Horse Racing Tutorial, Part 3: Track Vocabulary – What The Words Mean
The Words Used in Horse Racing:
What They Mean and When to Use Them
Improve your understanding of the words used in horse racing and you’ll improve your odds of picking the winners. Below are some of the more common words and phrases you’re likely to encounter when engaging in horse betting activities. There is also a sample of a horse race program guide with explanations of the information contained there.
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Horse Racing Words Defined
Across the Board – Three equal bets, to win, place and show, on a single horse.
Blinkers – Headgear worn by a horse to limit his vision and prevent distractions.
Breezing – A horse working under restraint.
Claiming Race – A race for horses that are eligible to be purchased for a specified price by the licensed owner. This tends to equalize the level of competition because an owner is unlikely to enter a $10,000 horse in a race for $5,000 claimers and risk having it claimed.
Colt – A male horse under the age of five.
Dam – Mother.
Driving – Running under extreme urging.
Entry – Two or more horses with the same owner or trainer that run as a single betting interest.
Filly – Female horse under the age of five.
Furlong – One eighth of a mile. Originally a “furrow long” or the length of a plowed field.
Handle – Amount of money waged on a race or in a day.
Gelding – A castrated male horse.
Handicap Race (HCP) – A race for better quality horses in which weight carried is assigned to the horses by the Racing Secretary based on an assessment of their past ability. Better horses get higher weights to enable horses with a lesser record to have a chance to win.
Handily – A horse working or racing with ease and without urging.
Inquiry – Investigation by the stewards of a foul or violation which occurred during the running of a race.
Lasix – Medication used to stop nose bleeds.
Maiden – A horse that has not yet won a race.
Mare – Female horse five years old or older.
Morning Line – The track handicapper’s estimate of the probable odds for each horse at post time.
Paddock – The area where the horses are brought before the race to be saddled and mounted by their jockey’s.
Photo Finish – Results of a race so close that placing judges cannot decide the order of finish with the naked eye and must consult the official photograph.
Post Time – The scheduled start of a race.
Purse – The amount of money distributed to a designated number of finishers in a race.
Route – A distance race of one mile or longer.
Sire – Father.
Sprint – A race of seven furlongs or less.
Stewards – Racing officials designated to uphold the rules of racing at the race track, answerable to the state racing commission.