The following horse racing terms are of importance for fans of EZ Horse Betting. They are presented as a reference for those who wish to learn more about the process of picking winners and betting horses online. These terms are ones you will encounter when you join a racebook and begin to make wagers for real money.



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Section A

Across the Board—To bet a horse across the board is to make a wager on each of the first three finish positions: Win, Place, and Show. When this bet is made for the minimum of $2 which is standard at online racebooks, the cost of the bet is $6. Across the Board is not a single bet but rather three individual bets that are considered independently of one another. It is possible for a bettor to cash all three tickets. This happens when the chosen horse wins the race.

Action Bet—A bettor is said to have action when they make a bet on a race. Those who have no bet on the race are merely spectators. An action bet is one made without the benefit of serious handicapping. It can also be called “taking a flyer.” Some famous bettors like Andrew Beyer advocate the use of an occasional action bet to alleviate boredom or to create interest on an otherwise boring race day.

Agent—An agent is someone empowered to conduct horse racing business on behalf of another. The most popular example of this is the jockey agent who secures horses for his clients to ride in a race. Another is the bloodstock agent who is responsible for purchasing horses on behalf of an owner.

Allowance Race—An allowance race is one in which the horses entered are not for sale as they are in a claiming race. Allowances are so named because they make “allowances” for certain conditions. For example, a horse that has not won a race in the current year may be allowed two pounds. This means that the horse will race at a lower weight than other horses in the race who have a win in the current year.

Also-Ran—An also-ran is a horse that does not finish in the top five places of a race. As a rule, the top five places are paid winnings for their efforts. To run worse than fifth means that the horse and trainer do not collect any earnings for their efforts. This is also known as running “out of the money.”

Announcer—The individual who is responsible for calling the race as it occurs. The announcer is placed in a grandstand booth high above the racetrack. Using a pair of binoculars and also a television monitor which shows the race below, the announcer describes the race in progress for the live crowd. A great announcer can make a race more exciting. Some of the most famous announcers in history include Tom Durkin and the South American Trevor Denman.

Apprentice—An apprentice is a jockey that has not yet won a certain number of races within a certain period of time. During this period of time the rookie jockey will be given a weight allowance of 5 pounds. This means that the the horse ridden by the apprentice will often be carrying far less weight than its rivals. In the track program or past performances in the Daily Racing Form, an apprentice jockey can be identified by an asterisk ( * ) beside his or her name. This has led to apprentices being referred to as “bug boys” by trainers and jockey agents.


Section B

Baby Race—A baby race is one for two-year old horses that have limited starts or are starting for the first time. These races can include horses that have won a race but most often refers to races involving maidens, or horses that have not won a race.

Backside—This is a portion of the track where horses are stabled. It is only accessible to trainers, employees, owners, and signed in guests. The backside is where all of the behind the scenes care of horses takes place. It typically also includes a tack shop where supplies can be purchased and a track kitchen for stable employees to eat.

Backstretch—This is the portion of the racetrack farthest from the grandstand. It encompasses the straightaway between the two turns on the far side. Many tactical racing moves are executed on the backstretch as horses try to establish position. This term is also used erroneously to refer to the stable area or backside.

Bad Actor—When a horse is unruly or hard to handle, the horse is often referred to as a bad actor. This term is not heard as much these days as it was in the past. It is more common today for a horse to be called fractious. A legendary bad actor was the horse John Henry. Small in stature, John Henry compensated for his lack of size with a legendary bad attitude. He would regularly bite and kick his handlers and did not appreciate people in his stall space.

Bandage—Some horses require the use of a bandage on their legs. It is always important for the student of EZ Horse Betting to ascertain if bandages have been added as a new piece of equipment. Such equipment changes are noted in the Daily Racing Form. The addition of bandages to the front or rear legs can sometimes indicate a problem that might affect the horse’s running ability.

Black Type—When horses are sold at auction a catalog is given to prospective buyers. This catalog describes horse pedigrees and other important information. If a horse’s information includes stakes race wins, this info is presented in bold type so that buyers can easily identify it.

Bracing—Bracing is performed by some trainers before a race and involves rubbing down the horse with liniment or an alcohol solution. This process helps to relax the horse’s muscles. It also helps to “put the horse on its toes” in racetrack parlance. Some believe that the stinging nature of the alcohol or liniment is uncomfortable and this is what causes braced horses to bounce on their feet. Horses that have been braced before entering the saddling paddock before a race may still display a light sheen, but the solution tends to evaporate quickly.

Board—The board is also referred to as the tote board. Each horse in a race is represented on the board by the number they have been assigned in a race. There is also a posting of their current odds. Some bettors rely solely on the board for their betting choice, preferring to stick with favorites or horses that show sharp movements in their odds. The student of EZ Horse Betting should resist the temptation to bet based on what they see on the board.

Bobble—When a horse bobbles at the start of the race, the results can be disastrous. A bobble happens when a horse stumbles coming out of the starting gate. Bobbles can be caused by a number of things. Perhaps the horse did not have its feet set when the gates were sprung open. A horse can also break so hard from the gate that they momentarily lose their footing. In the worst case scenario, a bobble can cause a horse to lose its rider.

Bowed Tendon—A bowed tendon is one of the most serious injuries in horse racing. When a horse bows a tendon it is unlikely that the horse will return to competition. In rare cases the tendon may heal but a horse is rarely the competitor it was before the injury. This injury can also be caused by bandages that have been applied too tightly. In this case, the injury is referred to as a wrap bow.

Break—For the purposes of EZ Horse Betting, a break is the moment horses emerge from the starting gate. The break is all-important. Many competitive horses have broken poorly and lost a race that they should have won with ease. In past performances it is common to see notes about the break a horse had in its recent races. Handicappers should always consider a bad break when evaluating a horse’s chances to win today.

Breakdown—A breakdown is horse racing’s great tragedy. This term refers to a catastrophic injury sustained while racing. It most often involves a broken leg. One of the most terrible breakdowns in racing history happened to the legendary Ruffian in her match race with Foolish Pleasure. Ruffian fractured the small bones in her ankle and was humanely destroyed after a surgery to repair the damage failed.

Break Maiden—This term indicates that a horse is attempting or has succeeded in winning its first race. Once a horse has broke its maiden it can no longer race against horses without a win. Horses that fail to achieve this feat after many races are often referred to as career maidens and should be regarded with the utmost betting caution.

Bridge Jumper—The bridge jumper is an individual who likes to make massive show bets on favorites. Bridge jumpers like to bet a large amount of money to win very little. Favorites often return as little as ten cents on the dollar for a show bet.  You should not be a bridge jumper, but knowing how to recognize that one has acted can sometimes help you make a nice profit. If the horse chosen by the bridge jumper does not show, the payouts on the horses which do will skyrocket.

Bull Ring—The bull ring has almost disappeared from American racing. This term refers to a small racetrack which is often less than one mile in circumference. Turns on a bull ring can be very tight and this deters some trainers from allowing their best horses to compete at these venues.


Section C

Call—The points of call occur during various stages of a race. One such point of call is the break from the starting gate. Other points of call occur at different poles or markers of distance. There are calls at ¼ mile, ½ mile, ¾ mile, 1 mile, and the finish depending on the length of the race. There can also be calls made at 1/16 of a mile. Familiarizing yourself with calls will make you a better reader of past performances. You will be able to know exactly where a horse was in the race at any given time.

Caller—This term can be used in EZ Horse Betting to refer to the chart caller who has a job of recording all the positions of all the horses throughout a race. It can also refer to the track announcer who gives out a call of the race as it happens.

Chart—If you like to bet horses online, learning how to study race charts can be a worthwhile endeavor. Unlike a set of past performances, a chart presents a complete picture of one single race. There are detailed comments about how each horse ran. Charts used to be included in the Daily Racing Form but now they are typically offered online. Some services like Equibase or Brisnet may also offer charts for a fee. Charts are useful in identifying which horses might be poised to win the next time they race.

Checking Up—Checking up occurs when a horse is steadied by a jockey during the running of a race. The reasons for checking up are numerous. A horse may have been suddenly cut off by the horse in front of it. The jockey may be forced to check in order to prevent a collision and a spill.

Chute—You will often hear race callers refer to a chute. The chute is a long straight stretch which typically connects to the backstretch. The distance of some races necessitates the use of a chute. This should always be factored into your handicapping. A chute can favor horses with less early speed because it gives them a longer straightaway before they hit the first turn. This means the jockey can be patient and guide them over to the rail to save ground while steadily picking up the pace. There is less of a need to run hard and fast from the gate in order to clear the field and establish position.

Claiming Race—By far and away this is the most popular type of race in America today. The claiming race makes up the majority of the race card. This type of race is referred to by this term because any horse in the race may be “claimed” or purchased for a set price. For example, every horse in a $5,000 claiming race may be bought by anyone with the money to do so. Claiming horses is a profitable business for many horses and owners. Gasper Moschera was a leading trainer on the New York circuit and made his reputation by claiming horses for low amounts and turning them into repeat winners.

Clocker—The clocker is responsible for timing the workouts of horses in the morning hours. This individual has a daunting job. They must be able to recognize every horse and the colors of every stable on the track! When you consider that they must also time the workouts of multiple horses at any given moment, you will understand why this job is not for the faint of heart.

Closer—Closer refers to the running style of a particular horse. These horses typically retreat to the rear of the pack and trail the field for the greater part of the race. As the race enters the late stages, a closer will begin to make its move from the back. These horses have a very dramatic running style which makes for an exciting race. While fun to watch, the truth is that deep closers do not win their fair share of races. It is a rare animal that can spot the field 10 or more lengths and then close for the win. The filly Zenyatta was known for her closer running style. This is one reason why her races were so thrilling.

Colt—A colt is a male horse under the age of five which has not been gelded or castrated. Most horses which compete in the Triple Crown racing series are colts. The most talented of them are allowed to retain their ability to breed and insure the survival of the thoroughbred line. They enter stud service after they have finished their racing career. When a colt becomes five years old it is then referred to as a horse.


Section D

Daily Double—The Daily Double is one of the most popular bets in all of horse racing. It was also one of the first exotic wagers introduced. For many years, the Daily Double was the only horse racing bet available in addition to straight win, place, and show wagers. To bet the Daily Double one must select the winner of two consecutive races. The races used for the Daily Double are chosen by the racing secretary, but some tracks utilize a rolling Daily Double which begins with races one and two and continues throughout the entire card. To win the bet, the horses selected for each race must win their race.

Dam—The dam of a thoroughbred is the mother of a horse. While much attention is given to sires in race horse breeding, dams are considered to be strong indicators of how a horse will perform on the racetrack. Those who purchase thoroughbreds at auctions typically prefer to see a dam who has already produced winners on the racetrack. It is also helpful if the dam won stakes races during her own racing career.

Dead-Heat—A dead-heat occurs when two horses cross the finish line of a race at exactly the same time. The race is so tight that the photo which is used to declare a winner cannot determine which horse touched the finish line first. In the case of a dead-heat, both horses are awarded the finish position which they have claimed. In other words, a dead-heat for the win produces two winners of a single race. Those who have bet on the horses in question all collect their winning wagers.

Disqualification—A horse generally does not try to break the rules of racing. In most cases, the jockey is held responsible for infractions that occur during a race. Breaking the rules can involve cutting over in front of another horse and impeding its progress or bumping another horse during the race. When the race is over a jockey who feels they have been the recipient of a foul can file an objection. It is also possible for the track stewards to initiate an inquiry. When either of these things happen, the horse and jockey in question will be reviewed on a video replay of the race before the results are made official. If the stewards feel that a foul occurred, the horse in question is disqualified and placed lower in the results.

Distaff—A distaff race is a race that is reserved for fillies or mares. Some distaff races may include both. The Breeders’ Cup Distaff is widely regarded each year as the race to crown the best filly or mare in horse racing.

Distanced—Sometimes a horse may encounter troubles in a race which they are not able to overcome. These troubles can often be an injury. A horse is said to have been distanced when a jockey determines it is in the best interest of the horse not to finish a race. The jockey may simply allow the horse to gallop to the wire or may choose to pull the horse up and not finish the contest.

Driving—When a horse is all-out in a full run to the finish line the horse is said to be driving. When one sees this comment in a horse’s past performances it is an indicator of a very strong effort. Many horses that win driving or going away come back to perform well in their next race.


Eased—This is a term used chart callers to describe a horse that was purposely taken in hand by a jockey during a race. To be eased means that a horse had been pulled up or asked to stop running. This is done to avoid the possibility of serious injury to the horse or prevent an injury that has occurred from becoming worse. In recent memory the easing of Big Brown during his run for the 2008 Triple Crown. After winning the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes in dominating fashion, Big Brown was eased in the Belmont Stakes after encountering difficulty in the early stages of the race. Jockey Kent Desormeaux became the center of controversy for his decision. Because he was eased and did not finish the race, Big Brown’s perfect record of 7 wins from 7 starts remained intact.

Easily—This is also a term used by chart callers. It refers to a horse that wins their race without extra effort or urging from their jockey. Easily can also be interchanged with comments like “in hand.” Horses that win easily often benefit from a front-running trip and are uncontested on the lead from gate to wire.

Eighth—An eighth of a mile is the standard length of measurement in thoroughbred horse racing. It is also called a furlong. Therefore, a race contested at 7 furlongs is a race that is 7/8 of a mile in distance. This is equal to 220 yards or 660 feet.

Entry—In some cases you will encountered horses in a race that have been coupled as one betting choice. As an example, these horses can be numbered 1 and 1a or 2 and 2b. This happens when one owner has more than one horse in a race. These horses are regarded as a single betting interest. You are permitted to bet on one of them with your online racebook but you will be paid if either of them wins. In other words, you may bet on the 1 horse to win. If horse 1a wins, you still collect your winning bet. An entry is sometimes used for tactical reasons. A trainer may utilize a “rabbit” or speed horse who is given the task of setting a blistering early pace. This then aids its coupled partner who will race behind the leaders and attempt to pass tired horses for the win in the final stages.

Equipment—The equipment used by a horse in a race includes blinkers, bandages, the jockey’s whip, and other implements. All equipment used by a horse must be listed in the betting program or Daily Racing Form so that bettors can be advised. Those proficient at EZ Horse Betting will always pay attention to equipment changes and factor these into their handicapping decisions.

Evenly—When a horse is said to have ran evenly during a race, this means that the horse maintained their starting position throughout. They did not excel at any particular stage of the race but were consistent in their effort. Evenly running is not always a bad sign. It can be quite positive, in fact.

Exacta—The exacta was one of the first exotic bets offered by racetracks. It is still one of the most popular bets offered by online racebooks. An exacta bet requires the bettor to select the first two finishers of a race in proper order. The reward for an exacta bet can be very lucrative when the horses finishing first and second are longshots.

Exercise Rider—All thoroughbreds require a consistent program of exercise to maintain their physical fitness. Most horses are trained in the early morning hours by an exercise rider. Many exercise riders are former jockeys that perhaps had injuries or difficulty meeting weight requirements. Some are men and women who specialize in working horses out. A talented exercise rider can be a key component of a horse’s success on the racetrack.

Extended—To be extended means that a horse was giving its full effort throughout the race. This is a comment used by chart callers to indicate a horse that was leaving it all on the track.


Section E

Faltered—Faltered is a chart calling term which is used to refer to a horse that is slow leaving the starting gate during a race. This can be caused by a variety of factors. The horse may not have been set in the starting gate when the gates opened. Sometimes the ground beneath a horse’s feet can become dislodged and cause the horse to lose its footing. When a horse has faltered, its chances of being competitive in a race are greatly compromised. This information is useful when handicapping because it may provide an excuse for a prior performance that was not up to par.

False Favorite—A false favorite is a horse that has been heavily bet by the public, causing their odds to drop. The odds one receives on such a horse are not what they should be. These false favorites have been the downfall of many bettors who rely solely on the tote board to make their selections. Approximately two out of every three favorites may be considered as false favorites and should be avoided through good handicapping.

Farrier—This is another name for a blacksmith who shoes horses. Almost all thoroughbred racehorses wear shoes in a race. It is very rare for a horse to compete without shoes. The farrier comes to the barn on a regular basis to put shoes on horses as well as trim horses’ feet. A farrier is one of the most important people employed by a racing stable. Poor work from this individual can cause numerous problems for a racehorse.

Fast Track—Tracks are labeled to describe how they play as a racing surface. A fast track is one that is in perfect condition for racing. It is easier for horses to compete on and therefore the racing times on such a track tend to be faster than they are on tracks that have been inundated by rain. The fan of EZ Horse Betting should consider whether or not a track is fast when they are making their handicapping selections because a fast track can favor horses with early speed.

Fees—Sometimes an owner or trainer of a racehorse must pay nomination fees so that their horse can be eligible to participate in stakes races. An example of this would be a nomination fee for the Breeders’ Cup. Horses must also be nominated for the Triple Crown series. In many cases, a horse will be nominated by its owner for important stakes events before it has ever competed in a race based solely on expectations. For example, a horse’s pedigree may indicate the possibility of superior talent.

Fence—The outside rail of a racetrack is known as a fence. This fence is what separates the horses on the racetrack from the other areas of the facility such as the grandstand and paddock. There have been occasions in horse racing when a horse has jumped the fence.

Field—The parimutual field is the full complement of horses that are participating in a race. A field can consist of any number of horses but is most often used to refer to races with three or more horses. A race with two horses is most often called a match race.

Filly—A filly is a female horse under the age of four. When a female horse turns four they are then referred to as a mare. There are horse races which are restricted to fillies and those which are open to both fillies and mares.

Firm Track—A firm track is the label given to a turf or grass track which is in perfect racing condition. This label is comparable to the term fast track which is used for dirt tracks. Racing times on a firm track can sometimes be a little faster than normal. It is rare to see a turf tack that is not firm because most racing secretaries prefer to take a race off the turf when the track has been rained on.

Flat Race—A flat race is one that is contested on a racing oval like that found at all American racetracks. The oval is called a flat track because the surface is mostly level throughout. There is a slight banking to the track on the turns but this is so minimal that it is practically invisible to the human eye. A steeplechase race is often conducted on an undulating surface.

Flatten Out—Horses that flatten out during a race drop their head to a point where it is almost level with the rest of their body, creating a straight line. The natural running style of a horse is to run with its head elevated. When a horse begins to flatten out this can be an indicator that the horse lacks fitness and has become exhausted during the running of a race.

Foal—A foal is a newly born thoroughbred which has not yet been weaned. The term foal is used for both male and female horses. All foals in thoroughbred racing are given a universal birth date of January 1 for racing purposes. Their actual birth date is recorded on their registration papers but is not used to determine their racing age.

Founder—Founder is another term for Laminitis, one of the most serious ailments a horse can encounter. Founder affects the feet of a horse. It can cause the hoof wall to separate from the foot and is often fatal. The legendary champion Barbaro developed Founder after suffering a racing injury. The disease progressed to the point that no recovery was possible and Barbaro had to be humanely destroyed.

Four Furlongs—Four furlongs is equal to one-half mile. There are races contested for 2-year-old horses which are ran at four furlongs. This distance is preferred for young horses because it does not tax their young bodies and allows them to become accustomed to racing. A young filly or colt may compete in these short races until they have broken their maiden and won for the first time.

Fractional Time—Fractional times are important measurements during a race. These times are used to indicate how fast a horse ran a quarter mile, a half mile, and so on. Pace handicappers use fractional times to assess a horse’s ability. For example, a horse which increased its running speed during the last quarter mile of a race could be exceptionally talented and primed to win a race soon.

Fresh—A horse that is returning to the races after a long layoff is often said to be fresh. A fresh horse can often respond to their extended period of rest by producing a good racing effort. Some horses need a race or two after a rest period to regain their racing form.

Front-Runner—This is one of the most powerful racing styles. The front-runner is a horse which surges to the lead right out of the starting gate and dictates the terms of the race. Front-runners win a significant number of races and often finish in the money. However, some front-runners are unable to conserve their speed and establish a pattern of early dominance before fading and being beaten.

Furlong—A furlong is the standard distance for race measurement. It is equal to 1/8 of a mile, 220 yards, or 660 feet.

Furosemide—Furosemide is most commonly referred to by its brand name of Lasix. Lasix is a powerful medication which causes a horse to urinate. It is believed by some to relieve the pressure upon capillaries during a race and prevent bleeding. Horses sometimes bleed through their nostrils when they exert themselves and this can cause them to be excluded from racing if the condition is not treated. Lasix has come under intense scrutiny, however, because some individuals believe it does more harm than good.


Section G

Gait—A horse’s gait refers to the manner in which it travels. This term can indicate a walk, a trot, a canter, or a gallop. In most cases, the term gait is reserved for horses which compete in show events and is not used for thoroughbreds. The exception is when a trainer may state that the racehorse has a problem with its gait. This would indicate that the horse is not traveling well.

Gallop—This is the type of gait a race horse most often uses when it is working out in the morning. Horses gallop to get routine exercise and build physical fitness. A gallop is a fast trot but much slower than the speed at which horses compete in a race. Exercise riders are tasked with galloping race horses in the morning.

Gate—The gate or starting gate is the mechanical apparatus into which horses load before a race. A gate consists of several narrow stalls which are closed in front by a gate mechanism. When the starter pushes a button, the gates open and the race begins. It is vitally important that a thoroughbred be trained to accept the starting gate and break from it without difficulty.

Gelding—A male horse that has been castrated. Geldings are found in most claiming races which are held on a race card. As a general rule, all male horses are castrated unless they present some potential for stud service. Castration can help a male horse to focus more on racing and not the distractions provided by fillies and mares on the track.

Good Bottom—Racetracks are composed of many different types of material. They can have a dirt top but be constructed of sandy loam underneath. When a track is sufficiently deep enough that it provides adequate cushion for horses racing, the track is said to have a deep or good bottom. Trainers prefer this type of racing surface because it presents less risk of injury.

Good Track—A good track is one that falls between fast and slow. Tracks are often downgraded from fast to good after a brief but heavy rainstorm. When a track is labeled as good it can produce slower running times because the track surface becomes heavier and harder for horses to navigate.

Grab a Quarter—You will often hear it said that a horse “caught a quarter” or “grabbed a quarter” in the wake of a poor performance. This painful injury is minor but causes great discomfort when a horse is running. Race horses run in such a way that their rear hooves land in the spot previously occupied by their front hooves. This happens very quick, and sometimes the rear hooves can clip a hoof in front. When this happens, a portion of the back of the foot can be ripped away. Big Brown was said to have an injured quarter during his ill-fated Triple Crown attempt in 2008.

Graduate—This term is most often used to designate a horse that has become a winner. It means that a horse has won a race and is no longer eligible for maiden races. The term can also be used when a horse moves up from the claiming ranks to the ranks of allowance or stakes company.

Gray—One of the primary colors, along with bay, brown, and black, that are common to thoroughbreds. Bettors seem to have a strange affinity for gray horses. You will often hear it said at the racetrack to “bet the gray on a rainy day.” These old maxims are mere superstition, of course. In reality, gray horses do not win any more than horses of other colors. Interestingly, gray horses are born with a coat that is very dark and almost a pewter color. As they grow older, the white hairs begin to outnumber the black ones and the horses becomes a solid gray.

Groom—This individual is the person responsible for all aspects of a horse’s daily care. The groom tends the horse, provides grooming, and feeds each day. Grooms spend more time with a race horse than any other person in the barn. Some grooms have attained legendary status. Secretariat’s groom, Eddie Sweat, is the only groom to ever be memorialized with his own statue. Sweat was instrumental in caring for the Triple Crown champion during his historic career.

Group Race—If you like to use a racebook to bet horse racing in Europe, you will frequently encounter group races. These races are comparable to graded stakes races in the United States. There are Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3 races. Group 1 contains the very best horses in Europe.


Section H

Half—In horse racing, one-half mile. This is also equal to four furlongs, 880 yards, or 2,640 feet. It is common for horsemen to work horses out at this distance in preparation for a race. This is why you will often here them say I am “working my horse a half today.”

Half-Brother, Half-Sister—Horses which have the same dam but different sires. Horses with the same sire but different dams are considered full brothers or full sisters in thoroughbred racing.

Halter—This is a very basic piece of horse equipment that is not specific to race horses. It is used in the barn when the horse is being given routine attention. A halter can also be worn when a horse is being led to the paddock for a race.

Halter, To—To halter a horse is another name for executing a claim on a specific horse. It is so-called because the new owner must put one of their own halters on the horse in order to lead it to its new barn.

Hand—A hand is the basic unit of measurement for thoroughbreds. It is roughly equivalent to four inches and is named for the width of an average human hand. Many horses average between 15 and 16 hands in height. This measurement is calculated to the base of the neck between the shoulder blades at the highest point of the horses’ withers. War Admiral, one of the greatest thoroughbred champions of all time, stood almost 17 hands tall.

Handicap—A handicap is a race in which the track handicapper is tasked with assigning weights to be carried by the horses who will compete. It is called a handicap because some horses may be given weight allowances or a “handicap” based on certain conditions. This term is also used to refer to the process of picking a winner in a horse race. To handicap means to evaluate many factors in the effort to choose a betting interest.

Handicapper—The track handicapper is an individual that must assign morning line odds to the horses in a race. This individual also can be tasked with assigning weights to be carried by horses in certain handicap events. A handicapper is also a person that uses past performances and other data to select horses on which to bet. When you use the information provided by EZ Horse Betting to wager at your favorite online racebook, you are a handicapper.

Handicapping—Handicapping is the process of picking winners. It is a skill that takes practice and dedication. In some ways, handicapping is also an intuitive art form. There are as many methods of handicapping as there are handicappers. In time, you will develop your own handicapping skill set that prefers certain factors over others. You may find that you are proficient at handicapping speed while another individual is skilled at handicapping form or class.

Handily—This term is used by chart callers to indicate a horse that is had little difficulty in producing a winning effort. It can also be used to describe how a horse exercised or worked in the morning hours. A horse that handily works a half-mile or more could very well be in top racing shape.

Handle—Handle is the total amount of money wagered on a given racing day at one specific racetrack. Handle accounts for all of the money bet on the track as well as money which is bet offtrack at online racebooks and other venues. The most popular racetracks in the United States and abroad can handle millions of dollars in a single day.

Hand Ride—A hand ride is when a jockey chooses not to use the whip during a race but relies on only his or her hands to urge the horse to the finish line. When a horse is given a hand ride it is usually because the horse has a huge lead and appears to be a clear winner without the need of a whip.

Hardboot—This term is rarely used in horse racing today. It refers to horsemen that train horses in Kentucky.  The state of Kentucky has long been one of the premiere racing venues in the United States. It is known for the Kentucky Derby and other high profile races.

Head—A unit of measurement used in describing a horse race. A horse that wins by a head wins the race by the length of its own head. It is a margin of space between competing horses.

Head of the Stretch—The head of the stretch is the point at which the race turns into the final straightaway before the finish line. This is the point in a race where many horses are asked for their very best effort.

Heavy—A heavy track is one that is considered slow in comparison to a fast track. Heavy tracks are often saturated with rain and are harder for horses to navigate. This creates slower running times. Handicappers should consider this when evaluating past performances.

Homebred—A homebred is a horse that has been bred by its owner rather than purchased at one of the many auctions which are held throughout the year at various racetracks.

Horse—This term specifically refers to a male horse that is five years old or older. However, the term can also be used to refer to any thoroughbred regardless of their sex.

Hotwalker—The hotwalker is an important part of a thoroughbred racing stable. This individual is responsible for cooling out horses after they have worked out or competed in a race. After exertion a horse must be walked around the shedrow of the barn for a period of time to prevent the buildup of lactic acid. If this is not done, the horse can “tie up” or experience painful cramping.

Hung—This is a comment used by chart callers to indicate a horse that has tired in a race and is no longer able to improve its racing position. The horse maintains its placing but lacks the stamina to finish and contend for a win.

Hurdle Race—Similar to a steeplechase, a hurdle race involves fences throughout the racing strip that must be jumped over by horses. The fences in a hurdle race are somewhat lower than those found in a steeplechase. Few American tracks offer this type of racing anymore but it was once a standard part of the yearly race meeting at Saratoga.


Section I

Icing—Icing is the process of having a horse stand in a bucket of ice water or applying ice bandages to the legs. This can also be known as a cold water bath. Icing is most often done in an effort to increase circulation in the legs. It can also be used as a natural remedy to relieve inflammation that may occur as a result of racing.

In Foal—A mare that has become pregnant is said to be in foal. Mares are bred to studs when they are no longer competing in racing or if they have not had a racing career.

In the Money—An in the money finish (ITM) is one that results in a first, second, or third place finish position. This term is used because those finish positions yield the biggest percentage of the purse money. Horses that finish fourth and fifth in claiming events also claim a smaller share of the purse money.

Infield—The infield of a racetrack is the large portion of ground within the racetrack oval. The infield is usually unoccupied but can be opened up for spectators during important racing events such as the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes. Some infield parties such as the one held each year at the Preakness Stakes have become legendary for their debauchery. Patrons drink heavily and eat rich foods.

In Hand—This is chart caller term that is used to describe a horse which is being held in check to a certain degree by its jockey. When a horse is in hand it is not being called upon to give its greatest speed but rather to run evenly at a steady pace. Many horses that take the lead and win a race with ease are taken in hand as they approach the finish line to conserve effort and preserve health for future races.

Impost—An impost is the amount of weight a horse must carry during a given race. This includes the weight of the jockey and the jockey’s tack. If the jockey is not able to make the assigned weight for the race, additional impost is added in the form of lead pads.

Inter-State Wagering—Inter-State wagering is one of the major benefits of an online racebook account. This form of wagering permits you to wager on simulcast races from other states instead of just events from your own home state. Inter-state wagering was made possible by the era of simulcast racing. When you register an account with a racebook you will have access to all of the major racetracks in the United States as well as international racing venues in countries like Australia.

Inter-Track Wagering—Some states in the U.S. have multiple racetracks. Thanks to online racebooks such as Twin Spires, you can bet on all of the tracks in your home state without having to leave the comfort of your own home. This gives you more opportunities to profit from horse racing, and you can also wager from a variety of platforms such as your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Inquiry—An inquiry is an action initiated by the track stewards when they believe a foul has been committed during a race. The inquiry light will appear on the tote board when an inquiry is in place. This lets bettors know that they should hold all tickets pending the results. An inquiry can result in disqualifications which may change the order of finish in a race.

Irons—The irons are equivalent to stirrups. These are the metal footholds into which a jockey stands during the running of a race. Sometimes, a jockey can lose their irons during the running of a race. This means that one or both feet have become dislodged from the footholds.


Section J

Jockey Fee or Jock Mount—This is a token sum of money given to jockeys when they do not otherwise earn money in a race. Jockeys are paid ten percent of what a horse earns in a race, but only horses that finish in first through fifth place generally earn a portion of the purse. All other jockeys in a race are given a jockey fee which can be as small as $50 depending on the size of the racetrack and circuit. This is why jockeys always try their best to win and try to pick the best horses to ride in a race. It is not wise to regularly risk life and limb just to earn $50.

Jog—This is a very slow manner of moving that is similar to the same thing a human runner would do. Horses jog for light exercise in the early morning workout hours. Jogging can be done on days after a horse has had several days of strenuous exercise to give the horse a break.

Jumper—A jumper is a horse that competes in events such as a steeplechase which require leaping over tall fences. Jumpers can be thoroughbreds, but jumping events are typically non-betting affairs.

Juvenile—A juvenile is a horse that is aged two, male or female. There are many races which are restricted to juvenile males and females. One of the most important races of this kind is the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. This race often features many horses which will ultimately become starters in the Kentucky Derby.


Section L

Laminitis—Also known as founder, this is one of the worst ailments a horse can encounter. It breaks down the hoof wall due to inflammation. When left untreated for even a short period of time, laminitis is almost always fatal. It can require a horse to be humanely destroyed.

Lasix—This is the brand name for furosemide, an anti-bleeding medication given to many racehorses.

Late Double—The Late Double is a form of the Daily Double, one of horse racing’s most popular bets. For many years the Daily Double was the sole exotic wager available at many racetracks. This bet originally involved picking the winners of two consecutive races early in the card, usually the first and second. The bet became so popular with bettors that racetracks added the Late Double. This bet required individuals to pick the winner of the last two races on the card. Many tracks today and online racebooks offer a Rolling Double which begins on the first race and continues throughout the entire card.

Lead—This term is used in several contexts. First, it can refer to the leather strap which is used by a groom to lead horses around the shedrow of the barn. This strap is attached to the halter. Lead can also refer to the position of a horse in a race. A horse in front of all other horses is said to have a clear lead. Finally, lead can also refer to the dominant leg in a horse’s running style. Horses typically lead with the right leg in a straightaway but often switch leads in the turn. These lead changes are hard to observe with the naked eye and are often accomplished in the air as the horse is running. This is called a flying lead change.

Lead Pad—a lead pad is used when a jockey cannot satisfy the weight requirements for a race. These pads are added to the jockey’s saddle to make up the missing weight. Trainers do not like it when lead pads must be added because these pads are dead weight.

Lead Pony—A lead pony is used to lead a horse to the starting gate prior to a race. The lead pony will also accompany the horse during the post parade. During some of racing’s big events like the Triple Crown series, lead ponies will often be decorated by their riders in celebration of the event.

Leaky Roof Circuit—A leaky roof circuit is a term used to refer to smaller tracks like Fairmont Park or Delta Downs or Beulah Park. These tracks can often be smaller than other venues and have fewer amenities.

Leg up—This is the act of giving a jockey a boost into the saddle of a horse. Jockeys are most often given a leg up by the horse’s trainer just before the horse leaves the paddock and makes its way to the racetrack. The signal for all jockeys to mount their horses is the call, “Riders up!” It is customary for a celebrity to issue this call at the Kentucky Derby. In 2017, the honor went to actor Jeff Bridges.

Length—This is a unit of measurement used during horse races which refers to the distance between horses in an event. It is roughly equivalent to eight feet, about the length of the average thoroughbred from nose to tail. A horse in front of others is said to be in front by the appropriate number of lengths. A two length lead would be roughly equal to 16 feet.

Lock—You will often hear handicappers at a racetrack claim that that have a lock in a certain race. A lock is a horse that absolutely cannot lose. It shouldn’t take you much effort to figure out that there is no such thing as a lock in a horse race. Be very wary of individuals who like to tout their selections at the track. Most of them are simply craving attention. However, sometimes you can hear horses referred to as locks when they have a very good chance to win.

Lug In or Lug Out—When horse compete in a race they tend to follow a certain path for most of the race. For example, a horse that is racing near the rail will prefer to stay on that path all the way because it saves ground. When a horse becomes tired, they can lug in or lug out which means to veer from their chosen path. When a horse lugs in or out they often stray into the lane of another horse which can cause problems and sometimes result in a disqualification.

Lunge—Horses sometimes lunge or lurch forward during a race. This is not a good thing and can indicate various problems. Sometimes the horse is simply fractious and unruly. In other cases the horse may be suffering an injury of some sort.


Section M

Maiden—This is a horse which has not won a race. It can also be used to refer to a rider which has not yet won an event. Maidens typically compete only against other maidens. However, in rare cases an exceptionally talented maiden may be entered in stakes events. It is not unheard of for a maiden to enter a race against winners, but this usually represents poor judgment on the part of both trainer and owner.

Maiden Race—The maiden race is a staple of many race programs today. It is a restricted event which only includes horses which have never won an event. The winner of a maiden race is said to have graduated to the ranks of winners and is no longer allowed to compete in maiden races.

Make a Run—A horse which makes a run is one that takes a shot at winning a race, usually from off the pace. These horses usually sit behind the leaders of a race and pace themselves. They make a run or  expend the greatest amount of energy when the jockey feels it is time to ask them for their best effort. Timing plays a critical role. If the horse moves too soon, it could tire before catching the leaders. If it moves too late, the opportunity to pass the leaders may be missed.

Mare—A mare is a female horse which is aged five or older. Female horses under the age of five are referred to as fillies.

Mash—A mash is a mixture of feed which has been warmed before being fed. Also called a hot mash, this type of feeding is used by some trainers during the cold winter months. It can also be used in some cases when a horse has minor health problems.

Medication List—A medication list must be kept by the track veterinarian and track stewards to identify which horses are using legal medications such as Bute or Lasix. Horses that are using these medications must be listed in the Daily Racing Form so that bettors are advised. If a horse is using these medicines without being placed on the medication list, this is a violation of racing rules which may be discovered during a test.

Middle Distance—This is a term which is used to refer to races of a certain length. Typically, middle distance races are those between one mile and a mile and 1/8. Horses that specialize in races at this distance are sometimes called milers. Slew o’ Gold was considered one of the best milers of his era and perhaps of all time.

Minus Pool—Sometimes, a horse is such an overwhelming favorite that there is not enough money in the pool to compensate all the bettors who have wagered on it. This situation results in a minus pool. When this happens, the racetrack must make up the difference so that all bettors can be paid. This is why racing secretaries make an effort to prevent this from happening by writing competitive races. When a race is more competitive there is less of a chance that there will be a prohibitive favorite.

Money Rider—Some jockeys just seem to do better in races where a lot of money in on the line. For years, John Velazquez has been one of the top money riders in the United States. Velazquez is very good in graded stakes races and trainers regularly seek him out to ride their horses in big events. Another talented money rider was the legendary Laffit Pincay, Jr. He became the leading rider by wins in the United States and accomplished a large number of them on the toughest circuits in the country.

Morning Glory—One of the most frustrating horses to train for racing. A morning glory loves to exercise in the morning. They can post exceptional workout times and look like they are ready to conquer the world of racing. But it is all a facade. When the time comes to race in the afternoon or evening, the Morning Glory fails to reproduce their enthusiasm for competition.

Morning Line—To begin the betting at an online racebook or live track, a morning line is created which gives bettors an idea of what they can expect when the horses enter the paddock. The morning line is an educated guess made by the track handicapper which is meant to reflect what he or she believes the odds on a certain horse should be. Track handicappers are very good at what they do, but they are also imperfect. In most cases they get it right. In some cases the public does a better job. The fan of EZ Horse Betting should always be prepared for the morning line and the actual odds at post time to be very different.

Muddy Track—This is a designation given to the racing surface after it has been saturated with rain and now has turned into a deep quagmire. Some horses love this kind of racing surface. There is money to be made by the handicapper who can identify which horses like to compete in the deep mud.

Mudder or Mudlark—A mudder is a horse that prefers running on deep, muddy surfaces. Breeding seems to be a huge predictor in this regard. Horses with sires that did exceptionally well on muddy surfaces during their own careers tend to have offspring who have the same talent. Some contend that it is due to the presence of wider feet which are better equipped to handle a muddy surface.

Muzzle—The muzzle of a horse is the area that encompasses the lips and nose. This is one of the most sensitive areas on a horse. When trainers need to establish complete control over a horse they will often  use an implement known as a twitch which compresses the muzzle. If a horse tries to move while the twitch is in place this is very uncomfortable. Therefore, the horse will typically remain still.


Section O

Oaks, Kentucky—The Kentucky Oaks is the premier race for three-year old fillies. It is the filly equivalent of the Kentucky Derby and is held each year on the day before the Derby. While there have been some exceptionally talented fillies who have been able to compete against males in the Kentucky Derby, most trainers prefer to target the Oaks if they think their filly is one of the best in the country.

Objection—An objection is a claim filed by one jockey against another which alleges a foul committed during a race. When an objection is filed, all tickets must be held while the track stewards look at replays to determine if a foul was committed. If the objection is successful, the jockey guilty of the foul and his or her horse may be disqualified and placed lower in the order of finish. A jockey that has been guilty of a foul may also be given days of suspension.

Odds-On—This occurs when a horse pays less than even money for a bet. Examples of odds-on horses would be those at 4-5, 3-5, or even 1-5. There is little money to be made betting on these heavy favorites. Betting an odds-on favorite to place, however, is one of the few bets in horse racing that automatically returns a profit in the long run.

Official—A race must be mace official before bettors can be paid on their winning tickets. Once a race has been certified as official by a group of placing judges, the OFFICIAL light will display on the tote board to let bettors know that they can now cash their tickets. At an online racebook, the screen will typically refresh when a race has been made official and the winnings from the race will appear in the player’s account.

Off Side—The off side of a thoroughbred is its right side. This side is not typically used for things like saddling or giving the horse routine medical treatment.

Off Track—There are two ways this term is used in American horse racing. First, it can refer to a track that has been saturated by rain and is no longer considered fast. An off track is on that is in poor racing condition. The second way the term is used refers to betting. Betting off-track is now popular in all countries thanks to the online racebook. With a racebook you do not have to be on the track in order to place your bets from a computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Off Track Betting—Also known as OTB, this style of betting was popularized in places like New York and Chicago many years ago. An individual could walk into an OTB parlor in one of these major cities and be able to bet the races at local tracks. OTB was one of the first steps up from bookies running bets.

On the Bit—A horse who is on the bit is one that is very eager to race. This type of horse is difficult for a jockey to hold. Sometimes, a horse who is on the bit cannot be rated to conserve energy during a race. This is a bad scenario because it will cause the horse to become exhausted too early and deliver a poor finish.

On the Board—To finish on the board is to secure a spot among the first four finishers of a race. This can also be called hitting the board. This term is used because the tote board at racetracks only displays the first four finishers of a race. It has become such an accepted racing term that it is now used at online racebooks to describe the finishers of a race.

On the Nose—When one bets a horse on the nose, they are betting only on that horse to win the race. $20 on the nose means that a bettor has made a straight win bet of $20. To collect this wager, the horse must win. There is no payment for second or third place.

Osselets—The ankle joint of a horse is referred to as a fetlock. Sometimes, this bony area can develop spurs which lead to calcification. When this occurs it creates a bony growth. This growth is similar to bone spurs in a human being. The area can become swollen or inflamed, and this is referred to as Osselets.

Overlay—An overlay is a horse that is receiving a far better price than his past performances should merit. Let’s say that the legendary Secretariat was racing against a group of $5,000 claiming horses. In that case, the odds or price on secretariat should be no more than 1/10. If you were to see that Secretariat is being offered at 3-1 on the tote board, this is an overlay. An overlay is one of the most profitable scenarios in horse racing if you can learn how to spot it. Not all overlays will be as clear cut as the example we just gave.


Section P

Paddock—The paddock is an area at the racetrack which is reserved for saddling horses before a race. A paddock usually consists of several stalls where horses stand while saddled as well as a walking ring where they are shown to the betting public and also mounted by their jockeys. Paddock can also refer to an outdoor area of a farm where horses are allowed to run freely and enjoy themselves.

Paddock Judge—The paddock judge at a racetrack is the person in charge of saddling routines. This individual observes the saddling process to make sure that everything is being done properly. The paddock judge is also the individual which will give the call “Rider’s Up!” when it is time for the jockeys to mount their horses.

Parimutuel—Parimutuel is a form of wagering among individual bettors. The word itself comes from France and means “among ourselves.” Therefore, parimutuel wagering is betting among a group of individuals. In the case of horse racing, the parimutuel participants are all individuals who wish to make a bet. To bet on horses simply requires that you are of the legal age to do so and have an online racebook account or visit a live racetrack.

Past Performances—Past performances, or PPs, are the handicapper’s most important wagering tool. These charts include detailed data on all horses in a race. The data presented is gathered from the most recent races of each horse. It presents a clear picture of what the horse has done in the recent past and allows bettors to evaluate the recent performances of one horse against the recent performances of another. PPs can be obtained from a variety of sources including the Daily Racing Form.

Patrol Judges—Also sometimes called outriders, these individuals observe races from various points around the racetrack. They are equipped with radios and can report to the stewards immediately if they witness any violation of the rules.

Penalties—These are assessed in the form of added weight a jockey must carry during a race. Penalties are not punishments but are levied in an effort to level the playing field of a race. For example, the conditions of a race may penalize horses which have won more than one race in the current year.

Photo Finish—All finish lines at the racetrack are equipped with a camera that is motion triggered. This camera snaps a pic of the horse or horses crossing the finish line first. When the race is too close to call with the naked eye, the race is called a photo finish because the photo must be used to determine the winner of the race. Also called a photo for short, many bettors have had their hearts and wallets broken by a photo finish.

Pick Six—The Pick Six is a type of exotic wager you can find at your favorite online racebook. It requires you to pick the winners of six consecutive races. Some racebooks even offer a Pick Nine. The payoffs on these exotic bets can be massive, sometimes reaching more than six figures. Also, the pools for these wagers grow whenever there is no winner for the day. This is called a carryover and it is a lot like the jackpot in the Powerball or other lotteries.

Pill—A pill is a small numbered button which is placed into a bottle and then used to draw the post positions for all horses in a race. One of the entry clerks or the racing secretary is charged with drawing the numbers from the bottle.

Pinched Back—A horse that has been pinched back is one that had its progress impeded during the running of a race. This often happens at the start of a race when a horse is squeezed by other horses as they all emerge from the starting gate. Horses that get pinched back can lose lots of ground and their chances of winning are diminished. This can also sometimes lead to an objection and claim of foul by the affected rider.

Pinhooker, Pinhook—A pinhooker is an individual that purchases yearling horses at auction for the sole purpose of reselling them at a two-year-old auction for a higher price. This can be a very lucrative endeavor for some individuals. Hoby Kight is one of the most successful pinhookers in the history of horse racing and has made millions of dollars buying and selling young horses.

Place—To place is to finish second in a race. The winning wager on this finish position is usually lower than the amount returned on a win bet but not always. Sometimes, a horse can pay a large sum of money to place depending on its odds.

Place Bet—This is a bet placed on a horse to run second in a race. It is considered to be a straight wager and not an exotic bet along with Win and Show bets.

Placing Judges—Placing judges are an important part of any racetrack operation. They sit high above the track next to the track stewards. From this vantage point they can observe everything that happens on the track. Once a race has been concluded, the placing judges must certify the official order of finish. In the case of a foul or objection, placing judges must also decide where to place a horse that has been disqualified due to fouls committed by its jockey.

Plater—This is an old term that was once used to describe a claiming horse. The term can also be used to describe a farrier or blacksmith, but this is relatively uncommon today.

Plates—These are the type of shoes a horse wears while racing. They can come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Pole—All around the racetrack one will observe poles that have different colors. These poles are distance markers and serve the important purpose of letting jockeys know how much distance they have covered in a race and how much distance remains. The poles mark the distance to the finish. The Quarter Pole is one-quarter of a mile from the finish line.

Post Position—This is the numbered starting gate stall from which a horse begins a race. It is also sometimes referred to as a “hole.” The 1 post position or 1 hole is the starting gate stall closest to the inside rail. The other stalls proceed in numerical order toward the outside of the rail. Most trainers prefer an inside post position or one towards the middle of the gate. An outside post position is considered a disadvantage for most horses, especially when there is a short run to the first turn.

Post Time—This is the time which a race is slated to start. There are often delays when a horse refuses to load into the gate or is other wise fractious or unruly.

Preferred—A horse that is preferred meets certain special conditions for a race. This means that the horse will be among the first to gain entry into a certain race.

Prep Race—Many trainers will enter their horse in a prep race to prepare for a bigger event. An example of this would be races like the Florida Derby which are considered prep races for the Kentucky Derby. In the case of Derby preps, horses are awarded points for their victories which are then used to determine which horses are allowed to run in the big races.

Prop—This is a very dangerous situation for a horse’s rider. When a horse props during a race, the horse suddenly stops in its tracks without warning. The result is often the jockey being thrown from the horse over its head.

Public Trainer—A public trainer is one that accepts horses from the general public into their stable. They charge a day rate and anyone can bring their horses for training. By contrast, a private trainer is one that only trains for select clients.

Purse—The purse is the amount of money that is shared by the first five finishers in a race. Sometimes, the purse can be divided among a larger group of participants. The winning horse typically receives 60% of the total purse money for a race. In other words, the winner of a $100,000 race would receive $60,000. The jockey then receives ten percent, or $6,000 of this total.


Section Q

Quarter—One quarter of a mile in horse racing. It is equal to 440 yards or 1,320 feet. This is also a distance at which Quarter Horses regularly compete. The American Quarter Horse does not compete against thoroughbreds and has its own racing circuit.

Quarter Crack—This is a painful crack in the wall of the hoof. It runs down the length of the hoof from the coronet band which sits at the top of the hoof. Big Brown is just one horse which has been a victim of this injury. It is usually treatable in minor cases but can become severe enough that it can end a horse’s career.

Quarter Horse—The American Quarter Horse is best known for its use in rodeos for calf roping and steer wrestling as well as barrel racing events. There are also special race meets for Quarter Horses. The Quarter Horse is named for its ability to produce incredible speed for a quarter mile. Few animals can cover a short distance faster than a Quarter Horse. These races are particularly hard to handicap because they depend so heavily on the break from the starting gate.

Quarter Pole—This is the pole on the inside of the race track which marks one quarter of a mile remaining to the finish line. It is the point at which many horses are asked for their best effort.

Quinella—A very popular bet in Australia which was also once popular in America. The Quinella requires a bettor to pick the first two finishers of a race in any order. In other words, it does not matter which horse finishes first and which finishes second. All that matters is that the two selected horses run first and second. The Quinella has been replaced in America by the Exacta Box. Typically, the return on this wager is low because the risk involved is lower.


Section R

Rabbit—A rabbit is one part of an ENTRY which is placed in a race to set a fast pace. Trainers use a rabbit to set a very fast early pace so that their other horse in the race can close from the rear and pass the tired leaders. This strategy is frequently used in stakes events. It has even been attempted in the races of the Triple Crown series and Breeders’ Cup.

Racing Secretary—The racing secretary holds perhaps the most important job at the racetrack. This individual supervises the daily operations of the racing office. They also are responsible for writing the condition book and the overnights. These are the races which will be held on every race day. Crafting a condition book is very difficult. It must hold an adequate number of races for all classes and conditions. Sometimes, horsemen can request a certain race to be written for their horses. The racing secretary may or may not oblige this request.

Rail Runner—This is a horse that likes to run very near to the inside rail on the track. The rail horse has an advantage because racing on the rail is the shortest way around the racetrack. It is called saving ground. Some jockeys like Calvin Borel are known for their ability to hug the rail when riding. Borel has been known to race so close to the rail that his boots scrape it and bear marks of white paint.

Receiving Barn—The receiving barn is a special barn on the backside of a racetrack that is used to house horses which are shipping in from farms and are not normally stabled on the track. The receiving barn can also be used to house horses which have shipped in for important stakes races. Unlike the stalls in a regular barn, the stalls here are a little smaller sometimes and trainers must bring their own water buckets and sometimes a stall gate.

Refuse—A horse that refuses is one that will not break from the starting gate or perform on the track. To refuse can often indicate a physical problem the horse may be encountering. Sometimes it can also be a sign of stubbornness, but this is most often seen in younger horses who are still being accustomed to the practice of racing.

Reserved—This term is not often used today. The more common term today is rated. A horse that is reserved is being held in check by its jockey so that it can expend the bulk of its energy at the appropriate time. Horses that stalk the pace and run fast late must be taught to be rated. Some horses are very hard to reserve and display a tendency to run full out at all times.

Ridden Out—A horse that has been ridden out is one which has been asked for all of its energy from its jockey. It has left every ounce of stamina on the track in the effort to win the race. This term is used by chart callers and will often be found in past performances. When betting a horse that was ridden out in its previous race, realize that the effort may have exhausted the horse and prevent it from doing its best today.

Ride Short—This means to shorten the stirrup leathers so that the irons are very high on the horse. When the stirrups are short the rider must crouch higher on the horse and sacrifice some stability and control.

Ridgling—A ridgling is a a male horse whose testicles did not descend in their youth.

Roan—One of the primary colors of the thoroughbred race horse, although it is rare compared to black, brown, or bay. Roan consists of a mixture of white and red or brown hairs. These horses are one of the more attractive varieties of thoroughbred.

Roaring—Not often used today, this term was once used to describe a horse that coughs while exercising. The cough is generally deep and prolonged and may be an indication of a lasting problem.

Rogue—A rouge is a horse that is known for its ill-tempered behavior. This can include biting or kicking its handlers or even savaging other horses during the running of a race by biting. One of the most famous rogues in racing history was John Henry. Although he was a small horse, John Henry was a holy terror. He did not like individuals in his stall and would charge them at every opportunity.

Romp—To romp is to win a race with ridiculous ease. Horses that romp usually win by many lengths. This can be because they are genuinely more talented than their opponents or because they simply have an exceptional, career day. The fans of EZ Horse Betting will love watching a horse they have bet on at an online racebook romp to victory.

Route—A route is a race distance of one mile or longer. Races shorter than a mile are referred to as sprints. Many horses that succeed at routes are specialists and do not always do well at short distances. Some of the best route horses in history include Seattle Slew and his offspring like Slew O’ Gold. Route horses are also those who fare well in the Triple Crown series. Each race in this series is longer than one mile.

Router—A horse that specializes in racing at route distances. Sometimes referred to as a miler.


Section S

Saddle Cloth—A saddle cloth is placed under the saddle during a race. This cloth bears the number the horse has been assigned and is a specific color. A saddle cloth is also used sometimes during the morning workout hours. This type of cloth is usually adorned with the colors of the racing stable to which the horse belongs. It can also bear a symbol or logo.

Savage—This is when a horse bites another horse during a race or its human handler. Horses that savage their opponents during a race can simply be showing aggressiveness. Those who bite at their handlers may be simply unruly or suffering from pain. In either case, this is a bad behavior which must be controlled.

Scale of Weights—These are fixed amounts of weights that horses are assigned to carry in specific races. The Scale of Weights is consistent across all race circuits.

Schooling—All thoroughbred race horses must undergo extensive schooling before they are permitted to participate in racing events. Schooling is done in several different tasks. First and foremost, the horse must be gate schooled. This involves teaching the horse to accept the starting gate. The horse must make multiple trips to the gate in the presence of the starter. It must stand quietly in the gate for an extended period of time and break sharply when the gates are opened. Horses are also paddock schooled. This involves trips to the paddock during race day. The horse must learn to behave properly in the paddock and not act unruly. Horses that perform poorly in any of these areas may be placed on a steward’s list and required to undergo additional schooling.

Schooling List—Also known as the Starter’s List, this list is for horses that have performed poorly in the starting gate. When a horse is placed on this list, extra schooling is required before the horse can compete in a race again.

Scratch—When a horse is removed from a race after its entry has been published in the track program or Daily Racing Form. A late scratch occurs after the horses have taken the track. Scratches can be caused by a variety of reasons. The horse may have come down with an ailment in between the time it was entered and the day of the race (a period of about two or three days on average). A horse may have acted poorly in the starting gate on race day. Finally, the track veterinarian may have observed an issue that requires the horse to be scratched.

Second Call—This is a second obligation of a jockey in a certain race. Sometimes in the racing program you will notice a jockey named on two different horses. This usually happens when the two horses are part of an entry. It is assumed that one of the horses will be scratched or given a new rider before post time of the race.

Sesamoid—The sesamoid bones are tiny bones which are located near the fetlock or ankle. They are at the joint which is formed by a pastern bone and a cannon bone. The sesamoid is one of the most fragile parts of a thoroughbred. Horses that sustain a serious injury to this area frequently “break down” during a race and are forced to be humanely destroyed.

Set—Sometimes trainers prefer to work their horses together in the morning hours in what is known as a set. A set usually includes three horses but always a minimum of two. Working in a set helps to better simulate racing conditions and accustom the horses to racing.

Set Down—This term has two meanings. First, two be set down means that a jockey has been suspended. The second is when a jockey asks a horse for its best effort. This is called being set down for the drive.

Seven Furlongs—One of the most popular distances of races today. It is equal to 7/8 of a mile. A seven furlong race is considered to be a middle distance race.

Sex Allowance—When fillies compete against colts (females vs. males), fillies are given a sex allowance of three to five pounds. This means that the females carry three or five less pounds than their male rivals. This is done because males typically run faster than females and the weight allowance levels the playing field.

Shadow Roll—Horses have very strange vision. They have very specific blind spots. When something emerges from one of these blind spots unexpectedly, it can cause the horse to spook. One of these blind spots is directly in front of the nose. A shadow roll is a wool covering which sits across and just above the nose. It prevents the horse from seeing its shadow in the front and keeps the horse from spooking.

Shank—A shank is a long leather strap that has a chain and snap attached at one end. The snap is connected to the horse’s halter. A shank can also be wrapped through the halter so that the chain is looped over the bridge of the horse’s nose for added control. The bridge of the nose is very sensitive and when the chain is tightened on this area the horse behave properly.

Shed Row—The shed row is the portion of the barn in front of the horses’ stalls. A shed row is typically a dirt surface which is maintained each day by grooms and other workers. Horses are led around the shed row after they race or have a workout by hotwalkers who need to cool them down.

Short—A horse that comes up short during a race is one that has not been given the appropriate fitness before the race. Trainers get very disappointed when horse is short because this is indicative of a failure on their part. The person that is best able to determine if a horse came up short is the jockey.

Show—This is a straight wager which forms the last of the three original horse racing bets. The other two are Win and Place. A Show bet is a bet that a horse will finish third place or better in a race. Show bets are one of the worst bets in racing and should be avoided at online racebooks. They simply do not pay much in return and are too risky. Show betting on favorites is especially bad. These bets can return as little as $0.10 on the dollar.

Shut Off—To be shut off in a race means that the jockey has nowhere to go. It can be strategic or on accident. Sometimes when a rider is shut off they can claim an objection and perhaps the jockey who committed the foul will be disciplined.

Silks—Silks are the shirt that a jockey wears during a race. Each racehorse owner is required to have their own silks. These silks are designed by the owner and must be registered with the Jockey Club. Silks can be designed creatively but the Jockey Club only permits a minimum of colors and designs. This is because silks must be described in the racing program.

Simulcast—A simulcast is a signal that allows races from one track to be broadcast to another or to the video feed of an online racebook. Simulcasting literally changed the way individuals bet on racing. It opened up every major racing circuit in America and around the world to any bettor with an Internet connection and an online racebook account.

Sire—A sire is the father of a horse. Sires are typically retired racehorses that had a very successful career on the racetrack. It is rare for unproven horses to become sires, but unproven mares may be very successful in their breeding career.

Six Furlongs—This is a sprint distance that is very popular today at American racetracks. It is equal to 6/8 of one mile. Six furlongs is one of the most common short distance races that you will encounter on a race card.

Sixteenth—A sixteenth is equal to 1/16 of a mile, 110 yards, or 330 feet. The Sixteenth Pole is the next to last point of call marker before the finish line.

Sloppy—A sloppy track is one that has a wet top but retains a firm bottom. It can be very hard for some horses to navigate this type of racing surface. Other horses seem to prefer it. The presence of a sloppy track can have a significant impact on handicapping for the EZ Horse Betting expert.

Slow—Another designation for track surfaces. Slow tracks are ones that have taken on some rain and become harder to navigate. They may be muddy and therefore prevent horses from gaining their best footing. Racing times on this type of strip will be slower than normal. If you find a horse that ran faster than normal on a slow track, this may be an indicator that the horse is exceptionally talented.

Snug—A horse that is being given a snug hold is one that is being mildly restrained by its jockey. Keeping a horse snug is a tactic often used when a horse needs to rate and stalk the pace.

Solid Horse—A solid horse is a legitimate contender. When a trainer refers to its horse as solid, the meaning is that the trainer believes this horse has the ability to win. You rarely hear this term applied to claiming horses. It is almost always reserved for stakes level competitors. A term used often around the time of the Kentucky Derby.

Sophomore—A three-year old horse, either male or female. Prior to the turning three these horses are called juveniles. Sophomore campaigns for very talented racehorses include the Kentucky Derby and other Triple Crown events.

Sophomore Jinx—This is a superstition that involves winners of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. The winners of this race for two-year-old horses are often unable to repeat their success in the Kentucky Derby despite high expectations. Almost every year the winner of the BC Juvenile goes into the Kentucky Derby as one of the short-priced favorites, and almost every year they lose. This jinx has been so consistently effective that you can almost eliminate these horses from your win betting selections.

Spit the Bit—A horse that spits the bit is one who has quit racing due to fatigue or other issues. This can happen when an injury occurs during a race but can also simply occur because the horse is tired and no longer wishes to run.

Stakes-Placed—A horse that is stakes-placed is one that has finished first, second, or third in a stakes event. This is given consideration when buyers evaluate the bloodlines of horses they wish to buy at an auction. Buyers like to see the dam of a horse be stakes-placed, and it is always good to see a stakes winning stud in the pedigree. Some handicappers have even built entire handicapping systems around bloodlines.

Stake—A race for very talented horses. Stakes races include events like the Kentucky Derby, Travers Stakes, and Haskell Invitational. These races generally require that a horse be nominated for its entry and sometimes a nomination fee must be paid by the horse’s owners.

Stakes Horse—A stakes horse is one that is capable of competing in stakes events against other top notch horses. Every trainer dreams of having just one stakes horse under their care at some point in their career.

Stallion—A name given to male horses that retain their ability to breed.

Stall Walker—A stall walker is a horse that continuously paces to and fro in its stall at all hours of the day and night. This is a nervous condition that is not preferred. It is indicative of anxiety and fractiousness. Many trainers will try various methods to determine the source of the stress and eliminate it. Stall walkers can use up an immense amount of energy and perform poorly in a race.

Star—This is a term that refers to a specific marking on a horse. A star is considered to be a small patch of white hair on a horse’s forehead. These markings are very important and used by the Jockey Club to identify horses on their papers. Other markings include a blaze.

Starter Race—Also known as a starter allowance, these races are for cheap claiming horses who have performed exceptionally well. These horses are not normally talented enough to compete in regular allowance races. A starter allowance is basically a claiming race without the claiming rules. Horses in the race cannot be purchased by another owner.

Starting Gate—This is the mechanical apparatus from which all thoroughbred races are begun. It contains a number of stalls, usually 12 to 14, which are fronted by a mechanical gate. The horses load into the starting gate from the rear and then another gate is closed behind them to hold them in the stall. When the starter sees that all jockeys and horses are ready to compete, he or she pushes a button to open the gates in front and the race begins.

State-Bred—This is a horse that was foaled in the state where it is racing today. Race tracks usually write races that are restricted to state-bred horses and offer more purse money to horsemen that enter these races. When a horse races against horses that were bred in other states, this is called racing against open company and is considered a disadvantage. Horses tend to fare better when they are racing against other horses that were foaled in the same state.

Stayer—This is another term which was used more frequently in the past. It refers to a horse which has staying power, or the ability to race long distances. Today it is uncommon for most races to be longer than a mile and a quarter in length. In the past there were marathons which could cover two miles or more.

Steadied—This happens when a horse is taken in hand by its rider. A horse is steadied when it encounters trouble during a race or perhaps has an injury. Jockeys will steady a horse if they feel that the conditions of the race pose a threat to the well-being of the horse.

Stepping Up—A horse that is stepping up is one that is moving up the class ladder to face tougher competition. Horses generally step up after a strong performance at their current level. For example, if a horse wins a $5,000 claiming race by many lengths, its trainer may wish to step up and enter a $10,000 claiming event next time. Horses that are stepping up in class should be regarded with caution by the handicapper.

Stewards—The track stewards are the officials in charge of maintaining fairness and order. All racetracks typically have three stewards. One State Steward wields control while two Association Stewards lend support. An odd number is needed so that majority can rule when no consensus can be reached. Stewards are tasked with handing out suspensions to jockeys whenever the situation requires it.

Steeplechase—The steeplechase is a race over very high obstacles which can include fences and large grass hedges. For many years, the opening day of racing at Saratoga would involve a Steeplechase event. These races have mostly disappeared from racetracks today and are no longer wagered on by the public.

Stick—This is a nickname given by track personnel to the jockey’s whip.

Stockings—Stockings are white legs from the knee down. Horses can have one, two, three, or even four stockings. Some combinations of stockings on the legs are considered very rare. Many superstitions exist about stockings. Some say that three are very lucky for the handicapper. Some claim that two are bad luck. At the end of the day, leg markings are just that and have no bearing on how a horse performs in a race.

Stretch—The stretch is the final straightaway before the finish line on a racetrack. Horses are frequently asked for their best effort in the stretch. Some stretches are longer than others. In the United States, the stretch run at Belmont Park and the one at Fair Grounds in New Orleans are very long. At these tracks, many riders wait until they are completely out of the final turn before they begin to urge the horse toward the finish. Moving too soon on one of these tracks can cost a rider the victory.


Section T

Tack—This is the equipment a jockey carries during a race. It includes the racing saddle, whip, and boots. It is also a term that is used to refer to riding equipment that is kept inside the barn. Most barns include a tack room which is where this equipment is stored and put away after morning exercise hours.

Takeout—This is one of the things handicappers hate the most. Takeout is the portion of each betting pool which is removed by the racetrack or online racebook before bettors are paid their winnings. Takeout is how tracks and racebooks make their money. It is something you probably never give a thought to because you don’t see it. You should, though, because it affects the odds on the horses you choose to bet. Bettors are always trying to get racetracks to reduce the takeout.

Taken Up—A horse that is taken up is one that has suddenly been asked by its jockey to stop running. Horses can be taken up for any number of reasons but the most prevalent of these is that they have been injured. By stopping the horse from running, a jockey may be able to prevent the injury from becoming worse and perhaps even save the horse’s life.

Tattoo—All thoroughbred racehorses are identified by a unique tattoo which is place on the inside of their upper lip. This tattoo is a series of letters and numbers and is required for all horses which compete in sanctioned racing events. Most thoroughbreds receive this tattoo in their two-year-old year as a final step before they begin to compete. When a horse enters the paddock to prepare for a race, the identifier will raise the lip of the horse and look at the tattoo. The marker is compared with the information listed on the horse’s registration papers. If it does not match, this could mean someone is attempting to enter the wrong horse in the race.

Teletheater—This type of venue is very popular in Las Vegas. A teletheater contains a large bank of simulcast monitors which display racing events from around the country. There are betting windows and individuals can wager and watch in comfort. Did you know that you can get the same kind of experience from an online racebook right in the privacy of your own home. Just use your Smart TV or computer to access the racebook. You can watch live races, replays, and make bets. Your own house can turn into a teletheater.

Thrush—Thrush is an infection of the foot which is painful and itchy. It is not that different from Athlete’s Foot in humans. This condition affects the area around the “frog” of the foot. The frog is a spot which creates a sort of cleft on the underside of the foot. As with any issue of the feet, thrush can cause a horse to run poorly.

Tight—To have a horse tight is to have it in top racing condition. Trainers consider it a personal failure if their horse is not fit enough to complete a race. While there are many variables in horse racing which cannot be controlled, fitness is usually not one of them. Getting a horse tight requires consistent exercise and workouts in the morning hours.

Timber Topper—You will rarely hear this term used around the racetrack today. It refers to a horse which competes in Steeplechase events. These events, once popular at many North American racing venues, involve jumping over large wooden barriers. This is why Steeplechase horses are given this name.

Tongue Tie—A tongue tie is a piece of cloth which is used to secure a horse’s tongue during a race. This is often done to prevent choking or a lack of air during a race. It can also be used to aid in the prevention of displacement of the soft palette.

Topweight—A topweight is the horse in a handicap race which has been assigned the most weight to carry. It was more prevalent in the early days of horse racing for there to be a great disparity between the weights horses carried. It is not so common today.

Totalisator—The trademarked name of the tote board which is used to display odds at racetracks. It is the same technology which is used to display the odds at an online racebook. At a physical racetrack, the Totalisator is a very long mechanical board which sits right in front of the finish line and faces the grandstand. This large board has LED lights which display the odds for each horse, the betting pools for Win, Place, and Show wagers, and the final order of finish. There are also lights which indicate an Objection or Inquiry is in place.

Tout—A tout is someone at the racetrack who likes to give out their personal betting selections. This is usually done with the expectation of a reward if the selections win. It is best to avoid a tout. For starters, the hot tip they have rarely pans out. Second, when it does the odds are usually disappointing because they have given the same inside information to others. This is not to say that all hot tips are worthless. Sometimes you can legitimately stumble on to information that the public does not have. When you are fortunate enough to encounter this situation you should go with your best instincts.

Track Bias—A track bias is frequently observed on many racetracks and can be very profitable for the fan of EZ Horse Betting. When a track becomes biased it may favor front-runners or those horses which like to come from off the pace. The bias may last for an entire race card or several days. Sometimes a bias is so pronounced that it can trump almost all other methods of handicapping. The only sure way to recognize a bias is to follow the race cards on a given circuit each day and keep detailed notes.

Track Record—The track record is the fastest time at a given distance on a specific racetrack. Secretariat is known for still holding track records at Churchill Downs, Pimlico, and Belmont Park.

Trial—This term is most frequently used in Quarter Horse racing. It involves a series of races in which horses must qualify for more important events.

Trifecta—Also known as a Triple, the Trifecta is one of the most popular exotic bets you will find at an online racebook. To win this bet you must pick the first three finishers of a race in exact order. Trifecta wagers usually have a minimum bet of just $1 and can return hundreds of dollars when the horses selected are longshots.

Trip—A trip is a a horse’s journey during a race. In recent years trip handicapping has become very popular. It has even been advocated by the likes of Andrew Beyer. When a handicapper evaluates a trip he or she looks for things that happened during the running of a race which may have helped or hindered the horse’s effort. This perspective can often put the race in a different light and reveal flaws or talent.

Triple Crown—The Triple Crown is the most prestigious event in all of thoroughbred racing. It is a series of three events for three-year-old horses. It includes the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, and Belmont Stakes. There have only been a handful of Triple Crown winners in history. Secretariat was the most famous to accomplish this feat. The last Triple Crown winner was American Pharoah in 2015.

Turf Course—A turf course is one that is constructed of grass. Most major racetracks have a turf course today. Most races in America are ran on dirt tracks, but in Europe almost all races are on the turf. Grass is a the natural habitat of a horse.

Turn Down—A turn down is a small piece of metal on the back of a horseshoe that functions as a sort of cleat. It assists the horse in gaining traction, especially on track surfaces that are deep and wet.

Twitch—A twitch is a medium-sized pole with a loop of rope at the end. The loop of rope is placed around the horse’s nose and twisted until tight. Because the nose of the horse is very sensitive, this pressure gives the horse’s handler a large degree of control.


Section U

Under Contract—This situation rarely happens in horse racing today. It was common in years past. A jockey under contract was obligated to ride for a specific stable. He or she was not permitted to ride for any other trainers. This led to abuse of jockeys who often were forced to live in horrible conditions and work for little money. Today, jockeys are represented by agents who market their riding services to the best trainers on a circuit.

Underlay—An underlay is a horse that is racing at lower odds than it should. Fans of EZ Horse Betting should avoid underlays whenever possible. The risk on these horses is never worth the potential reward.

Under Punishment—When a horse is being heavily whipped during a race it is said to be under punishment. This is less common today thanks to animal welfare interests. In the old days of horse racing there was a mentality which asserted a horse was simply lazy when it refused to run. The proposed solution was to use the whip more vigorously. A story regarding the legendary Seabiscuit is that his first owner instructed his exercise rider to hit him as many times as he could in a quarter of a mile. The result was that Seabiscuit became soured on racing. When trainer Tom Smith took over Seabiscuit’s conditioning, Smith instructed jockey Red Pollard to encourage the horse with his hand instead of the whip.

Under Wraps—A horse under wraps is one that is being tightly restrained by its jockey or exercise rider. Horses are most often placed under wraps in the morning workout hours.

Untried—A horse that is untried is one that has not been tested for its maximum speed. The term can also refer to a stud that has yet to sire winning offspring.

Unwind—To unwind a horse is to gradually remove it from racing training. Thoroughbreds that are retiring from racing must be unwound. This process helps to remove all of the conditioning a horse is used to receiving on the racetrack.


Section V

Valet—A valet is the individual charged with maintaining a jockey’s riding tack and clothing. These individuals are hired by each jockey and typically receive a percentage of what the jockey earns during a week. A valet brings out the jockey’s saddle and other riding tack to the paddock for saddling, shines their boots between each race, and washes their riding pants and personal clothing.


Section W

Walk Hots—To walk hots is to cool out horses after a workout or a race. This process involves walking the horse around the shedrow for 20-30 minutes. It is similar to what a human runner does after a race. The purpose of walking hots is to help with the disbursement of lactic acid which has been built up during strenuous activity. If the lactic acid is not disbursed the result is painful cramps in the back legs. The onset of these cramps is called “tying up” and it is very painful for a horse.

Walkover—A walkover is the sole horse remaining in a race where all others have been scratched. The rules of racing require that the single horse must take the track and gallop the required distance. It must cross the finish line in order to claim the purse.

Warming Up—The process of warming up before a race includes galloping backwards around the racetrack. After the post parade, all horses have a few minutes to warm up before they are loaded into the starting gate so the race can begin.

Washy—Being washy or washing out is a bad sign for a racehorse. A horse that has washed out displays a white foamy substance on the inside of its rear legs. Washing out is a sign of nervousness. This will often cause a horse to perform at less than its peak ability.

Weanling—A weanling is a male or female horse of less than one year of age. A weanling is separated from its dam so that it can no longer nurse and may proceed to solid foods.

Weaving—A horse that sways to and fro in its stall or back and forth during a race. Weaving is a nervous condition that can cause a horse to perform poorly. It is particularly bad during a race because it can cause a horse to impede the progress of another and be assigned a foul.

Weight-For-Age—Some races call for all horses to be assigned the same weight to carry depending on their age. This Scale of Weights designation is used in many claiming races and other non-handicap events.

Whip—A stick made of tight leather wrapping which a jockey carries during a race. This stick has a thick square of padded leather on the end. The whip is used by the jockey to encourage a horse to run faster. The jockey will use the whip to hit the hips or shoulders of a horse. Whips are meant to be used in a reasonable way. A jockey that overuses his or her whip can face serious penalties which may include suspension.

Winded—A horse that is winded is one that has expelled most of its oxygen during a workout or a race. Just like a human runner, horses depend upon oxygen to perform. When they become winded, they have difficulty running.

Winner-Takes-All—This type of event is one that awards the entirety of a race purse to the winning horse. These types of events are rarely seen today. In the past they were common as horsemen often matched their horses one-on-one for pride. Match races have largely been outlawed in racing today but are still held on unsanctioned racetracks.

Withers—The withers of a horse is the highest point of the area between its shoulders. This area is used to measure the height of the horse.

Wobbler—A wobbler is a horse that has an unsteady gait. They are unable to run properly. Wobbling is caused by a neurological issue which results in compression of the spinal cord. This disease can be treated but it most often results in the end of a horse’s career.

Work—To work a horse is to give it a workout at a specific distance. Horses are required to have a certain number of works before they can compete in sanctioned races. Works are listed in the past performances published in the Daily Racing Form and other sources.


Section Y

Yearling—A yearling is a horse less than two years of age but not yet two. This is a tricky designation, however, because all thoroughbreds have a universal birth date of January 1. Therefore, the yearling designation last from January 1 of the year after foaling to the following January. Yearlings are given basic race training, but serious training does not begin until the second year.

Yielding—When a turf course has amassed a large amount of water it is said to be yielding. This is the final step before the turf course becomes unsatisfactory for racing and the turf race is moved to the dirt.

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