTION- Fee paid by owner to nominate horse for
a stakes race or to maintain eligibility for a stakes
SUCKLING- Thoroughbred still nursing.
SUSPEND (or SUSPENSION)- Punishment for infraction
of rules. Offender denied privileges of racetrack for
specified period of time. If permanently suspended:
SWAYBACK- Horse with a dipped backbone.
TACK- Riders' racing equipment. Also applied to stable
TAKE (or TAKEOUT)- Commission deducted from mutuel
pools which s shared by the track and local and state
governing bodies in the form of tax.
TAKEN UP- A horse pulled up sharply by his rider because
of being in close quarters.
TATTOO- A letter and a group of numerals applied to
the underside of the upper lip of each registered Thoroughbred.
TELETHEATER- Special facility for showing simulcast
THRUSH- Inflammation of the cleft of the frog.
TIGHT- Ready to race.
TIMBER TOPPER- Jumper or steeplechase horse. More properly
horses jumping over timber fences.
TONGUE STRAP- Strap or tape bandage used to tie down
a horse's tongue to prevent it from choking in a race
TOP LINE- Thoroughbred's breeding on his sire's side.
TOPWEIGHT- Highest weight assigned or carried in a
TOTALISATOR- Machine which sells and records betting
tickets and shows odds. Also figures out and displays
TOUT- One who gives tips on racehorses, usually with
ecpcetation of some personal reward in return; to give
TRACK BIAS- A racing surface that favors a particular
running style or position; horses that run on the lead
or on the rail.
TRACK RECORD- Fastest time at various distances recorded
at a particular track.
TRIFECTA (or TRIPLE)- A wager picking the first three
finishers in exact order.
TRIP- A horse's race.
TRIPLE CROWN- In the United States, the Kentucky Derby,
Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. In England the
2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St. Leger.
TURF COURSE- Grass course.
TURN DOWN- A protrusion on the bottom of a horseshoe
added to give traction.
TWITCH- A device usually consisting of a stick with
a loop of rope at one end, which is placed around a
horse's nose and upper lip and twisted to curb fractiousness.
UNDER CONTRACT- A trainer or rider formally signed for
a specified time and compensation.
UNDERLAY- A horse racing at longer odds than he should.
UNDER PUNISHMENT- Horse being whipped and driven.
UNDER WRAPS- Horse under stout restraint in a race
UNTRIED- Not raced or tested for speed. Also a stallion
who has not been bred.
UNWIND- Gradually withdrawing a horse from intensive
VALET- Person who attends riders and keeps their wardrobe
and equipment in order.
WALK HOTS- To cool a horse out after a workout or race.
WALKOVER- Race which scratches down to only one starter
who merely gallops required distance. A formal gesture
required by rules of racing.
WARMING UP- Galloping horse on way to post.
WASHY- Horse breaking out in nervous sweat before race.
WEANLING- A foal that is less than 1-year-old that
has been separated from its dam.
WEAVING- Swaying motion in stall, or act of threading
way through field in race.
WEIGHT-FOR-AGE- Fixed scale of weights to be carried
by horses according to age, sex, distance of race and
season of year.
WHIP- Instrument, usually of leather, with which rider
strikes horse to increase his speed. Also called bat
WINDED- Breathing with difficulty after workout or
WINNER-TAKES-ALL- Winner receiving all the purse or
WITHERS- The highest point of a horse's shoulder.
WOBBLER- A neurological disease due to compression
of the spinal cord. Seen principally in 2-year-olds
WORK- To exercise a horse. A workout.
YEARLING- Thoroughbred between the first New Year's Day
after being foaled and the following January 1.
YIELDING- Condition of turf course with a great deal
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