Racing Terms

  • Acey-deucy


    Uneven stirrups, popularized by Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro, who rode with his left (inside) iron lower than his right to achieve better balance on turns.

  • Across the board

    Across the board

    A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. Actually three wagers.

  • Action


    1) A horse's manner of moving. 2) A term meaning wagering. For example, “The horse took a lot of action.”

  • Acupressure


    Utilizing stimulation on acupuncture points to treat an animal.

  • Acupuncture


    A centuries-old means of treating an animal or human through the use of needles, electrical current or moxibustion (heat and herbs) to stimulate or realign the body's electrical fields.

  • Added money

    Added money

    Money added to the purse of a race by the racing association, breeding fund, or other fund. The money is in addition to the amount paid by owners in nomination, eligibility, entry and starting fees. For example, “the $1 million-added Kentucky Derby.”

  • Added weight

    Added weight

    A horse carrying more weight than the conditions of the race require, usually because the jockey exceeds the stated limit.

  • Age


    All Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthday on Jan. 1.

  • Agent


    A person empowered to transact business for a stable owner or jockey, or empowered to sell or buy horses for an owner or breeder.

  • All out

    All out

    When a horse extends itself to its maximum ability.

  • Allowance race

    Allowance race

    A race for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions to determine weights to be carried based on the horse's age, sex and/or past performance.

  • Allowances


    Reductions in weights to be carried, allowed because of the conditions of the race or because an apprentice jockey is on a horse. Also, a weight reduction that female horses are entitled to when racing against males, or that 3-year-olds receive against older horses.

  • Also-Eligible


    A horse officially entered for a race, but not permitted to start unless the field is reduced by scratches below a specified number.

  • Apprentice


    Rider who has not ridden a certain number of winners within a specified period of time. Also known as a "bug," from the asterisk used to denote the weight allowance such riders receive.

  • Apron


    The (usually) paved area between the grandstand and the racing surface.

  • Assistant Starter

    Assistant Starter

    Frankie Lovato Jr. explains what the assistant starter is and what an assistant starter's duties are. He also explains how important the assistant starters are to the race and safety of the riders.

  • Backside


    Stable area, dormitories and often times a track kitchen, chapel and recreation area for stable employees. Also known as "backstretch," for its proximity to the stable area.

  • Backstretch


    1) Straight portion of the far side of the racing surface between the turns. 2) See backside.

  • Bandage


    Bandages used on horse's legs are three-to-six inches wide and are made of a variety of materials. In a race, they are used for support or protection against injury. "Rundown bandages" are used during a race and usually have a pad under the fetlock to avoid injury due to abrasion when the fetlocks sink toward the ground during weight-bearing. A horse may also wear "standing bandages," thick cotton wraps used during shipping and while in the stall to prevent swelling and/or injury.

  • Bay


    A color ranging from tan to dark chestnut with black mane, tail and points.

  • Bearing In (or Out)

    Bearing In (or Out)

    Deviating from a straight course. May be due to weariness, infirmity, inexperience or the rider overusing the whip or reins to make a horse alter its course.

  • Beyer speed rating

    Beyer speed rating

    A measure of performance developed and popularized by Andy Beyer of The Washington Post. Beyer Speed Figures are used in the Daily Racing Form.

  • Bit


    A stainless steel, rubber or aluminum bar, attached to the bridle, which fits in the horse's mouth and is one of the means by which a jockey exerts guidance and control. The most common racing bit is the D-bit, named because the rings extending from the bar are shaped like the letter "D." Most racing bits are "snaffled," (snaffle bit) which means the metal bar is made up of two pieces, connected in the middle, which leaves it free to swivel. Other bits may be used to correct specific problems, such as bearing in or out.

  • Blanket


    A cloth used to keep a horse warm. There are a variety of blankets that can be used before, during, and after exercise. Also called “sheets.”

  • Black Type

    Black Type

    Boldface type, used in sales catalogues, to distinguish horses that have won or placed in a stakes race. Many sales catalogues have eliminated the use of black type for stakes below a certain monetary level-$15,000 in 1985, $20,000 from 1986-1989 and $25,000 beginning in 1990. If a horse's name appears in boldface type in a catalogue and in all capital letters, it has won at least one black-type event. If it appears in boldface type and capital and lower case letters, it was second or third in at least one black-type event. Black type was awarded to fourth-place finishers in races before Jan. 1, 1990.

  • Blaze


    A generic term describing a large, white vertical marking on a horse's face.

  • Bleeder


    A horse that bleeds from the lungs when small capillaries that surround the lungs' air sacs (alveoli) rupture. The medical term is "exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage" (EIPH). Blood may be seen coming out of the horse's nostrils, known as "epistaxis," although it is typically discovered by a fiber optic endoscopic examination after exercise. Hot, humid weather and cold are known to exacerbate the problem. The most common treatment currently available is the use of the diuretic furosemide (Lasix).

  • Blinkers


    A cup-shaped device that limits a horse's vision. Blinkers, often used to try to improve a horse’s focus, come in a variety of sizes and shapes to allow as little or as much vision as the trainer feels is necessary.

  • Blow-Out


    A short, timed workout, usually a day or two before a race, designed to sharpen a horse's speed. Usually three-eighths or one-half of a mile in distance.

  • Board


    Short for "tote board," on which odds, betting pools and other information are displayed.

  • Bounce


    An exceptionally poor performance on the heels of an exceptionally good one.

  • Breakdown


    When a horse suffers a potentially career-ending injury, usually to the leg: The horse suffered a breakdown. The horse broke down.

  • Break (a Horse)

    Break (a Horse)

    1) To train a young horse to wear a bridle and saddle, carry a rider and respond to a rider's commands. Almost always done when the horse is a yearling. 2) To leave from the starting gate.

  • Breeder


    Owner of the dam at time of foaling unless the dam was under a lease or foal-sharing arrangement at the time of foaling. In that case, the person(s) specified by the terms of the agreement is (are) the breeder(s) of the foal.

  • Breeze (Breezing)

    Breeze (Breezing)

    Working a horse at a moderate speed, less effort than handily.

  • Breeze (Breezing)

    Breeze (Breezing)

    Working a horse at a moderate speed, less effort than handily. (Depending on location, breezing can be referred to a horse working at top speed, faster than handily.)

  • Bridle


    A piece of equipment usually made of leather or nylon, which fits on a horse's head that includes other attached equipment, such as a bit and the reins.

  • Broodmare


    A female horse used for breeding.

  • Broodmare sire

    Broodmare sire

    A sire whose female offspring have produced foals.

  • Bucked Shins

    Bucked Shins

    Inflammation of the covering of the bone (periosteum) of the front surface of the cannon bone to which young horses are particularly susceptible. This is primarily a condition of the front legs.

  • Bug


    See apprentice; apprentice allowance.

  • Bullet


    The fastest workout of the day at a track at a particular distance.

  • Baby Race

    Baby Race

    Frankie Lovato Jr. explains why certain races are called baby races. He also explains that there's a difference between a baby race and a maiden race and what age group falls under the baby race title.

  • Call to the post

    Call to the post

    A special call played on a bugle used to signal the horses to the starting gate.

  • Chestnut


    A color ranging from light gold to deep red. Also, a small, horny growth on the inside of a horse's front legs.

  • Chrome


    Large amounts of white areas on horse's face and legs.

  • Chute


    Extension of backstretch or homestretch to permit a straight running start in a race as opposed to starting on or near a turn.

  • Claiming


    Process by which a licensed person may purchase a horse entered in a designated race for a predetermined price. When a horse has been claimed, its new owner assumes title after the starting gate opens although the former owner is entitled to all purse money earned in that race.

  • Claiming Handicap (CLH)

    Claiming Handicap (CLH)

    A race for horses entered to be claimed, with weight assignments similar to those of a handicap race (see Handicap listed above).

  • Claiming Race

    Claiming Race

    A race in which each horse entered is eligible to be purchased at a set price. Claims must be made before the race and only by licensed owners or their agents who have a horse registered to race at that meeting or who have received a claim certificate from the stewards.

  • Claiming Stakes (CST)

    Claiming Stakes (CST)

    A race for horses entered to be claimed. Nomination and possibly entry and starters fees are added to the base purse.

  • Clerk of Scales

    Clerk of Scales

    An official whose chief duty is to weigh the riders before and after a race to ensure proper weight is (was) carried.

  • Clocker


    A person in charge of recording the time it takes for a horse to travel specific distances both during training and racing.

  • Clubhouse Turn

    Clubhouse Turn

    Generally, the turn on a racing oval that is closest to the clubhouse facility; usually the first turn after the finish line.

  • Colt


    An ungelded male horse 4 years old or younger.

  • Condition Book(s)

    Condition Book(s)

    A series of booklets issued by a racing secretary which set forth conditions of races to be run at a particular racetrack.

  • Conditions


    The requirements of a particular race. This may include age, sex, money or races won, weight carried and the distance of the race.

  • Conformation


    The physical makeup of and bodily proportions of a horse how it is put together.

  • Connections


    Persons identified with a horse, such as owner, trainer, jockey and stable employees.

  • Dam


    The mother of a horse.

  • Dead Heat

    Dead Heat

    Two or more horses finishing a race in a tie.

  • Distaff


    A race for female horses.

  • Disqualification


    Change in order of finish by stewards for an infraction of the rules.

  • Distanced


    Horse so far behind the rest of the field of runners that it is out of contact and unable to regain a position of contention.

  • Dogs


    Rubber traffic cones (or a wooden barrier) 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. Used in the phrase, "The dogs are up," or simply, "dogs up."

  • Driving


    Strong urging by jockey, usually at the ending stages of a race.

  • Dwelt


    Extremely late in breaking from the gate.

  • Early foot

    Early foot

    Good speed at the start of a race.

  • Easily


    A horse running or winning without being pressed by rider or opposition.

  • Elbow


    The topmost joint in the foreleg, formed by the humerus, ulna and radius. The elbow joint's action is that of a hinge, providing flexion and extension for the forelegs.

  • Eligible


    Qualified to start in a race, according to conditions.

  • Entry


    Two or more horses with common ownership (or in some cases trained by the same trainer) that are paired as a single betting unit in one race and/or are placed together by the racing secretary as part of a mutuel field. Rules on entries vary from state to state. Also known as a "coupled entry."

  • Exercise Rider

    Exercise Rider

    A person who is licensed to exercise a horse during its morning training session.

  • Farrier


    Horseshoer, blacksmith. Also called a "plater."

  • Fetlock


    Joint located between the cannon bone and the long pastern bone, also referred to as the “ankle.”

  • Filly


    Female horse four-years-old or younger.

  • Finish Line

    Finish Line

    The end point of a race. Also referred to as the “wire”.

  • Foal


    A horse of either sex in its first year of life.

  • Forearm


    Area of the foreleg located between the elbow joint and the knee (carpus), which is made up of the radius bone and the ulna.

  • Forelock


    Lock of mane hair that falls forward from the poll (top of the head) to just above the horse's eyes.

  • Front-runner


    A horse whose running style is to attempt to get on or near the lead at the start of the race and to continue there as long as possible.

  • Frontside


    The area of the racetrack open to the public where races are viewed in the afternoon.

  • Furlong


    An eighth of a mile.

  • Futurity


    A race for two-year-olds in which the owners make a continuous series of payments over a period of time to keep their horses eligible. Purses for these races vary but can be considerable.

  • Gait


    The characteristic footfall pattern of a horse in motion. Thoroughbreds have four natural gaits — walk, trot, canter and gallop. Thoroughbreds compete at a gallop.

  • Gallop


    Gallop is an asymmetrical gait used at high speeds.

  • Gap


    An opening in the track rail where horses enter and leave the course.

  • Gate Card

    Gate Card

    A card, issued by the starter, stating that a horse is properly schooled in starting gate procedures.

  • Gelding


    A castrated male horse.

  • Girth


    1) An elastic and leather band, sometimes covered with sheepskin, that passes under a horse's belly and is connected to both sides of the saddle. 2) Deepest point of the horse's midsection, around which the saddle girth is tightened.

  • Graded Race

    Graded Race

    A non-restricted race with added money or guaranteed purse value of $100,000 or more which has been run at least twice under similar conditions and on the same surface and has been assigned graded status for the year contested by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA) for the United States, or The Jockey Club of Canada for Canada. 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.

  • Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

    Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation

    A charitable organization, established in 1989, which combined the Grayson Foundation (established 1940) and The Jockey Club Research Foundation (established 1982). The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is devoted to equine medical research.

  • Groom


    A person who cares for a horse in a stable; known as a "lad" or "girl" in Britain.

  • Group Race

    Group Race

    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.

  • Halter


    Like a bridle, but lacking a bit. Used in handling horses around the stable and when they are not being ridden.

  • Hand Ride

    Hand Ride

    Urging a horse with the rider’s hands and not using the whip.

  • Handicap (HCP)

    Handicap (HCP)

    This race type refers to a race where the weights are assigned by the track’s Racing Secretary or Handicapper based upon past performances. Their goal is to assign weight to each horse so that all entrants have an equal chance of winning the race. THERE IS NO ADDED MONEY IN A HANDICAP RACE.

  • Handicapping


    This is the study of factors in the past performances of racehorses used to determine the relative qualities and abilities of horses in a race.

  • Handily


    1) Working in the morning with maximum effort. (Depending on location, used to describe a horse working in the morning “in hand” or of little effort) Compare with, 2) A horse racing well within itself, with little exertion from the jockey.

  • Handle


    Money wagered.

  • Harrowing


    Implement or unit with pulling teeth or tines used to rake and loosen the upper surface of a track.

  • Head


    A margin between horses. For example, one horse leading another by the length of its head.

  • Head of Stretch

    Head of Stretch

    Beginning of the straight run to the finish line.

  • Helmet


    A lightweight fiberglass cap worn by riders to prevent head injuries. It is required equipment that is not considered part of a jockey's riding weight.

  • High Weight

    High Weight

    Highest weight assigned or carried in a race.

  • Hock


    A large joint just above the shin bone in the rear legs. Corresponds to the level of the knee of the front leg.

  • Hood


    A (usually) nylon covering which goes over a horse's head to which blinkers or earmuffs are attached.

  • Horse


    When reference is made to sex, a "horse" is an ungelded male 5 years old or older.

  • Hot Walker

    Hot Walker

    Person who walks horses to cool them out after training, workout or races.

  • In Company

    In Company

    Two or more horses exercising together in the morning.

  • In Hand

    In Hand

    Running under moderate control, at less than top speed.

  • In The Money

    In The Money

    A horse that finishes first, second or third.

  • Infield


    Area encompassed by the inner rail of the racetrack.

  • 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.

  • The Jockey Club

    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.

  • Jog


    Slow, easy gait, two beat rhythm where diagonal legs move together

  • Juvenile


    Two-year-old horse.

  • Lasix


    Diuretic given to horses to prevent exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH), which is bleeding from the lungs during intense exericse. Lasix, or furosemide, is indicated by an L in the racing program.

  • Leg Up

    Leg Up

    1) To help a jockey mount a horse. 2) A jockey having a mount. 3) Getting a horse into shape.

  • Length


    A measurement approximating the length of a horse, used to denote distance between horses in a race. For example, "Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths."

  • Listed Race

    Listed Race

    A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality. In North America, a stakes race with a value of $75,000 or more available to all starters.

  • Liver Chestnut

    Liver Chestnut

    A dark chestnut colored horse.

  • Maiden


    A horse who hasn't won a flat race in any country.

  • Maiden Claiming (MCL)

    Maiden Claiming (MCL)

    Maiden claiming races are for horses that have never won a race and are eligible to be claimed.

  • Maiden Optional Claiming (MOC)

    Maiden Optional Claiming (MOC)

    This type race is restricted to maidens (non-winners lifetime) that run under the conditions exactly as those for optional claiming races (see Optional Claiming above).

  • Maiden Special Weight (MSW)

    Maiden Special Weight (MSW)

    These races are reserved for horses that have never won a race. They are not eligible to be claimed. The term special weight is derived from the fact that arbitrary weights are assigned to horses by age. (e.g. 3 year olds 118 pounds, older 122 pounds.)

  • Mane


    Long hairs growing on the crest of the horse's neck, which are usually kept clipped to about six inches in length for neatness or decoratively braided.

  • Mare


    A female horse 5 years old or older.

  • Match Race (MAT)

    Match Race (MAT)

    A match race is a race that involves just two horses. It can be run under a number of conditions, but generally is run in allowance or handicap conditions. To qualify as a MATCH RACE, only two horses were entered in the race. The race does not qualify as a MATCH RACE if more than two horses originally entered the race and some were scratched, making it a two-horse field.

  • Morning Glory

    Morning Glory

    Horse that performs well in morning workouts but fails to reproduce that form in races.

  • Morning line

    Morning line

    The starting odds set by the track handicapper.

  • Muzzle


    1) Nose and lips of a horse. 2) A guard placed over a horse's mouth to prevent it from biting or eating.

  • National Handicapping Championship

    National Handicapping Championship

    Horseplayers’ circuit hosted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and the Daily Racing Form.

  • National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)

    National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)

    Non-profit, membership organization created in 1997 to improve economic conditions and public interest in Thoroughbred racing.

  • Nose Band

    Nose Band

    A leather strap that goes over the bridge of a horse's nose to help secure the bridle. A "figure eight" nose band goes over the bridge of the nose and under the rings of the bit to help keep the horse's mouth closed. This keeps the tongue from sliding up over the bit and is used on horses that do not like having a tongue tie used.

  • Objection


    Claim of foul lodged by rider, trainer or owner after the running of a race prior to the race being declared official. (if lodged by steward, it is called an inquiry)

  • Off track

    Off track

    A track that has a wet surface and isn’t labeled as “fast”.

  • Official


    1) Notice displayed when a race result is confirmed. 2) Used to denote a racing official.

  • On The Bit

    On The Bit

    When a horse is eager to run. Also known as "in the bridle."

  • On The Board

    On The Board

    Finishing among the first three.

  • On The Muscle

    On The Muscle

    Denotes a fit horse that is eager to run.

  • On The Nose

    On The Nose

    Betting a horse to win only.

  • Out of The Money

    Out of The Money

    A horse that finishes worse than third.

  • Outrider


    A mounted racetrack official whose job is to catch loose horses, attend injured jockeys, and assist the stewards in spotting any fouls that occur during a race.

  • Overlay


    A horse whose odds are greater than its potential to win.

  • Overnight


    A sheet published by the racing secretary's office listing the entries for an upcoming racing card.

  • Overnight Race

    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.

  • Overweight


    Surplus weight carried by a horse when the rider cannot make the required weight.

  • Pacesetter


    The horse that is running in front (on the lead).

  • Paddock


    Structure or area where horses are saddled and kept before going to the track for the race.

  • Paddock Judge

    Paddock Judge

    Official in charge of paddock and saddling routine.

  • Pari-mutuel


    System of wagering where all the money is returned to the bettors after deduction of track and state percentages.

  • Parlay


    A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on each succeeding race.

  • Past Performances

    Past Performances

    A horse's racing record, earnings, bloodlines and other data, presented in composite form.

  • Pastern


    Denotes the area between the fetlock joint and the hoof. The joint between the long and short pastern bones is called the "pastern joint." Can also be used to describe the area of the limb or to describe a specific long pastern bone. Technically known as the P1 (long) and P2 (short).

  • Patrol Judge(s)

    Patrol Judge(s)

    Official(s) who observe the progress of a race from various vantage points around the track.

  • Photo Finish

    Photo Finish

    A result so close that it is necessary to use the finish-line camera to determine the order of finish.

  • Placing Judge

    Placing Judge

    Official who posts the order of finish in a race. In most states the stewards must confirm the final order of finish prior to posting the race as official.

  • Prep (Race)

    Prep (Race)

    A workout (or race) used to prepare a horse for a future engagement.

  • 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


    Any horse or pony that leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate. Also, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate. Also can be used as a verb: “He was ponied to the gate.” Also known as a "lead [LEED] pony."

  • Ponying


    The act of leading a race horse without a rider around while mounted on another horse. This is a way to provide exercise with minimal strain, often employed during recovery from an injury. Also, the activity where a pony accompanies a starter to the gate for a race.

  • 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 Parade

    Post Parade

    Horses going from paddock to starting gate past the stands. The post parade provides spectators with a chance to get a final look at the horse before the race.

  • Post Position

    Post Position

    Position of stall in starting gate from which a horse begins a race.

  • Post Time

    Post Time

    Designated time for a race to start.

  • Purse


    The total monetary amount distributed after a race to the owners of the entrants who have finished in the (usually) top four or five positions. Some racing jurisdictions may pay purse money through other places.

  • Rabbit


    A speed horse running as an entry with another, usually come-from-behind horse. The rabbit is expected to set a fast pace to help the chances of its stablemate.

  • Rabicano


    Also called white ticking, is a horse coat color characterized by limited roaning in a specific pattern: interspersed white hairs most dense and originating from the flank and the tail head. [1] Rabicano is distinct from true roan, which causes evenly interspersed white hairs throughout the body, except the head and legs.

  • Rail


    The barrier on either side of the racing strip.

  • Rank


    A horse that refuses to settle under a jockey's handling in a race, running in a headstrong manner without respect to pace.

  • Receiving Barn

    Receiving Barn

    Structure used by horses shipping in for a race who do not have a stall at that racetrack.

  • Reins


    Long straps, usually made of leather that are connected to the bit and used by the jockey to control the horse.

  • Roan


    Horse with white hairs mingled throughout its coat. Combined with the color gray when referring to Thoroughbred horse colors.

  • Route


    Broadly, a race distance of longer than 1 mile.

  • Router


    Horse that performs well at longer distances.

  • Saddle


    A Thoroughbred racing saddle is the lightest saddle used, weighing less than two pounds.

  • Saddle Cloth

    Saddle Cloth

    A cotton cloth which goes under the saddle to absorb sweat. It usually has the horse's program number and sometimes, in major races, its name.

  • Saddle Pad

    Saddle Pad

    A piece of felt, sheepskin, or more usually, foam rubber, used as a base for the saddle.

  • Scratch


    To be taken out of a race before it starts. Trainers usually request to scratch horses due to adverse track conditions or a horse's adverse health. A veterinarian can request to scratch a horse at any time. Final approval for the scratch comes from the stewards.

  • Sealed Track

    Sealed Track

    A sealed track is a dirt track that has been packed down. Dry tracks are sealed so that water runs off the track, reducing the amount of precipitation absorbed into the surface. Wet tracks are sealed to provide a safe and even racing surface.

  • Shank


    Rope or strap attached to a halter or bridle by which a horse is led. Also called a lead rope.

  • Silks


    Jacket and cap worn by jockeys.

  • Sire


    Father of a foal.

  • Stallion


    Uncastrated male horse.

  • Stud


    A stallion used for breeding.

  • Suckling


    A foal who is still nursing.

  • Shadow Roll

    Shadow Roll

    A piece of equipment, usually made of sheepskin or a synthetic material, that is attached to the noseband of a horse's bridle. Shadow rolls make it less likely that a horse will spook at shadows on the track or try to jump them.

  • Stripe


    A white marking running down a horse's face, starting under an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.

  • Stretch


    Final straight portion of the racetrack to the finish.

  • Stretch Turn

    Stretch Turn

    Bend of track into the final straightaway.

  • Stockings


    Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock.

  • Starting Gate

    Starting Gate

    Partitioned mechanical device having stalls in which the horses are confined until the starter releases the confined front doors of each stall to begin the race.

  • Star


    1) Any of a number of white markings on the forehead. (The forehead is defined as being above an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.) 2) A type of credit a horse receives from the racing secretary if it is excluded from an over-filled race, giving it priority in entering future races.

  • Standing Bandages

    Standing Bandages

    Thick cotton wraps used during shipping and while in the stall to prevent swelling and/or injury.

  • Speed Figure

    Speed Figure

    A metric that rates a horse’s performance in a race, which is determined by a combination of the horse’s performance and the level of competition he/she competed against. The higher the number for most speed figures, the better the horse’s accomplishment.

  • Sheets


    A handicapping tool assigning a numerical value to each race run by a horse to enable different horses running at different racetracks to be objectively compared.

  • Sophomores


    Three-year-old horses. Called sophomores because age three is the second year of racing eligibility.

  • Spit Box

    Spit Box

    A generic term describing a barn where horses are brought for post-race testing. Tests may include saliva, urine and/or blood.

  • Stakes


    A race for which the owner usually must pay a fee to run a horse. The fees can be for nominating, maintaining eligibility, entering and starting, to which the track adds more money to make up the total purse. Some stakes races are by invitation and require no payment or fee.

  • Stakes (STK)

    Stakes (STK)

    Races are classified as STAKES races when the meet two basic criteria, 1) They have money added to the base purse of the race in the form of nomination, entry and or starter fees paid by owners; 2) Nominations for a STAKES race must close at least 72 hours prior to its running. Stakes races can be under allowance conditions (weight off allowed based upon number of wins or money won); handicap conditions (Racing Secretary or Handicapper assigns weight based upon past performances with the goal of giving each horse an equal chance to win the race) or weight for age conditions, (each horse carries equal weights based upon their age and sex).

  • Stakes Horse

    Stakes Horse

    A horse whose level of competition includes mostly stakes races.

  • Stakes-Placed


    Finished second or third in a stakes race.

  • State-Bred


    A horse bred in a particular state and thus eligible to compete in races restricted to state-breds.

  • Starter


    1) An official responsible for ensuring a fair start to the race, the starter supervises the loading of horses into the starting gate through a gate crew. He/she also has control of the opening the gate. 2) A horse that is in the starting gate when the race begins, whether he runs or not.

  • Starter Allowance (STR)

    Starter Allowance (STR)

    Starter allowance races are identical to starter handicap races with the only difference that horses competing in this race are weighted through allowance conditions (i.e. number of races or money won).

  • Starter Handicap (SHP)

    Starter Handicap (SHP)

    This category is reserved for horses that have been running in inferior claiming company, but have improved to the point that they would not be risked being sold in a claiming race. In effect this race is an allowance race restricted to horses that have previously run in a claiming race at a specific level (e.g. starters for a claiming price of $5,000). In a starter handicap race, horses are weighted similar to a handicap race.

  • Starter Race

    Starter Race

    An allowance or handicap race restricted to horses that have started for a specific claiming price or less.

  • Stewards


    Officials of the race meeting responsible for enforcing the rules of racing.

  • Stride


    Manner of going. Also, distance covered between successive imprints of the same hoof.

  • Stud Book

    Stud Book

    Registry and genealogical record of Thoroughbreds, maintained by The Jockey Club of the country in question. Use lower case when describing a generic stud book, all words, including "The," are capitalized when describing "The American Stud Book."

  • Tack


    Rider's racing equipment. Also applied to stable gear.

  • Taken Up

    Taken Up

    A horse pulled up sharply by its rider because of being in close quarters.

  • Tattoo


    A permanent, indelible mark on the inside of the upper lip used to identify the horse. In Quarter Horses the letter/number combination is five numbers or four numbers ending in a letter. In Thoroughbreds, it is a letter followed by five numbers.

  • 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)

    Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA)

    An industry group comprised of many of the racetracks in North America.

  • Tongue Tie

    Tongue Tie

    Strip of cloth-type material used to stabilize a horse's tongue to prevent it from "choking down" in a race or workout or to keep the tongue from sliding up over the bit, rendering the horse uncontrollable. Also known as a "tongue strap."

  • Track Bias

    Track Bias

    A racing surface that favors a particular running style or position. For example, a track bias can favor either front-runners or closers or horses running on the inside or outside.

  • Track Condition

    Track Condition

    Condition of the racetrack surface. See fast; good; muddy; sloppy; frozen; hard; firm; soft; yielding; heavy.

  • Training Hours

    Training Hours

    Time a racetrack or training facility is open for horses to exercise. Often from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. with a break for harrowing the track.

  • Training Race (TR)

    Training Race (TR)

    This race type is to be used ONLY in conjunction with Steeplechase races. The National Steeplechase Association has designated some races run on the "Flat" as TRAINING races.

  • Trip


    An individual horse's race, with specific reference to the difficulty (or lack of difficulty) the horse had during competition, e.g., whether the horse was repeatedly blocked or had an unobstructed run.

  • Triple Crown

    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.

  • Trophy


    A prize given to the winning trainer, owner and/or jockey of a race.

  • Turf course

    Turf course

    Grass covered race course.

  • Turf Work

    Turf Work

  • Underlay


    Horse whose odds are more promising than his potential to win.

  • Valet


    A person who helps jockeys keep their wardrobe and equipment in order.

  • Veterinarian


    Commission The commission (or board) veterinarian, sometimes referred to as the state veterinarian, is usually appointed by the state racing commission. This person serves as professional adviser and consultant to the State Racing Commission on veterinary matters including all regulatory aspects of the application and practice of veterinary medicine at the track. Association Sometimes referred to as the track veterinarian, this person is employed by the racing association and serves as a professional adviser and consultant to the racing association and its operational staff at the track. Practicing Private practitioner employed by owners and trainers on an individual case or contract basis.

  • Weight


    The assigned weight for a horse, including the jockey, equipment and lead weights if needed.

  • Yearling


    A horse in its second calendar year of life, beginning Jan. 1 of the year following its birth.

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