Horse Racing: Articles - Terminology - How to Pick Winners - How to Bet - Home
Popular Horse Racing Terms Q - Z (continued)

Quarter crack: A crack to the side of the hoof; that is, between the toe and heel.

Quarter horse: A specific breed, used for work, recreation, cutting and racing; they race only short distances, such as a quarter-mile.

Quarter pole: The pole that indicates a quarter-mile left to the finish.

Rabbit: A speedy horse whose purpose is to set a fast pace for the benefit of a stretch-running stablemate.

Racing secretary: Official who writes the condition book and assigns weights for handicaps.

Rail, inner and outer: The barriers that outline the racing surface.
Also called the fence.

Railbird: A fan that likes to hang out at the track and watch the races along the rail. Thus getting a "birds-eye-view" if you will, of the action.

Rank: Intractable. Refuses to relax or settle. Is fighting the rider.

Rate: Restraining a horse early to conserve energy.

Receiving barn: Barn used by horses not usually stabled at the racetrack.

Refuse: To refuse to break from the starting gate.

Reins: Leather straps connected to the bit and used to guide and control the horse.

Reserve: At auctions, the minimum acceptable price.

Riding the rail: hugging the rail to save the ground ala Calvin Borel (also known as Borail)

Ridden out: Having finished under mild urging.

Roan: A horse color indicating most of the coat is a mixture of red and white, or brown and white, hairs.

Route: A long race, as opposed to a sprint.

Ruled off: Suspended. Popular horse racing network

Savage: To attempt to bite another horse.

Saved all the ground: rode right in along the rail the whole way around, therefore preserving his horse for the stretch drive.

Scale of weights: Weight assignments fixed according to age, sex and distance.

School: To familiarize a horse with the starting gate or paddock.

Scraped the paint or scraping the paint: pushed up so close along the rail that he likely took some paint off with him. Squeezed through a narrow opening on the rail, daring ride.

Scratch: To be declared or removed from the starting field, usually by the trainer.

Second dam: The maternal grandmother.

Sesamoids: Two small bones (medial and lateral) located above the fetlock.

Set: A group of horses working or galloping together.

Set down: Suspended.

Sex allowance: The weight allowance fillies and mares receive when running against males.

Shake: When more than one claim is entered on the same horse in a claiming race. The way to determine who the new owner will be is a shake. A pill bottle is shook with a number representing each possible new owner, the winner of the shake is the horse's new owner (as in "he won a 3 way shake for that horse").

Shadow Roll: A piece of equipment, usually made of sheepskin or synthetic material that attaches to the noseband of the bridle. If you have a horse that tries to jump shadows, you'll put a shadow roll on it so that it can't see what's underneath them... they can't see the shadows so they won't try to jump them.

Shedrow: 1) The dirt path that encircles a barn.
2) A row of barns.

Shoe board: A placard that lists the types of shoes worn by horses in the upcoming race.

Short: Lacking necessary conditioning.

Show Bet: A bet in which your horse has to finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd to collect. One of these easiest bets to win and usually offering one of the lowest returns. A horse that finishes 3rd in a race is said to "Show".

Shut off: Blocked in traffic or by another horse.

Silky Sullivan finish: A late charge from far back, named for a popular horse of the late 1950s who relied on such a strategy.

Simulcast: A televised race from another track.

Sire: 1) Male parent.
2) To beget foals.

Sitting on a bomb: If a jockey is sitting on "a bomb" at say the quarter pole, then his horse is getting ready to explode. Ready to explode with a big run.

Sitting Chilly: A rider which stays still or does not use his whip while waiting to make his move in the homestretch is said to be “sitting chilly.” Staying motionless, not needing to move to get run from a jockeys mount.

Socks: White markings from the fetlock to the hoof.

Sophomore: A 3-year-old.

Speed Duel: Usually 2 or more horses that get locked into a fast pace during a race, both of them fighting each other to keep the lead. This is almost always a negative scenario for your horse, however when a horse gets locked in a speed duel and still runs well. They are showing that they are very game.

Spit box: The barn where post-race urine, saliva or blood samples are taken.

Spit the bit: A horse suddenly surrendering in a race.

Splint: 1) Either of two small bones on the side of the cannon bone.
2) Calcification of these bones that appears as a bump.

Split race: A race that is so oversubscribed that it is split into two races.

Splits: Fractional times.

Sponging: A barbaric way of trying to cheat by making a horse swallow a sponge. This in effect keeps him from breathing correctly and therefore running a decent race.

Sprint: A race of a mile or less.

Stakes: A race for which there is often a nomination and entry fee and for which horses must be nominated (or invited) in advance, as opposed to an overnight race .

Stallion: A male horse used for breeding.

Starter: The official responsible for the horses at the starting gate and for a fair start of the race.

Starter race: An allowance or handicap restricted to horses that have in the past started for a designated claiming price.

Starting gate: The steel, mechanical gate that has stalls from which the horses emerge at the start of a race.

State-bred race: A race restricted to horses bred - that is, foaled - in particular state.

Stayer: A horse with stamina. A horse that loves to run all day and excels in long distance races.

Steadied: Impeded.

Stewards: Officials responsible for enforcing the rules of racing.

Stick: A jockey's whip.

Stockings: White markings from the hock to the hoof.

Stooper: A person who picks up discarded tickets in the hopes of finding some that are cashable.

Stretch: The straightaway that leads to the wire; also homestretch.

Stretching Out: Term meaning that horse is going from a sprint to a distance race today.

Stretch-runner: A horse that does its most effective running in the stretch.

Syndicate: Betting Syndicate: A group of people who's sole purpose is to pool their money in order to have a better chance of covering betting combinations. Pooling their money allows them more freedom in attempts to hit difficult wagers like the superfecta or pick6.
Racing Syndicate: Similar to a betting syndicate, yet these people pool their resources in an attempt to purchase and race winning horses.

Tack: Racing equipment.


Tag: A price tag, as in a claiming price.

Taken back: Restrained for a late run.

Taken up: A jockey having to check a horse severely causing his horse to lose momentum.

Takeout: Deductions from the mutuel pools before the money is returned to the bettors.
For the most part, the takeout is divided among the track, the horsemen and the state.

Tattoo: Permanent identification mark tattooed on the inside of a horse's upper lip.

Teletimer: Electronic timer that provides fractional and final times for the races.

Thoroughbred: Breed developed specifically for racing.
A Thoroughbred must be registered with the Jockey Club or a recognized foreign registry.

Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA): An organized association of many major racetracks.

Tightener: A race or workout needed to get a horse to a desirable level of readiness and fitness.

Tongue tie: A strip of cloth used to stabilize a horse 's tongue so that the animal cannot slip it over the bit.

Tote board: The totalizator board that displays odds and other information.
Main one is located in the infield.

Tout: 1) To extol the virtues, real or imagined, of a horse for purposes of urging others to bet.
2) A person who advises others, often for a fee, about which horses to bet.

Track bias, or simply bias: A surface's favoring certain paths or running styles.

Track Record: The fastest time ever recorded at the track for a certain distance. There are individual records for each distance.

Trial: 1) A qualifying race, usually for a futurity.
2) A preparatory or preliminary race, such as the Derby Trial.

Trifecta: A bet which requires you to select the first 3 finishers of a race in exact order.

Trip: A horse's progress during a race with particular reference to any trouble or biased conditions.

Triple Crown: The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.
The English Triple Crown is the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St.
Leger Stakes.
The Canadian Triple Crown is the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales and Breeders' Stakes.

Turf course: The grass course, usually located inside the dirt track.

Turn Of Foot: A horse with a quick turn of foot can accelerate quickly and put distance between himself and other runners in the blink of an eye.

Two-minute lick: To gallop at a rate of a mile in two minutes.

Underlay: Opposite of an overlay; an over bet horse whose odds belie its ability and for which the risk exceeds the possible return.

Under wraps: Under restraint.

Up in class: A horse moving from a lower class to a higher class. Horses usually move up in class after a strong effort such as a win or possibly off a claim.

Valet: A person who assists in saddling the horses, takes care of the tack and prepares the tack before each race, taking special care that a jockey and his tack meet the assigned weight.

Vanned off: Horse was under some type of distress and was carted off in an ambulance, sometimes for safety measures.

Walkover: A race in which a horse literally has no competition.

Wash out: To become so nervous as to sweat profusely.
Such nervousness often compromises a horse's performance.

Weanling: A foal that is less than a year old.

Weight-for-age: Race condition that assigns weights based on the horses ' ages.
In the Massachusetts Handicap, Cigar carried 130 pounds; but in the Woodward Stakes, which was run under weight-for-age conditions, he carried 126 pounds.

Win Bet: Wagering that a horse will finish first in a race.

Winning horse: Usually the horse that crosses the line first, however a horse can be declared the winner by being placed first by the stewards. This would be in the case of the actual winner being disqualified and relegated to a lower placing by the judges. There can actually be 2 or more winners of a race as well, in the case of a dead heat finish (tie).

Wire: The finish line.

Workout, or work: An exercise at moderate to extreme speed for a predetermined distance.

Yearling: A horse that is a year old and so is in its second calendar year.
(Officially, every horse's birthday is Jan. 1.)

Yielding: Condition of a turf course after it has absorbed much moisture.