Horse Racing Glossary


Horse & Harness Racing Glossary

Take a couple minutes to reach through the comprehensive Horse Racing Glossary that covers all Thoroughbred and Standardbred horse racing (harness racing) terms and their definitions.


In a horse racing program if you see the term added after the purse amount that means that the track is adding that sum to the owner’s entry fees. The amount added will go to the winner(s) in addition to the race’s purse.


The age of a Thoroughbred horse. All thoroughbred racehorses celebrate their birthday on January 1.

Albino horse

An albino horse is a horse breed that completely lacks pigmentation. An albino horse’s eyes will be pink to red in color. An Albino horse is different than a white horse because white horses have an absence of pigment cells (melanocytes), whereas albino horses have a normal distribution of melanocytes.

All-age race

An all-age race is a racing event for horses that are two-year-olds and up.

All out

The term all out refers to when a horse is putting in a maximum effort, generally during a race.

All weather track

An all weather track is an artificial surface on which horse racing takes place. See artificial track.

Allowance race

A race for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions to determine weights to be carried based on the age, sex and/or past performance of a horse. The horses that are racing in an allowance races can’t be claimed.

American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter Horse is an American breed of horse that excels at sprinting short distances. The American Quarter Horse received its name from its ability to outdistance other horse breeds in races of a quarter mile or less.

American Quarter Horse Association

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), based in Amarillo, Texas, is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement and record-keeping of the American Quarter Horse.

American Veterinary Medical Association

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), founded in 1863, is a not-for-profit association representing more than 86,500 US veterinarians working in private and corporate practice, government, industry, academia, and uniformed services.


An ante post is when you place a bet on a race well before the day of the event that includes all possible runners. Ante post bets that fail to take part will be counted as losers.


An apprentice or bug is a jockey who has not ridden a certain number of winners within a specified period of time.


AQHA is an acronym for the American Quarter Horse Association.

Arabian horse

An Arabian horse or Arabian is a breed of horse that originated on the Arabian Peninsula. Arabian horses have a distinctive head shape and high tail carriage, making it one of the most easily recognizable horse breeds in the world.

Artificial track

An artificial or synthetic track surface is comprised of a number of proprietary man-made materials like: silica, sand, polypropylene fibers, spandex fibers, nylon fibers, granulated rubber and/or wax. The first synthetic horse racing track was installed at The Meadows Racetrack and Casino in Washington, PA in 1963 and replaced in 1975.


See donkey.

Assigned weight

Assigned weight refers to the physical weight applied by the handicapper in order to enable all of the horses to finish together (in a dead heat).


AVMA is an abbreviation for the American Veterinary Medical Association.

Baby race

A baby race is a racing event for horses that are two-years-old.


A horse that shows potential but is not fit enough or hasn’t completely developed.


A bar is the shortest of the odds that wasn’t mentioned in a betting summary or forecast.

Bar shoe

A bar is a type of horseshoe that has a bar across the usual opening at the heel. Bars are used to protect a horse’s tender frog from injury.


A bat is another term for a jockey’s whip.

Bay horse

A bay horse refers to a horse where the majority of their coat may vary from a yellow-tan to a bright auburn. The mane, tail and lower portion of the legs are always black, unless white markings are present. Horse racing programs and forms usually use the abbreviation “B.”

Belmont Stakes

The Belmont Stakes is a Thoroughbred horse race that is run over the 1 1⁄2-mile (2.4 km) dirt track, the longest in US thoroughbred racing, at Belmont Park in Elmont, New York. The Belmont Stakes is the third and final race comprising the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

Best odds guaranteed

Best odds guaranteed (BOG) is a horse racing promotion that is offered by many bookmakers. BOG is when you take a price on your selection and if that selection starts the race at a bigger price you get paid out at those increased odds.

Best turn out

When a horse is referred to as the best turn out it means the horse that was judged to be the best looking in the paddock. Best turn out is often awarded by sponsors of the race rather than experts.


A bet generally refers to risking money against someone else, on the basis of the outcome of a future horse race.


Bits are types of horse tack that is used during equestrian activities. A bit is usually made of metal or a synthetic material, and is placed in the mouth of a horse, assisting the rider in communicating with the horse.


Black, abbreviated BLK is the term used to describe a horse when the entire coat is black, including the muzzle, the flanks, the mane, tail and legs, unless white markings are present.


See blinkers.


See black.


Horse blinkers, sometimes called blinders, are a piece of plastic or leather horse tack that prevents the horse seeing to the rear and, in some cases, to the side. Blinkers encourage the horse to pay attention to the race rather than other distractions.

Blue magic

Blue magic (Propantheline Bromide) usually refers to the medication Probanthine®. Probanthine® is used to treat urine leaking, certain diarrheas, heart disorders, and to relax the rectum for rectal examination in horses.


BOG is an acronym for best odds guaranteed.


See bookmaker.


A bookmaker or bookie is a person or company who takes bets on horse races, calculates odds, and pays out winnings.

Box betting

The term box betting is used when multiple horses are selected in wagers where the bettor isn’t sure of the order in which the horses will finish the race.


Boxed-in is a horse racing term that describes when a horse is surrounded by other horses and can’t go anywhere.

Bran mash

A bran mash is a soft, moist mixture of wheat/rice bran that is mixed into boiling water. Bran mash is easily digested by horses. Bran mash is usually given to horses recovering from sickness, for mares immediately following foaling, and for aged horses with dental problems.


A breastplate, also known as a breastcollar, breaststrap or breastgirth is a piece of riding equipment used on horses. The purpose of a breastplate is to keep the saddle or harness from sliding back.


The breeder of a foal is the owner of its dam at the time of foaling. The person designated as the breeder may not have had anything to do with planning the mating of the mare or be located where foaling occurs.


The term bridle is a type of horse tack that includes both the headstall that holds a bit that goes in the mouth of a horse, and the reins that are attached to the bit.

Brought down

Brought down describes when a horse falls or trips over one of the other horses in front.


A Brumby is a free-roaming feral horse in Australia. The population of Brumbies is estimated to be between 400,000 and 1,000,000. Brumbies can be found in every state and territory throughout Australia except Tasmania.


A bug gets its name from the asterisk (*) next to the rider’s name in the program. Bugs are used to denote the weight allowance such riders receive. See apprentice.

By subscription

By subscription means that an entry fee is required.

California Harness Horsemen’s Association

The California Harness Horsemen’s Association (CHHA) represents California Harness Horsemen, owners, trainers, drivers AND breeders—before the Horse Racing Board, the California State Legislature, and other local and national agencies.


The call refers to the running position of horses in a race at various points.


Check is the term used to describe when a jockey momentarily pulls the reigns of a horse to avoid a serious collision with another horse.


CHHA is an abbreviation for the California Harness Horsemen’s Association.

Claiming race

A claiming race is a racing event for thoroughbred horses in which the horses are all for sale for more or less the same price (the “claiming price”). The claiming price of a horse can be found in the condition book.

Clerk of the scales

The clerk of the scales is the official who is in charge of the weighing in and out of all the jockeys throughout a race.

Closed race

A closed race is a horse race that is restricted to “non-winners of three races (or fewer than 3) of $3,000 other than maiden, claiming, or starter”. In layman’s terms this means that if a horse has won an allowance race it is ineligible to compete in a closed race.


A co-favorite is the term used to describe a joint favorite to win a horse race.


A colt is a male horse, usually below four-years-old.

Condition book

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


Corticosteroids, also known as steroids are a group of powerful anti inflammatory drugs that are used frequently to treat lameness problems in horses. There are a number of different chemicals available, but the most frequently used chemicals are Adcortyl (triamcinolone acetonide) and Depo-Medrone (methylprednisolone acetate).


A cribber or wind sucker refers to a horse that clings to objects with its teeth and sucks air into its stomach.


A cryptorchid refers to a male animal with one or both testicles undescended. See Ridgling.


Cryptorchidism is the absence of one or both testes from the scrotum. See Ridgling.

Daily Double

A daily double is a wager offered by horse racing tracks. Bettors place wagers on the winners of two races, pre-designated by the racetrack for a particular race day.


A dam is the mother of a horse.

Doctor of Veterinary Medicine

The Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree is a postgraduate degree obtained from schools that offer joint doctoral and doctor of medicine programs in the field. These are usually referred to as Doctor of Veterinary Medicine/Doctor of Philosophy in Veterinary Medicine (DVM/PhD) degree programs. Schools must be accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). See veterinarian.

Domesticated horse

A domesticated horse (Equus ferus caballus) is one of two extant subspecies of Equus ferus. Horses in the subspecies caballus are domesticated, although some domesticated populations live in the wild as feral horses.


The donkey or ass (Equus africanus asinus), is a domesticated member of the horse family (Equidae). The wild ancestor of the donkey is the African wild ass.

Draft horse

A draft horse, also known as a dray horse, carthorse, work horse or heavy horse is a large horse bred to be a working animal doing hard tasks such as plowing and other farm labor. Draft horses are commonly used for crossbreeding, especially to light riding breeds such as the Thoroughbred, for the purpose of creating sport horses.

Dray horse

See draft horse.


DVM is an abbreviation for Doctor of veterinary medicine. See Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.

Dzungarian horse

See Przewalski’s horse.


A piece of horse racing equipment that covers the horse’s ears to prevent disturbance from distracting sounds.

Entry fee

An entry fee refers to the fee paid to enter a horse in a stakes race. Generally entering a horse into a race doesn’t cost any money. Entry fee may also refer to the fee paid by a spectator to enter a racetrack.


Equidae, also known as the horse family is the taxonomic family of horses and related animals.

Equine medicine

Some veterinarians are specialists in equine medicine. Horses are different in anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, and husbandry to other domestic species. Specialization in equine veterinary practice is something that is normally developed after qualification, even if students do have some interest before graduation. See veterinarian.

Equine veterinarian

An equine veterinarian or equine vet are large animal practitioners that specialize in health management of horses. An equine veterinarian is qualified to diagnose and treat horses involved in competition and production. See veterinarian.


Equus is a genus of mammals in the family Equidae, which includes horses, asses, and zebras.

Equus ferus caballus

See horse.

Equus ferus

See wild horse.

Fast track

A fast track refers to a dirt racetrack where the track conditions are fast, even and resilient. Fastest rating for a dirt track.

Feral horse

A feral horse is a free-roaming horse of domesticated ancestry. Some populations of feral horses are managed as wildlife, and these horses often are popularly called wild horses. The difference between a feral and wild horse is that a feral horses’ ancestors were of domesticated origin.


A filly is a female horse, usually below four-years-old.

Firm track

A firm track refers to a turf racetrack where the conditions are dry, providing a firm and resilient surface. A firm track is the fastest track rating for a turf racetrack.

Finish-line camera

A finish-line camera, also known as a photo-finish camera is a form a digital camera that usually takes photos of horses crossing the finish line. Modern finish-line cameras can take 10,000 photos per second and are activated by motion detection sensors when the horses cross the finish line. Horse tracks will display the word ‘PHOTO’ on the board during a dead heat while they review the photo to accurately determine when the horses hit the finish line.

First time blinkers

First time blinkers refers to a horse that is wearing blinkers for the first time.


The term foal refers to a male or female horse in its first year of life.


The term foaled, when used as a verb refers to a horse after giving birth. Also known as “dropped”.


The term foaling, when used as a verb refers to the process of a female horse giving birth to a colt or filly.

Front runner

A front runner is a term given to horse that likes to lead throughout a race.


A furlong is a measure of distance commonly used in US horse racing. One furlong is equal to one-eighth mile, equivalent to 660 feet, 220 yards and 201.1684 meters.


Furosemide is sold under the brand name LASIX® among others. Furosemide is a medication that is often administered to horses to prevent bleeding during a race.


A gait refers to the manner which a horse moves, described as either a walk, trot, canter, gallop or rack.


A gelding refers to a horse that has been castrated.


The term genuine refers to a horse that give its jockey maximum effort when asked.


Going refers to the terms used to describe the track surface of a horse racing track prior to the start of a race. The going is determined by the amount of moisture in the ground and is assessed by an official steward on the day of the race. Dirt track conditions are classified as: fast, good, muddy, sloppy, slow or sealed and turf track conditions are classified as firm, good, yielding, soft or heavy.

Good track

A good track refers to a dirt racetrack where the conditions are dry. One level below a fast track rating. A good track can also describe the conditions of a turf racetrack where the surface is slightly softer than it is firm.

Graded stakes race

A graded stakes race is any Thoroughbred horse race that derives its name from the stake, or entry fee, owners must pay. There are three different levels of stakes races, the top ranking, and therefore purse, being a Grade I Stakes. Grade (G1).

Gray horse

A gray horse refers to a horse where the majority of their coat is a mixture of black and white hairs that appears gray. The mane, tail and legs may be either black or gray, unless white markings are present. Horse racing programs and forms usually use the abbreviation “Gr.”


A halter is a type of horse tack, such as a strap or rope that is placed around the head of a horse, used for leading or tethering it.


The Hambletonian is a harness horse race that is run over the 1.0-mile (1.6 km) dirt track at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Hambletonian is the first of three races that comprise the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters.


A hand is a non-standard unit of measurement used to measure the height of a horse, pony, and other equines. One hand equals 4 inches (101.6 mm). A horse’s height is measured in hands and inches. For example, Secretariat stood about 16.2 hands, equivalent to 66 in or 168 cm.

Hand ride

A hand ride is a term used to describe when a jockey urges a horse with their hands instead of a whip.

Handicap race

A handicap race is a horse race where the racing secretary sets conditions and assigns weights to each horse individually. A better horse will carry a heavier weight, to give him or her a disadvantage when racing against slower horses.


Handicapping is the practice of assigning advantage through scoring compensation or other advantage given to different horses in order to equalize the chances of winning.


The handle describes the total amount wagered on an event, series of events, or for an entire season or seasons.

Harness racing

Harness racing is a form of horse racing in which Standardbred horses race at a specific gait (a trot or a pace) while pulling a two-wheeled cart called a sulky.


A headstall is part of the bridle or halter that encompasses the horse’s head.

Heavy track

The term heavy track is used to describe a turf racetrack where the turf conditions are extremely wet. A heavy track is the wettest possible condition of a turf course.


A hinny is a domestic equine hybrid that is the offspring of a male horse (stallion) and a female donkey (jenny).


A homebred horse is a horse that was bred by his owner.


A horse hoof is a structure surrounding the distal phalanx of the 3rd digit of each of the four limbs of a horse, which is covered by complex soft tissue and keratinised structures.


The horse is an odd-toed ungulate mammal belonging to the taxonomic family Equidae.

Horse harness

A horse harness is a type of horse tack that allows a horse or other equine to pull various horse-drawn vehicles such as a carriage, wagon or sulky.


A horseshoe is a shoe that is specifically made for horses. Horseshoes are formed of a narrow band of iron in the form of an extended circular arc and secured to the hoof with nails.

Hybrid horse

A hybrid horse is a crossbreed between a horse and an other equine species. Hybrid horses aren’t considered a distinct horse breed but resemble breeds in that cross. Hybrid horses are sterile and cannot reproduce except in extremely rare instances. Common hybrid horses include the mule, hinny and jenny.


A medical term that refers to a blockage within the horse’s gastrointestinal tract. It is usually caused by a buildup of solid material, usually food or partially formed feces, which prevents the normal passage of gut contents.


An impost is the weight assigned to a horse in a race to even out the variances among the different jockeys and jockey’s saddles.

In the money

The phrase in the money refers to finishing a horse race on first, second or third place.


The term inquiry refers to when a horse race is under review to check for possible infraction(s) of the rules. At the horse track you’ll also see the word INQUIRY displayed on the board when there is an inquiry into a race.

Jack donkey

A jack donkey is an intact breeding male donkey


A jenny or jennet is a female donkey.


A jockey is a person who rides in horse races, especially as a profession.

Jockey fee

A jockey fee is the amount of money paid to a jockey for competing in a race.

John donkey

A john donkey is a male donkey that has been castrated.

Kentucky Derby

The Kentucky Derby is a Thoroughbred horse race that is run over the 1 1⁄4-mile (2.0 km) dirt track at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. The Kentucky Derby is the first of three races that comprise the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

Kentucky Futurity

The Kentucky Futurity is a harness horse race that is run over the 1.0-mile (1.6 km) dirt track at The Red Mile in Lexington, Kentucky. The Yonkers Trot is the last of the three races that comprise the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters.

Key horse

The term key horse refers to a single horse that is used in multiple combinations in an exotic wager.

LASIX® (furosemide)

LASIX, also abbreviated “L”, is a diuretic that can treat fluid retention (edema) and swelling caused by congestive heart failure, liver disease, kidney disease, and other medical conditions.

Last time out

The phrase last time out (LTO) refers to the previous race of a specific horse.

Late scratch

A late scratch is a horse that is pulled from the race shortly before the race is scheduled to begin. See scratch.


LTO is an abbreviation for last time out.


A layoff is the term used to describe the duration of a horse’s resting period. Layoffs usually range between two months a one year but can be longer. A layoff might occur after continuous, strenuous activity, an illness, or an injury to the horse. A horse’s layoff is one possible factor when handicapping a race.


A maiden is a horse that has not won a race.

Maiden race

A maiden race is a racing event for horses that have not won a race (referred to as “maidens”).


A mare is a female horse, usually five-years-old or older.


Martingales are straps that get attached at one end to the noseband (standing martingale) or reins (running martingale) of a horse and at the other end to the girth. Martingales are used to prevent the horse from raising its head too high.


See bran mash.

Match race

A match race is a horse racing format where competitors can enter a one-on-one horse race in all-terrain half-mile loops.


In horse racing the term milkshake refers to administering a horse a large dose of sodium bicarbonate (about 18 ounces in a slurry of electrolytes, sugar, and water) via nasogastric tube roughly six hours prior to the start of the race. The milkshake is supposed to increase a horse’s stamina by buffering the levels of lactic acid in the muscles.

Minutes to post

Minutes to post (MTP) refers to the number of minutes before the horses are required to be at the starting post.


MTP is an acronym for minutes to post.

Muddy track

A muddy track refers to a dirt racetrack where the conditions are wet but there isn’t standing water. One level below a good track rating.


A mule is the offspring of a male donkey (jack) and a female horse (mare).


The mustang is a free-roaming horse found in the American west. Mustangs first descended from horses that were brought to the Americas by the Spanish in 1493.


A nap is a tipster’s best bet of the day.

National Thoroughbred Racing Association

The NTRA is a broad-based coalition of more than 100 horse racing interests and thousands of individual stakeholders consisting of horseplayers, racetrack operators, owners, breeders, trainers and affiliated horse racing associations, charged with increasing the popularity, welfare and integrity of Thoroughbred racing through consensus-based leadership, legislative advocacy, safety and integrity initiatives, fan engagement and corporate partner development.

Nominating fee

A nominating fee refers to the one-time fee paid to nominate a horse and horse owner in for inclusion in a stakes race.


Nominator is a term used to describe registering (a horse) as an entry for a race.

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are agents/analgesics, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, are a drug class that groups together drugs that provide analgesic (pain-killing) and antipyretic (fever-reducing) effects, and, in higher doses, anti-inflammatory effects.


A nose is the term used to describe the smallest amount a horse can win by. Called a short head in the United Kingdom.


A noseband is the strap of a bridle or halter that passes over the horse’s nose and under its chin.


NSAID is an abbreviation for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.


NTRA is an abbreviation for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association.

Off the bridle

A horse is off the bridle when it’s not traveling well and has to be ridden along to keep pace with the other horses in the race.

On the bit

On the bit refers to when a horse is ridden with a light but firm contact on the mouth, and accepting the bit in a calm and relaxed manner.


A sheet published by the racing secretary’s office that lists the entries for an upcoming racing card.


The term given to a jockey when their weight exceeds the predetermined maximum allowed for a specific race.


Owner refers to the legal owner of a horse.


The pace is a lateral two-beat gait. In the pace, the two legs on the same side of the horse move forward together, unlike the trot, where the two legs diagonally opposite from each other move forward together. In both the pace and the trot, two feet are always off the ground.


See pacing horse.


See pacesetter.


A pacesetter or pacemaker is a term used to describe a horse that is in the lead of a race or sets the pace.

Pacing horse

A pacing horse or pacer is a horse that has been trained to pace; especially horses used for harness racing.


A paddock refers to a structure, set of structures or an area where horses are saddled and kept until the post time.


Phenylbutazone, often called bute, is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) for the short-term treatment of pain and fever in horses and other animals.

Photo finish

A photo finish in horse racing refers to a race was so close that it’s necessary to use the finish-line camera to determine the fishing order.


Place is a wagering term where you pick the horse that finishes the race in first or second.

Post parade

The post parade refers to when horses are going from their paddock to starting gate. Usually a post parade will pass by the grandstands and spectators, giving them a glimpse of a horse prior to the start of the race.

Post time

Post time refers to the time at which the horses in a race are required to be at the starting post.

Preakness Stakes

The Preakness Stakes is a Thoroughbred horse race that is run over the 1 3⁄16-mile (1.9 km) dirt track at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Maryland. The Preakness Stakes is the second of three races that comprise the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.

Propantheline Bromide

Propantheline bromide is an antimuscarinic agent used for the treatment of excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), cramps or spasms of the stomach, intestines (gut) or bladder, and involuntary urination (enuresis) in horses. See blue magic.

Przewalski’s horse

The Przewalski’s horse, also called the Dzungarian horse, is a rare and endangered subspecies of wild horse (Equus ferus) that is native to Mongolia.

Pull away

A term used to rein in a horse, preventing it from winning a race.

Purebred horse

A purebred horse is a breed of domesticated horse that where both parents are of the same breed or variety.


The purse or prize refers to the total amount of money paid out to the owners of horses racing at a particular track, over a given period of time through nominating or entry fees.


A quarantine is an imposed isolation of a horse upon arriving from outside the country or if the horse has been exposed to infectious or contagious diseases. A quarantine follows a predetermined set of protocols and procedures to ensure the risk of contamination is minimized.

Quarantine barn

A quarantine barn is a place of isolation managed by the US Department of Agriculture where horses that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are kept.

Quarter Horse

A Quarter Horse is another term for an American breed of horse called the American Quarter Horse.


A quinella is a horse racing bet in which the first two places in a race must be predicted, but not necessarily in the correct order.


A quirky horse exhibits peculiar or unexpected traits.

Race day medication

Race day medication refers to a horse that has received medication prior to the start of the race.

Racing secretary

The racing secretary is an official that drafts conditions of races and assigns weights for handicap events.


See Zantac®.


Reins are long, narrow straps that are attached at one end to a horse’s bit, typically used in pairs to guide or check a horse while racing or riding.

Restricted race

A restricted race refers to a horse race that has specific restrictions placed on the horses. Restrictions might include a horse’s age and/or gender.


A ridgling, also spelled ridgeling or abbreviated rig is a male horse with one or both testicles undescended. See Cryptorchidism.

Riding crop

A riding crop is also known as a bat or jockey’s whip.


A rig is the term used to describe a male horse that’s carrying either one or two testicles concealed in its abdomen, making it visually appear to be a gelding, while behaving like a stallion. See Ridgling.

Roan horse

A roan horse refers to a horse where the majority of their coat is a mixture of red and white hairs or brown and white hairs. The horse’s mane, tail and legs may be black, chestnut or roan, unless white markings are present. Horse racing programs and forms usually use the abbreviation “Ro.”

Route horse

A Route horse is the term used to describe horses that specialize in longer races, usually 1 mile (8 furlongs) and up. Route horses generally covering two turns or more on the track.


A horse saddle or equestrian saddle is a type of tack that is a used as a supportive structure for a jockey or rider. The saddle is fastened to a horse’s back by a girth.


A scratch refers to a horse that was scheduled to compete in a race but will not be able to. Horses can scratch for many different reasons like an injury, track conditions or misbehaving in the starting gate.

Sealed track

A sealed track refers to a dirt racetrack where the surface that has been packed down. A sealed dry track allows water to run off, reducing the amount of precipitation absorbed.

Seedy toe

See white line disease.

Short head

A short head is the term used to describe the smallest amount a horse can win by in the UK. Called a nose in the US.


Show is a wagering term where you pick the horse that finishes the race in first, second or third.


A signer refers to a winning horse ticket where the winner must sign IRS paperwork for tax reasons. Generally you’re required to sign IRS paperwork if the winning ticket that is paid out is $600 or more for a $1 ticket. Another criteria is that the odds of winning must be 300-1.


A sire is the male parent of a horse.

Sloppy track

A sloppy track refers to a dirt racetrack where the track is saturated with water. Standing water is visible. One level below a muddy track rating.

Slow track

A slow track refers to a dirt racetrack where the track is saturated on both the surface and the base. One level below a sloppy track rating.

Soft track

The term soft track is used to describe a turf racetrack where the turf conditions are holding a large amount of moisture. Horses will sink very deeply into it. One level below a yielding track rating.

Speed rating

In horse racing a speed rating is a comparative figure of a horse’s final race time with the best time at the distance at the track in the last three years. The best time is given a speed rating of 100. A point is deducted from a horse’s speed rating for each ⅕ of a second where the horse fails to equal that time. For example, if a horse equals the best time (100 speed rating) and a different horse finishes the race but is beaten by 10 lengths, that horse would receive a speed rating of 90.


Sprinters is the term used to describe horses that specialize in short races, usually 41/2 to 71/2 furlongs.

Stakes race

A stakes race or stake race is a horse race in which the prize offered is made up at least in part of money (as entry fees) put up by the owners of the horses entered.


A stallion refers to a male horse that is three-years-old or older.

Standardbred horse

A Standardbred horse is a worldwide recognized breed of horse that is best known for its ability in harness racing, where members of the breed compete at either a trot or pace.

Stakes race

A stakes race is a form of horse race in which the owners of the entered horses contribute to the purse or price (usually through a nominating fee and an entry fee).

Starter race

An allowance race in which the basic condition is that the horse has raced within a given time past in a claiming race with a stated price of “X” dollars or less.


State-bred describes a horse foaled in a particular state. Most, but not all, tracks will card races restricted to those horses foaled in that state. These restricted races may also have their purses supplemented by the state’s breed incentive fund.


A steward or stewards are officials of the race meeting that have the responsibility of enforcing the rules of racing.


A stirrup is a light frame or ring that holds the foot of a rider, attached to the saddle by a strap, often called a stirrup leather.

Strung out

The term strung out refers to a horse race where the horses racing are spread out over a long distance.

Substitute race

A substitute race is a horse racing that will be the first to be placed on the official racing card for that day if any of the listed races fail to fill.


A sulky is a lightweight cart having two wheels and a seat that is pulled by a horse. A sulky is used for harness races.


Tapeta is the brand name of synthetic track surface used in horse racing. Tapeta is manufactured by Michael Dickinson, a retired Thoroughbred racehorse trainer. Tapeta is comprised of sand, fibre, rubber and wax makes up the top 4-7 inches of the racing surface, installed on top of either porous asphalt or a geotextile membrane.


The term tack refers to equipment or accessories that is equipped on a horse. Saddles, stirrups, bridles, halters, reins, bits, harnesses, martingales, and breastplates are all forms of horse tack.

Television Games Network

Television Games Network (TVG) is an American sports-oriented digital cable and satellite television network that is owned by Betfair Group plc.


See Thoroughbred horse.

Thoroughbred horse

A Thoroughbred horse is a pure breed of horse, especially of a breed originating from English mares and Arabian stallions. Thoroughbreds are widely used as racehorses.

Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association

The Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA), based in Lexington, Kentucky, was formed in 1961 and is a national trade organization for Thoroughbred owners and breeders. TOBA’s mission is to improve the economics, integrity and pleasure of the sport on behalf of Thoroughbred owners and breeders.

Thoroughbred saddle

A Thoroughbred saddle is a type of tack used during a horse race. The thoroughbred saddle is the lightest saddle, usually weighing less than two pounds.


TOBA is an acronym for the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association.

Track condition

The track condition refers to the condition of the track surface. Conditions are usually described as fast, good, muddy, sloppy, frozen, hard, firm, soft, yielding or heavy.

Track condition

See going.

Track surface

The track surface of a horse racing track refers to the material of which the track is made. The most common track surface in the US is dirt while the most common track surface in Europe is turf. Artificial or synthetic track surface is the collective term used for a track surface that is made out of proprietary man-made materials.

Triple Crown

The Triple Crown is a collective term used to describe one of three different horse racing series. The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing (often shortened to Triple Crown), the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers and the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters.

Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers

The Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers is comprised of three races (Cane Pace, Little Brown Jug and the Messenger Stakes). Since its inauguration in 1956, only ten (10) horses have ever won the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Pacers.

Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters

The Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters is comprised of three races (Hambletonian, Yonkers Trot and the Kentucky Futurity). Since its inauguration in 1955, only eight (8) horses have ever won the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters.

Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing

The Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing, often shortened to Triple Crown, comprises three races (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes) for three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. Since its inauguration in 1919, only twelve (12) horses have ever won the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing.


The term trot refers to to a moderately fast gait of a horse in which the legs move in diagonal pairs. The trot is much more common, but some horses, particularly in breeds bred for harness racing, naturally prefer to pace.


See trotting horse.

Trotting horse

A trotting horse or trotter is a horse that has been trained to trot; especially horses used for harness racing.

True white

True white or white refers to horses that are completely white, especially those that carry one of the dominant white (W) genes. True white horses are considered extremely rare. True white horses and are different than albino horses and “gray” horses that exhibit white coats.


Turf is the term used to describe a horse track surface that is usually made out of grass.

Turf horse

A turf horse is a horse that specialize in racing on a grass or turf track surface.


TVG is an abbreviation for Television Games Network.


An ultrasound is a method of producing images of the inside of the body by using a machine that produces sound waves which are too high to be heard.


An underlay is a horse racing at shorter odds than seems warranted based on its past performance(s).

Under wraps

Under wraps is a the term used to describe a horse that is under stout restraint in a race/workout to prevent the horse from pulling away from the competition by too large a margin.

United States Trotting Association

The United States Trotting Association (USTA) is a not-for-profit association of Standardbred owners, breeders, drivers, trainers, and officials, organized to provide administrative, rulemaking, licensing and breed registry services to its members. The mission of the USTA is to license owners, trainers, drivers and officials. Formulate the rules of racing. Maintain and disseminate racing information and records. Serve as the registry for the Standardbred breed. Endeavor to ensure the integrity of harness racing. Insist on the humane treatment of Standardbreds and to promote the sport of harness racing and the Standardbred breed.


The term untried refers to either a horse that hasn’t raced, been tested for speed or a stallion that hasn’t been bred.


Unwind refers to the practice of gradually withdrawing a horse from intensive training.


USTA is an abbreviation for the United States Trotting Association.


A valet is a person that is employed by a racing association to take care of and clean a jockey’s tack and other riding equipment.


A veterinarian is a professional who practices veterinary medicine by treating disease, disorder, and injury in animals.

Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris

The Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris (VMD) degree is only awarded to veterinarians by the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania USA. It is equivalent to the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree awarded by all other US veterinary schools.

Veterinary medicine

See veterinary science.

Veterinary science

Veterinary science is the branch of medicine concerned with the health of animals and the treatment of injuries or diseases that affect them. Veterinary science may also refer to a pre-professional (bachelor’s) degree in veterinary science (medicine) awarded by an accredited educational institution.


VMD is an abbreviation for Veterinariae Medicinae Doctoris.


A wager is money that is staked on an uncertain outcome. See bet.


A walkover is a horse race in which only a single horse competes.

Weight cloth

A weight cloth is a saddlecloth into which flat weighted metal pieces are fitted when a jockey’s weight is less than the amount the horse must carry for the race.

Wheeling wager

A wheeling wager is a form of exotic horse racing betting that gives the bettor more power in choosing their favorite picks, without bolstering the ticket price as much as box betting.


White refers to an extremely rare breed of horses that are born completely white and stay completely white throughout their lives. White horses may have brown, blue, or hazel eyes. White horses are different than albino horses. Dominant white in horses is caused by the absence of pigment cells (melanocytes), whereas albino animals have a normal distribution of melanocytes.

White line disease

White line disease (WLD) is a term used to describe a fungal infection of a horse’s hoof, which is characterized by a separation of the inner zone of the hoof wall.

Wild horse

The wild horse (Equus ferus) is a species of the genus Equus, which includes as subspecies the modern domesticated horse (Equus ferus caballus). Wild horses have never been domesticated.


Win is a wagering term where you pick the horse that finishes the race in first.

Wind gall

See arthritis.

Wind puff

See arthritis.

Wind sucker

See cribber.


Wire refers to the finish line of a horse race.


See white line disease.

Wobbler disease

Wobbler disease or wobbler syndrome are catchall terms referring to several possible malformations of the cervical vertebrae that cause an unsteady (wobbly) gait and weakness in horses.


Work refers to the exercise given to a horse by galloping a predetermined distance.


Xeroradiography is a costly medical procedure where a picture of the horse (x-ray) is recorded on paper rather than on film. A xeroradiography provides a higher resolution image, especially on the edges of bone and offers better visualization of the soft tissue structures.


A yearling is a horse in its second calendar year of life, beginning January 1 of the year following its birth.

Yielding track

The term yielding or a yielding track is used to describe a turf racetrack where the turf conditions have a significant amount of “give” to the ground, usually from a recent rain. One level below a good track rating.

Yonkers Trot

The Yonkers Trot is a harness horse race that is run over the 1.0-mile (1.6 km) dirt track at Yonkers Raceway in Yonkers, New York. The Yonkers Trot is the second of three races that comprise the Triple Crown of Harness Racing for Trotters.

Zantac® (Ranitidine HCl)

Ranitidine, sold under the trade name Zantac® is an antacid and antihistamine that is used to treat and prevent heartburn. it can also treat stomach ulcers, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and conditions that cause too much stomach acid.

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