Horse Racing Tutorial, Part 3: Track Vocabulary – What The Words Mean

January 5, 2008 · Posted in Bodog, Bovada, Horse Racing, Racebook 

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.

Free Pari-Mutuel Wagering Guide

Get your free copy of all three parts of the pari-mutuel wagering tutorial featured on this site (in .pdf format).

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.

How to Read and Understand a Racing Program

Horse Racing Guide Sample


  1. Types of wagering
  2. Distance
  3. Type of Race
  4. Prize Money
  5. Race Conditions
  6. Track record for this distance
  7. Entry (one bet covers both)
  8. Program number for betting
  9. Jockey – Horse Sex, Age, Sire & Dam
  10. Horse
  11. Owner
  12. Trainer
  13. Morning Line
  14. Claiming Price
  15. Weight
  16. Color of saddle cloth
  17. Color of jockey’s silks
  18. Horse Color, Sex, Age, Sire & Dam
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3 Responses to “Horse Racing Tutorial, Part 3: Track Vocabulary – What The Words Mean”

  1. […] Part 3: Horse Racing Words and their Definitions […]

  2. […] Part 3: Horse Racing Words and their Definitions […]

  3. Tony G. on January 7th, 2008 2:43 pm

    Thank you for posting this three part tutorial on horse racing. It was very helpful, especially the section about race track vocabulary and the approximate payout of horse racing odds.

    I love horse racing. It’s a new love for me, so the information I found on your site has been especially helpful. I also love playing poker. I play poker at home with my friends, but I also enjoy playing Texas Holdem poker online as well.

    Thanks again! I’ll be checking back frequently via your RSS feed.


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