Racing Betting Guide

Horse Racing is one of the oldest betting sports known to man. This potentially profitable, entertaining social event has been around since people have been able to ride, and spectators have had the inclination to wager on the outcomes of the fastest horses and riders. Horse Racing was introduced officially in the United States in 1665, when the track was built in Long Island, New York, called the “New Market” by the New York Colonial Governor at the time.

One of the most famous of American Thoroughbred racing horses has been the legendary “Seabiscuit” in the late 1930-s; the horse became a national icon and symbol of winning perseverance during the great depression. One of the most famous of Seabiscuit’s races at the time was the $121,000 Santa Anita Handicap when a roaring crowd of 78,000 paying fans came to see the horse win the historic race.

Racing formats vary from country to country and most regions have adopted their own traditions over the years. Some versions restrict to certain breeds, variations of distance, different surfaces, and even gaits. The World revenues from horse racing climb into the hundreds of billions of dollars yearly. Even Japan that countries with strict anti-gambling laws, embrace horse racing as a popular and legal betting pastime and conducts over 21,000 horse races per year.

The Rules of Horse Racing

Some of the standard rules of horse racing are: All horses competing in the races must be shown in front of the “stand,” prior to the horse racing. Horses start out from the gates or stalls; false-starts are restarted again and the horse that crosses the finish line the first is the winner of the race. Finishes are literally gauged by the nose of the horse that crosses the finish line. If two horses cross the line at the exact same time and it is impossible to discern which has crossed by a nose over the other, the race shall be deemed a tie, and the purse would be split between the two.

Track Rules

  • Horses

- The Flat Track minimum age is two years of age, three for hurdles,  is 4 yrs. The use of Blinding Hoods is usually strictly forbidden.

  • Disqualifications

- Horses can be disqualified at any time during the race. If a horse is deemed as interfering drastically with other horses on the track, or if a horses Jockey is perceived to be riding dangerously, the horse can be disqualified even if it won the race.
- If a jockey’s weight turns out to be different after a race on weigh-out than what was recorded earlier during weigh-in, the horse is disqualified.
- All Jockey’s must be currently licensed, pre-weighed, be wearing appropriate safety gear, and also wearing the owner's colors on their pants and shirts before qualifying 

  • Officials

- Track officials are called “Stewards.” The Racing Secretary is responsible for planning and arranging the races. He is also in charge of the race track.
- The Handicapper prepares the weights for weigh-ins and weigh-outs. The Judge usually starts the race and declares the official results of the race.

Winning Racing Strategies

Horse Track Racing can be complex for such a seemingly simple sport, but for a horse better with a solid strategy, easy-money can become a lot easier to win.

Besides bringing a pair of binoculars to the track, you should also prepare by taking a current Racetrack Program. These periodicals have useful information on the horses, trainers, owners, and jockeys scheduled to ride. Another useful journal is The Daily Racing Form (DRF). This paper provides all the featured racing horse’s performance charts, informative  and tips, plus DRF handicapping. 

The Race Track better must first name the price he is willing to pay and for a horses value before deciding a wager; the term “value” is in regards to someone’s potential winnings for taking a risk, the greater the risk, the greater the prize should be for winning. The minimum price one wants to pay is usually at 5-1 odds or better, especially if they have a really good feeling about a horse. The value of a bet is of course based on having a good horse at good odds, with also a good return. Once the player has singled out the contenders that display these three valuable qualities, they can focus all bets in their bankroll on the prospect list of potentially winning horses. 

Good record keeping is one of the most important and vital tools that a horse racing enthusiast can count on. Documenting all bets played, along with the results and conditions of all races bet on, allows you to research the triumphs and the losses in order to find out own personal statistical betting strengths and weaknesses, and then adjusts your horse racing strategies accordingly.

A Standard Bet Record Slip is as Follows:  

Race Date









Bet Type

Win Odds


Pay Out  ↓

Net P/L Race  ↓

Running P/L ↓




Strategy Tips

  • Look at the morning line odds first. These odds represent the chances of each horse winning based on their form.
  • Compare the morning line odds with the current track odds.
  • If a listed horse has big connections, IE: (trainer and jockey), your strategy should be to include this horse in your betting.
  • Watch for betting patterns on the day of the race and know your connections - look for the smart value.
  • Ignore horses that are listed at very short prices and are heavy favorites, they usually give smaller returns back.

Horse Racing Tips

  • Give yourself plenty of preparation time before the actual race.

Make your selections ahead of time, and give yourself the time you need to make the proper choices and time to place your bets  the race. Never rush  look the program over for the tips that make you a winner.

  • Keep on top of the latest racing handicaps and up-and-coming winning horse tips.

Constantly look at at your latest horse racing forms and read the articles using the knowledge and statistics from the Horse Racing Pro’s, in order to properly base your betting decisions on and to find your own personal winning strategies.

  • Keep track of the Racing Track surface.

The surface used on a given track and how it might affect the individual horse is probably one of the most useful things to watch out for in Track Racing. Fields use different surfaces like dirt or synthetic ground that can cause what is called “track bias.” The surrounding conditions and how they might factor into the race is something that always must be accounted for. Look at both the distance and surface of a track; some horses do better on flat surfaces or at different distances.

  • Bet your own picks based on past winners.

Always keep a good eye out for horses that finish at least first, second or third in their recent campaigns. Make a separate note of up-and-comings that non-placed, but finished behind those who did by a length or two.

  • Bet on a Healthy Potential Winner.

Always make sure the horse you bet on is physically fit enough to be the best. Competition and training will determine a horse’s health. Take extra time to examine prior races and recent races in order to be certain of the horse’s fitness.

Horse Racing Class System

A Thoroughbred horse’s “class” refers to the quality of competition a horse can compete favorably in. A horse cannot be expected to win a certain race without having first shown the ability to do so in a similar competition. Keep looking for the horse that has been rapidly improving his statistics, and has won his last races enough to move up into a higher class and tougher racing competition. Some of these horses will most likely be the future winners.

Horse’s Running Styles

There are three established running categories. The first is a Pacesetter or a Front Runner - a horse who runs consistently in the lead and is never much further back than two horse lengths. Stalker is the second one - this is a type of a horse that’s never further back from the lead than 4 lengths. A Closer or Rally type horse is one that is never closer than five lengths from the pace. Front runners are known for trying to take the lead when possible.

Pick the Right Trainer

Always give a careful consideration to who the horses the trainer is. Some trainers are superior to others, and you want to bet on the best trainer and definitely not the worst. A trainer’s job is having a full knowledge of all facets of training a Racing Horse. Statistics points to the top trainers at the track, and handicappers pay attention to who the trainers are of every horse that joins every major race. If you feel the competence of trainer is in question in your mind, go with your reasoning and do not bet on him in a race even if you like the horse; a horse can usually be only as good as the trainer.

A Jockey’s Role

The role of the jockey takes a great deal of skill to be successful in a race. By checking out the statistics at most tracks, you will be surprised to find that a small percentage of riders tend to win the great majority of the races. Great Jockeys have good riding techniques, strength, timing, quick judgment abilities and possess a remarkable talent to be able to communicate with their horses. When eliminating horses in fields with numerous contenders, you may be able to eliminate a horse because of the rider alone. Once again considering the horse, trainer and Jockey as equal parts of the winning equation is vital in Horse racing.

Consistent Handicapping

The serious track better examines a horse’s yearlong record along with his lifetime record. A handicapper should look first for horses that are simply likely to run well. A horse can be deemed as consistent if he places at least half the time. What a player is looking for is the horse that stands out both in consistency, and reliability. That is the horse to make a decent wager on in order to reach the big payouts.

Horse Race Betting

How to Bet:

  • Straight Bet or Single Bet 

(Odds) Moderate chance of winning - Good payout potential depending on the horse’s odds 

This bet is the simplest of horse bets and the most common. Players bet at given odds that will multiply or reduce their winnings depending on the odds taken. The selected horse must finish in the first place in order to win.

  • Place

(Odds) Good - Payoffs are slightly better than the show 

A wager on place means that you win if your horse comes in first or second.

  • Show 

(Odds) Very Good – Moderate Payoffs

Wins when the horse crosses third, a wager to show means that your horse must finish first, second, or third.

  • Win 

(Odds) Midrange to Good - Payoffs are determined by the winning horse’s odds

The horse bet on must come in the first place to win.

  • Combination Bet 

(Odds) Difficult – Good Payoff

A combination bet is when two to four selected horses bet to win in a certain order.

  • Pick Three 

(Odds) Very Hard –Very Good Payout

The player selects the winners of three consecutive races. Pick Four and Five and Six are the same principle depending on the number of horses picked.

  • Quinella, Reverse Forecast 

(Odds) Midrange to Good – Good Payout

A bet is placed on a pair of horses that they will cross the finish line in either first or second place.

  • Perfecta, Exacta, and Straight Forecast 

(Odds) Hard - Big Payoffs

A wager is placed on two horses that they will cross the finish line 1st and 2nd in exact chosen order. The fact that the horses must finish 1st and 2nd in exact order can make this a risky bet that has the potential for a big payout depending on the odds of the winning horses.          

  • Trifecta, Tricast, and Treble Forecast 

(Odds) Very Hard – Very large Payouts

A bet is placed on four horses that they will cross the finish line Horses must finish 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the exact order selected.

  • Superfecta 

(Odds) Extremely Hard  - Giant Payoffs

A bet is placed on four horses that they will finish the race in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in the exact order that was selected.

  • Daily Double 

(Odds) Hard – Good Payout

Horses selected must win the two 1st and 2nd consecutive races of the day in order for the player to win.

  • Jackpot 

(Odds) Extremely Difficult

This is a pooled prize that a player shares if they pick six winners in six races.

  • Parlay and Accumulator

(Odds) This is an extremely difficult bet to win, but the payoff can be enormous

This is a more complicated bet that entails a multiple Let-it Ride style bet. You make simultaneous wagers on two or more races hoping to “press” the bet further onto the next race, and so on. To win this bet, the player must win all of the races without ties, postponements and cancelations in order to win the full payout.

  • Future

This is when a player bets on future races of a new season through a “sportsbook” betting service outside the racetrack that takes wagers on sporting events. The odds of your initial bet stay the same as the race day approaches regardless of whether the odds change at the track. The payout, of course, relies on the odds of the winning horse.

Ten Common Horse Racing Facts

  1. There are three categories of horse racing: flat racing, steeple racing, and harness racing.
  2. Flat racing is where horses gallop directly between two points on a straight or oval track.
  3. Jump racing, is also known as Steeplechasing, This type of racing is called National Hunt racing in the UK and Ireland when horses race over obstacles.
  4. Harness racing is when horses trot or pace while pulling a driver.
  5. Endurance racing is where the horses have to travel across the country for long distances that range from 25 to 100 miles (40 to 161 km).
  6. American racehorses run in the opposite direction as their British counterparts.
  7. Racing horses are bred as close to January 1 as possible.
  8. A Thoroughbred racing saddle is one of the lightest saddles that are used; they weigh less than two pounds.
  9. Horse Racing has been a popular sport since the Roman Empire’s famous chariot race centuries ago.
  10. Nearly 90 percent of all thoroughbred horses today are descended from a seventeenth century stallion that was named Eclipse

Horse Racing Glossary


Acey Deucey - Uneven stirrups, popularized by the famous jockey Eddie Arcaro. He rode his horse with his left inside stirrup lower than his right in order to increase his balance.
Across the board - This is a wager that the horse will finish in the win, place or show. The player can win in three different ways; if in first and second place, then in two ways. If in third place, then only in one way, due to losing the win, and the place bets. Actually, three wagers.
Action - This term is used in reference to the horses way of moving. Also used in reference to making a bet.
Added money - Money that is added to a purse by an association, breeding, or another fund when it comes to the amount paid by owners for entry, eligibility, starting, and other fees.
Added weight - This is a horse that is carrying more weight than the race requires. Usually, this is because the rider has overreached the maximum limit.
Agent - A person who transacts business with a stable owner or jockey, and is allowed to buy or sell horses for a breeder or the horse owner.
Airing - Sub-par speed or performance in a given race.
All-age Race - A race for two-year-old horses.
All out - A race for which the Racing Secretary, drafts up certain conditions that determine the weights to be carried out, based on the horse's age, sex, and past performance.
Allowance race - This is when the official racing secretary drafts up certain conditions in order to determine weights that are to be based on the consideration of the horse's age, sex, and also past performances.
Allowances - This is when the weights to be carried are reduced, this is allowed because of the race conditions, or because an apprentice rider is on a horse. This is also the practice for female horses that allow a reduction in weight when they are competing against a male horse. Three-year-old horses also receive a reduction when racing older horses.
Also-eligible - This is a horse that has been officially entered into a race but is not permitted in the starting gates unless there are cancelations or disqualifications in order to make room for it to compete.
Apprentice - The term used for a jockey who has not won the proper amount of races needed in an allotted period. They are also known ungraciously as “Bugs.”
Apprentice Allowance - The paved area that is located between the grandstand and the racing course surface.
Apron - An area of the racing course that is located between the grandstand and the track.
Artificial breeding - This is the term for the artificial insemination of a female horse or also for the transferring of a horse embryo.
Auxiliary starting gate - This is an auxiliary starting gate that is used when the main gate is overloaded past capacity.
Average-Earnings Index (AEI) - These are statistics on horse’s racing earnings that compares a stallion’s foal earnings, to the earnings of all the other foals that are racing. An AEI of 1.00 is considered average; 2.00 is twice the average, 0.50 half the average, etc.


Baby Race - A race for two-year-old horses.
Backside - The stable area and dormitories that are in a stable, along with kitchens, chapels, and other recreation facilities for the stable employees
Backstretch - 1) This is the straight portion that is on the farthest side of the racing track, placed between the course turns. 2) Also known as the backside.
Barrier - This is a starting device consisting of a giant rubber band that is stretched across a racing track, which snaps back when released. Normally this is used to start a steeplechase. It is also referred to as "tape."
Bat - A term used for the jockey's whip.
Battery - The term used for an illegal electrical device, used by a rider to stimulate a horse for a race. It is also called a "machine" or a "joint."
Bay - A horse with marking variations that range from a yellow-tan to a light auburn in color. The lower portion of the legs along with the mane and tail are always black. The other variant is white markings.
Bearing in (or out) - This is when a horse veers off from a straight course in the race. Usually, because the horse is fatigued or has an apprentice rider.
Bell - This is the signal heard when the starting gates are opened or, at some tracks, it signifies the end of betting.
Beyer number - A handicapping tool created by author Andrew Beyer. It delegates a number value to each race that is run by a certain horse. This value is based on a horse's final time statistic and also the track conditions. This enables the player to compare different horses that are running on different tracks to be objectively compared.
Bit - A bit is the stainless steel, or aluminum bar that is attached to the horse's bridle, which then fits into the horse's mouth giving a jockey guidance and control over it.
Black type - This is bold type that is used in horse sales catalogs. The typeface is used to differentiate the horses that have won, or that has placed in stakes races.
Blind switch - A situation in which a jockey’s maneuver causes them to be encumbered during a competition.
Blinkers - Blinkers are a cup-shaped instrument used in order to limit a horse's vision. This prevents the horse from avoiding objects or either side of the other horses.
Bloodstock agent - This is someone who represents and advises a buyer or seller of Thoroughbred horses, either at a public auction or a privately held sale.
Blood-typing - This is a way to verify a horse's lineage. Blood-typing is something that is usually done within the first year of a horse's life. This is a necessity in order for the Jockey Club to be able to issue registration papers.
Blowout - A short, timed workout, held before a race that is designed to sharpen the speed of the horse.
Bobble - A certain type of horses gait when it is stepping away from the starting gate.
Bolt - This is a sudden veering from a straight track that is on the outside rail of the course.
Bomb(er) - A winning horse that is sent off at incredibly high odds.
Bounce - A poor showing in a race that is run following a great performance.
Box - This term denotes a combined bet, in which a player covers all of the possible numeric combinations.
Boxed (in) - To this is when a horse is trapped inside, between, or behind the others.
Breakdown - A potentially career-ending injury, or affliction that keeps the horse from being able to perform properly in a race.
Break Maiden - A horse or rider’s first winning race of its career.
Breather - The easing off of a horse for a short distance in a race, in order to permit it to conserve and refresh its strength.
Breeder - The term used for the owner of the “dam” at the time of foaling.
Breeze (breezing) - The working of a horse that is at a moderate speed.
Bridle - A part of the riding equipment. This piece is made of leather or nylon, and it fits on a horse's head with other equipment, like the bit and the reins.
Broodmare - This is a mare or a filly that has been bred specially to produce foals.
Brush - A term used when: 1) Two horses slightly touch one another in a race. 2) When the hoof of one horse strikes the inside of the opposite limb of another horse, causing either horse injury.
Bugboy - This is the term that is used to describe an apprentice rider.
Bullring - A smaller racetrack that is normally less than one mile.


Call - The running positions of the horses at various different points in a race.
Chalk - The term used for wagering favorites in a race as used by bookmakers.
Chalk Player - The term used to describe a bettor who wagers on favorites.
Chart - A statistic assessment of a race using past performances, in order to show the position, margin at designated points of call of a race. Other statistics are also kept, such as the horses' weight, age, owner, jockey, trainer, conditions, payoff prices, odds, time, and purse.
Check(ed) - This is when a horse slows down in a race, because of the other horses blocking its way.
Chef-de-race - This is a listing of excellent sires that is used in the Dosage formula. Pronunciation: "Chef de RAH."
Chute - An extension of the backstretch, or homestretch, in order to permit a straight and forward running stretch of track in a race.
Claiming - When someone licensed to do so, purchases a horse that is entered in a designated race for a set price. The new owner assumes the title when the starting gate opens, But the former owner receives all money that was earned in the race.
Claiming Box - A box that claims are put into before the start of the race.
Claiming Race - The race in which the horse, or horses entered, are eligible to be purchased at a set price.
Classic - 1) Race that is traditionally important. 2) An American classic racing distance of 1 1/4 miles. European classic: 1 1/2 miles.
Clerk of Scales - This is the official whose sole duty is weighing and recording the riders before, and after the race in order to ensure the proper weight is always carried.
Climbing - This is when a horse lifts its front legs uncommonly high as it gallops, causing it to run inadequately.
Clocker - Someone who is in charge of recording the times, the horse’s workouts, and its races.
Closer - When a horse runs its best in the final part of the race track, usually when it is coming off of the pace.
Colt - An ungelded male horse that is four-years-old, or younger.
Commingle - This is the practice of combining mutual pools together from off-track betting sites in conjunction with the host track.
Company - This is the class reference of the horses in a race.
Condition book(s) - These are booklets that are issued by the official Racing Secretary, that sets forth the conditions in which races the are to be run at a given racetrack.
Conditioner - 1) A training exercise. 2) A practice workout, or race that is held in order to get the horse in shape
Conditions - The preconditions of a particular race. This includes the age allowed, sex, monies in the purse, and the weight carried, along with the distance of the race.
Connections - The requirements that are of a particular race. This may include the age or sex, and also the money or races that are won, along with the weight that is carried, and the distance of the race.
Consolation Double - This is a payout that goes to the holders of the daily double tickets, that combines the winning horse of the first race of the daily double, to a scratched horse in the second.
Coupled (entry) - This is when two or more horses run in a race as a single bet.
Cuppy (track) - This when a racing course has a very loosely packed dry track that tends to break apart beneath the horse's hooves.
Cut down - When a horse suffers an injury due to being struck by the hooves of another horse or when a horse injures itself for some reason.


Daily Double - A type of bet that calls for the selection of two consecutive race winners, normally in the first and second races.
Daily Racing Form - A daily Horse Racing newspaper that contains pertinent news, performance sheets on horse racing, and also the papers individual handicapping information on upcoming races.
Daily Triple - A wager where the bettor selects the winner of three consecutive races. This is different than a"triple," meaning trifecta in some regional racetracks.
Dam - The term used for the female parentage of a foal.
Dam's sire (broodmare sire) - This term is used to refer to the maternal grandsire of a foal.
Dead Heat - When two or more horses in a race, finish the race in an exact tie.
Dead track - A Horse Racing Track surface that is lacking in resilience.
Deep stretch - The position in the track that is right before the finish line in a race.
Derby - A stakes racing event that is exclusively for four-year-old Arabians.
Disqualification - When the officials of the race change the results of a horse's finish, usually because of an infraction of the rules of the track.
Distaff - The name for a female horse.
Distaff race - A race that is for female horses.
Distanced - This is when a horse in a competition is so far behind the rest of the racing horses, that it is unable to regain a winning position.
Drop(ed) down - This is when a horse is raced at a lower classification than in prior races.


Eased - This is when a horse during a race is gradually pulled up.
Eligible - The term meaning: to be qualified to start in a race.
Engagement - 1) The stakes nomination. 2) The riding commitment.
Entire - An ungelded male horse.
Entry Fee - The money that is paid by an owner, in order to be able to enter a horse in a stakes race.
Entry - Two or more horses that have common owners.
Evenly - When a horse is not gaining in position, nor is it losing position.
Exacta (or perfecta) - A bet in which all the possible combinations are picked by using a specific number of horses.
Exacta Box - A wager in which all the possible combinations are used along with a given number of horses that are bet on.
Exercise rider - A rider that is licensed to exercise a horse during its normal training sessions.
Exotic - This is any bet that is made other than win, place, or show.
Extended - To run at a top speed.


False favorite - A term for a horse that is outperformed by its competition but is still listed as a race favorite.
Farrier - A Blacksmith that does Horseshoeing.
Fast track - When the footing is dry, even, and resilient.
Fee - 1) This is the amount of money that is paid to a rider, for competing in a horse race. 2) The cost that is incurred due to starting in, nominating, or entering a horse in a stakes race.
Field - The horses that are scheduled to run in a given race.
Filly - A female horse that is four-years-old or younger.
Fire - This is a burst of acceleration by a racing horse in a competition.
Flag - The starting signal when a flag is dropped by the flagman, in order to denote the proper official start.
Flak Jacket - A riding jacket that the jockey, or the exercise rider uses as protection, that is worn to protect the ribs, kidneys, and the riders back.
Flat race - A contest that is held on level a level track, as opposed to a Steeplechase. This is also often used as the term, “on the flat”.
Flatten out - A horse that is so tired that it slows itself drastically down and drops its head into a straight line with its body.
Foal(ed) - 1) A horse that is of either sex and is in the first year of its life.
Front-runner - A horse that usually attempts to get on, or near the lead at the beginning of a race, and then continues there for as long as it can.
Furlong - This is the term for a length of a track that is One-eighth of a mile, 220 yards, and 660 feet.


Gait - The characteristic footfall pattern of a horse that is in motion.
Gap - This is where horses enter and leave the course, through an opening in the rail.
Starting Gate - Where the horses are lined up evenly and start the race.
Gate card - This refers to a card that is issued by the starting official, which certifies that a horse is properly trained in the starting gate procedures of the race track.
Gelding - This is the term for a neutered male horse. Also known as being "gelded.”
Gentleman Jockey - An amateur rider that competes in Steeplechases.
Graduate - 1) The first time for either the horse or rider when it wins a race. 2) A horse that moves up in stakes, allowance, or in handicap racing.
Grandsire - The grandfather of a horse.
Grass slip - This is a slip issued by the track, that gives someone permission to exercise a horse on the racing course.
Groom - A person that takes care of the needs of a stabled horse.


Hand - This is a form of measurement of four inches, equaling one hand of measurement. It is used to measure from the top of the horse’s shoulder to the ground. Thoroughbreds typically range from 15 to 17 hands.
Handicap - To make potential betting predictions on a horse based on the horses
past performances.
Handle - This signifies the quantity of money that is wagered in parimutuels, on either a given race or program, usually during a meeting or for the span of one year.
Hand ride - Urging a horse with one's hands, instead of using a whip.
Harrow - A machine that has pulling teeth or tines, and is used to rake over and loosen the upper layers of a racing track course.
Head - The margin that is between horses in a race.
Head of the stretch - This is the term used for the straight run to the finish line of the race track.
High weight - The highest weight that is assigned to, or that is put forth in a given race.
Homebred - The term used for a horse that is bred by its owner.
Horsing - The behavior of a mare that is in heat.
Hot walker - A person who is responsible for walking the horses, in order to cool them off after a workout or race.
Hung - A horse that doesn’t advance its position when instructed upon by its jockey.


Inquiry - The reviewing of a race by an official, in order to check for a possible infraction of the track rules.
In the money - This term is used to describe a horse that finishes the race in either first, second or third place.


Jockey fee - This is the sum that’s paid to a Jockey for competing in a given race.
Jog - A slow and steady gait of a horse.
Jumper - A Steeplechase or hurdle horse.
Juvenile - A two-year-old horse.


Key Horse - This is the term that is used to describe a single horse that is in multiple combinations of an exotic wager.


Lame - An abnormal gait that is usually due to pain in a horse’s limb.
Listed race - This is a stakes type race that is lower in status than a graded race or a group race in quality.
Lock - The slang term that is used for a "sure" winner.


Maiden - 1) A horse or rider that has not yet won a competitive race. 2) A term for a female horse that has never been bred, - maiden mare.
Maiden race - A race that is for horses that haven’t won a race yet.
Mare - The term that is used for a female horse, that is five-years-old or older.
Middle distance - This term is used in reference to the distance of one mile, to 1-1/8 miles.
Morning Glory - A horse that usually does well in their morning workouts, but then they fail to repeat that same form in the races they enter.
Morning line - The Probable odds on each racing horse, as determined by a mathematical formula that is used by the track handicapper. He tries to gauge both the ability of the horse, and also the likely final odds as are determined by the bettors.
Mudder or "Mudlark" - This term refers to a horse that races well on muddier tracks.


Near Side - The term for the left-hand side of a horse. Usually, this is the side on which a horse is normally mounted.
Nose - The smallest possible advantage in which a racehorse can usually win by. Called a short head in Britain.


Oaks - A stakes race that is usually held for Arabian four-year-old fillies.
Objection - A claim of foul that is lodged by a rider, judging official or any other racing official, after the finish of a race.
Odds on - Odds that are of less than even money.
Offside - The right side of a horse.
On the bit - When a horse shows an eagerness to run.
On the board - When a horse finishes among the first three.
On the muscle - A fit horse in top physical condition.
On the nose - Betting on a horse to win only.
Out of the money - A horse that finishes worse than third place.
Overland - Racing wide outside of the other horses throughout a race.
Overlay - A horse that is going off at a higher odds than it appears to be warranted, based on its past performances.
Overnight - A sheet that is published by the Racing Secretary's office, listing the entries that are for an upcoming racing card.
Overnight Race - This is a race in which the horse race entrants are allowed up to a precise number of hours before a scheduled race, say 24 to 48 hours prior. In a stakes race, nominations close weeks or even months in advance of a competition.
Overweight - This is when the surplus weight that is carried by a horse and rider, cannot make the required set weight.


Pacesetter - A horse that runs in front of the lead.
Paddock - The area in which the horses are saddled, before being paraded around on the racing track.
Paddock Judge - The official that is in charge of the paddock and saddling routine.
Parlay - A multi-race bet, in which all the winnings have been subsequently wagered on each of the succeeding races.
Past Performances - A record of the horse’s bloodlines, earnings, and other pertinent information that is combined together.
Patrol Judge - This is official that observes the race from several locations around the course.
Photo finish - This is when a camera is used to determine the finish of a race because it was too close to call.
Pick - This is a type of multi-race wagering, in which all of the winners of all the included races must be selected.
Pill - This is a numbered ball that is used in a chance drawing, in order to decide the horse's posting positions.
Pinhooker - This is someone that purchases a racehorse, with the sole objective of making a profit when the horse re-sells.
Pipe-opener - The exercising a horse at a heightened speed.
Place - The second position at the end of a given race.
Place Bet - A bet that is made on a horse, that it will finish either first or second place.
Placing Judge - A Racing Official, who posts up the order of the finishes in any given race.
Pocket - A position in a given race in which the horses are in front of and alongside the competing horse.
Point of call - This is a horse's position at various different points on the racetrack, where it is in a running position as always noted on a chart. The locations vary with the distance of the race.
Poles - These are the markers that are located on the course, which signify the distance left to the finish line.
Post - The starting point of a race.
Post Position - This is the stall positioning at the starting point of the race track.
Post Time - This is the predetermined time that the race is supposed to start at.
Preferred list - This is a list of horses that have pre-arranged special rights to starting, usually because they have previously been entered in races that have not filled with the minimum number of starters required.
Prop - This is when a horse suddenly digs its front hooves into the ground, and then refuses to move.
Pull up - this is when the rider stops or slows down a horse either during or after a race or a workout.
Purse - The total prize awarded that is divided up after a race, to the entrants owners that have usually finished in the top five positions.


Quinella - A wager in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.


Rabbit - A speed horse that is running as an entry with another horse, usually a come-from-behind horse.
Racing Secretary - An official who drafts up conditions of the races and also assigns the weights for the handicap events.
Rail - The barrier that is on either side of the courses racing strip.
Rail Runner - A horse that likes to run next to the inside track’s rail.
Rank - A horse that is being unmanageable by fighting its jockey and, also a horse that stubbornly refuses to settle under a jockey's handling, and then starts to run in a headstrong manner without a respect to its pace.
Receiving Barn - the structure that is used by horses that are shipped in for a race, and who do not have a stall reserved at that racetrack.
Refuse - When a horse will not break from the gate, or in a jumping race will balk at a jump.
Reserved - 1) The term used for an engagement or race. 2) Or being off the pace.
Ridden out - This term is used to describe a winner. A ridden out winner is the one who is under intermittent whipping by its rider, or when under a moderate hand riding through the final furlong.
Rogue - Simply put, a mean horse.
Route - This is a broad term for a race distance that’s longer than 1-1/8 of a mile.
Router - This is a horse that performs better at longer distances.


Savage - This is a horse that intentionally bites another horse or a person.
Scale of Weights - The set amounts of weights that are to be carried by the horses, according to their sex, age, race, distance, and the time of the year.
Schooling - The training process of familiarizing a horse with the starting gate, and also teaching it the standard racing practices of the track.
Schooling list - This is the list of horses that are eligible to school at the starting gate, before they are permitted to race.
Scratch - This is when a horse is taken out before the race starts. Horses are usually scratched from a race because of poor track conditions, or taken out by a veterinarian because of health issues.
Set - A group of horses that are being exercised together.
Set down - A suspension
Sex allowance - These are the allowances given to female horses, given according to the horses age, time of year, which allows them to carry three to five pounds less when they are racing against male horses.
Sheets - A handicapping tool that assigns a number value to each of the races that are run by a horse, to better enable different horses that are running at different racetracks so that they can be objectively compared.
Short - A horse that’s in need of extensive work, in order for it to reach a winning form.
Show - The third position at the races finish.
Show Bet - A wager on a horse that it will finish in the money - third or better.
Shut off - A horse that is unable to improve its position, due to it being surrounded by other horses.
Silks - A jacket and cap that is worn by Jockeys to designate the owner of the horse.
Sire - The male parent.
Sloppy track - A racing track that is soaked with water and standing water is also visible.
Solid Horse - A winning contender.
Sophomores - Three-year-old horses.
Spit the bit - This is a term that refers to a tired horse, which starts to race less aggressively.
Sprint - This is a short race that is usually less than one mile in length.
Stakes - A race in which the owners must pay a fee in order to run their horses.
Stakes-placed - This is finishing in the second or third place in a stakes race.
Stakes Horse - A horse whose level of competition includes just stakes races mostly.
Stallion - A male horse that is not castrated, and normally is used for breeding.
Starting Gate - The partitioned stalls in which the horses are confined to until the starter of the race releases the stall front doors in order to begin it.
Stayer - A horse that races long distances.
Steadied - A horse being taken back in control by its rider.
Steeplechase - A race in which horses are required to jump over a series of obstacles on the course.
Step up - A horse that is moved up in class in order for it to meet 
a better competition.
Stewards - The officials of a race that are solely responsible for upholding the rules of the race track.
Home stretch - This is the final straightaway portion of the racetrack, right before the end of the race.
Stretch call - The position that the horses are in at the eighth pole of the race.
Stretch Runner - A horse that is running its fastest, at the finishing stretch of a race.
Stretch turn - The bend in the horse track, which is into the final straightaway of the racing course.
Stud - A male horse that is specially used for breeding purposes.
Substitute race - A race that is an alternate and is used to replace a regularly scheduled race that does not fill, or was canceled.
Suckling - A foal in the first year of its life, and is still nursing.
Sulk - This is the term for when a racing horse will not extend itself.
Swipe - A horse groom.


Tack - A rider’s racing equipment.
Take - The commission that is deducted from mutual pools that is shared by the track, horsemen, and local and state governing body taxes.
Taken up - This is when a horse is pulled up forcibly by its jockey, due to the proximity of the other horses.
Tattoo - This is the indelible ink mark, placed on the inside of the horse’s upper lip that is used to identify the owner of the horse.
Thoroughbred - A Thoroughbred horse is a horse in which their lineage can be traced back to the "founding sires": the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk, and Godolphin Barb.
Tight - Ready for the race.
Track bias - A racing surface that favors a particular running style or position.
Trail off - A term that is used to describe a horse that is fit but is still losing its 
competitive edge.
Trifecta - A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order, it is also called a "triactor" in Canada and a "triple" in some parts of the U.S.
Trifecta Box - A trifecta box wager is when all possible combinations are chosen, and a given number of horses are bet upon.


Underlay - A horse that is racing at shorter odds than warranted by its
past performances.
Under wraps - A horse that is under strict control in a race or workout in order to keep it from pulling away from the competition by too large a margin.
Unwind - To gradually withdraw a horse from intensive training.


Valet - A person that is employed by a racing association to clean and care for a jockey's tack and other riding equipment.


Weigh in and weigh out - The certification process conducted by the clerk of scales that records a rider's weight before and after a race.
Wheel – This is betting on all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key.
Wire - The finish line of a race.
Work - To exercise a horse by galloping it at a pre-determined distance.


Yearling - A horse that is in its second calendar year of life, beginning on Jan 1st.
Yielding - The term that is used to describe a track turf that is overly waterlogged.

Racing FAQ


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