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Horse Racing glossary
Horse Racing Terms Horse Racing terms A to F, meaning of words: Terminology, Jargon, Slang, Vocabulary.

* A-F . G-P . Q-Z

  • * - Before the late 1970s an asterisk or a star (*) before a horse’s name indicated that the horse was imported from a country outside of North America.
  • = - An equal sign (=) in front of a horse’s name means that the horse is foreign-bred but has not been imported.
  • () - A parenthesis with a country’s abbreviation after a horse’s name; for example, (IRE)=Ireland, (FR)=France, (CHI)=Chile, (NZ)=New Zealand; indicates what country the horse was foaled in and what stud book they are registered with.
  • Abandoned - A race meeting which has been cancelled because a club did not receive sufficient nominations to be able to stage it, or because of bad weather which made racing on the track unsafe. All bets placed on abandoned races are fully refunded.
  • Acceptor - A runner officially listed to start in a race.
  • Accumulator - (Also, Parlay) A multiple bet. A single stake is used to generate two or more bets in succession. A kind of 'let-it-ride' bet. Making simultaneous selections on two or more races with the intent of pressing the winnings of the first win on the bet of the following race selected, and so on. All the selections made must win for you to win the accumulator. The punter makes a series of selections each from a different race or event. Every time a selection wins, the stake plus winnings is put onto the next selection. If any selection loses, the whole bet is lost. Accumulators are also known as doubles, trebles, four-folds, five-folds, six-folds, ten-folds, etc. Ten-folds accumulator is a 10 selections bet of 10 events.
  • Across The Board - (See 'Place') A bet on a horse to win, place or show. Three wagers combined in one. If the horse wins, the player wins all three wagers, if second, two, and if third, one.
  • Age - All thoroughbreds count January 1 as their birth date.
  • Ajax - UK slang term for 'Betting Tax'.
  • All-age Race - A race for two-year-olds and up.
  • All Out - A horse who is trying to the best of his ability.
  • Allowances - Reductions in weights to be carried allowed because of certain conditions such as; an apprentice jockey is on a horse, a female horse racing against males, or three-year-olds racing against older horses.
  • All Weather Racing - Racing that takes place on an artificial surface.
  • Also Ran - Any selection not finishing 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th in a race or event.
  • Amateur (rider) - on racecards, their names are prefixed by Mr, Mrs, Captain, etc, to indicate their amateur status.
  • Ante Post - (Also, Futures) Bets placed in advance predicting the outcome of a future event. Ante-post prices are those on major sporting events, usually prior to the day of the event itself. In return for the chance of better odds, punters risk the fact that stakes are not returned if their selection pulls out or is cancelled.
  • Apprentice - A trainee jockey. An apprentice will usually ride only flat races.
  • Approximates - The approximate price a horse is quoted at before a race begins. Bookmakers use these approximates as a guide to set their boards.
  • AQHA - The American Quarter Horse Association. Based in Amarillo, Texas, the AQHA is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement and record-keeping of the American Quarter Horse. The organization was founded in 1940 in Fort Worth, Texas.
  • Arbitrage - Where a variation in odds available allows a punter to back both sides and guarantee a win.
  • ART - Artificial Turf.
  • ATS - Against The Spread.
  • AWT - All weather track.
  • Baby Race - A race for two-year-olds.
  • Back - To bet or wager.
  • Backed - A 'backed' horse is one on which lots of bets have been placed.
  • Backed-In - A horse which is backed-in means that bettors have outlaid a lot of money on that horse, with the result being a decrease in the odds offered.
  • Back Marker - In a standing start event, which is handicapped, the horse who is given the biggest handicap is known as the backmarker.
  • Backstretch - The straight way on the far side of the track.
  • Back Straight - The straight length of the track farthest away from the spectators and the winning post.
  • Backward - A horse that is either too young or not fully fit.
  • Banker - (Also, Key) Highly expected to win. The strongest in a multiple selection in a parlay or accumulator. In permutation bets the banker is a selection that must win to guarantee any returns.
  • Bar Price - Refers to the odds of those runners in a race not quoted with a price during early betting shows. The bar price is the minimum odds for any of those selections not quoted.
  • Barrier - (Also, Tape) A starting device used in steeple chasing consisting of an elastic band stretched across the racetrack which retracts when released.
  • Barrier Draw - The ballot held by the race club to decide which starting stall each runner will occupy.
  • Bat - (Also, Stick) A jockey's whip.
  • Beard (US) - A friend or acquaintance or other contact who is used to placing bets so that the bookmakers will not know the identity of the actual bettor. Many top handicappers and persons occupying sensitive positions use this method of wagering.
  • Bearing In (Out) - Go wide on the turns (Bearing Out), running toward the inside rail (Bearing In). Failing to maintain a straight course, veering to the left or right. Can be caused by injury, fatigue, outside distraction, or poor riding.
  • Bore Out (Bore In) - Past tense of Bearing Out (In). (See above)
  • Beeswax - UK slang term for betting tax. Also known as 'Bees' or 'Ajax'.
  • Bell Lap - In harness racing, the last lap of a race, signified by the ringing of the bell.
  • Bet - A transaction in which monies are deposited or guaranteed.
  • Betting Board - A board used by the bookmaker to display the odds of the horses engaged in a race.
  • Betting Ring - The main area at a racecourse where the bookmakers operate.
  • Betting Tax - Tax on a Bookmaker's turnover. In the UK this is a 'Duty' levied on every Pound wagered. Common methods of recouping this by the punter are to deduct tax from returns (winnings) or to pay tax with the stake/wager. In the latter case, no tax is deducted from the punter's winnings.
  • Bettor (US) - Someone who places or has a bet. A 'Punter' in the UK.
  • Beyer Number - A handicapping tool, popularized by author Andrew Beyer, assigning a numerical value to each race run by a horse based on final time and track condition. This enables different horses running at different racetracks to be objectively compared.
  • Bismarck - A favourite which the bookmakers do not expect to win.
  • Black-type - Boldface type (printed in bold). Horses that have won or been placed are printed in boldface in the listing to easily distinguish them from the rest. Designation for a stakes winner or stakes-placed horse in a sales catalogue.
  • Blanket Finish - When the horses finish so close to the winning line you could theoretically put a single blanket across them.
  • Blind Bet - A bet made by a racetrack bookmaker on another horse to divert other bookmakers' attention away from his sizeable betting on his/her main horse thus to avoid a shortening of the odds on the main horse.
  • Blinkers - A cup-shaped device applied over the sides of the horse's head near his eyes to limit his vision. This helps to prevent him from swerving away from distracting objects or other horses on either side of him. Blinker cups come in a variety of sizes and shapes to allow as little or as much vision as the trainer feels is appropriate.
  • Blow-out - A short, timed workout of about a mile in distance, usually a day before a race, designed to sharpen the speed of a horse (blow him out).
  • Board - Short for 'Tote Board' on which odds, betting pools and other race information are displayed.
  • Bold Print (listing of horse printed in bold)- See 'Black-type' above.
  • Bomb(er) - A winning horse sent off at very high odds.
  • Book - A bookmaker's tally of amounts bet on each competitor, and odds necessary to assure him of profit. Running a 'book' is the act of quoting odds and accepting bets on an event and the person doing it is called the 'Bookmaker'.
  • Bookie - (U.K.) Short for bookmaker. The person or shop who accepts bets.
  • Bookmaker - Person who is licensed to accept bets on the result of an event based on their provision of odds to the customer. (Sportsbook US).
  • Bottle - UK slang, odds of 2 to 1.
  • Box - A wagering term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered.
  • Boxed (in) - To be trapped between other horses.
  • Bobble - A bad step away from the starting gate, sometimes caused by the ground breaking away from under a horse and causing him to duck his head or go to his knees.
  • Bolt - Sudden veering from a straight course.
  • Book - A collection of all the bets taken on fixed odds betting events.
  • Bookmaker (Bookie) - A person registered and licensed to bet with the public.
  • Breakage - Those pennies that are left over in pari-mutuel payoffs which are rounded out to a nickel or dime.
  • Breakdown - When a horse suffers a potentially career-ending injury. The occurrence of injury or lameness in a horse in a race or workout.
  • Break Maiden - A horse or rider winning the first race of a career.
  • Breeze (breezing) - Working a horse at moderate speed.
  • Broken Maiden - A maiden horse that won its first race.
  • Breeders' Cup - Thoroughbred racing's year-end championship. Known as Breeders' Cup Day, it consists of eight races conducted on one day at a different racetrack each year with purses and awards totalling $13 million. First run in 1984.
  • Bridge-Jumper (US) - Bettor who specializes in large show bets on odd-on favourites.
  • Buck (US) - A bet of US$ 100 (also known as a 'dollar bet').
  • Bug Boy - An apprentice rider.
  • Bull Ring - Small racetrack less than one mile around.
  • Burkington Bertie - 100/30.
  • Buy Price - In Spread or Index betting, the higher figure quoted by an Index bookmaker.
  • Buy the Rack (US) - Purchase every possible daily-double or other combination ticket.
  • Canadian - Also known as a Super Yankee. A Canadian is a combination bet consisting of 26 bets with 5 selections in different events. The combination bet is made up of 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five 4-folds and one 5-fold.
  • Card - Another term for fixture or race meeting.
  • Carpet - UK slang for Odds of 3 to 1 (also known as 'Tres' or 'Gimmel').
  • Caulk - Projection on the bottom of a shoe to give the horse better traction, especially on a wet track.
  • Century - GBP£ 100 (also known as a 'Ton').
  • Chalk - Wagering favorite in a race. Dates from the days when on-track bookmakers would write current odds on a chalkboard.
  • Chalk Player - Bettor who wagers on favorites.
  • Change their Leads - See 'Switch Leads'
  • Chase - See 'Steeplechase'.
  • Checked - A horse pulled up by his jockey for an instant because he is cut off or in tight quarters.
  • Chute - Extension of the backstretch or homestretch to allow a longer straight run.
  • Claiming - Buying a horse out of race for entered price. The process by which a licensed person may purchase a horse entered in a designated race for a predetermined price. When a horse has been claimed, its new owner assumes title after the starting gate opens although the former owner is entitled to all purse money earned in that particular race.
  • Claiming Box - Box in which claims are deposited before the race.
  • Claiming Race - A race in which the horses are entered subject to claim for a specified price. Each horse entered is eligible to be purchased at a set price. Claims must be made before the race and only by licensed owners or their agents who have a horse registered to race at that meeting or who have received a claim certificate from the stewards.
  • Client (US) - Purchaser of betting information from horseman or other tipster.
  • Close (US) - Final odds on a horse (e.g. 'closed at 5 to 1'). Confusingly equates to 'Starting Price' in the UK.
  • Closer - A horse that runs best in the latter part of the race (closing race), coming from off the pace.
  • Co-Favorites - (also Co Fav) Where three or more competitors share the status as favorite.
  • Colors (Colours) - Racing silks, the jacket and cap worn by jockeys. Silks can be generic and provided by the track or specific to one owner.
  • Colt - An ungelded (entire) male horse four-years-old or younger.
  • Combination Bet - Selecting any number of teams/horses to finish first and second in either order.
  • Conditional Jockey - Same as 'Apprentice' but also allowed to jump.
  • Coupled Entry (or entries) or Coupled Horses - When 2 or more horses are entered in a race that belong to the same owner, or when 2 or more horses are entered in a race that are trained by and/or owned by the same person. In the USA, each State has its own rules on coupled entries. The 'coupled entry' represents a single betting interest. For example: Jack owns horse A and horse B. Jack's entry would therefore be 1 and 1a. This is considered a bet on number 1 for betting purposes and you get 2 horses for the price of 1.
  • Correct Weight - Horses are allocated a weight to carry that is checked before and, for at least the placegetters, after a race. Correct weight must be signaled before bets can be paid out.
  • Cracking Pace - When the leader or the leaders of a race run at a very quick speed, usually in the early stages of a race.
  • Cross Fire - When a horse's hind foot strikes the opposite front foot or leg.
  • Crossing to the Fence - A horse that begins from one of the positions out wider on the track and then moves down to the inside fence, is referred to as crossing to the fence.
  • Crossing to the Lead - A horse that begins from one of the positions out wider on the track, moves down to the inside fence and then speeds to beat all other horses to the leading position of a race is referred to as crossing to the lead.
  • Cuppy - A "cuppy" track. A dry and loose racing surface that breaks away under a horse's hooves.
  • Daily Double - Type of wager calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first and second. See 'Late Double'.
  • Daily Racing Form - A daily newspaper containing racing information including news, past performance data and handicapping.
  • Daily Triple - A wager where the bettor must select the winner of three consecutive races.
  • Dark Day - A day when no racing is scheduled.
  • Dark Horse: A horse whose chances of success are not known, and whose capabilities have not been made the subject of general comment or of wagers.
  • Dead Heat - A tie. Two or more horses finishing equal in a race.
  • Dead Track - Racing surface lacking resiliency.
  • Death (The) - Also known as the death seat. The position outside the leader, one horse off the rails or fence. The death is considered to be the toughest run in a race because the horse in the 'death position/seat' will have to cover more ground than the inside competitor.
  • Declaration Of Weights - The publication of weights allocated to each horse nominated for a race by the handicapper.
  • Declared - In the United States, a horse withdrawn from a stakes race in advance of scratch time. In Europe, a horse confirmed to start in a race.
  • Deductions - When a horse is scratched from a race after betting on that race has already started, deductions are taken out of the win and place bets at a rate in proportion to the odds of the scratched horse.
  • Derby - A stakes event for three-year-olds.
  • Dime (US) - A bet of USD$ 1,000 (also known as a 'dime bet').
  • Distance - The length of a race: 5 furlongs is the minimum and the 4 1/2 miles of the Grand National the longest. Also, the margin by which a horse wins or is beaten by the horse in front; this ranges from a short head to 'by a distance' (more than 30 lengths); a 'length' is measured from the horse's nose to the start of its tail.
  • Distanced - Well beaten, finishing a long distance behind the winner.
  • Dividend - The amount that a winning or placed horse returns for every $1 bet by the bettor.
  • Dog (US) - The underdog in any betting proposition.
  • Dog Player (US) - A bettor who mainly wagers on the underdog.
  • Dogs Up - Or 'The dogs are up', referring to the rubber traffic cones placed at certain distances out from the inner rail when the track is wet, muddy, soft, yielding or heavy, to prevent horses during the workout period from churning the footing along the rail.
  • Dosage - A mathematical analysis of a horse's pedigree based on sires being placed in one or more of five categories: brilliant, intermediate, classic, solid, professional.
  • Double - Selecting the winners in two specific races.
  • Double Carpet - UK slang for Odds of 33 to 1, based on 'Carpet'.
  • Draw - Refers to a horse's placing in the starting stalls. For flat racing only. Stall numbers are drawn at random.
  • Drift - (Also, Ease) Odds that 'Lengthen', are said to have drifted, or be 'On The Drift'.
  • Driving - Strong urging by rider.
  • Dual Forecast - A tote bet operating in races of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter has to pick the first two to finish in either order.
  • Each Way - UK term for betting on a horse to win and/or 'Place'. An each way bet is when you have the same amount on the horse for a win and for a place. Bookmakers will give you one quarter of the win odds for a place in fields of eight or more and one third of the win odds in fields of six or seven horses.
  • Each Way Double - Two separate bets of a win double and a place double.
  • Each Way Single - Two bets. The first is for the selection to win; the second for it to be placed (each way).
  • Eclipse Award - Thoroughbred racing's year-end awards, honoring the top horses in 11 separate categories.
  • Enclosure - The area where the Runners gather for viewing before and after the race.
  • Entry - A horse entered in a race.
  • Entries - A listing of all horses entered in a race, often including additional information and statistics on each horse (like programs or racecards, but usually with slightly less data).
  • Equibase (Company) - A partnership between The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to establish and maintain an industry-owned, central database of racing records. Equibase past-performance information is used in track programs across North America.
  • Equivalent Odds - Mutuel price horses would pay for each $1 bet.
  • Evenly - Neither gaining nor losing position or distance during a race.
  • Even Money Bet (or Evens) - A 1:1 bet. A $10 wager wins $10.
  • Exacta - (Also, Perfecta) A wager that picks the first two finishers in a race in the exact order of finish. (Straight Forecast in the UK.)
  • Exacta Box - A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are covered.
  • Exotic (wager) - Any wager other than win, place or show.
  • Exposure - The amount of money one actually stands to lose on a game or race.
  • Extended - Forced to run at top speed.
  • False Favorite - A horse that is a race favorite despite being outclassed by others.
  • Faltered - A horse that was in contention early in the race but drops back in the late stages.
  • Fast (track) - Optimum condition for a dirt track that is dry, even, resilient and fast.
  • Favorite - The most popular horse in a race, which is quoted at the lowest odds because it is deemed to have the best chance of winning the race.
  • Feature Races - Top races.
  • Fence - The inside fence is the inside running rail around the race track, while the outside fence is the outside running rail.
  • Field - 1) All the runners in a race. 2) Some sportsbooks or bookmakers may well group all the outsiders in a competition under the banner headline of 'Field' and put it head to head with the favorite. This is known as favorite vs the field betting and is common in horse and golf betting.
  • Field Horse - Two or more starters running as a single betting unit, when there are more entrants than positions on the totalisator board can accommodate.
  • Filly - Female horse four-years-old or younger.
  • Final Field - The total list of available competitors. The list of horses competing is the final one and there are no more runners to be added.
  • Fire - A burst of acceleration by a horse in a race. Example: 'The horse did fire (or didn't fire) when asked'.
  • Firm (track) - A condition of a turf course corresponding to fast on a dirt track. A firm, resilient surface.
  • First Up - The first run a horse has in a new campaign or preparation.
  • Fixed Odds - Your dividend is fixed at the odds when you placed your bet.
  • Fixture - See 'Meeting'.
  • Flag/Super Robin - A bet consisting of 23 bets on 4 selections in different events (6 Doubles, 4 Trebles, 1 Fourfold, plus 12 single stake cross bets).
  • Flash (US) - Change of odds information on tote board.
  • Flat race - Contested on level ground as opposed to a steeplechase.
  • Flatten Out - When a horse drops his head almost in a straight line with his body, generally from exhaustion.
  • Float - 1) An equine dental procedure in which sharp points on the teeth are filed down. 2) The instrument with which the above procedure is performed.
  • Floating - Flat plate or wooden implement dragged over the surface of a wet track to aid in draining water.
  • Foal - A baby horse, usually refers to either a male or female horse from birth to January 1st of the following year. All racehorses are given the nominal birthday of January 1st. Thus a two-year-old born in June and one born in January of the same year are considered to be of the same age for the purposes of satisfying the conditions of some races re: weight carried. In reality, the January horse may be considered to have a significant advantage in terms of physical development at this early stage in its career.
  • Fold - When preceded by a number, a fold indicates the number of selections in an accumulator (e.g. 5-Fold = 5 selections).
  • Forecast - A wager that involves correctly predicting the 1st and 2nd for a particular event. This bet can be straight, reversed or permed. (USA, Perfecta or Exacta).
  • Form - Statistics of previous performance and comment as to the expected current performance of a runner, useful in deciding which runner to bet on.
  • Form Player - A bettor who makes selections from past-performance records.
  • Fresh (Freshened) - A rested horse or a freshened horse.
  • Front-runner - A horse whose running style is to attempt to get on or near the lead at the start of the race and stay there as long as possible.
  • Frozen (track) - A condition of a racetrack where any moisture present is frozen.
  • FTL - FTL stands for 'First Time Lasix'. Lasix is a brand name for "furosemide" or "frusemide". The name 'lasix' is derived from 'lasts six' (hours) - referring to its duration of action. Lasix is used in the treatment of high blood pressure. Lasix acts quickly, usually within 1 hour. In racing, it is used to prevent thoroughbred and standardbred race horses from bleeding through the nose during races.
  • Full Cover - All the doubles, trebles and accumulators involved in a given number of selections.
  • Furlong - One-eighth of a mile or 220 yards or 660 feet (approx. 200 meters).
  • Futures - (Also, Ante Post) Bets placed in advance predicting the outcome of a future event.

* A-F . G-P . Q-Z

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