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Horse Racing glossary
Horse Racing terms G to P, meaning of words: Terminology, Jargon, Slang, Vocabulary.

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

  • Gait - Harness horses are divided into two distinct groups, pacers or trotters, depending on their gait when racing. The gait is the manner in that a horse moves its legs when running. The pacer is a horse with a lateral gait, whereas a trotter or square-gaiter has a diagonal gait.
  • Gallop Out or Gallop-out - At the end of the race, when a horse keeps running after the wire, but the term is used to say how the horse behaved after the wire - if he still had energy and kept running (a strong gallop-out) or just about made it and was tired (a poor gallop-out).
  • Gate - Another term for barrier, or position a horse will start from.
  • Gelding - A male horse that has been castrated.
  • Gentleman Jockey - Amateur rider, generally in steeplechases.
  • Get on - Have your bet accepted.
  • Going - The condition of the racecourse (firm, heavy, soft, etc.). Official Jockey Club going reports progress as follows: Heavy - soft - good to soft - good - good to firm - firm.
  • Good (track) - Condition between fast and slow, generally a bit wet. A dirt track that is almost fast or a turf course slightly softer than firm.
  • Graded Race - Established in 1973 to classify select stakes races in North America, at the request of European racing authorities, who had set up group races two years earlier. Always denoted with Roman numerals I, II, or III. Capitalized when used in race title (the Grade I Kentucky Derby). See 'Group Race' below.
  • Graduate - Winning for the first time.
  • Grand - GBP 1,000 (also known as a Big'un).
  • Green - An inexperienced horse.
  • Group Race - An elite group of races. Established in 1971 by racing organizations in Britain, France, Germany and Italy to classify select stakes races outside North America. Collectively called 'Pattern Races'. Equivalent to North American graded races. Always denoted with Arabic numerals 1, 2, or 3. Capitalized when used in race title (the Group 1 Epsom Derby). See 'Graded Race' above.
  • Hand - Four inches. A horse's height is measured in hands and inches from the top of the shoulder (withers) to the ground, e.g., 15.2 hands is 15 hands, 2 inches. Thoroughbreds typically range from 15 to 17 hands.
  • Handicap - 1) Race for which the track handicapper assigns the weights to be carried. Each horse is allocated a different weight to carry, the theory being all horses then run on a fair and equal basis.. 2) To make selections on the basis of past performances.
  • Handicapper - The official who decides the weights to be carried in handicap events, and the grading of horses and greyhounds.
  • Hand Ride - The jockey urges a horse with the hands and arms without using the whip.
  • Hang - A horse that hang. A hung horse. See "Hung" below.
  • Hard (track) - A condition of a turf course where there is no resiliency to the surface.
  • Head - A margin between horses. One horse leading another by the length of its head.
  • Head Of The Stretch - Beginning of the straight run to the finish line.
  • Heavy (track) - Wettest possible condition of a turf course, similar to muddy but slower; not usually found in North America.
  • Hedge - The covering of a bet with a second bet.
  • Hedging - A bet made by a cautious bookie on a horse on which he has accepted large bets - in order to cut his losses if the horse wins (also known as a 'lay-off bet').
  • Heinz - A Heinz is a multiple bet consisting of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The multiple bet breakdown is 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15x4-folds, 6x5-folds and one 6-fold.
  • High Weight - Highest weight assigned or carried in a race.
  • Hit the Board - Horses that 'hit the board' are those whose numbers appear on the tote board as first, second, third or fourth.
  • Home Turn - The final turn a horse must travel around before entering the home straight in the run to the finish line.
  • Horse - When reference is made to sex, a 'horse' is an ungelded male five-years-old or older.
  • Hung - A horse holding the same position, unable to make up distance on the winner.
  • Impost - Weight carried or assigned.
  • In Hand - Running under moderate control, at less than best pace.
  • In Jail - A restriction applied to a 'claimed' (bought) horse. Most horse racing in the US run in claiming races. This means the horses are for sale each time they run. Most states control, with a restriction, how claimed horses can be entered after the claim (after it is sold/bought). This restriction is called "jail time" or being "in jail". In most states, this restriction requires that if you run the 'claimed' horse back in the first 30 days of ownership he must be entered for a claiming price 25% higher than the claim price you paid for. Example: you claim (buy) a horse for $10,000.00 on June 1st, if you run this horse before July 1st, you must step it up in class to $12,500.00. After 30 days or on July 1st (and thereafter), the horse is 'out of jail' and you can race this horse at whatever level you wish.
  • Inquiry - Reviewing the race to check into a possible infraction of the rules. Also, a sign flashed by officials on the tote board on such occasions. If lodged by a jockey, it is called an objection.
  • In The Money - Describes the horses in a race that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd (and sometimes 4th) or the horses on which money will be paid to bettors, depending on the place terms.
  • In The Red - Are odds shown in red on the betting boards because they are Odds-On bets.
  • Investor - A bettor. A person at a licensed race meeting who bets with a bookmaker or the totalisator, or a person not present at the meeting, but places bets on the horses engaged at that meeting with the off-course totalisator.
  • Jail Time - See "In Jail" above
  • Joint Favourites - When a sportsbook or bookmaker cannot separate two horses or teams for favouritism, they are made joint favourites.
  • Judge - The person who declares the official placing for each race.
  • Juice - The bookmaker's commission, also known as vigorish or vig.
  • Jumper - Steeplechase or hurdle horse.
  • Jolly - The favourite in a race. The horse with the shortest odds.
  • Judge - The official who determines the finishing order of a race.
  • Juvenile - Two-year-old horse.
  • Key Horse - The main expected winning horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic wager.
  • Kite - UK slang for a cheque ('Check' in the US).
  • Knocked Up - (Australian racing) A horse that has stopped running, given up in the home straight for example.
  • Late Double - A second daily double offered during the latter part of the program. See 'Daily Double' above.
  • Lay - Take a bet on, like a Bookmaker.
  • Lay Off, Layoff - Bets made by one bookmaker with another bookmaker, in an effort to reduce his liability in respect of bets already laid by him with investors.
  • LBO - Acronym for 'Licensed Betting Office' in the UK.
  • Leg In - To nominate one runner to win with a selection of other runners. This is possible on Forecast, Quinella, Trifecta, Quartet and Superfecta (eg. Quinella bet with selection 4 to win, from runners 5, 7, 8 and 9 to come second, in any order).
  • Length - A measurement approximating the length of a horse from nose to tail, about 8 feet, used to denote distance between horses in a race. For example, "Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths".
  • Lengthen - The opposite of 'Shorten'. Referred to odds getting longer, that is, more attractive to the bettor.
  • Listed Race - A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality.
  • Lock - (As in 'Banker') US term for an almost certain winner. Easy winner.
  • Long Odds - More than 10:1.
  • Long Shot - (Also, Outsider) A runner is often referred to as being a long shot, because of the fact it is returning high odds and is therefore deemed to have little chance of winning the race.
  • Lug In (Out) - Action of a tiring horse, bearing in or out, failing to keep a straight course.
  • Maiden - 1) A horse or rider that has not won a race. 2) A female that has never been bred.
  • Maiden Race - A race for non-winners.
  • Mare - Female horse five-years-old or older.
  • Market - The list of all horses engaged in a race and their respective odds.
  • Meeting - A collection of races conducted by a club on the same day or night forms a race meeting.
  • Middle Distance - Broadly, from one mile to 1-1/8 miles.
  • Mile Rate - In harness racing it is the approximate time a horse would have run per mile (1609 meters).
  • Minus Pool - A mutuel pool caused when a 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.
  • Monkey - GBP 500.
  • Morning Glory - Horse who performs well in morning workouts but fails to fire in actual races.
  • Morning Line - Approximate odds quoted before wagering begins.
  • MTO - Abbreviation for Main Track Only, that is, horses for main track only races. Just as many horses scratch when a turf race is moved to dirt (main track), so MTO horses are entered into a scheduled turf race, anticipating the race may be switched to dirt. Turf races occasionally include MTO entrants. They will be added into the field if the race is taken off the turf and scratches can accommodate them.
  • Mudder - A horse that races well on muddy tracks. Also known as a 'Mudlark'.
  • Muddy (track) - A condition of a racetrack which is wet but has no standing water.
  • Mutuel Pool - Short for 'Parimutuel Pool'. Sum of the wagers on a race or event, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool, etc.
  • Nap (or NAP) - The selection that racing correspondents and tipsters nominate as their strongest selection of the day or meeting. Reputed to stand for 'Napoleon'.
  • National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) - A non-profit, membership organization created in 1997 to improve economic conditions and public interest in Thoroughbred racing.
  • NB - The 'Next Best' selection from a tipster. Newspaper tipsters highlight their best three selections for the day using the term 'NAP' for the best one, 'NB' (next best) for the second-best and 'Treble' for the third best.
  • Neck - Unit of measurement about the length of a horse's neck.
  • Nickel - A $500 wager.
  • Nod - Lowering of head. To win by a nod, a horse extends its head with its nose touching the finish line ahead of a close competitor.
  • Nominations - The complete list of runners entered by owners and trainers for a race.
  • Non Runner - A horse that was originally meant to run but for some reason has been withdrawn from the race.
  • Nose - Smallest advantage a horse can win by. Called a short head in Britain.
  • Novice - A horse in the early stages of its career. An inexperienced horseman. A category for horse or rider who has not yet achieved a number of successes.
  • Nursery - A handicap for two-year-old horses.
  • NW1x - This is an abbreviated allowance condition meaning "Never Won One Race Other Than", usually other than a maiden or a claiming race.
  • NW1$ - This is an abbreviated allowance condition meaning "Never Won One Race", a claiming race of a certain money amount.
  • NW1$x - This is an abbreviated allowance condition meaning "Never Won One Race" other than a claiming race of a certain money amount.
  • Oaks - A stakes event for three-year-old fillies (females).
  • Objection - Claim of foul lodged by rider, patrol judge or other official after the running of a race. If lodged by official, it is called an inquiry.
  • Odds - The sportsbook's or bookmaker's view of the chance of a competitor winning (adjusted to include a profit). The figure or fraction by which a bookmaker or totalisator offers to multiply a bettor's stake, which the bettor is entitled to receive (plus his or her own stake) if their selection wins.
  • Odds-against - Where the odds are greater than evens (e.g. 5 to 2). When the bookmaker's or totalisator's stake is greater than the bettor's stake. For example, a horse that is quoted at 4:1 would be odds against, because if it wins a race, the bookmaker or totalisator returns $4 for every dollar a bettor places on that horse, plus his or her original outlay.
  • Odds Compiler - Same as 'Oddsmaker' below.
  • Oddsmaker - A person who sets the betting odds. (Sportsbooks or Bookies don't set the odds. Most major sportsbooks use odds set by Las Vegas oddsmakers.)
  • Odds Man (US) - At tracks where computers are not in use, an employee who calculates changing odds as betting progresses.
  • Odds-On - Odds of less than even money. This a bet where you have to outlay more than you win. For example if a horse is two to one Odds-On, you have to outlay two dollars to win one dollar and your total collect if the horse wins is three dollars. That is made up of your two dollars and the one dollar you win.
  • Official - Sign displayed when result is confirmed. Also racing official.
  • Off the Board (US) - A horse so lightly bet that its pari-mutuel odds exceed 99 to 1. Also, a game or event on which the bookie will not accept action.
  • Off/On the bridle - Also, off/on the bit. When a horse is 'off the bridle' or 'off the bit', it means it is losing contact with the bit in its mouth and has stopped pulling or driving forward. When a horse is hard held by the jockey and running smoothly it is said to be 'on the bridle' or 'on the bit'. You want a horse to be on the bridle (or on the bit), pulling and running smoothly.
  • Off-Track Betting (OTB) - Wagering at legalized betting outlets.
  • On The Board - Finishing among the first three.
  • On The Nose - Betting a horse to win only.
  • On tilt - Going 'on tilt' is losing the ability to rationalise bets and betting wildly on every race.
  • Open Ditch - Steeplechase jump with a ditch on the side facing the jockey.
  • Outlay - The money a bettor wagers is called his or her outlay.
  • Out Of The Money - A horse that finishes worse than third.
  • Outsider - A horse that is not expected to win. An outsider is usually quoted at the highest odds.
  • Overbroke - Where the book results in a loss for the bookmaker.
  • Overlay - A horse going off at higher odds than it appears to warrant based on its past performances.
  • 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.
  • Over The Top - When a horse is considered to have reached its peak for that season.
  • Overweight - Surplus weight carried by a horse when the rider cannot make the assigned weight.
  • Pacesetter - The horse that is running in front (on the lead).
  • Paddock - Area where horses are saddled and kept before post time.
  • Panel - A slang term for a furlong.
  • 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'.
  • Parlay - (Also, Accumulator) A multiple bet. 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 parlay.
  • Part Wheel - Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations.
  • Pasteboard Track - A lightning fast racing surface.
  • Patent - A multiple bet consisting of 7 bets involving 3 selections in different events. A single on each selection, plus 3 doubles and 1 treble.
  • Penalty - A weight added to the handicap weight of a horse.
  • Penetrometer - A device used to accurately assess a track rating that able punters use to help them select a horse. Accurately measured, on the morning of the race the penetrometer gives an exact reading of the track rating.
  • Perfecta or Exacta (Straight Forecast, UK) - A wager in which you pick the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish. The Perfecta is similar to the Quiniela, except the two horses must finish in the exact order. To bet you say '$3 Perfecta, 5-6'. Only if the horses finish 5-6 you win.
  • Permutations - It is possible to Perm bets or selections (e.g. on 4 selections all the possible doubles could be Permed making 6 bets).
  • Phone Betting - A service enabling punters to bet on horses with bookmakers by using telephones.
  • Phone TAB - Another phone betting service, provided by a totalisator which allows people with special betting accounts to place bets via the telephone. Much the same as a bank account, you must have a credit balance to be able to place a bet. The cost of the investment is debited to your account, and winning dividends and refunds are automatically credited to your account.
  • Photo Finish - A photo is automatically taken as the horses pass the winning line and when the race is too close to be judged the photo is used to determine the order of finish.
  • Picks - Betting selections, usually by an expert.
  • Pick Six (or more) - A type of wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected.
  • Pitch - The position where a bookmaker conducts his business on a racecourse.
  • Place - Finish in the top two, top three, top four and sometimes also top five in a competition or event. A Place bet will win if the selection you bet on is among those placed. Usually, 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 to place. Different sportsbooks have different Place terms and you should check their rules before placing a bet. In US, 2nd place finish. (See 'Each Way' UK)
  • Plater - Horse which usually runs in selling races.
  • Point Spread - (Also, Line or Handicap) The points allocated to the 'underdog' to level the odds with the 'favorite/favourite'.
  • 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.
  • Pony (Lead Pony) - A horse or pony (person) who accompanies a starter to post. Lead Pony is a horse or pony who heads parade of field from paddock to starting gate. Pony people are a big part of the backstage help that put on the racing show. There are all kinds of tricks a good pony person knows to help straighten a horse out. Bad tempered horses can be somewhat contained with a good pony at their side. Ponies not only take horses to the track in the morning (ponying horses that just need light exercise with no riders) but work in the afternoon at race time. A trainer will give instructions to the pony person as to how he wants the horse warmed up before the race. It usually costs much less to have your rider accompanied with a pony or to have your horse "ponied" without a rider in the morning than if done in the afternoon.
  • Pony - GBP 25.
  • Pool - Mutuel pool, the total sum bet on a race or a particular bet.
  • Post - 1) Starting point for a race. 2) An abbreviated version of post position. For example, "He drew post four". 3) As a verb, to record a win. For example, "He's posted 10 wins in 14 starts".
  • Post Position - Position of stall in starting gate from which a horse starts.
  • Post Time - Designated time for a race to start.
  • PP - An abbreviation for Past Performances. Information on the Past Performance of a horse comes in various forms showing varying types of data and varying amount of data. It helps you assess the likely performance of a horse in an upcoming race.
  • Price - The odds.
  • Program - A guide to the day's races including detailed, compiled data to assist customers in handicapping the races.
  • Protest - When a jockey, owner, trainer or steward alleges interference by one party against another during a race that may have affected the outcome of a race. If a protest is upheld by officials, the runner that caused the interference is placed directly after the horse interfered with. If a protest is dismissed by officials, the original result of the race stands.
  • Punt - Another term for bet or wager.
  • Punter - Bettor or investor.
  • Pull Up - To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout.
  • Purebred Horse - A horse descended from a line of ancestors of the same breed. Not necessarily registered in The American Stud Book or a foreign stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee. Note: A Thoroughbred is a purebred but a purebred is not necessarily a Thoroughbred - see "Thoroughbred".
  • Purse - Prize money contained in a purse and hung on a wire which crossed the finish line. Technically, a race to which the owners do not contribute to the prize.

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

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