Glossary of Horse Racing Terms


Across the board: A win, place and show bet on a horse.

Allowance: A race other than a claiming event for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions.

Apprentice: A jockey who has ridden for less than a year and who receives weight allowances.


Backside: The racetrack's barn area.

Bay: A color ranging from tan to dark chestnut with black mane, tail and points.

Beyer speed rating: A measure of performance popularized by Andy Beyer of The Washington Post.

Bounce: An exceptionally poor performance on the heels of an exceptionally good one.

Broodmare: Female horse used for breeding.

Broodmare sire: A sire whose female offspring become producers of exceptional performers.

Bullet: Fastest workout of the day at a particular distance.


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

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

Claiming race: A race in which the horses are for sale at a price specified before the race. Claims are made before the race and the new owner assumes possession immediately following the race.

Colt: An ungelded male horse 4 years old or younger.


Dam: The mother of a horse.

Distaff: A race for female horses.

Driving: Strong urging by jockey.


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

Entry: Two or more horses representing the same owner or trained by the same person and running together as a single betting entity.


Filly: A female horse less than 5 years old.

Furlong: An eighth of a mile.


Gelding: A neutered male horse.


Handicapping: This is the study of factors in the past performances which determine the relative qualities and abilities of horses in a race.

Handle: Money wagered.


Inquiry: Official investigation of rule infractions.


Juvenile: Two-year-old horse.


Lasix: Diuretic medication given to horses which bleed.


Maiden: A horse that hasn't won a flat racein any country.

Mare: A female horse 5 years old or older.

Morning line: The starting odds set by thetrack handicapper.


Off track: A track that is not fast.

Overlay: A horse whose odds are greater than itspotential to win.


Paddock: Structure or area where horses are saddled and kept before going to the track.

Pari-mutuel: System of wagering where all the money is returned to the wagerers after deduction of track and state percentages.


Roan: Horse with white hairs mingledthroughout its coat.


Silks: Jacket and cap worn by jockeys.

Sire: Father of a foal.

Stallion: Uncastrated male horse.

Stud: Stallion.


Turf course: Grass covered race course.


Underlay: Horse whose odds are more promising than his potential to win.


Valet: A person who helps jockeys keep their wardrobe and equipment in order.


Weight: The assigned weight for a horse, including the jockey, equipment and lead weights if needed.

Workout: Exercise session at a predetermined distance.

Yearling: A horse that is one year old. The universal birthdate of horses is January 1.

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