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Racing Terms
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ALL OUT:   A horse who is trying to the best of his ability.

ALSO-ELIGIBLE:   A horse entered in the race but who cannot start unless another horse is scratched.

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

BACKSTRETCH:   The straight way on the far side of the track.

BEARING IN (or OUT):   Failing to maintain a straight course, veering to the left or right. Can be caused by injury, fatigue, outside distractions, or poor riding.

BLANKET FINISH:   When the horses finish so close for the win you could theoretically put a single blanket across them.

BLINKERS:   Equipment worn on the bridle to restrict a horse's vision on the sides to help maintain attention and avoid distractions.

BLOWOUT:   A short fast workout, usually a day or two before a race, designed to sharpen a horse's speed.

BOARD:   The tote board on which odds, betting pools and other race information is displayed.

BOBBLE:   A bad step away from the starting gate, sometimes caused by the ground breaking away from under a horse and causing him to duck his head or go to his knees.

BOLT:   Sudden veering from a straight course.

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

BULLET WORK:   The best workout time for the distance on a given day at a track.

BULL RING:   Small racetrack less than one mile around.

BUTE:   Phenylbutazone a commonly used analgesic for horses.

CAULK:   Projection on the bottom of a shoe to give the horse better traction, especially on a wet track.

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

CHUTE:   Extension of the backstretch or homestretch to allow a longer straight run at the start.

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

CLUBHOUSE TURN:   Generally the turn immediately after the finish line and closest to the clubhouse.

COLORS:   Racing silks, the jacket and cap worn by jockeys. Silks can be generic and provided by the track or specific to one owner.

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

CUPPY:   A track surface which breaks away under a horse's hoof.

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

DEAD TRACK:   Racing surface lacking resiliency.

DISTANCED:   Well beaten, finishing a long distance behind the winner.

DOGS:   Wooden barrier (or rubber traffic cones) placed a certain distance out from the inner rail, to protect the inner part of the track (usually the turf course) from traffic during workouts to save it for racing.

DRIVING:   Strong urging by rider.

EASED:   The jockey stops the horse during the race so he can't finish, usually due to an injury or equipment problem.

EASILY:   Running or winning without being pressed by the jockey or opposition.

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

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

EXTENDED:   Forced to run at top speed.

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.

FAST TRACK:   The optimum condition for a dirt track, dry, fast and even.

FIRM:   A optimum condition for a turf course corresponding to fast on a dirt track.

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

FLATTEN OUT:   When a horse drops his head almost on straight line with body, generally from exhaustion.

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:   Lasix, the medication used to treat of bleeders.

GOOD TRACK:   Condition between fast and slow, generally a bit wet.

GRADUATE:   Winning for the first time.

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

HAND RIDE:   The jockey urges a horse with the hands and arms without using the whip.

HEAD OF THE STRETCH:   Beginning of the straight run for the finish.

HEAVY:   Condition of track when wet similar to muddy but slower.

HUNG:   A horse holding the same position, unable to make up distance on the winner.

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

IMPOST:   Weight carried or assigned.

LASIX:   See furosemide.

LENGTH:   Length of a horse from nose to tail, about 8 feet.

LUG (in or out):   Action of a tiring horse, bearing in or out, failing to keep a straight course.

MORNING GLORY:   Horse who performs well in morning workouts but fails to fire in actual races.

MORNING LINE:   Approximate odds quoted before wagering begins.

MUDDY:   Deep condition of racetrack after being soaked with water. Horses who run will on wet tracks are generally referred to as mudders.

NECK:   Unit of measurement, about the length of a horse's neck; a quarter of a length.

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

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

OVERWEIGHT:   Surplus weight carried by a horse when the rider cannot make the assigned weight.

PADDOCK:   Area where horses are saddled and kept before post time.

PASTEBOARD TRACK:   Lightning fast racing strip.

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, the total sum bet on a race or a particular bet.

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 for a race to start.

RIDDEN OUT:   Finishing a race without rider urging him to do his utmost.

SADDLE CLOTH:   Cloth under the saddle on which number denoting post position is displayed.

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

SCRATCH:   To be taken out of a race.

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

SILKS:   See colors.

SLOPPY:   A track that is wet on surface with firm bottom.

SLOW:   A track with some moisture in it that is not fast, between good and heavy.

STARTING GATE:   Mechanical device with stalls for horses to stand in until the starter releases the doors in front to begin the race.

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

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.

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

STRETCH RUNNER:   Horse who finishes fast in the stretch.

STRETCH TURN:   Bend of track into homestretch.

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

TONGUE STRAP OR TIE:   Cloth or rubber strap used to tie down a horse's tongue to prevent it from choking in a race or workout.

TRACK RECORD:   Fastest time for a distance at a particular track.

TURF COURSE:   Grass course.

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

WARMING UP:   Galloping horse on way to post.

WASHY:   Horse breaking out in nervous sweat before race, sometimes to the point it will be dripping from his belly.

WHIP:   Instrument, usually of leather, with which rider strikes horse to increase his speed.

More resources:

Scale of Weights
as used in "weight for age" races

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