Horse Racing Glossary A-G
* A-G .
Below are the explainations of the terms from A-G
- Abandoned - A race meeting which has been
cancelled because a club did not receive sufficient
nominations to be able to stage it, or because
of bad weather which made racing on the track
unsafe. All bets placed on abandoned races are
- Acceptor - A runner officially listed to start
in a race.
- Accumulator - (Also, Parlay) A multiple bet.
A kind of 'let-it-ride' bet. Making simultaneous
selections on two or more races with the intent
of pressing the winnings of the first win on
the bet of the following race selected, and
so on. All the selections made must win for
you to win the accumulator.
- Across The Board - (See 'Place') A bet on
a horse to win, place or show. Three wagers
combined in one. If the horse wins, the player
wins all three wagers, if second, two, and if
- Age - All thoroughbreds count January 1 as
their birth date.
- Ajax - UK slang term for 'Betting Tax'.
- All-age Race - A race for two-year-olds and
- All Out - A horse who is trying to the best
of his ability.
- Allowances - Reductions in weights to be carried
allowed because of certain conditions such as;
an apprentice jockey is on a horse, a female
horse racing against males, or three-year-olds
racing against older horses.
- All Weather Racing - Racing that takes place
on an artificial surface.
- Also Ran - Any selection not finishing 1st,
2nd, 3rd or 4th in a race or event.
- Amateur (rider) - on racecards, their names
are prefixed by Mr, Mrs, Captain, etc, to indicate
their amateur status.
- Ante Post - (Also, Futures) Bets placed in
advance predicting the outcome of a future event.
Ante-post prices are those on major sporting
events, usually prior to the day of the event
itself. In return for the chance of better odds,
punters risk the fact that stakes are not returned
if their selection pulls out or is cancelled.
- Apprentice - A trainee jockey. An apprentice
will usually ride only flat races.
- Approximates - The approximate price a horse
is quoted at before a race begins. Bookmakers
use these approximates as a guide to set their
- Arbitrage - Where a variation in odds available
allows a punter to back both sides and guarantee
- ART - Artificial Turf.
- ATS - Against The Spread.
- AWT - All weather track.
- Baby Race - A race for two-year-olds.
- Back - To bet or wager.
- Backed - A 'backed' horse is one on which
lots of bets have been placed.
- Backed-In - A horse which is backed-in means
that bettors have outlaid a lot of money on
that horse, with the result being a decrease
in the odds offered.
- Back Marker - In a standing start event, which
is handicapped, the horse who is given the biggest
handicap is known as the backmarker.
- Backstretch - The straight way on the far
side of the track.
- Back Straight - The straight length of the
track farthest away from the spectators and
the winning post.
- Backward - A horse that is either too young
or not fully fit.
- Banker - (Also, Key) Highly expected to win.
The strongest in a multiple selection in a parlay
or accumulator. In permutation bets the banker
is a selection that must win to guarantee any
- Bar Price - Refers to the odds of those runners
in a race not quoted with a price during early
betting shows. The bar price is the minimum
odds for any of those selections not quoted.
- Barrier - (Also, Tape) A starting device used
in steeple chasing consisting of an elastic
band stretched across the racetrack which retracts
- Barrier Draw - The ballot held by the race
club to decide which starting stall each runner
- Bat - (Also, Stick) A jockey's whip.
- Beard (US) - A friend or acquaintance or other
contact who is used to placing bets so that
the bookmakers will not know the identity of
the actual bettor. Many top handicappers and
persons occupying sensitive positions use this
method of wagering.
- Bearing In (Out) - Failing to maintain a straight
course, veering to the left or right. Can be
caused by injury, fatigue, outside distraction,
or poor riding.
- Beeswax - UK slang term for betting tax. Also
known as 'Bees' or 'Ajax'.
- Bell Lap - In harness racing, the last lap
of a race, signified by the ringing of the bell.
- Bet - A transaction in which monies are deposited
- Betting Board - A board used by the bookmaker
to display the odds of the horses engaged in
- Betting Ring - The main area at a racecourse
where the bookmakers operate.
- Betting Tax - Tax on a Bookmaker's turnover.
In the UK this is a 'Duty' levied on every Pound
wagered. Common methods of recouping this by
the punter are to deduct tax from returns (winnings)
or to pay tax with the stake/wager. In the latter
case, no tax is deducted from the punter's winnings.
- Bettor (US) - Someone who places or has a
bet. A 'Punter' in the UK.
- Beyer Number - A handicapping tool, popularized
by author Andrew Beyer, assigning a numerical
value to each race run by a horse based on final
time and track condition. This enables different
horses running at different racetracks to be
- Bismarck - A favourite which the bookmakers
do not expect to win.
- Blanket Finish - When the horses finish so
close to the winning line you could theoretically
put a single blanket across them.
- Blind Bet - A bet made by a racetrack bookmaker
on another horse to divert other bookmakers'
attention away from his sizeable betting on
his/her main horse thus to avoid a shortening
of the odds on the main horse.
- Blinkers - A cup-shaped device applied over
the sides of the horse's head near his eyes
to limit his vision. This helps to prevent him
from swerving away from distracting objects
or other horses on either side of him. Blinker
cups come in a variety of sizes and shapes to
allow as little or as much vision as the trainer
feels is appropriate.
- Board - Short for 'Tote Board' on which odds,
betting pools and other race information are
- Bomb(er) - A winning horse sent off at very
- Book - A bookmaker's tally of amounts bet
on each competitor, and odds necessary to assure
him of profit. Running a 'book' is the act of
quoting odds and accepting bets on an event
and the person doing it is called the 'Bookmaker'.
- Bookie - (U.K.) Short for bookmaker. The person
or shop who accepts bets.
- Bookmaker - Person who is licensed to accept
bets on the result of an event based on their
provision of odds to the customer. (Sportsbook
- Bottle - UK slang, odds of 2 to 1.
- Box - A wagering term denoting a combination
bet whereby all possible numeric combinations
- Boxed (in) - To be trapped between other horses.
- Bobble - A bad step away from the starting
gate, sometimes caused by the ground breaking
away from under a horse and causing him to duck
his head or go to his knees.
- Bolt - Sudden veering from a straight course.
- Book - A collection of all the bets taken
on fixed odds betting events.
- Bookmaker (Bookie) - A person registered and
licensed to bet with the public.
- Breakage - Those pennies that are left over
in pari-mutuel payoffs which are rounded out
to a nickel or dime.
- Breeders' Cup - Thoroughbred racing's year-end
championship. Known as Breeders' Cup Day, it
consists of eight races conducted on one day
at a different racetrack each year with purses
and awards totalling $13 million. First run
- Bridge-Jumper (US) - Bettor who specializes
in large show bets on odd-on favourites.
- Buck (US) - A bet of US$ 100 (also known as
a 'dollar bet').
- Bug Boy - An apprentice rider.
- Bull Ring - Small racetrack less than one
- Burkington Bertie - 100/30.
- Buy Price - In Spread or Index betting, the
higher figure quoted by an Index bookmaker.
- Buy the Rack (US) - Purchase every possible
daily-double or other combination ticket.
- Canadian - Also known as a Super Yankee. A
Canadian is a combination bet consisting of
26 bets with 5 selections in different events.
The combination bet is made up of 10 doubles,
10 trebles, five 4-folds and one 5-fold.
- Card - Another term for fixture or race meeting.
- Carpet - UK slang for Odds of 3 to 1 (also
known as 'Tres' or 'Gimmel').
- Caulk - Projection on the bottom of a shoe
to give the horse better traction, especially
on a wet track.
- Century - GBP£ 100 (also known as a 'Ton').
- Chalk - Wagering favorite in a race. Dates
from the days when on-track bookmakers would
write current odds on a chalkboard.
- Chalk Player - Bettor who wagers on favorites.
- Chase - See 'Steeplechase'.
- Checked - A horse pulled up by his jockey
for an instant because he is cut off or in tight
- Chute - Extension of the backstretch or homestretch
to allow a longer straight run.
- Client (US) - Purchaser of betting information
from horseman or other tipster.
- Close (US) - Final odds on a horse (e.g. 'closed
at 5 to 1'). Confusingly equates to 'Starting
Price' in the UK.
- Closer - A horse that runs best in the latter
part of the race (closing race), coming from
off the pace.
- Co-Favorites - Where three or more competitors
share the status as favorite.
- Colors (Colours) - Racing silks, the jacket
and cap worn by jockeys. Silks can be generic
and provided by the track or specific to one
- Colt - An ungelded (entire) male horse four-years-old
- Combination Bet - Selecting any number of
teams/horses to finish first and second in either
- Conditional Jockey - Same as 'Apprentice'
but also allowed to jump.
- Correct Weight - Horses are allocated a weight
to carry that is checked before and, for at
least the placegetters, after a race. Correct
weight must be signaled before bets can be paid
- Daily Double - Type of wager calling for the
selection of winners of two consecutive races,
usually the first and second. See 'Late Double'.
- Daily Racing Form - A daily newspaper containing
racing information including news, past performance
data and handicapping.
- Daily Triple - A wager where the bettor must
select the winner of three consecutive races.
- Dead Heat - A tie. Two or more horses finishing
equal in a race.
- Dead Track - Racing surface lacking resiliency.
- Declaration Of Weights - The publication of
weights allocated to each horse nominated for
a race by the handicapper.
- Declared - In the United States, a horse withdrawn
from a stakes race in advance of scratch time.
In Europe, a horse confirmed to start in a race.
- Deductions - When a horse is scratched from
a race after betting on that race has already
started, deductions are taken out of the win
and place bets at a rate in proportion to the
odds of the scratched horse.
- Derby - A stakes event for three-year-olds.
- Dime (US) - A bet of USD$ 1,000 (also known
as a 'dime bet').
- Distance - The length of a race: 5 furlongs
is the minimum and the 4 1/2 miles of the Grand
National the longest. Also, the margin by which
a horse wins or is beaten by the horse in front;
this ranges from a short head to 'by a distance'
(more than 30 lengths); a 'length' is measured
from the horse's nose to the start of its tail.
- Distanced - Well beaten, finishing a long
distance behind the winner.
- Dividend - The amount that a winning or placed
horse returns for every $1 bet by the bettor.
- Dog (US) - The underdog in any betting proposition.
- Dog Player (US) - A bettor who mainly wagers
on the underdog.
- Double - Selecting the winners in two specific
- Double Carpet - UK slang for Odds of 33 to
1, based on 'Carpet'.
- Draw - Refers to a horse's placing in the
starting stalls. For flat racing only. Stall
numbers are drawn at random.
- Drift - (Also, Ease) Odds that 'Lengthen',
are said to have drifted, or be 'On The Drift'.
- Driving - Strong urging by rider.
- Dual Forecast - A tote bet operating in races
of 3 or more declared runners in which the punter
has to pick the first two to finish in either
- Each Way - UK term for betting on a horse
to win and/or 'Place'. An each way bet is when
you have the same amount on the horse for a
win and for a place. Bookmakers will give you
one quarter of the win odds for a place in fields
of eight or more and one third of the win odds
in fields of six or seven horses.
- Each Way Double - Two separate bets of a win
double and a place double.
- Each Way Single - Two bets. The first is for
the selection to win; the second for it to be
placed (each way).
- Eclipse Award - Thoroughbred racing's year-end
awards, honoring the top horses in 11 separate
- Enclosure - The area where the Runners gather
for viewing before and after the race.
- Equibase (Company) - A partnership between
The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing
Associations to establish and maintain an industry-owned,
central database of racing records. Equibase
past-performance information is used in track
programs across North America.
- Equivalent Odds - Mutuel price horses would
pay for each $1 bet.
- Evenly - Neither gaining nor losing position
or distance during a race.
- Even Money Bet (or Evens) - A 1:1 bet. A $10
wager wins $10.
- Exacta - (Also, Perfecta) A wager that picks
the first two finishers in a race in the exact
order of finish. (Straight Forecast in the UK.)
- Exacta Box - A wager in which all possible
combinations using a given number of horses
- Exotic (wager) - Any wager other than win,
place or show.
- Exposure - The amount of money one actually
stands to lose on a game or race.
- Extended - Forced to run at top speed.
- False Favorite - A horse that is a race favorite
despite being outclassed by others.
- Faltered - A horse that was in contention
early in the race but drops back in the late
- Fast (track) - Optimum condition for a dirt
track that is dry, even, resilient and fast.
- Favorite - The most popular horse in a race,
which is quoted at the lowest odds because it
is deemed to have the best chance of winning
- Feature Races - Top races.
- Fence - The inside fence is the inside running
rail around the race track, while the outside
fence is the outside running rail.
- Field - 1) All the runners in a race. 2) Some
sportsbooks or bookmakers may well group all
the outsiders in a competition under the banner
headline of 'Field' and put it head to head
with the favorite. This is known as favorite
vs the field betting and is common in horse
and golf betting.
- Field Horse - Two or more starters running
as a single betting unit, when there are more
entrants than positions on the totalisator board
- Filly - Female horse four-years-old or younger.
- Firm (track) - A condition of a turf course
corresponding to fast on a dirt track. A firm,
- First Up - The first run a horse has in a
new campaign or preparation.
- Fixed Odds - Your dividend is fixed at the
odds when you placed your bet.
- Fixture - See 'Meeting'.
- Flag - A bet consisting of 23 bets (a 'Yankee'
plus 6 'Single Stakes About' bets in pairs)
on 4 selections in different event.
- Flash (US) - Change of odds information on
- Flat race - Contested on level ground as opposed
to a steeplechase.
- Flatten Out - When a horse drops his head
almost in a straight line with his body, generally
- Foal - A baby horse, usually refers to either
a male or female horse from birth to January
1st of the following year. All racehorses are
given the nominal birthday of January 1st. Thus
a two-year-old born in June and one born in
January of the same year are considered to be
of the same age for the purposes of satisfying
the conditions of some races re: weight carried.
In reality, the January horse may be considered
to have a significant advantage in terms of
physical development at this early stage in
- Fold - When preceded by a number, a fold indicates
the number of selections in an accumulator (e.g.
5-Fold = 5 selections).
- Forecast - A wager that involves correctly
predicting the 1st and 2nd for a particular
event. This bet can be straight, reversed or
permed. (USA, Perfecta or Exacta).
- Form - Statistics of previous performance
and comment as to the expected current performance
of a runner, useful in deciding which runner
to bet on.
- Form Player - A bettor who makes selections
from past-performance records.
- Front-runner - A horse whose running style
is to attempt to get on or near the lead at
the start of the race and stay there as long
- Frozen (track) - A condition of a racetrack
where any moisture present is frozen.
- Full Cover - All the doubles, trebles and
accumulators involved in a given number of selections.
- Furlong - One-eighth of a mile or 220 yards
or 660 feet (approx. 200 meters).
- Futures - (Also, Ante Post) Bets placed in
advance predicting the outcome of a future event.
- Gait - Harness horses are divided into two
distinct groups, pacers or trotters, depending
on their gait when racing. The gait is the manner
in that a horse moves its legs when running.
The pacer is a horse with a lateral gait, whereas
a trotter or square-gaiter has a diagonal gait.
- Gate - Another term for barrier, or position
a horse will start from.
- Gelding - A male horse that has been castrated.
- Gentleman Jockey - Amateur rider, generally
- Get on - Have your bet accepted.
- Going - The condition of the racecourse (firm,
heavy, soft, etc.). Official Jockey Club going
reports progress as follows: Heavy - soft -
good to soft - good - good to firm - firm.
- Good (track) - Condition between fast and
slow, generally a bit wet. A dirt track that
is almost fast or a turf course slightly softer
- Graded Race - Established in 1973 to classify
select stakes races in North America, at the
request of European racing authorities, who
had set up group races two years earlier. Always
denoted with Roman numerals I, II, or III. Capitalized
when used in race title (the Grade I Kentucky
Derby). See 'Group Race' below.
- Graduate - Winning for the first time.
- Grand - GBP£ 1,000 (also known as a Big'un).
- Green - An inexperienced horse.
- Group Race - An elite group of races. Established
in 1971 by racing organizations in Britain,
France, Germany and Italy to classify select
stakes races outside North America. Collectively
called 'Pattern Races'. Equivalent to North
American graded races. Always denoted with Arabic
numerals 1, 2, or 3. Capitalized when used in
race title (the Group 1 Epsom Derby). See 'Graded
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