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 Horse Racing Glossary


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Horse Racing Glossary


Glossary of terms used in horse racing industry

Glossary of terms used in horse race betting


Below find the terms used by horse racing industry and horse race betting.

Across the board or a combination ticket – a bet for a horse to win, place or show.

Auction pools or calcuttas – a betting system used instead of pari-mutuel system.

Added money – money that is added to the purse by the race tracks.

Backstretch – a straight portion of the track farthest from a finish line and parallel to a homestretch.

Bloodline – a pedigree of a horse.

Bookmaker or bookie – a person who takes bets.

Breeders – the owners who breed and raise racing animals.

Breaking stride – a horse in harness racing starts to gallop, run or canter instead of trotting or pacing.

Bug boy – an apprentice jockey.

Calcutta – a pool in which horses are auctioned off to a highest bidder.

Chalk horse – a favorite horse in the horse race with the lowest odds.

Claiming race – a horse race where a horse enters with a specified claiming price. Any horse owner may claim (buy) a horse provided he has deposited with the racing secretary’s office an amount equal to a claiming price.

Colt – an unaltered male horse less than five years old.

Commercial tracks – the horse race tracks, which use pari-mutuel system to provide monies for the races.

Condition book – a book with the necessary conditions under which a horse can enter a race on a specific racetrack.

Dam – a horse’s mother.

Daily Racing Form – a publication with information on all horses in the races and the specifics of the horse race.

Dead heat – a tie between two or more horses in the horse race.

Driver – a person who drives a standardbred in harness horse racing sitting in a two-wheeled sulky.

Exotic bets – the wagers that include more than one bet, for ex. daily double, exactas, trifectas.

Fast track – an even, dry and hard horse race track that provides the best racing conditions.

Favorite – an entry in the horse race picked by most horse racing handicappers and bettors to win the race and having more money bet on it than any other entry.

Field or mutual field – a few horses grouped as one entry in a horse race.

Filly – a female horse less than 5 years old.

Flat – a flat dirt horse race track different from a turf (grass) or jump race track.

Final line – established win odds when horse racing betting has been completed.

Form – a general physical condition of the horse.

Form player – a horse race bettor who makes his bets on the basis of a horse’s form and its past performances.

First turn – the first turn on the track after a horse race has started.

Front winner – a horse with the fast early speed, which usually takes a lead.

Furlong – a measure of distance equaled one eighth of a mile or around 220 yards.

Gait – specific styles of the foot movement of the horse, which can be a gallop, canter, pace or trot.

Gelding – a castrated male horse.

Handicapper – a horse race bettor who makes his bets on the basis of past results and other relevant information and statistics.

Hand – a measure of height for a horse equal roughly 4 inches.

Handicap race – a horse race where all horses have to carry a weight assigned by the track’s racing secretary.

Handle – an amount of money bet on a specific horse.

Harness racing – a race for standardbred horses running with a trotting or pacing gait. The horses pull a two-wheeled carts called sulkies and are guided by a driver.

Head – a measure of distance equaled to the length of a horse’s head.

Headed – lost a race by a head.

Head of stretch – the start of the homestretch.

Heat racing – a horse racing where the same horses competing against each other multiple times. The horses are usually standardbreds.

Hopples or Hobbles – a part of the harness, which helps a driver to maintain a gait of the horse.

In-the-money – means that a horse finished first, second or third.

Jockey – a horse rider who has a license to ride thoroughbreds in official race.

Jockey Club – an organization that establishes the rules for horse racing at the specific track.

Journeyman – a jockey who is an experienced professional.

Juvenile – a two year old horse.

Lineage – a direct ancestry of the horse.

Long shot – a horse that has a small chance to win with high odds and big pay offs if it will finish in the money.

Mare – a female horse five years or older.

Match race – a horse race between two thoroughbreds. A pari-mutuel system is not used for that kind of a horse race.

Morning line – the odds for each horse, which were calculated before actual betting by the horse players.

Mudder – a horse that races well on a muddy track.

Mutuel pool – the total amount of money bet during the horse race.

Mutuel ticket or tote ticket – a ticket on a horse in the race bought at the mutuel window.

Odds – the ratio of unfavorable chances to the favorable ones. It helps to determine the amount of profit per dollar bet.

Off track –a horse race track condition, which is not the fast one.

Open race – a race, which any horse can enter regardless of past performances.

Overlay – a situation when the odds for a particular horse are higher than the estimates by professional handicappers.

Pace – a speed of the horse race.

Pacer – a horse whose front and back legs on each side move in unison.

Paddock – an area of the track where horses are assembled right before the start of the race.

Pari-mutuel system – a system of betting in which the winning tickets are paid proportionately of the amounts of money bet. All money wagered during the horse race minus government’s and track’s shares are paid to the holders of the winning tickets.

Payoff – the same as a payment to a winning ticket.

Perfecta – a bet that wins when two selected horses finish first and second in a specified order.

Photo finish – a finish too close for a naked eye and which must be determined by looking at the pictures.

Place – a second place in the horse race. Also it is a bet that the horse will finish second.

Plater – the same as blacksmith.

Placing judge – a horse race track official who determines the correct order of finish.

Post position – a position at the starting gate before the horse race.

Post time – a time of the start for the specific horse race.

Pool – the total amount of money bet during the horse race.

Qualifying race – a practice race for trotters and pacers to prove their readiness to race.

Quinella (Quiniela) – a bet that two selected horses will finish first and second disregarding the order.

Racing commission – a commission appointed by the governor of the state. It governs and supervises racing and establishes official rules of the horse races and issues licenses to the tracks.

Racing form – printed information about horse races.

Racing secretary – an official at the race track, who plans the horse races and establishes the conditions of the race.

Rail bird – a horse player, which likes to watch races from the rails.

Rail runner – a horse, which often races near the inside rail of the track.

Router – a horse that runs good in long races.

Route race – a long distance horse race of more than 7 furlongs.

Scratch – to remove a horse from the race.

Show – it’s a bet that a horse will finish first, second or third.

Silks – the colors of a jockey’s outfit.

Sire – a father of the horse.

Sloppy track – the condition of the horse race track right after the rain, which still allows a fast time.

Slow track – a horse race track, which is still wet after the rain.

Smart money – the professional horse players or people with inside information related to horses and races.

Sprint – a short distance horse race less than 7 furlongs.

Sprinter – a horse that runs in sprint races or the one that has a fast early speed.

Standardbreds – a breed of horses used for harness racing.

Stake race – a horse race where the horse owners put up the money for the prize and the rest is added by the track.

Steeplechase – a horse race 2 to 4 miles long with at least 10 hurdles.

Stewards – horse racing officials making sure that the races are conducted according to the rules of the racing commission of the state.

Stretch – a straight side of the horse race track.

Stretch turn – a turn into a homestretch.

Sulky – a two-wheeled cart pulled by a standardbred horse in harness racing.

Superfecta – a bet, which collects when 4 selected horses come first, second, third and fourth exactly in the chosen order.

Take – a share of a pari-mutuel pool that goes to the horse race track.

Thoroughbred – a horse with the good blood lineage running in thoroughbred races.

Totalizator – a computer that records all the money bet on the horse race, calculates the right odds and transmits the information to the tote board.

Tote board – the board inside the horse race track visible to the spectators, which shows total money bet, the odds on the horses and the payoffs for first, second and third places.

Trifecta – a bet, which wins if three selected horse come first, second and third exactly in the chosen order.

Triple Crown – a term for 3 most prestigious horse races foe 3-year old thoroughbred in the U.S. – the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness and the Belmont Stakes.

Trotter – a standardbred horse used in harness racing, which runs with a trotting gait when the right front leg and back left leg move simultaneously.

Turf race – a horse race on a grass course.

Win – a bet, which collects when a horse comes first.

Wire – the finish line at the horse race track.

Wire-to-wire – leading from start to finish.

 Copyright Progress Publishing Co. 2006

Selected References:

John Scarne  New Complete Guide to Gambling The Gambling Times Guide to Winning Systems
Kelso Sturgeon  Guide to Sports Betting Alice Fleming  Something for Nothing/A History of Gambling
Carl Sifakis  The Encyclopedia of Gambling Alan Wykes   The Complete Illustrated Guide to Gambling