Horse Glossary

Horse Glossary for all words and terms related to horses, horse racing and horse betting.


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.

ACTION- A horse’s manner of moving.

ADDED MONEY- Money added to the purse of a race by the racing association (or sometimes by a breeding or other fund) to the amount paid by owners in nomination, eligibility, entry and starting fees.

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

ALL OUT- When a horse extends himself to the utmost.

ALLOWANCE RACE- A race other than claiming for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions to determine weights.

ALLOWANCES- Weight permitted to be reduced because of the conditions of the race or because an apprentice is on a horse. Also, a weight females are entitled to when racing against males.

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

ALSO-RAN- A horse who finishes out of the money.

APPRENTICE- Rider who has not ridden a certain number of winners within a specified period of time. Also known as a bug boy.

APPRENTICE ALLOWANCE- Weight concession to an apprentice rider: usually 10 pounds until the fifth winner, seven pounds until the 35th winner and five pounds for one calendar year from the 35th winner.

BABY RACE- A race for 2-year-olds.

BACKSTRETCH- Straight of far side of track between the turns. Also stable area.

BACKSIDE- Stable area

BAD ACTOR- Fractious horse.

BAD DOER- Horse with poor appetite.

BALD (or BALD FACE)- White face of horse, including eyes, nostrils or part of the latter.

BANDAGE- Strips of cloth wound around the lower part of a horse’s legs for support or protection against injury.

BAR SHOE- A horse shoe with a rear bar to protect an injured foot; bar shoes may be worn with aluminum pads to protect a bruised frog, or my be worn alone.

BAY- Color of horse varying from yellowish tan (light bay) to brown or dark, rich shade of mahogany (sometimes listed as dark bay or brown) with black points- black mane, tail and shadings of black low on the legs.

BEARING IN (or OUT)- Deviating from a straight course. May be due to weariness, infirmity, punishment by rider or rider’s inability to control mount.

BELL- Signal sounded when starter opens the gates or, at some tracks, to mark the close of betting.

BIT- Bar in horse’s mouth by which he is guided and controlled.

BLACK- Body, head muzzle, flanks and legs are covered with uniform black hair.

BLACK TYPE- Designation for a stakes winner or stakes-placed horse in sales catalogues.

BRACE (or BRACER)- Rubdown liniment used on a horse after a race or a workout.

BLANKET FINISH- Horses finishing so closely together they could be covered by a blanket.

BLAZE- White patch on face of a horse.

BLEEDER- Horse who bleeds during or after a workout or race due to ruptured blood vessel.

BLIND SWITCH- Being caught in a pocket or such a position behind or between horses that a free course cannot be pursued.

BLINKERS- Device to limit a horse’s vision to prevent him from swerving from objects or other horses on either side of him.

BLISTER- Counter-irritant to ease pain or to treat an ailment.

BLOOD WORMS- Parasites that get into the blood stream.

BLOWOUT- A short, final workout, usually a day or two before a race, designed to sharpen a horse’s speed.

BOARD- Totalisator board on which odds, betting pools and other information is displayed.

BOBBLE- A bad step away from the starting gate, usually caused by the track breaking away from under a horse’s hoof and causing him to duck his head or nearly go to his knees.

BOG SPAVIN- Puffy swelling on the inside and slightly in front of the back, usually caused by overwork or strain.

BOLT- Sudden veering from a straight course.

BOTTOM- Stamina in a horse. Also, sub-surface of racing strip.

BOTTOM LINE- Thoroughbred’s breeding on female side. The bottom half of an extended pedigree diagram.

BOWED TENDON (a BOW)- Rupture of the sheath enclosing the tendon from the knee to the fetlock joint.

BREAK (A horse)- To accustom a young horse to racing equipment and methods, and to carry a rider.

BREAKAGE- In pari-mutuel payoffs which are rounded out to a nickel or dime, those pennies that are left over. Breakage is generally split between the track and state and, in some cases, breeding or other funds, in varying proportions.

BREAKDOWN- When a horse suffered an injury; lameness.

BREAK MAIDEN- Horse or rider winning first race of career.

BREATHER- Restraining or easing off on a horse for a short distance in a race to permit him to conserve or renew his strength.

BRED- A horse is bred at the place of his birth. Also, the mating of horses.

BREEDER- Owner of dam at time foal is dropped.

BREEDING FUND- A fund set up by many states to provide bonus prizes for state- breds.

BREEZE- Working a horse at a moderate speed; less effort than handily.

BRIDGE-JUMPER- Someone who makes large show bets on short-priced favorites.

BROODMARE- Female Thoroughbred used for breeding.

BROWN- Sometimes difficult to separate from black or dark bay. This color can usually be distinguished by noting finer tan or brown hairs on the muzzles or flanks.

BUCKED SHINS- Inflammation of front of cannon bone to which young horses are particularly susceptible.

BUG- Apprentice allowance. Apprentice rider.

BULLET (WORK)- The best time for the distance on the work tab for a given day at a track.

BULL RING- Small racetrack; usually less than one mile.

BUTE (or BUTAZOLIDIN)- Trade name for phenylbutazone, a commonly used analgesic for horses.


CALK- Projection bottom of shoe to give horse greater traction, especially on a wet track.
CALL (the)- Running position of horses in a race at various points.

CALLER- One who calls the running positions of horses in a race.

CAPPED HOCK- Injury to hock caused by kicking or rubbing.

CAST- A horse is a cast when he lies down in the stall in such a way that he is too close to the wall, and there is a danger that he may not be able to get up by himself without injury.

CENTER OF DISTRIBUTION- The balance point of speed and stamina influences in a horse’s pedigree.

CHART- A statistical “picture” of a race (from which past performances are compiled), which shows the position and margin of each horse at designated points of call (depending on distance of the race), age, weight carried, owner, trainer, purse, conditions, pay-off prices, odds, time and other data.

CHECKED- A horse pulled up by his jockey for an instant because he is cut off or in tight quarters.

CHESTNUT- Varies from light, washy yellow to dark liver color, between which comes red, gold and liver shades. A chestnut never has black points, mane or tail.

CHUTE- Extension of backstretch or homestretch to permit straightaway run from start.

CLAIMING- Buying a horse out of race for entered price.

CLAIMING BOX- Box in which claims are deposited before the race.

CLAIMING RACE- Race in which horses are entered subject to claim for a specified price.

CLASSIC- Race of traditional importance. In the U.S. specifically the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes for colts, and Coaching Club American Oaks for fillies.

CLERK OF SCALES- An official whose chief duty is to weigh the riders before and after a race to be sure proper weight is carried.

CLIMBING- A fault in a horse’s stride in which, instead of reaching out, his action is abnormally high.

CLOCKER- One who times workouts and races.

CLOSER- A horse who runs best in the latter part of the race, coming from off the pace.

CLUBHOUSE TURN- Generally, the turn closest to the clubhouse.

COLORS- Racing silks-jacket and cap-worn by riders to denote the owner(s) of horse.

COLT- Male horse under 5 years of age.

COMPANY- Class of horses in a race. Members of the field.

CONDITION BOOK- Book issued by racing secretary which sets forth conditions of races to be run.

CONDITION RACE- An event with conditions limiting it to a certain class of horse. Such as: Fillies, 3-year-olds, non-winners of two races other than maiden or claiming, etc.

CONFORMATION- A horse’s build and general physical structure; the way he is put together.

CONTRACT RIDER- Jockey under contract to a stable.

COOLING OUT- Restoring a horse, usually by walking, to normal temperature after becoming overheated in a race or workout.

COUGH- Broadly, a cold. More prevalent in spring among young Thoroughbreds.

COUPLED- Two or more horses running as an entry in a single betting unit.

CRIBBER (A WIND SUCKER)- A horse who clings to objects with his teeth and sucks air into his stomach.

CUP- Trophy awarded to owners of winners. Also distance race of a mile and a half or more.

CUP HORSE- One qualified to engage in distance races.

CUPPY (TRACK)- A surface which breaks away under a horse’s hoof.

CUSHION- Surface of track or a layer of the track.

DAILY DOUBLE- Type of wager calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first and second.
DAM- Mother of a Thoroughbred.

DAMSIRE (BROODMARE SIRE)- The sire of a broodmare.

DEAD-HEAT- Two or more horses finishing in an exact tie at the wire.

DEAD TRACK- Racing surface lacking resiliency.

DECLARED- In U.S., a horse withdrawn from a stake in advance of scratch time. In Europe, a horse confirmed to start in a race.

DIPLOMA (Earning a…)- Breaking a maiden, winning for the first time.

DISQUALIFICATION- Change of order of finish by officials for an infraction of the rules.

DISTAFF (DISTAFF RACE)- Female. A race for fillies, mares, or both.

DISTANCED- Well beaten, finishing a great distance behind the winner.

DOGS- Wooden barrier (or rubber traffic cones) placed a certain distance out from the inner rail, to prevent horses during workout period, when track is wet, muddy, soft yielding or heavy, from churning the footing along the rail.

DOSAGE DIAGRAM- A diagram showing the number and placement of chefs-de-race in a horse’s pedigree.

DOSAGE INDEX- Mathematical reduction of the Dosage Diagram to a number reflecting a horse’s potential for speed or stamina.

DQ- Disqualified.

DRIVING- Strong urging by rider.

DROPDOWN- A horse meeting a lower class of rival than he had been running against.

DWELT- Tardy in breaking fromthe gate.

EASED- Chart caller’s assessment of a horse that is being deliberately slowed by the jockey to prevent injury or harm to the horse.

EASILY- Running or winning without being pressed by rider or opposition.

EIGHTH- A furlong; 220 yards; 660 feet.

ELIGIBLE- Qualified to start in a race, according to conditions.

ENGAGEMENT- Stake nomination. Riding commitment.

ENTRY- Two or more horses owned by the same stable or (in some cases) trained by the same trainer and thus running as a single betting unit..

EQUIPMENT- Whip, blinkers, etc. Gear carried by a horse in a race.

EQUIVALENT ODDS- Mutuel price horses pay for each $1 bet.

EVENLY- Neither gaining nor losing position or distance during a race.

EXACTA (or PERFECTA)- A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

EXCUSED- Withdrawal from a race (sometimes on a veterinarian’s recommendation) with consent of stewards.

EXERCISE RIDER- Male or female rider who is aboard a horse in the mornings.

EXTENDED- Forced to run at top speed.

EXTRA WEIGHT (ADDED WEIGHT)- More weight than conditions of race require.

FALTERED- Used for a horse that was in contention early and drops back in the late stages. It is more drastic than weakened but less drastic than stopped.

FALSE FAVORITE- Horse who is bet down to favoritism when others would appear to outclass him on form.

FARRIER- Blacksmith.

FAST TRACK- Footing at best, dry, fast and even.

FEES- Amount paid to rider or the cost of nominating, entering or starting a horse in a stakes race.

FENCE- Sometimes called “outside rail.” More properly the barrier between the front of the stands and the racing strip.

FIELD- The horses in a race.

FIELD HORSE (or MUTUEL FIELD)- Two or more starters running as a single betting unit, when there are more entrants than positions on the totalisator board can accommodate.

FILLY- Female horse up to and including the age of 4.

FIRING- Applying a searing instrument, hot iron or electric needle to an injured portion of the leg to promote healing of injury or infirmity.

FIRM- A condition of a turf course corresponding to fast on a dirt track.

FIRST TURN- Bend in the track beyond the starting point.

FLAG- Signal held by man stationed a short distance in front of the gate at exact starting point of race. Official timing starts when flag is dropped to denote proper start.

FLAT RACE- Contested on level ground as opposed to hurdle race or steeplechase.

FLATTEN OUT- When a horse drops his head almost on straight line with body. May indicate exhaustion.

FLOAT- Piece of track equipment dragged over racing strip to squeeze off surface water.

FOAL- Newly born Thoroughbred, or until weaned. Male or female.

FOUNDER- See Laminitis.

FOUR FURLONGS- Half a mile; 880 yards; 2,640 feet.

FRACTIONAL TIME- Interme-diate time recorded in a race, as at the quarter, half, three-quarters, etc.

FRESH (FRESHENED)- A rested horse.

FREE HANDICAP- A race in which no nomination fees.

FRONT-RUNNER- A horse who usually leads (or tries to lead) the field for as far as he can.

FURLONG- One-eighth of a mile; 220 yards; 660 feet.

FUROSEMIDE- Generic term for a medication for the treatment of bleeders. Most common trade name is Lasix.

GAIT- The ways in which a horse can move-walk, trot, canter, gallop, run, etc.
GALLOP- A type of gait, a fast canter. Also, to ride a horse at that gait.

GATE- Starting mechanism.

GELDING- Castrated male horse.

GET- Progeny of sire.

GOOD BOTTOM- Track that is firm under the surface, which may be sloppy or wet.

GOOD TRACK- Condition between fast and slow.

GRAB A QUARTER- To strike the side of a front foot with a hind foot. This is racetrack jargon that would be expressed more clearly by saying that the horse overstepped or overreached and cut himself; reserve grabbed a quarater for direct quotes.

GRADUATE- Winning first time, horse or rider. Also, graduate of the claiming ranks-a horse, that has moved up to allowance, stakes or handicap racing.

GRANDDAM (SECOND DAM)- Grandmother of a horse.

GRANDSIRE- Grandfather of a horse, sire of the horse’s dam.

GRAY- A mixture of white and black hairs.

GROOM- A person who cares for a horse in a stable.

GROUP RACE- European equivalent to North American graded races.

HALF- Half a mile, four furlongs; 880 yards; 2,640 feet.

HALF-BROTHER, HALF-SISTER- Horses out of the same dam but by different sires.

HALTER- Like a bridle, but lacing a bit. Used in handling horses around the stable and when not being ridden.

HALTER (TO)- To claim a horse.

HAND- Four inches. Unit used in measuring height of horses from withers to ground.

HANDICAP- Race for which a handicapper assigns weights to be carried. Also, to handicap a race, to make selections on the basis of the past performances.

HANDICAPPER- One who assigns weights for handicap race. Also one who makes selections based on past performances.

HANDICAPPING- One who assigns weights for a handicap race. Also one who makes selctions based on past performances.

HANDILY- Working or racing with moderate effort, but more effort than breezing.

HANDLE- Amount of money wagered in the pari-mutuel on a race, a program, a meeting or a year.

HAND RIDE- Urging a horse with the hands and not using the whip.

HARDBOOT- Kentucky horsemen.

HEAD- A margin between horses. One horse leading another by the length of his head.

HEAD OF THE STRETCH- Beginning of the straight run home.

HEAVY- Condition of track similar to, but even slower than, muddy.

HIGHWEIGHT HANDICAP- Race in which the topweight is assigned no less than 140 pounds.

HOMEBRED- A horse bred by his owner.

HORSE- Broadly, in any Thoroughbred regardless of sex. Specifically, an entire male 5 years old or older.

HORSING- Mare in heat.

HOTWALKER- Person who walks horses to cool them out after workout or races.

HUNG- Horse tiring, but holding position.

HURDLE RACE- Contested over obstacles. A jumping race over lower fences than steeplechase races.

ICING- Standing a horse in a bucket of ice or applying ice packs to the legs to encourage circulation.

IN FOAL- Pregnant mare.

IN THE MONEY- Finishing first, second or third.

INFIELD- Area within the inner rail of the racetrack.


IN HAND- Running under moderate control, at less than best pace.

IMPOST- Weight carried or assigned.

INTER-STATE (Wagering)- Wagering on a simulcast of a race from another state.

INTER-TRACK (Wagering)- Wagering on a simulcast of a race from another track within the state.

INQUIRY- Reviewing the race to check into a possible infraction of the rules. Also, a sign flashed by officials on tote board on such occasions.

IRONS- Stirrups.


JOCKEY FEE- Sum paid to a rider.

JOG- Slow, easy gait.

JUMPER- Steeplechase or hurdle horse.

JUVENILE- Two-year-old horse.



LAMINITIS- Inflammation under horny wall of foot.

LASIX- See furosemide.

LATE DOUBLE- A second daily double offered on the latter part of the program. (See Daily Double)

LEAD- Strap attached to halter to lead a horse.

LEAD (or LEAD PAD)- Weights carried to make up the difference when a rider weighs less than the poundage a horse is assigned to carry.

LEAD PONY- Horse or pony who heads parade of field from paddock to starting gate. Also a horse or pony who accompanies a starter to post.


LEG UP- To help a jockey mount his horse. Also a jockey having a mount. Also to strengthen a horse’s legs through exercise.

LENGTH- Length of a horse from nose to tail, about 8 feet. Also distance between horses in a race.

LISTED RACE- A European race just below a group race in quality.

LOCK- Slang for a “sure thing” winner.

LUG (in or out)- Action of a tiring horse, bearing in or out.

LUNGE- Horse rearing or plunging.

MAIDEN- A horse who has not won a race. Also applied to non-winning rider.

MAIDEN RACE- A race for non winners.

MAKE A RUN- Charge by a horse in a race.

MARE- Female horse 5 years old or older. Also, female of any age who has been bred.

MASH- Moist mixture, hot or cold, of grain and other feed given to horses.

MEDICATION LIST- A list kept by the track veterinarian and published by the track and Daily Racing Form (when provided by track officials) showing which horses have been treated with phenylbutazone and/or furosemide.

MIDDLE DISTANCE- Broadly from one mile to less than a mile and an eighth.

MINUS POOL- A mutuel pool caused when one horse is so heavily played that, after deductions of state tax and commission, there is not enough money left to pay the legally prescribed minimum on each winning bet. The racing association usually makes up the difference.

MONEY RIDER- A rider who excels in rich races.

MORNING GLORY- Horse who performs well in morning workouts but fails to reproduce that form in races.

MORNING LINE- Approximate odds quoted before wagering determines exact odds.

MUDDY TRACK- Deep condition of racetrack after being soaked with water.

MUDDER- Horse who races well on muddy tracks.

MUDLARK- Superior mudder.

MUZZLE- Nose and lips of a horse. Also a guard placed over a horse’s mouth to prevent him from biting or eating.

NAVICULAR DISEASE- Corrosive ulcer on the navicular bone, usually in the fore feet.
NEAR SIDE- Left side of a horse, side on which he is mounted.

NECK- Unit of measurement, about the length of a horse’s neck; a quarter of a length.

NERVED- Operation that severs vital nerve to enable horses to race without pain. Illegal in most jurisdictions.

NOD- Lowering of head. Winning in that manner.

NOM DE COURSE- Assumed name of owner or racing partnership.

NOSE- Smallest advantage a horse can win by. In England called a short head.

OAKS- A classic stakes event for 3-year-old fillies.

OBJECTION- Claim of foul lodged by rider, patrol judge or other official. If lodged by official, it is called an inquiry.

ODDS-ON- Odds of less than even money. In England it is simply called “on,” thus a horse “5-4 on” is actually at odds of 4-5.

OFFICIAL- Sign displayed when result is confirmed. Also racing official.

OFF SIDE- Right side of horse.

OFF TRACK- An off track refers to a wet racing surface.

OFF-TRACK BETTING- Wagering on horses at legalized betting offices run usually by the state or the tracks, or, in New York, by independent corporations chartered by the state, with wagers commingled with on-track betting pools.

ON THE BIT- When a horse is eager to run.

ON THE BOARD- Finishing among the first four.

ON THE NOSE- Betting a horse to win only.

OSSELETS- Bony growth on the fetlock or ankle joint resulting in inflammation of the enveloping membrane of the bone.

OVER-REACHING- Toe of hind shoe striking forelegs on heel, or back of coronet.

OVERLAND- Racing wide throughout, outside of other horses.

OVERLAY- A horse going off at a higher price than he appears to warrant based on his past performances.

OVERNIGHT LINE- Prices quoted night before the 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.

PADDOCK- Structure or area where horses are saddled and kept before post time.

PADDOCK JUDGE- Official in charge of paddock and saddling routine.

PARIMUTUEL- A form of wagering that originated in France in which all money bet is divided up among those who have winning tickets, after taxes, takeout and other deductions are made.

PAST PERFORMANCES- A compilation in Daily Racing Form of a horse’s record, including all pertinent data, as a basis for handicapping.

PATROL JUDGES- Officials who observe progress of race from various vantage points around the track.

PENALTIES- Extra weight a horse must carry, especially in a handicap.

PHOTO FINISH- A result so close it is necessary to use a finish-line camera to determine order of finish.

PICK SIX (or more)- A type of wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected.

PILL- Small numbered ball drawn to decide post positions.

PINCHED BACK- Horse in close quarters and forced back.

PINHOOKER; PINHOOK- To buy a horse at auction fo r the purpose of reselling him later.

PLACE- Second position at finish.

PLACE BET- Wager on a horse to finish first or second.

PLACING JUDGES- Officials who determine the order in which horses reach the finish line.

PLATTER- Claiming horse. Also a farrier.

PLATES- Shoes horses wear in races. Racing plates.

POCKET- Boxed in, shut off. Running in a position with horses in front and alongside.

POLE- Markers at measured distances around the track, marking the distance from the finish. The quarter pole, for instance, is a quarter of a mile from the finish, not from the start.

POST- Starting point or position in starting gate.

POOL- Mutuel pool. Total sum bet on a race or even, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool.

POST PARADE- Horses going from paddock to starting gate past the stands.

POST POSITION- Position of stall in starting gate from which a horse starts.

POST TIME- Designated time from race to start.

PREFERRED LIST- Horses with prior rights to starting for various reasons.

PREP (or PREP RACE)- A workout or a race to prepare a horse for a future engagement.

PROP- Refusing to break with field from gate. Standing flat-footed. Also, when a horse suddenly stops running a full speed by extending his forefeet as “brakes.”

PUBLIC TRAINER- One whose services are not exclusively engaged by a single stable and who accepts horses from a number of owners.

PURSE- A prize of money to which owners do not contribute.

QUARTER- One-quarter of a mile; 440 yards; 1,320 feet.

QUARTER CRACK- Crack in wall of hoof running downwards from coronet.

QUARTER HORSE- Breed of horse especially fast for a quarter of a mile, from which its name is derived.

QUARTER POLE- Marker one-quarter mile from the finish.

QUINELLA- Wager in which first two finishers must be picked, but payoff is made no matter which of the two wins and which runs second.

RABBIT- A horse that is considered to have little chance of winning a race but is entered purely to ensure a fat pace and tire out the other front-runners, softening up the competition for the benefit of an entrymate.

RACING SECRETARY- Official who drafts conditions of races and assigns weights for handicap events.

RAIL RUNNER- Horse who prefers to run next to inside rail.

RECEIVING BARN- Structure at which horses entered are isolated for a certain period of time before a race.

REFUSE- When a horse will not break from the gate. In jumping races, balking at the jump.

RESERVED- Held for a particular engagement or race. Also, held off the pace.

RIDDEN OUT- Refers to a horse that wins under a vigorous hand ride but is not being whipped.

RIDE SHORT- Using short stirrup leathers.

RIDGLING- A horse with one or both undescended testes.

ROAN- Mixture of white and red (or brown) hairs.

ROARING- Deep, prolonged cough, generally when a horse is galloping.

ROGUE- Ill-tempered horse.

ROMP- Running (or winning) with utmost ease.

ROUTE- Race distance of a mile or longer.

ROUTER- Horse who performs well at distance races.

RUNDOWN- Of a horse, to suffer abrasions on the heels as a result of contact with the dirt and sand of the track surface.

RUNDOWN BANDAGES (or WRAPS)- Bandages on the hind legs, usually with a pad inside, to keep a horse from “burning” or scraping his heels when he races.

RUN-OUT BIT- A special type of bit to prevent a horse from bearing out (or in).

SADDLE CLOTH- Cloth under the saddle on which number (and sometimes horse’s name) denoting post position is displayed.
SAVAGE- To bite another horse or a person.

SCALE OF WEIGHTS- Fixed imposts to be carried by horses in a race according to age, distance, sex, and time of year.

SCHOOLING- Accustoming a horse to starting from the gate and to teach him racing practices. In steeplechasing, more particularly to teach a horse to jump.

SCHOOLING LIST- List of horses required by the starter to school at the starting gate before being permitted to race.

SCRATCH- To be taken out of a race.

SECOND CALL- A second engagement of jockey who already is listed for a mount in a race.

SECOND DAM- Grandmother; granddam.

SELLING RACE- A claiming race.

SESAMOID- Sesamoid bones are located at the back of the fetlock, the joint formed by the pastern bone and the cannon bone.

SET- A group of horses working together.

SET DOWN- A suspension. Also, put to a drive, or asked to run by a jockey.

SEVEN FURLONGS- Seven-eighths of a mile; 1,540 yards; 4,620 feet.

SEX ALLOWANCE- Fillies and mares, according to their age and time of year, are allowed to carry three to five pounds less when meeting males.

SHADOW ROLL- Usually a lamb’s wool roll half way up the horse’s face to keep him from seeing his own shadow.

SHANK- Rope or strap attached to a halter or bridle by which a horse is led.

SHED ROW- Stable area. A row of barns.

SHORT- A horse in need of more work or racing to reach winning form.

SHOW- Third position at the finish.

SHOW BET- Wager on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

SHUT OFF- Pocketed. Unable to improve position.

SILKS- Jacket and cap worn by riders which designate owner of the horse.

SIMULCAST- Televising a race to other tracks, OTB offices or other outlets for the purpose of wagering.

SIRE- Father of a horse.

SIX FURLONGS- Three-quarter of a mile; 1,320 yards, 3,960 feet.

SIXTEENTH- One-sixteenth of a mile; 110 yards, 330 feet.

SLOPPY- Condition of footing. Wet on surface with firm bottom.

SLOW- Footing that is not fast, between good and heavy.

SNUG- Mild restraining hold by rider.

SOLID HORSE- Contender.

SOPHOMORE- Three-year-old horse.

SPEEDY CUT- Injury to knee or hock caused by a strike from the opposite foot.

SPIT BOX- Receptacle for urine and blood taken from a horse for testing.

SPIT THE BIT- When a horse quits running against the bit, usually because of fatigue; often said disdainfully: “Luck Lady really spit out the bit”.

STAKES-PLACED- Finishing first, second or third in a stakes race.

STAKE- A race (usually a feature race) for which owner must pay up 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 HORSE- One capable of competing in such events.

STALLION- Entire male horse.

STALL WALKER- Horse that moves about his stall and frets rather than rests.

STAR- Small patch of white hair on a horse’s forehead. Also a credit a horse receives from being forced out of an overcrowded race, giving him priority in future races.

STARTER RACE- An allowance or handicap race restricted to horses who have started for a specific claiming price or less.

STARTING GATE- Mechanical device having partitions (stalls) for horses in which they are confined until the starter releases the doors in front to begin the race.

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

STAYER- Stout-hearted horse who can race long distances.

STEADIED- A horse being taken in hand by his rider, usually because of being in close quarters.

STEPS UP- A horse moving up in class to meet better runners.

STEWARDS- Top officials of the meeting responsible for enforcing the rules.

STEEPLECHASE- A jumping race over high obstacles.

STICK- A jockey’s whip.

STICKERS- Calks on shoes which give a horse better traction in mud or on soft tracks.

STOCKINGS- White legs below the knees.

STRETCH- Final straight portion of the racetrack to the finish.

STRETCH CALL- Position of horses at the eighth pole, usually about halfway down the stretch.

STRETCH RUNNER- Horse who finishes fast.

STRETCH TURN- Bend of track into homestretch.

STRIDE- Manner of going. Also distance covered after each foot has touched the ground once.

STRIP- Markings of a horse. White hairs running part-way down the face.

STRIPE- A white marking running down a horse’s face to bridge of nose or below.

STUD- Male horse used for breeding. Also breeding farm.

STUD BOOK- Registry and genealogical record of the breeding of Thoroughbreds maintained by The Jockey Club.

SUBSCRIPTION- Fee paid by owner to nominate horse for a stakes race or to maintain eligibility for a stakes race.

SUCKLING- Thoroughbred still nursing.

SUSPEND (or SUSPENSION)- Punishment for infraction of rules. Offender denied privileges of racetrack for specified period of time. If permanently suspended: Ruled Off.

SWAYBACK- Horse with a dipped backbone.


TACK- Riders’ racing equipment. Also applied to stable gear.

TAKE (or TAKEOUT)- Commission deducted from mutuel pools which s shared by the track and local and state governing bodies in the form of tax.

TAKEN UP- A horse pulled up sharply by his rider because of being in close quarters.

TATTOO- A letter and a group of numerals applied to the underside of the upper lip of each registered Thoroughbred.

TELETHEATER- Special facility for showing simulcast races.

THRUSH- Inflammation of the cleft of the frog.

TIGHT- Ready to race.

TIMBER TOPPER- Jumper or steeplechase horse. More properly horses jumping over timber fences.

TONGUE STRAP- Strap or tape bandage used to tie down a horse’s tongue to prevent it from choking in a race or workout.

TOP LINE- Thoroughbred’s breeding on his sire’s side.

TOPWEIGHT- Highest weight assigned or carried in a race.

TOTALISATOR- Machine which sells and records betting tickets and shows odds. Also figures out and displays payoff figures.

TOUT- One who gives tips on racehorses, usually with expectation of some personal reward in return; to give tips.

TRACK BIAS- A racing surface that favors a particular running style or position; horses that run on the lead or on the rail.

TRACK RECORD- Fastest time at various distances recorded at a particular track.

TRIAL- Workout.

TRIFECTA (or TRIPLE)- A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order.

TRIP- A horse’s race.

TRIPLE CROWN- In the United States, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. In England the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St. Leger.

TURF COURSE- Grass course.

TURN DOWN- A protrusion on the bottom of a horseshoe added to give traction.

TWITCH- A device usually consisting of a stick with a loop of rope at one end, which is placed around a horse’s nose and upper lip and twisted to curb fractiousness.

UNDER CONTRACT- A trainer or rider formally signed for a specified time and compensation.

UNDERLAY- A horse racing at longer odds than he should.

UNDER PUNISHMENT- Horse being whipped and driven.

UNDER WRAPS- Horse under stout restraint in a race or workout.

UNTRIED- Not raced or tested for speed. Also a stallion who has not been bred.

UNWIND- Gradually withdrawing a horse from intensive training.

VALET- Person who attends riders and keeps their wardrobe and equipment in order.


WALK HOTS- To cool a horse out after a workout or race.

WALKOVER- Race which scratches down to only one starter who merely gallops required distance. A formal gesture required by rules of racing.

WARMING UP- Galloping horse on way to post.

WASHY- Horse breaking out in nervous sweat before race.

WEANLING- A foal that is less than 1-year-old that has been separated from its dam.

WEAVING- Swaying motion in stall, or act of threading way through field in race.

WEIGHT-FOR-AGE- Fixed scale of weights to be carried by horses according to age, sex, distance of race and season of year.

WHIP- Instrument, usually of leather, with which rider strikes horse to increase his speed. Also called bat and gad.

WINDED- Breathing with difficulty after workout or race.

WINNER-TAKES-ALL- Winner receiving all the purse or stakes.

WITHERS- The highest point of a horse’s shoulder.

WOBBLER- A neurological disease due to compression of the spinal cord. Seen principally in 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds.

WORK- To exercise a horse. A workout.



YEARLING- Thoroughbred between the first New Year’s Day after being foaled and the following January 1.

YIELDING- Condition of turf course with a great deal of moisture.