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Glossary of Racing Terms

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  A
Added money
Money added to a purse by the racing association or by sponsors, state-bred programs or other funds added to the money paid by horse owners as nomination, entry, sustaining and other fees.

Age of a horse
Computed on the basis of a calendar year. All race horses have January 1 of the year they were born as their official birth date, regardless of their foaling date.

Aged
Term indicating a horse is 4 years of age or older.

All out
A horse who is trying to the best of its ability.

Allowance race
A race in which eligibility is based upon amount of money won or number of races a horse has won over a specified time.

Also-eligible
A horse officially entered in a race, but not permitted to start unless the field is reduced by scratches at scratch time.

Also-ran
A horse that finishes out of the money (first, second or third).

Apprentice
A jockey who has not ridden a specified amount of winners within a specific time period. Also known as a "bug," from the asterisk used to denote the weight allowance these jockeys receive.

Apprentice allowance
A weight concession given to an apprentice jockey.

Apron
The paved area between the grandstand and the racing surface.

Assistant Starter
The employee of a horse racetrack who, under direct supervision of the starter, helps place the starting gate for a race, leads horses into the gate, helps jockeys and handles horses while in the gate until the start.

At the post
The time when the horses have arrived and are ready to be loaded into the starting gate.

Average-earnings index (AEI)
A breeding statistic that compares racing earnings of a stallion or mare's foals to those of all other foals racing at that time. An AEI of 1.00 is considered average, 2.00 is twice the average, 0.50 half the average.

 

 

B
Backside
The stable and training area of a racetrack.

Backstretch
The straight part of the track on the far side opposite the grandstand side or homestretch.

Bandages
Soft wraps used around a horse's legs for therapeutic purposes or to prevent a horse from hurting its heels on the racing surface.

Battery
A term for an illegal electrical device used by a jockey to stimulate a horse during a race. Also, a "machine" or "joint."

Bay
A horse color varying from a yellowish tan to a rich mahogany brown. The mane, tail and lower portion of the legs are always black, except where white markings are present.

Bearing in (or out)
Deviating from a straight course on the racetrack while racing.

Bell
Signal sounded at the start of the race and the termination of betting.

Bertillon card
A greyhound's identification card that lists physical identifying marks for every racing greyhound. The greyhound's Bertillon number is tattooed in its ear.

Bit
A metal or rubber mouthpiece, attached to the bridle by which the horse is guided and controlled.

Black
A horse color in which the entire body is covered with uniform black hair.

Blacktype
Bold-face type used in sales catalogs to distinguish horses who have won or placed in a stake race.

Blanket
The official numbered cloth worn by the greyhound to represent its post position.

Blaze
A white marking on the face of a horse, extending from the forehead to the nose.

Bleeding
Short-hand term for a medical condition called exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH). In a horse that suffers from bleeding, the small capillaries that surround the lungs' air sacs (alveoli) rupture. Blood may sometimes be seen coming from the horse's nostrils, but more often is seen through an endoscopic examination after exercise.

Bleeder
A horse that suffers from exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding).

Blinkers
A hood designed to limit a horse's peripheral vision, thus preventing distractions. The hood has cups at the eye openings which can vary in size and shape.

Bloodline
Pedigree; family lineage.

Bloodstock Agent
A person who advises and/or represents a buyer or seller of horses at a public auction or a private sale. A bloodstock agent usually works on commission, often five percent of the purchase price, and can also prepare a horse for sale.

Blowout
A very short, timed workout, usually a day or two before a race, designed to sharpen a horse's speed.

Bobble
A bad step away from the starting gate, usually caused by the track breaking away from under a horse's hoof and causing it to duck its head or nearly go to its knees.

Bolt
When a horse swerves sharply from its lane or the regular course; when a greyhound leaves the course during a race.

Bowed tendon (a Bow)
A rupture of the sheath enclosing the tendon from the knee to the fetlock joint on a horse.

Boxed (in)
To be trapped between, behind or inside of other horses.

Brace (or Bracer)
A rubdown liniment used on a horse after a race or a workout.

Break a horse
To accustom a young horse to racing equipment and methods and to carry a rider.

Breakdown
When a horse suffers an injury; lameness.

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

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

Broodbitch
A female greyhound used for breeding.

Broodmare
A female horse used for breeding.

Bucked shins
The inflammation of the tissue on the front of the cannon bone, a condition to which young horses are particularly susceptible.

Bug Boy
An apprentice jockey.

Bullet work
The fastest time for a distance on a given day at a racetrack.

Bute
Short-hand for phenylbutazone, a commonly used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication for horses, trade names Butazolidin and Butazone. Bute is legal medication in many racing jurisdictions, including Texas.

Buy-back
A horse put through a public auction that did not reach a minimum (reserve) price set by the consignor and therefore was retained. The consignor must pay a fee to the auction company based on a percentage of the reserve, to cover the auction company's marketing, advertising and other costs.

 
 

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

Canter
Slow gallop.

Cart
The motor that runs around the racetrack with the lure at a greyhound racetrack. Also called lure motor.

Cast
A horse positioned on its side or back in such a way that the horse cannot get up.

Calks
Small cleats inserted on the back end of a horse's shoe or racing plate that allows the horse a better grip of the surface. Sometimes called "mud calks."

Chalk
The wagering favorite in a race.

Chart
The statistical "picture" of the running of a race including the race animals' positions during the race, official order of finish, wagering handle, payoffs, closing odds, age, weight carried, owner, trainer, jockey, purse distribution, times, speed ratings and conditions of race.

Chart Caller
The person who charts all the horse races for a day and sends the information to the past performance program company or the American Quarter Horse Association.

Chartwriter
A person who compiles records of each greyhound race and writes comments describing each greyhound's performance during a race.

Checked
In horse racing, pulling a horse back or sudden slowing due to traffic problems during the race; in greyhound racing, a greyhound suddenly slowing.

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

Chute
The straightaway extension to the oval section of a track.

Circuit
A term used to describe several racetracks with complementing racing dates, which form a circuit within a certain geographic area. In Texas, live race dates are awarded on a circuit theory to ensure to the extent practical continuous racing in the state for each breed of horse.

Claim
A process by which a person may purchase a horse entered in a designated race for a predetermined purchase price. This process also equalizes the competitive level of horses in a single race.

Claiming price
The purchase price for which a horse is running in a claiming race.

Claiming race
A race in which all the horses are entered for a specific purchase price and can be purchased or "claimed" for that price. For example, each horse that enters a $50,000 claiming race is subject to being "claimed" by another person for a $50,000 purchase price.

Clerk of Scales
In horse racing, a racing official responsible for sequestering all jockeys each racing day, weighing all riders out and in from races, checking their assigned riding weights versus their actual weights, and reporting all changes. In greyhound racing, a racing official responsible for weighing the greyhounds in and out before the race, checking their established weights versus their actual weights, and reporting all changes.

Clocker
The person responsible for accurately timing the workouts of a horse.

Closer
A race animal that runs best in the latter part of the race, coming from off the pace.

Clubhouse turn
The turn in the racetrack immediately after the finish line and closest to the grandstands.

Colors
The jockey's cap and jacket; also "silks".

Colt
An ungelded male horse 4 years old or younger.

Condition
Equine form or fitness; to train a horse; the terms of a race, such as purse size, eligibility qualifications, and weight concessions.

Condition book
A booklet written by the racing secretary and published for the horsemen which lists all races, conditions and other information pertinent to the race meet. Trainers use the condition book as a guide for placing their horses in specific races at specific racetracks.

Condition race
A race 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
The physical makeup of and bodily proportions of a race animal.

Cooling out
Restoring a race animal, usually by bathing and walking, to normal temperature after becoming overheated in a race or a workout.

Coupled entry
Two or more race animals belonging to the same owner or trained by the same trainer running as a single wagering interest in a race.

Cribber (a wind sucker)
A horse who clings to objects with its teeth and sucks air into its stomach.

Crow's Nest
The area at the top of the grandstand where the announcer, stewards, judges, and others watch the races from a high vantage point.

Cuppy
A track surface that breaks away under a horse's hoof, due to soft pockets.

Cushion
The loose, top surface of the racing surface.

Crowd
To race too close to another horse, forcing its rider to take up or change course.

 
 

D
Dam
The mother of a race animal.

Dark day
A day when no live racing is scheduled.

Dark horse
An underrated animal that wins or has good prospects of winning.

Dead-heat
When two or more race animals reach the finish line simultaneously.

Dead track
A racing surface that lacks resiliency.

Derby
A stakes race for three-year olds.

Disqualification
A change in the order of finish by officials for an infraction of the rules.

Distaff
A race for female horses.

Distanced
Well beaten, finishing a great distance behind the winner.

Doubleheader
Two racing performances during one day, often done at greyhound racetracks.

DQ
Disqualification of a race animal for an infraction after the running of the race.

Driving
A horse running under strong urging by the rider.

Drop-down
A horse moving down in class or claiming price; a greyhound moving down in grade.

Dwelt
A horse that is late leaving the starting gate.

 
 

E
Early foot
Good speed at the start of a race.

Eased
The jockey stops the horse during the race so it cannot finish, usually due to an injury or equipment problem.

Easily
A horse running or winning without being pressed by the jockey or opposition.

Engagement
A stake nomination; a riding commitment by a jockey.

Entrance fee
Money paid to enter a race animal in a stake race, usually referred to as nomination payments.

Enter
To enroll a race animal in a race.

Entry
A race animal eligible to run in a race.

Equipment
Gear carried by a horse in a race, such as bandages, blinkers, nose band, saddle pad, shadow roll, and tongue tie.

Escape turn
At a greyhound racetrack, the first turn of the racetrack after the front stretch.

Evenly
A horse running so as to neither gain nor lose position or distance.

Exercise Rider
A rider who exercises horses in the morning training hours.

Extend
To force a horse to go all out.

 
 

F
Fade
To tire and drop out of contention.

False favorite
A horse that is wagered down to favoritism when others appear to outclass him.

False start
An unofficial start, from which horses are recalled to the gate.

Faltered
When a race animal that was in contention early drops back in the late stages. It is more drastic than weakened but less drastic than stopped.

Fast
A racing surface that is dry and hard, on which the footing is even and the race animals can run their best.

Farrier
A horseshoer.

Favorite
An entrant that has the shortest odds on the toteboard.

Feature
The best race on a card.

Field
All the entrants in a race.

Filly
A female horse less than 5 years old.

Firm
The optimum condition for a turf course corresponding to fast on a dirt track.

First turn
The bend in the track beyond the starting point; also, the clubhouse turn.

Flat Race
A race on level ground as opposed to a hurdle race or a steeplechase.

Flatten out
When a horse drops its head almost on straight line with body, generally from exhaustion.

Float
A weighted, flat piece of equipment used to seal and remove the water from a racing surface; also, the filing down of the sharp edges of a horse's molars.

Foal
A newly born horse of either gender.

Form
The Daily Racing Form, a daily newspaper that provides news about horse racing and past performance information on horses entered in races that day.

Foul
An action by any horse or jockey that hinders or interferes with another horse or jockey during the running of a race.

Fractional time
The times recorded at intermediate distances during the running of a thoroughbred race.

Fretter
A term used for a greyhound that is unusually nervous in the lockout kennel before a race, causing a weight loss.

Front runner
The race animal that is leading during a race.

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

Furosemide
A diuretic medication commonly used to treat bleeders, trade name "lasix".

Futurity
A stakes race for two-year-olds that usually requires elimination races (trials).

 

 
  G
Gait
The characteristic footfall pattern of a horse in motion. Horses have four natural gaits - walk, trot, canter and gallop.

Gap
An opening in the rail where horses enter and leave the racetrack.

Gelding
A neutered male horse.

Going-away
A race animal winning a race while increasing the lead.

Good track
A racing surface rated between slow and fast. Moisture remains in the strip but the footing is adequate.

Grade
A letter rating describing how a greyhound compares to other greyhounds in ability. Grades range from Grade AA, the top grade, through Grade D.

Graded race
A stakes race for horses rated by the American Graded Stakes Committee as being of exceptional quality in class of entrants based on the purse and the number of stakes winners typically entered in the race; Grade 1 is the best, Grade 2 the next best, and Grade 3 next.

Groom
A stable employee who cares for horses and performs daily chores such as grooming, bedding stall, bandaging, feeding, tacking and preparing for a race.

 
 

H
Halter
A headgear like a bridle, but lacking a bit, that is used on a horse when being handled around the barn or when being walked.

Hand
A unit of measurement, approximately four inches, by which a horse's height is measured; determined by placing one hand above the other from the ground to the withers or the point where the saddle rests.

Hand ride
Urging a horse to run by using the hands rather than using the whip.

Handicap
A race in which the racing secretary or track handicapper assigns weights designed to equalize the entrants' chances of winning based on past performance and ability; also, to study race animals' records to predict the winner of a race.

Handicapper
The racing secretary or other official who assigns weight, handicaps, and races; also, a person who analyzes a day's racing card and reports selections for the wagering public.

Handily
A horse winning a race easily; also, working or racing with moderate effort, but more effort than breezing.

Handle
The total amount of money wagered for a given period.

Harrow
An implement with teeth or tines used to rake and loosen the upper surface of a track.

Head of the stretch
The beginning of the straight run for the finish line.

Head
A unit of measurement that describes a race animal's lead to another by the length of its head.

Heat
One of multiple elimination races used to narrow the final field for a stakes race for which many race animals have been nominated. Usually run two to three weeks before the final race.

Heavy track
A racing surface drier than muddy and on which the footing is heavy and sticky.

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

Homestretch
The straightaway between the end of the far turn and the finish line.

Horse identifier
The racing official who checks the lip tattoo and markings of each horse as it enters the paddock to make sure the correct horses are running in the race.

Hot walker
A person who walks a horse to cool it out after workouts or races.

 
 

I
Impost
Weight carried or assigned to a race horse.

In hand
Running under moderate control, at less than best pace.

In the money
A race animal finishing first, second or third in a race.

Infield
The area on the track inside the racetrack itself, where tote board is located.

In foal
A mare being pregnant.

Inquiry
The stewards'/racing judges' immediate investigation into the running of a race which may result in the disqualification of one or more race animals.

Irons
Stirrups.

 
 

J
Jockey
As a noun, a race rider; as a verb, to maneuver for position during a race.

Jockey Agent
A person employed by a jockey to conduct the jockey's business.

Jog
A slow easy gait, usually a trot, used primarily to warm up horses before a race or workout.

Journeyman
A full fledged professional jockey.

Juvenile
A two-year-old horse.

 
 

K
Kennel
A business that cares for and races greyhounds under contract with a racing association.

Kennel compound
The area at a greyhound racetrack where the greyhounds are housed.

 
 

L
Lame
A deviation from a horse's normal gait due to pain in a limb or its supporting structures.

Lasix
See Furosemide.

Lay up
A period of time in which a race horse is sent away from the racetrack to rest.

Lead
Lead weights carried in the pockets on both sides of the saddle, used to make up the difference between the actual weight of the jockey and the weight the horse has been assigned to carry during the race.

Lead
A horse's front leg that is last to hit the ground during a gallop or canter.

Lead Outs
The handlers who parade the greyhounds onto the track during post parade, place them in the starting box, and retrieve the dogs when the race is finished.

Length
A unit of measurement in racing. In horse racing, a length is theoretically the distance from the horse's nose to the tip of its flying tail, approximately 8-9 feet. In greyhound racing, a length is approximately .07 of a second.

Line
Pedigree; the male side of pedigree.

Live weight
The weight of a jockey that a horse carries versus dead weight such as lead pad, which does not move with the horse's action.

Lock-out kennel
The area within the paddock designed to house the racing greyhounds before their racing performance. Also, the "ginny pit".

Lug (in or out)
The action of a tiring horse, bearing in or out, failing to keep a straight course.

Lure
The object the greyhounds chase while racing. Lures generally are a stuffed object that resembles either a bone or a rabbit. The lure operator keeps it a uniform distance ahead of the greyhounds.

 
 

M
Maiden
A race animal that has never won a race.

Maiden claiming race
A horse race for non-winners who are eligible to be claimed. Maiden race: A race for race animals that have never won a race.

Mane
The long hairs growing on the crest of the horse's neck.

Marathon
A horse race longer than 1 and 1/4 miles; a greyhound race at 7/16 mile.

Mare
A female horse 5 years old or older.

Match race
A challenge race between two race animals.

Middle distance
A horse race longer than seven furlongs but less than 1 and 1/4 miles; a greyhound race at 3/8 mile.

Morning line
The starting odds set by the track handicapper.

Mount fee
The fee earned by a jockey for riding in a race.

Mudder
A horse that races well on a muddy track.

Muddy
A racing surface where water has soaked into the base and is soft and wet. The footing is deep and slow.

Mutuel Clerk
A person at the mutual window who takes bets; also, a teller.

Muzzle
A plastic device placed over a greyhound's mouth and jaw. The muzzle is designed to protect other greyhounds while racing and to determine the outcome of a race in a photofinish. Also a term defining the nose and lips of a horse.

 
 

N
Near side
The left side of a horse, the side on which a horse is mounted.

Neck
A unit of measurement in racing about a quarter of a length, about the length of a race animal's neck.

Nose
The smallest length by which a race animal can win.

 
 

O
Objection
A claim of foul in a horse race made by a horse's owner, trainer, or jockey before the race is declared official.

Off the board
Finishing a race worse than fourth.

Off-track
A racing surface that is not fast - muddy, sloppy, holding, binding or soft.

Off side
The right side of a horse.

Official
The designation given to the result of a race by the stewards/racing judges when any occurrences that affected the actual order of finish have been decided in terms of pari-mutuel payoffs to winning bettors.

Open race
A race with no eligibility conditions other than age and sex.

On the bit
When a horse is eager to run.

Outrider
The person who leads the post parade at a horse racetrack and gets the horses and jockeys to the starting gates on time. The outriders also catch any loose horses on the track.

Outstanding ticket
A winning pari-mutuel ticket that has not yet been cashed; also known as uncashed tickets or outs.

Overnight race
A race for which entries close 72 hours or less before the post time for the first race on the day the race is to be run.

Overnight
The sheet available to horsemen at the racing secretary's office showing the entries, post positions, weights and jockeys for the next race day.

Overweight
The pounds that a horse carries in excess of its officially assigned weight because the jockey is too heavy.

 
 

P
Paddock
The area where the race animals gather for official identification immediately before a race. Horses are saddled in the paddock; greyhounds are blanketed in the paddock.

Paddock Judge
In horse racing, the racing official responsible for getting jockeys and horses in order to go to the starting gate; also checks the equipment used by each horse and supervises the saddling of the horses. In greyhound racing, the racing official responsible for supervising the leadouts, identifying greyhounds, and checking muzzles and blankets.

Pace
The speed of the leaders at each stage of the race.

Past performance
Information on a race animal's most recent races and works for handicapping purposes.

Photofinish
A very close finish in which only careful viewing of the photofinish picture can determine the order of finish. Also, the equipment used by the officials to determine which race animal wins a close race.

Pill
A small, numbered ball used in a blind draw to determine post positions.

Pinhooker
A person who buys a racehorse with the specific intention of re-selling it at a profit.

Placing Judge
The racing official in charge of the official placing or order of finish of race animals during and after the running of a race through the viewing of the race, especially at the finish, and the viewing of the photofinish strip with the stewards/racing judges.

Point(s) of call
A race animal's position at various locations on the racetrack where its running position is noted on a chart. The locations vary with the distance of the race.

Poles
The markers around the track indicating the distance to the finish line. The quarter pole, for instance, is a quarter of a mile from the finish, not from the start.

Pony Person
A person on horseback who accompanies a horse and jockey to the starting gate.

Post
The starting point for the race.

Post parade
The time period before the race when race animals leave the paddock, come onto the racetrack, and parade in front of the grandstands for review by patrons.

Post position
A race animal's position in the starting gate/box from the inside rail out, decided by a drawing at the close of entries before the race.

Post time
The official time set by the stewards/racing judges and the mutuel department at which a race will start.

Post weight
A greyhound's official weight reported before the greyhound enters the racetrack.

Preference list
A system used by racing secretaries to give preference in entries to horses that have not raced recently. The system is designed to ensure equity in determining which horses entered in a race will be allowed to race if there are more entries than available places in the race.

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

Program
The official program published and sold by the racing association. The program contains information about each race on the day's racing card, including race number, conditions, distance, types of betting, animals' names, numbers, jockeys, and weight.

Pull up
To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout.

Purse
The prize money offered in a race.

 
  Q
Quarter
Quarter-mile; two furlongs.
 
 

R
Racing association
A company that holds a license from the state racing commission to operate a pari-mutuel racetrack.

Racing conditions
The physical conditions involved in a race.

Racing Judge
A greyhound racing official who presides over a race meeting, has jurisdiction over all racing officials, rules on protests, and imposes fines and suspensions. In Texas, all three racing judges presiding at a race meeting are Commission employees.

Racing plate
A very light horseshoe with a toe grab or cleat for better traction.

Racing Secretary
The racing official who writes the conditions for the races, assigns the weights for handicap races, receives entries, conducts the draw, and is responsible for the operation and organization of the race office.

Rail
A barrier that forms the inside and outside perimeter of the racing surface. Also, at a greyhound racetrack, the metal strip that runs alongside the inside of the track on which the lure operates.

Rail runner
A race animal that prefers to run next to the inside rail.

Receiving barn
A barn designated for horses shipping in to the racetrack for a race.

Refuse
When a race animal will not break from the starting gate or starting box.

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

Reserve
A minimum price, set by the consignor, for a horse in a public auction.

Restricted stakes
A stakes race in which conditions limit the participants based upon certain criteria. The more common restricted stakes races are state-bred races and races written for horses purchased through or consigned to a certain sale.

Ridden out
Finishing a race without the jockey urging the horse to do its utmost.

Roan
A horse color where the majority of the coat of the horse is a mixture of red and white hairs or brown and white hairs. The mane, tail and legs may be black, chestnut or roan unless white markings are present.

Rogue
An ill-tempered horse.

Rogue's badge
Blinkers.

Route
A horse race distance longer than 7/8 miles.

Router
A race horse that performs well at longer distances.

Ruled off
When the stewards/racing judges or a racing association forbid a person to enter the grounds of the racetrack. Also known as an "exclusion".

Run-out bit
A special bit designed to prevent a horse from bearing in or out.

Rundown bandages (wraps)
Bandages on the hind legs, usually with a pad inside, to keep a horse from burning or scraping its heels or fetlocks when it races.

 
 

S
Saddle cloth (towel)
A cloth under the saddle on which program numbers are displayed.

Saddle pad
A piece of felt, sheepskin, or foam rubber used as a base for the saddle on a horse.

Scale of weights
A schedule of set weights that must be carried by horses according to age, sex, distance and time of year to equalize competition.

School
To train a race animal.

Schooling race
A practice race held using actual racing conditions, but in which no wagering is allowed.

Scratch
To withdraw a race animal from a race in which it is entered.

Scratch sheet
A daily publication that includes graded handicaps, tips, and scratches.

Scratch time
The deadline established by the race office for horses to be scratched before printing the official program.

Second call
A secondary mount of a jockey in a race in the event the jockey's primary mount does not draw into the race.

Set down
Suspension of a licensee or disqualification of a horse.

Sex allowance
A weight concession given to fillies and mares when racing against males.

Shadow roll
A sheepskin or cloth cylinder strapped across the horse's nose to bar its vision of the ground, preventing it from shying from shadows.

Shed row
The stable area with barns and walk-ways under a roof.

Short field
A race with seven or fewer race animals.

Silks (also called colors)
A jockey's racing shirt and cap displaying the owner's or post position colors.

Simulcast
A race televised to other locations for wagering purposes.

Sire
The father of a race animal.

Sleeper
An underrated race animal.

Sloppy
A racing surface on which the cushion is saturated, but the base is still firm. Footing is splashy but even, and the running time remains fast.

Slow track
A racing surface wetter than good, but not as thick as muddy. Footing is still wet, between heavy and good.

Smart money
Insider's bets.

Snip
A small patch of white hairs on the nose or lips of a horse.

Socks
Solid white markings on a horse extending from the top of the hoof to the ankles.

Sophomore
A three-year-old horse.

Speed index (SI)
A comparison of a horse's time in a race versus other times at the same track at the same distance.

Sprint
A horse race around one turn less than 1 mile long; a greyhound race of 5/16 mile.

Sprinter
A race animal that shows a preference for short distances.

Stable entry
Two or more horses in same race whose owners share financial interests.

Stake race
A race for which owners nominate race animals and pay fees to be added to the purse.

Stakes producer
A mare that has produced at least one foal that finished first in a stakes race.

Stallion
An uncastrated male horse.

Starter
The track official responsible for opening the starting gate to ensure a fair start and overseeing the actions of the assistant starters or lead outs when loading the race animals in the starting gate or box.

Starters allowance
An allowance or handicap race restricted to horses which have started for a specific claiming race.

Starting box
An electro-mechanical device from which the greyhounds begin a race.

Starting gate
An electro-mechanical structure in which the horses are loaded. All stall doors open simultaneously when the starter dispatches the field, ensuring a fair start.

State bred
A race animal bred and/or foaled/whelped in a particular state in a manner that meets all the criteria established by the state law and commission rules, and thus is eligible to compete in special races or purse supplements.

Steadied
A horse being taken in hand by its rider, usually because of being in close quarters.

Steward
A horse racing official who presides over a race meeting, has jurisdiction over all racing officials, rules on protests and claims of foul, and imposes fines and suspensions. In Texas, all three stewards presiding at a race meeting are Commission employees.

Stick
A jockey's whip; also called a bat.

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

Stockings
Solid white markings on a horse extending from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock.

Straight bet
A straight bet means to wager a particular animal will either win, place, or show.

Stretch
The final straightaway portion of the racetrack to the finish line.

Stretch call
The position of the race animals at designated pole markers, dependent upon the length of the race.

Stretch runner
A race animal who finishes fast in the stretch.

Stud
A male race animal used for breeding.

Substitute race
An alternate race used to replace a regularly scheduled race that does not fill or is canceled.

 
 

T
Tack
A rider's racing equipment. Also applied to stable gear.

Takeout
The percentage taken out of every dollar wager, and split between state, track and purses; generally, in pari-mutuel racing, the percentage taken out is usually between 15-20% for straight wagers and 20-25% for exotic wagers.

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

Tattoo
A form of identification in which race animals are marked. Horses are tattooed under the upper lip; greyhounds are tattooed on the ear.

Timer
The electrical timing device that records the actual time the race animals run each race. The timer is connected to the photofinish cameras and equipment, which are activated by opening of the starting gate or starting box. The photofinish camera records each race animal on a moving strip of film as that race animal crosses the finish line. A timing strip is visible across the top of the photo-strips, which reflects the time of each race animal at the finish line.

Tongue strap or tie
A cloth or rubber strap used to tie down a horse's tongue to prevent choking in a race or workout.

Totalisator
The computer system that records each wager in each pool as the pari-mutuel tickets are sold. This equipment also calculates the odds on each race animal according to the amount wagered.

Tote board
The totalisator board at the racetrack that electronically shows the money wagered and the resulting odds. Data includes approximate odds, total amount wagered in each pool, track condition, post time, time of day, result of race, official and inquiry signs, running time of each race and the mutual payoffs after each race is declared official, as well as other pertinent information.

Tout
To give or sell wagering advice, also a person who does so.

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
The condition of the racing surface. For a dirt track, see fast; good; muddy; sloppy. For a turf course, see firm; yielding.

Track record
The fastest time at each distance recorded at a particular track.

Track Superintendent
The official responsible for maintaining acceptable racing and training track conditions during race meet.

Trainer
The person who conditions and prepares a race animal for racing, with the absolute responsibility to ensure the physical condition and eligibility of the race animal.

Trial
A race in which eligible race animals compete to determine the finalists in a nomination race.

Trip handicapping
Looking for mishaps in a previous race that may have prevented a horse from doing its best.

Turf course
A grass covered track.

Turf
An infield grass course on which races are run.

 
 

U
Under wraps
A horse under stout restraint in a race or workout.

Underlay
A horse racing at shorter odds than it should.

 
 

V
Valet
An employee who takes care of a jockey's equipment, ensures that the correct silks are at the jockey's locker, and the jockey has the proper weight in the lead pad. The valet carries the saddle and equipment to the paddock, helps the trainer in saddling the horse, meets the jockey after the race, and carries the saddle and equipment back to the jockey's room after the jockey has weighed in.

Video patrol
The system by which video cameras are strategically placed around a racing oval to broadcast and record the running of each race from each possible angle.

 
 

W
Warm up
A slow gallop or canter to the starting point of the race.

Washy
A horse breaking out in a nervous sweat before a race.

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

Weight allowance
Weight permitted to be reduced because of the conditions of the race, such as a sex allowance or an apprentice allowance.

Weigh in
At a horse racetrack, the procedure where the clerk of scales, prior to the race, checks the weights of the jockeys and their riding equipment against the officially assigned weight for each horse in the race. At a greyhound racetrack, the procedure where the clerk of scales checks the weight of greyhounds as they enter the lock out kennel before a race performance.

Weigh out
The procedure where the clerk of scales, after the race, checks the weights of jockeys and their riding equipment against the officially assigned weight for each horse in the race. At a greyhound racetrack, the procedure where the clerk of scales checks the weight of greyhounds as they leave the lock out kennel to enter the racetrack for a race.

Weight-for-age
A fixed scale of weights to be carried by horses according to age, sex, distance of the race and season of the year.

Whelping
The act of giving birth to greyhounds.

Whip
A leather instrument with which a jockey encourages the horse to increase speed; also bat or stick.

Winner's circle
The enclosure adjacent to the racing oval where a winning horse or greyhound is brought for a ceremonial win photo with the owner, trainer, and their friends.

Wire
The finish line of a race.

Work
To exercise a race animal by galloping a pre-determined distance.

 
 

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

Yielding
Condition of a turf course with a great deal of moisture. Horses sink into it noticeably.

 

Page updated: 11/10/16

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