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Horse Racing glossary
Horse Racing terms Q to Z, meaning of words: Terminology, Jargon, Slang, Vocabulary.

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

  • Quadrella - Selecting the winner of four specifically nominated races.
  • Quiniela (Quinella) - Wager in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order. Payoff is made no matter which of the two wins and which runs second. ('Reverse Forecast' in the UK. See Wagers for Quiniela variants.)
  • Race Caller - The person who describes the race at a racecourse.
  • Racecard - A programme for the day's racing.
  • Racing Plate - A type of horseshoe which is very light, made of aluminum (alluminium), with a toe grab or cleat for better traction.
  • Rag - A rag or "The Rag" is the outsider in the field, usually offered at a favorable price in betting.
  • Rail Runner - Horse that prefers to run next to the inside rail.
  • Rank - A horse that is fractious or unmanageable by the jockey is said to be rank.
  • Ratings - Tipsters may determine a set of ratings which reflect, in their opinion, each runner's chance of winning a particular race taking a number of factors into account when preparing them.
  • Restricted Races - Races which only certain horses are eligible.
  • Return - The dividend you receive on a particular bet.
  • Reverse Forecast (UK) - See 'Quinella' above.
  • Ridgling (Also spelled "ridgeling") - A partly castrated horse, with one or both testicles.
  • Ringer - A horse (or greyhound) entered in a race under another's name - usually a good runner replacing a poorer one.
  • ROI - Short for 'Return On Investment' in percentage (%). The ROI is useful for identifying unique stats about a runner. This is a very useful stat to know as it shows in percentage terms how much profit or loss has been made. The stat can be used to show good and bad conditions. A positive ROI is good and a negative ROI is bad. The formula: ROI% = total profit / total staked * 100. Example: if a series of 55 bets (all at $1 stake each) returned a profit of $7.50, then ROI% = $7.50 (total profit) divided by $55 (total staked) multiplied by 100 = 13.6% ROI
  • Roughie - A horse which is considered to have a 'rough' chance of winning a race.
  • Roundabout - A bet consisting of 3 bets involving three selections in different events (i.e. 1 single any to come and double stake double on remaining two selections, 3 times).
  • Rounder - A bet consisting of 3 bets involving three selections in different events (i.e. 1 single any to come a single stake double on remaining two selections, 3 times).
  • Round Robin - A bet consisting of 10 bets (3 pairs of 'Single Stakes About' bets plus 3 doubles and 1 treble) involving three selections in different events. (US, A series of three or more teams into two-team wagers).
  • Route - Broadly, a race distance of longer than 1-1/8 miles.
  • Router - Horse that performs well at longer distances.
  • Run Free - A horse going too fast.
  • Runner - A participant in a race. In US, a sportsbook's employee who gathers information on the progress of betting elsewhere on the course. Also, a messenger 'running' to and from pari-mutuel windows for occupants of clubhouse boxes.
  • Saved Ground - A horse is said to have 'saved ground' if the horse is allowed to stay inside, just off the inner rail throughout the trip. A horse that has experienced no traffic trouble during the race and was not forced to race wide at any point.
  • Scale Of Weights - Fixed weights to be carried by horses in a race according to age, distance, sex, and time of year.
  • Scalper - One who attempts to profit from the differences in odds from book to book by betting both sides of the same game at different prices.
  • Schooled - A horse trained for jumping.
  • Scope - The potential in a horse.
  • Score - GBP 20. In US, to win a race or a bet. Also, a victory.
  • Scratch (Scratching) - 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 - Daily publication that includes graded handicaps, tips and scratches.
  • Second Call - A secondary mount of a jockey in a race in the event his primary mount is scratched.
  • Selections - The horses selected by a knowledgeable person (Tipster) to have the most likely chance of finishing in first, second and third place. This may also refer to a person's own selections - the horses they have chosen to back.
  • Selling Race - A race where the winner is sold by auction immediately afterwards.
  • Settler - A bookmaker's expert who calculates payouts.
  • Shadow Roll - Usually a lamb's wool roll half way up the horse's face to keep him from seeing his own shadow.
  • Shorten, Shortening the Odds - When the odds of a horse decrease, usually because a lot of money has been wagered on that horse.
  • Short Runner - A horse who barely stays, or doesn't stay, the full distance of a race.
  • Short Price - Low odds, meaning a punter will get little return for their initial outlay.
  • Show - Third position at the finish.
  • Show Bet - Wager on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.
  • Shut Out (US) - What happens to a bettor who gets on the betting line to late and is still waiting in line when the window closes. Also, in sports betting, when the losing team do not score.
  • SI - Followed by a number is the Speed Index (the speed rating) of a horse. The SI number often is listed after a horses name, like My Best Friend SI 90. A horse receives a speed index number every time he races at an AQHA-recognized track. The speed index system was developed as a way to compare horses in races run on different tracks. Ratings in the 70s are considered good, 80s very good, 90s fast and 100+ very fast.
  • Silks - See '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.
  • Single - A Straight bet on one selection to win one race or event, also known as a straight-up bet.
  • Single Stakes About (or SSA) - A bet consisting of 2 bets on two selections (1 single on each selection any to come 1 single on the other selection reversed).
  • Sire - Father of a horse.
  • Six-Dollar Combine (US) - An across-the-board bet in racing.
  • Sleeper - A sleeper is an underrated racehorse. A horse which unexpectedly wins a race having previously shown poor form is said to have been a Sleeper.
  • Sloppy (track) - A track that is wet on surface, with standing water visible, with firm bottom.
  • Slow (track) - A racing strip that is wet on both the surface and base. Between good and heavy.
  • Smart Money - Insiders' bets or the insiders themselves.
  • Soft (track) - Condition of a turf course with a large amount of moisture. Horses sink very deeply into it.
  • Spell - The resting period between preparations or racing.
  • Sportsbook - The person, shop or website who accepts bets.
  • Spot Play (US) - Type of play in which bettor risks money only on types of races and horses which seem relatively worthwhile risks.
  • Sprint - Short race, less than one mile.
  • Stakes Horse - A horse whose level of competition includes mostly stakes races.
  • Stakes-Placed - Finished second or third in a stakes race.
  • Stakes race - A race for which the owner usually must pay a fee to run a horse. Some stakes races are by invitation and require no payment or fee.
  • Stakes - The sums of money deposited or guaranteed by the parties to a bet.
  • Stake - The prize money for the winning horses paid to the owner (eg. trophy or prize money).
  • Stallion - A male horse used for breeding.
  • Standing Start - In harness racing, starters start from a standing position, once the barrier across the track is released.
  • Starter - The person responsible for starting a race.
  • Starting Gate - Partitioned mechanical device having stalls in which the horses are confined until the starter releases the doors in front to begin the race.
  • Starting Price (or SP) - An estimation of odds available when the race starts.
  • Starting Stalls - Mechanical gates that ensure all horses start in unison.
  • Stayer (Also, Slayer) - A horse that can race long distances.
  • Steam - When a betting selection starts to move quite rapidly, usually caused by many bettors betting on it.
  • Steeplechase - A race in which horses are required to jump over a series of obstacles on the course. Also known as a 'Chase'.
  • Stewards - The group of people who control the day's racing by ensuring that every runner competes on its merits and imposing penalties for any breach of the rules of racing.
  • Stewards Enquiry - An enquiry by the stewards into a race.
  • Stick - (Also, Bat) A jockey's whip.
  • Stickers - Calks on shoes which give a horse better traction in mud or on soft tracks.
  • Stipes - Another term for the Stewards. (Or Stipendiary Stewards)
  • Stooper (US) - Those who make a living picking up discarded mutuel tickets at racetracks and cashing those that have been thrown away by mistake.
  • Store (US) - A sportsbook or a bookie.
  • Straight - Betting to win only.
  • Straight Forecast (UK) - A tote bet operating in races of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter has to pick the first and second to finish in the correct order. See 'Exacta'.
  • Straight Six - A wager to correctly select the winner of each of six consecutive nominated races.
  • Strapper - Also known as an attendant. A person who assists the trainer, cares for the horse or helps to put on its equipment.
  • Stretch (home-Stretch) - Final straight portion of the racetrack to the finish.
  • Stretch Runner - Horse that runs its fastest nearing the finish of a race.
  • Stretch Turn - Bend of track into homestretch.
  • Stud - 1) Male horse used for breeding. 2) A breeding farm.
  • Sulky - (The Sulky) The modern harness racing vehicle (a driving rig) developed from a single-seat. Earlier racing had used carts. In its final form the sulky is little more than a U-shaped shaft mounted on two wheels with a seat at the end of the U.
  • Superfecta - A bet placed on four horses to cross the finish line in exact chosen order.
  • Super Robin/Flag - A bet consisting of 23 bets on 4 selections in different events (6 Doubles, 4 Trebles, 1 Fourfold, plus 12 single stake cross bets).
  • Super Yankee - Alternative name for a multiple bet known as Canadian, a Super Yankee is a Yankee type bet with five selections instead of four.
  • Sure Thing - A horse which a punter or tipster believes is unbeatable in a race.
  • Sweepstakes - Type of betting whereby each horse in a race is drawn out of a hat by a particular person (who pays a set amount of money for the privilege of buying a horse). The people which chose the winner and placegetters will receive a percentage of the total money pool.
  • Switch Leads - (Also 'Change their Leads') The process where a horse shifts his weight to one side or the other. Horses change their leads in a race, they start off on the right lead then when they go into the turn they go onto the left lead to make the turn, then they change back to the right lead in the stretch and finish the race. Horses are trained to change their leads when they first start training, but the jockey sometimes taps them on the shoulder to make them change leads at the right spot in the race.
  • System - A method of betting, usually mathematically based, used by a punter or bettor to try to get an advantage.
  • TAB - Totalisator Agency Board. The body appointed to regulate off-course betting (bets made by people who are not present at the race track).
  • Take (Takeout) - Commission deducted from mutuel pools which is shared by the track, horsemen (in the form of purses) and local and state governing bodies in the form of tax.
  • The Dogs are Up - Or simply 'Dogs 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.
  • Taken Up - A horse pulled up sharply by his rider because of being in close quarters.
  • 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.
  • Thick'un - A big bet.
  • Thoroughbred - A Thoroughbred is a horse whose parentage traces back to any of the three 'Founding Sires' the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb, and who has satisfied the rules and requirements of The Jockey Club and is registered in 'The American Stud Book' or in a foreign stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee. Any other horse, no matter what its parentage, is not considered a Thoroughbred for racing and/or breeding purposes.
  • Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA) - An industry group comprised of many of the racetracks in North America.
  • Ticket - The betting slip or ticket which is received by the bettor from the bookmaker or totalisator, as proof of his or her wager. The ticket is necessary to collect the dividends.
  • Ticketer (US) - A forger of bookmakers' tickets.
  • Tic-Tac - The secret and complex sign language used by bookmakers at racecourses to indicate movements in the price of a horse. See BBC's Tic-Tac guide.
  • Tierce - A French combination bet in which the bettor predicts the horses that will finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd.
  • Tips - The selections chosen by an expert to bet on (also known as Picks). See 'Selections'.
  • Tipster - A person who makes selections for a race, providing tips on which horses they believe will win the first three places.
  • Top Weight - See 'High Weight'.
  • Totalizator (Totalisator) - The system of betting on races (an automated system that dispenses and records betting tickets, calculates and displays odds and payoffs and provides the mechanism for cashing winning tickets) in which the winning bettors share the total amount bet, minus a percentage for the operators of the system, taxes etc. Synonyms: Tote, Parimutuel.
  • Tote - Totalizator. The organisation appointed to receive bets and supply dividends in proportion to the amount of the investment. A body in the UK set up to operate pool-betting on all racecourses.
  • Tote Board - The (usually) electronic totalizator display in the infield which reflects up-to-the-minute odds. It may also show the amounts wagered in each mutuel pool as well as information such as jockey and equipment changes, etc. Also known as the 'Board'.
  • Tote Returns - Returns from a tote pool (also known as a Dividend), calculated by taking the total stake in each pool (after the take out) and dividing it by the number of winning tickets. A dividend is declared to a fixed stake, for various win, place and forecast pools.
  • Totting Up - Used in the UK for penalties or disciplinary points given to jockeys. Example: There will be disciplinary points totting up against the jokey.
  • Tout - Person who professes to have, and sells, advance information on a race. Also used as a verb meaning to sell or advertise.
  • Track Condition - Condition of the racetrack surface. Slow; Fast; good; muddy; sloppy; frozen; hard; firm; soft; yielding; heavy.
  • Track Record - Fastest time for a distance at a particular track.
  • Trail - Racing immediately behind another horse. A trail is also known as a sit.
  • Trainer - The person responsible for looking after a horse and preparing it to race. A trainer must hold a license or permit to be entitled to train.
  • Treble - A bet consisting of 3 selections, all of which must win for the wager to be successful.
  • Tricast (UK) - See 'Trifecta' below.
  • Trifecta - A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order. Called a 'Triactor' in Canada and a 'Triple' in some parts of the U.S. ('Tricast' in the UK.)
  • 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 (x3)-(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.
  • Trio - Trifecta.
  • Triple - (Also 'Treble') See 'Trifecta' above.
  • 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.
  • Trixie - A Trixie consists of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events, i.e. 3 doubles plus 1 treble.
  • Trotting - A term for harness racing in general. It also describes the specific gait of a trotter.
  • True Odds - The real odds of something happening as opposed to what the bookies offer. Actual odds taking into account the bookmaker's/sportsbook's edge. The ratio of the number of times one event will occur to the number of times that it will not.
  • Turf Accountant - The UK euphemism for a bookmaker.
  • Turf Course - Grass course.
  • Unbackable - A horse which is quoted at short odds that punters decide is too short to return any reasonable amount for the money they outlay.
  • Underlay - A horse racing at shorter odds than seems warranted by its past performances.
  • Under Starters Orders (or Under Orders) - The starting of a race.
  • Under Wraps - Horse under stout restraint in a race or workout.
  • Union Jack - A bet consisting of 8 trebles on 9 selections A to I: ABC, DEF, GHI, ADG, BEH, CFI, AEI, and CEG.
  • Value - Getting the best odds on a wager.
  • Wager - Another term for bet.
  • Walkover - A race in which only one horse competes.
  • Warming Up - Galloping horse on way to post.
  • Washed Out - A horse that becomes so nervous that it sweats profusely before the race. Also known as "washy" or "lathered up".
  • Washy - See "Washed Out" above.
  • Weigh In (Out) - The certification, by the clerk of scales, of a rider's weight before (weigh out) and after (weigh in) a race. A jockey weighs in/out fully dressed with all equipment except for his/her helmet, whip and (in many jurisdictions) flak jacket. After the race the jockey must weigh in the same as the weigh out otherwise he may be disqualified, so never throw away a bet until the 'weighed in' signal has been given.
  • Weight-For-Age - The purpose of weight-for-age is to allow horses of different age and sex to compete on equal terms. The weight a horse carried is allocated on a set scale according to its sex and age.
  • Welsh/Welch - To fail to pay a gambling bet.
  • Wheel - Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key. See 'Part Wheel'.
  • Wheeling - A racing system devised for the daily double bet in which the bettor backs one horse in the first race and every horse in the second (also known as Baseball or Locking).
  • Whip - Instrument or a stick, usually of leather, with which rider strikes horse to increase his speed.
  • Win - The term used to describe a 1st place finish.
  • Win Bet - Wager on a horse to finish first.
  • Winning Post - The finishing line of a race. (Also, The Post.)
  • Wire - The finish line of a race.
  • Wise Guy - A knowledgeable handicapper or bettor.
  • Withdrawn (Scratched) - A horse that is withdrawn (or scratched) from a race before the start. Horses can be withdrawn due to adverse track conditions or because of illness or injury.
  • With the Field - Having one horse linked with all the other horses in an event. It can apply to forecasts or in doubles.
  • WTBA - Washington Thoroughbred Breeders Association.
  • Yankee - A multiple bet consisting of 11 bets (6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 4-fold) on 4 selections in different events.
  • Yap - Yankee Patent. The same 11 bets as a Yankee, but with singles on each of the 4 selections as well, making 15 bets in all (also known as a 'Lucky 15').
  • Yearling - A horse in its second calendar year of life, beginning January 1 of the year following its birth.
  • Yielding - Condition of a turf course with a great deal of moisture. Horses sink into it noticeably.

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

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