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Racing Terminology

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Added money – This is purse money, added by the racetrack to upgrade the purse. It is added to the nomination, entry and starting fees for a stake race.

Allowance race – For higher quality horses. Entry is made according to conditions, usually the number of races won or money earned by the horse. The horses are assigned weights based on recent performance.

Black type – A horse is assigned black type if it has won (or been placed) in certain Stakes races.

Blood stock agent – Generally a commissioned agent who represents either the seller, occasionally both, in the sale of thoroughbreds.

Bounce – A poor performance by a horse in a race after a strong effort in a previous race. Normally due to the great effort in the previous race.

Breeze – A timed work out by a horse at a specified distance. It can actually be at racing speed, but usually is slower. It’s the fastest speed horse go while trained in the morning.

Broodmare – A female horse who is pregnant or used for breeding.

Claiming race – A race in which a horse is offered for a price. Another owner can place money in an account and then owns the horse when the starting gate opens.

Class – The quality of a horse or the level of difficulty of a race.

Closer – A horse whose running style is to relax the first part of the race and then come running at the end.

Colt – A male horse under five years old.

Conformation – The structure of the horse’s body. Certain Conformation is conducive to racing success.

Consigner – A horse owner or agent of the owner, who arranges with a sales company to sell a horse at public auction.

Dam – The mother of a horse.

Double – If the win an place horses, in the exact order are selected, of two consecutive races.

Exacta – If the bettor picks the win and place horses in the exact order.

Exercise rider – A person who gallops race horses in the morning. This person doesn’t normally ride in races. Usually they are an employee of the trainer, or freelance.

Exotic – A bet other than win, place or show.

Farrier – A person who takes care of horse’s feet. Trimming, correction, or putting on shoes.

Fast – Part of a rating system for racing surfaces. In this case, a dirt track that is dry and firm.

Filly – A female horse under five years old.

Firm – Part of a rating system for racing surfaces. In this case, a turf course that is dry and relatively hard.

Foal – A horse, male or female, one year of age or younger.

Fractions – The internal time splits of a race. Usually measured at intervals of a furlong, (1/8 of a mile).

Furlong – One eighth of a mile.

Game – A horse who gives all he has to win a race.

Gelding – A castrated male horse.

Good – Part of a rating system for racing surfaces. A dirt or turf track that has had some rain, but is still even and firm to race on.

Groom – The caretaker of the racehorse. Employed by the trainer, he/she preps the horse in the morning for the exercise rider, administers therapy and handles the horse in general.

Green Broke – Refers to the first thirty to sixty days in the breaking process of a racehorse. The horse accepts the saddle and bridle and is reasonable when ridden at the walk, trot and canter.

Handle – Terminology for the total amount bet at a track on a given day or time period.

Horse – A male horse, not castrated, five years or older.

Hotwalker – A person whose job it is to walk the horse after or in lieu of exercise. This person is employed by the trainer.

Identifier – When the racehorse enters the paddock he must stop and have his tattoo checked by the horse identifier. In addition the identifier checks the markings and cowlick on the jockey club papers. This is done to verify that the correct horse will run in the race.

In foal – A female horse (broodmare), who is pregnant.

Jockey – Rides the horse in the race and tries to win.

Length – a measurement used in describing a race. The distance estimated to be the length of a horse’s body. One length is considered to be run in one-fifth of a second.

Maiden – A horse who has never won a race.

Mare – A female horse five years or older.

Muddy – Part of a rating system for racing surfaces. A dirt track when it has been saturated with rain, making the footing unreliable.

One turn – A race around one turn of the track.

Optional claimer – A horse may be entered under allowance conditions stated, or for a designated claiming price.

Outrider – An official employed by the racetrack who controls the flow of the post parade in the afternoons atop a pony. They troubleshoot when problems arise, such as a loose or scratched horse. In addition, in the mornings, they are the “police” of the track. Enforcing rules as well as troubleshooting.

Overnight – A list of races to be run the next racing day. Includes the date the horses will run, list of horses, race number and time, trainer and jockey. The racing secretary usually includes several extra races that trainers can enter in the next entry day.

Place – The second finisher in the race.

Pick 3 – The bettor picks the winners of three consecutive races.

Pony – In racing terminology, a pony is not a “pony” in the regular sense of the word. A horse that leads the racehorse to the starting gate on race day. Or a horse that is ridden by the outrider and engages in catching loose horses or other troubleshooting.

Pool -Total amount bet on a given wager of a given race.

PPE – Pre purchase exam. This exam is performed by a vet per the potential owner’s instructions.

Purse – Entrants of a race run for a certain percentage of money offered by the racetrack. This is determined by the finishing position in the race. Usually 60% to first, 20% to second, 11% to third, 6% to fourth and 3% to fifth. Some tracks pay a set amount to the other finishers in the race, $50 or so.

Quinella – The bettor picks the win and place horses, in either order.

Racing Form – Contains racing news, but it’s main purpose is to supply all of the previous races of each horse in each race. It is used by the betting public as well as trainers and owners in handicapping the race.

Racing Secretary – The main function of the Racing Secretary is to “write” races based on the types of horses residing at the track.

Route – A mile or longer race.

Select Sale – Horses with chosen to participate in the sale based on superior confirmation and breeding. Open sales accept any entrant.

Show – Third place in a race.

Sire – The father of the horse.

“Sit Chilly” – Describes the way a rider sits when a horse has anxiety or is about to do something. While his body is relaxed and giving to the horse, his legs are around the horse as the rider prepares to go with the horse. Many times just sitting chilly avoids the potential problem.

Sloppy – Part of the rating system for racing surfaces. A dirt track that is wet enough that the surface is soft and uneven.

Soft – Part of the rating system for racing surfaces. A turf track that is saturated with water.

Sprint – A race less than a mile in distance.

Special weight – Weight assigned by the racing secretary for horses who haven’t raced enough to establish a racing record.

Stake race – The highest level of racing. Horses must pay a nomination, entry and starting fee.

Stallion – A male horse used for breeding.

Stallion prospect – An uncastrated male horse who is being considered for the purpose of breeding.

Star Gazer – Terminology for a horse who, when being ridden has an extremely high head carriage. As though he’s “looking at the stars.”

Starter allowance – An allowance race which a horse is eligible, only if he has run in a claiming race below a designated claiming price.

Soundness – Refers to the health of the horse. A horse that is healthy is said to be sound.

Speed figure – A number that analyzes how fast a hose ran a race. Based on factors such as, track condition, trip, length beaten, and other variables that affected the horse’s performance.

Speed horse – A horse who likes to run in the front of the race from beginning to end.

Stalker – A horse who sits behind the speed horses in a race and then tries to win at the end of the race.

Suckling – A baby horse who is still nursing his mother.

Takeout – The percentage the track gets from each bet.

Trifecta – Specific terminology where a bettor picks the win, place, and show horses in the correct order.

Trip – Description of a particular horse’s experience in a race.

Two turns – A race run around both turns of the racetrack. Usually a distance race.

Variant – The difference form the average time for races of the same distance by the same class of horses at the same track on different days.

Weanling – A baby horse who is not nursing his mother any longer.

Yearling – A young horse after January 1st following its birth to the next January 1st.

Yielding – Part of the rating system for racing surfaces. A turf track when it has absorbed enough water that it is soft.

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