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Glossary Central - horse racing glossary
Category: Agriculture and Industry > Horses and racing
Date & country: 31/05/2011, USA
Words: 135

See colors.

A gap between two horses, usually towards the finish of a race, through which a fast finishing runner may race for the winning post.

spelling paddock
The resting place for a horse having a spell from racing. Sometimes it is used instead of the word spell - meaning, a horse has been sent to the spelling paddock, instead of a horse has been sent for a spell.

restricted races
Races which only certain horses are eligible for, meaning the race is restricted to a select group. A restricted race may be based on a horse's age, gender, winnings, or a combination of factors, for example, one that is restricted to two-year-old fillies only.

standing starts
A race start in which the horses are stationary at the time of release. A tape is drawn across in front of the runners and then released when the starter begins the event. Sometimes horses can be slow to get into a pace or trotting gait, and will often gallop way, ruining their chances in the race.

Relating to the mile rate that a horse records over any race distance. Say a horse records a mile rate of 2:00.1 in a 2113 meter race, it is said to have rated 2:00.1 over 2113 meters.

rails run
A horse can be stuck on the fence behind the leader, with other runners behind and next to it, and unable to get a clear run to the finish line. However, sometimes the leader will move out wider on the track when under pressure in the run home, enabling the horse to scoot through along the rail to the finish line.

race call
The description of a race while it is in process, which includes such things as the positions of the runners at different stages, any moves made by drivers, and any incidents that occur. A race is called or described by a race caller.

return to scale
The period between the finish of the race and the signalling of the all clear. This term originated from the galloping code of racing, with jockeys having to return to the scale to check their weight before the all-clear for a race can be given.

A horse that moves both legs on one side of its body at the same time.

purple patch
Refers to form or performance. A horse or trainer has hit a "purple patch" when experiencing a run of success.

A gambler, especially a small-stakes or inexperienced one.

Refers to a quarter of a mile (roughly 400 meters). There are four quarters in the last mile (1609 meters) of every race, which is used when determining sectional times.

A list of the names of horses that have been entered for a race.

A handicap race for two-year olds only.

A classic race restricted to three-year-old fillies.

A verbal or written statement against the eligibility of a horse for a particular race, or one made against the judge's placings in a race, after the all clear has been signalled (as opposed to a protest, in which the complaint is lodged before the all clear has been signalled).

off course betting
Where you can bet in credit offices and betting shops.

non starter
A horse which has failed to come within a reasonable distance of the mobile barrier may be declared as a non-starter of the race by the starter or Stewards. All bets placed on a horse which is later declared as a non-starter, are refunded.

mobile start
The most commonly used form of starting a race in harness racing. A mobile barrier consists of two folding arms attached to a motor vehicle. The horses in a race follow the barrier as it gathers speed, until the arms fold back and a start is affected. The vehicle then speeds away out of the path of the horses. At most tracks, six horses are permitted to start abreast from the mobile barrier, with ...

morning glory
A horse which impresses on the home gallops but fails to show the same form on the race course.

mile rate
A calculation for each race distance is applied to the overall time of a race, so as to give a comparison to a mile. It is the approximate time the pacer would have run, had the distance been one mile (1609m). The overall race time is multiplied by 1609 and then divided by the meter length of the race.

miracle mile
A coveted Grand Circuit race, which is conducted at Harold Park Paceway in Sydney. Each year, the NSW Harness Racing Club invites six champion pacers to contest the exciting event. It is commonly referred to as the Melbourne Cup of harness racing.

A horse which has not yet won a race.

A collection of pacing and/or trotting races conducted by a club on the same day or night, forms a race meeting.

maturity stakes
An event or series of racing events for Sires' Stakes horses that are four years old. See Sires' Stakes.

A female horse, aged four and over.

locked up
Another term for being boxed in.

The action of a horse that tends to veer away from steering pressure exerted on either rein.

lead time
The time it takes for a horse to travel from the start of the race to the beginning of the last mile (1609m). For instance, in a 1760m race, the lead time would be recorded during the first 151m (1760-1609). A slow lead time may advantage those horses at the front, while a fast lead time may advantage horses racing at the rear of the field.

loose rein
A horse on a loose rein is one which is allowed to run freely, without any pressure from the driver to speed up or slow down.

The horse which is out in front or leading during a race. This term may also be applied to a horse which most commonly wins races when in a leading position.

let up
Another term for a spell, however, a let-up usually refers to a short break, not a lengthy spell in the paddock.

As opposed to buying a harness horse, people have the option of leasing one. Just like some people lease a car instead of paying the money up-front, leasing a horse gives people use of a horse without large capital outlay. An agreement or contract must be drawn up between the two parties, and the lease must be registered with the relevant controlling body.

last half
The time recorded by a horse during the last half of the last mile travelled in a race. It is equal to the combined time recorded in the third and fourth sectionals or quarters.

The term used to describe a horse which is limping or has difficulty walking properly. Lameness is often caused by an injury or problem with one or more of a horse's feet and/or legs.

late scratching
A horse which is scratched from a race after acceptances have been declared. Any trainer who scratches a horse after acceptance time without an acceptable reason may be penalised by the Stewards.

The person who decides the official placings and margins for each race or trial. They are also responsible for deciding who the placegetters are in the event of a photo finish or developed print.

junior driver
A driver under the age of 23.

The proper term for a horse which is checked.

To pace or trot at a leisurely pace.

jockey club
Formed in 1894 and based in New York, the organization that serves as the registry for thoroughbreds in North America. Also used to refer to similar orginazations in other countries.

indian file
When a field of horses race in single file, one behind the other.

Stewards may conduct an inquiry as a result of any incident which may have occurred during a race, to determine whether or not certain drivers and/or horses were responsible for the incident and whether they should receive due punishment. Inquiries are also conducted if a horse returns a positive drug swab, or if a licensed person does not conduct themselves in a manner which brings credit to the ...

Another term for the Stewards. The correct term is stipendiary stewards, hence the shortened nick-name of stipes.

A slang term for the whip used by drivers.

sires' stakes
Most Australian states have a Sires' Stakes programme. A horse is eligible for a Sires' Stakes series or race if his or her sire was at stud in that particular State where the horse was conceived. Therefore, horses whose sire stood in NSW are eligible for NSW Sires' Stakes races, which are programmed for two, three and four-year-olds.

A groom, the person who assists the trainer, cares for the horse or helps to put on its equipment. Also known as an attendant.

inter dominion
The most famous and coveted of all harness racing carnivals. Horses from all over Australia and New Zealand vie for the title of Inter Dominion champion. The series is a test of speed and stamina, and consists of three qualifying heats, with the highest point scorers qualifying for the final. The Inter Dominion is held at metropolitan tracks on a rotating basis between major tracks in Australia an...

home straight
The straight length of the track, nearest the spectators, where the finish line is situated. It is called this because it is the final part of the track a horse travels down during a race -- on its run 'home' (or run to the finish line).

stepped away cleanly
In a standing start event, a pacer or trotter which begins well (goes straight into their gait) when the start is affected, is referred to as having stepped away cleanly.

A horse with a long early bird price on which there is a rush of bets placed up until the beginning of the race.

A female driver.

A male driver.

sectional timing
In the USA where horse races are run flat out from the start, usually on dirt, the timing of the race after each furlong and each quarter mile or half mile is an essential guide to winner finding. In England the vast majority of races are on grass and usually start slowly and build up to a finish.

relegation rule
A rule which gives stewards the power to relegate a horse/s to a different finishing position, should they believe, for example, it destroyed the chances of another runner which would have definitely finished ahead of it.

The straps which connect the front and rear legs on the same side of a horse. Most pacers wear hopples to help balance their stride and maintain a pacing gait. The length of hopples is adjustable and a trainer registers the length that best suits his or her horse. No alteration to this length can be made without permission.

home turn
The final turn a horse must travel around before entering the home straight in the run to the finish line.

horse race
Horse racing is an equestrian sporting activity which has been practiced over the centuries; the chariot races of Roman times were an early example. It is often inextricably associated with the activity of wagering on the outcome of a race; gambling.

A male horse aged four and over. Also known as an entire.

The main harness racing track in a particular area.

forced wide
A horse which is forced to move wide on the track (further away from the inside running rail), because of the action of another runner.

A newly born horse. Also describes the act of a mare giving birth.

The inclination to run in (or out) during a race. When hanging in, a horse will have a tendency to veer towards the inside running rail or fence, while when hanging out, a horse will have a tendency to veer towards the outside running rail. A horse that is hanging will often check other runners which happen to be in its path.

The vehicle by which a horse is transported to the race track. A horse float is pulled by a motor vehicle like a trailer.

A female horse aged three or under.

The final list of horses, selected by the handicapper that will contest the race.

finish line
A line indicating the location of the finish of a race.

The person holding a licence or permit to drive harness horses. There are different types of licences, which correspond to differing levels of experience.

See horse.

See bird cage.

false start
The race starter will declare a false start and order a restart if one or more of the barrier tapes fail to release in a standing start event, or if in a mobile event, a runner, through no fault of its own, has been denied a fair start.

If a driver or trainer records two winners at a race meeting, they are said to have recorded a winning double. Likewise, should they win three races, this is known as a winning treble.

dictate terms
A driver whose horse is in the lead and is running along at a pace that suits its ability, without any pressure from other runners, is said to be dictating terms. In other words they are calling the shots, and are perfectly placed to win the race.

A period of expulsion and unconditional exclusion from the harness racing industry, applied by the Stewards so as to prohibit a person from entering any course during a race meeting, from entering the stable area of any licensed person, and from registering changes of ownership of horses. A trainer or driver may be disqualified for a set period of time for breaking one or more of the rules of harn...

A person appointed by the Harness Racing Authority to assist in the control of racing and other matters related to the sport. Stewards ensure all rules relating to racing and betting are observed and enforced. Stewards are required to regulate, control and inquire into and adjudicate on the conduct of officials, owners, trainers, drivers, persons attending to horses, bookmakers and clerks - at any...

A horse that is out of touch with the rest of the field at the end of the race. This is often referred to as finished distanced.

A classic race for three-year-old pacers or trotters.

dead heat
A situation in which the judges cannot separate two or more horses when judging the outcome of a race. These horses are declared as having crossed the finish line at the exact same time. If the position the horses finished in was first, they are said to have dead-heated, if the position the horses finished in was second or third for instance, they are said to have dead-heated for second or third. ...

developed print
If a judge calls for a developed print, it means he or she has not been able to determine who the winner and/or placegetters of a race are, because they have finished so close together. A camera is fitted into the finish post which takes a photo the minute a horse crosses its infra-red beam. The judge has this photo developed in order to accurately decide the finishing order of horses.

(chiefly British) See colors.

The special colorful jacket worn by drivers when in a race. A horse may only compete in the registered colors of either its owner or trainer. Trainers and owners can choose their own set of color combinations but must apply to the Harness Racing Authority to have them approved.

conditions race
A race in which horses carry the same weight according to sex. They may be penalised by the adding of weight for races previously won or given allowances for age (called 'weight for age').

A male horse aged three or under.

To suffer interference during a race, causing a horse to alter its speed and/or path in a race. A severe check can ruin a horse's chance in a race.

claiming races
Also known as claimers. These races are made up of runners which can be purchased or 'claimed' by members of the public at a designated price.

strung out
A field of horses in a race in which the distances between the leader, the rear horse and the other runners is quite great. Such a field would be referred to as being well strung out.

choked down
When a driver tries to get a horse to run at a slowed rate, he or she will sometimes pull its head back, unintentionally cutting off its breathing. This can cause the horse to lose consciousness and collapse on the track.

buy the index
Type of bet in spread betting whereby you gamble that an index based on the possible outcomes of an event will finish above the upper limit of the spread.

A horse which is termed a good beginner is either a pacer which shows a lot of speed at the start of a mobile event, or a trotter or pacer which steps away cleanly from a standing start. Similarly, a poor beginner is a pacer which doesn't have a lot of early speed or a trotter or pacer which doesn't settle into its gait straight away.

bird cage
The area on a paceway where horses are marshalled and paraded for events. The identity brand of each horse is checked during the marshalling period. Also known as the enclosure.

A farm or stable or place where registered stallions and/or mares are located for breeding purposes.

The person responsible for starting a harness race, whether it be a mobile or standing start event. In a mobile event, the starter controls the start of the race from the back of the mobile vehicle, while in a standing start event, the starter controls the start from the track sidelines. The starter also decides when and if a false start should be declared.

bell lap
The last lap of a race, signified by the ringing of the bell.

A bell that is rung in the home straight to warn drivers they are about to commence the final lap of the race.

betting ring
An allocated area at the paceway where bookmakers work. Punters go to the betting ring in order to check out the odds of horses in a race and place bets.

back marker
In a standing start event, which is handicapped, the horse who is given the biggest handicap is known as the backmarker. For instance, in a race five horses may start off the front (who travel the nominated race distance), three off ten meters (who travel the race distance plus an extra ten meters), one off 20 meters and one off 30 meters. The horse starting from 30 meters is known as the back mar...

Another term for the mobile barrier. A barrier may also refer to the position a horse has drawn in a mobile event.

barrier draw
The process which is performed to determine the starting position or barrier for each horse in a race. Generally, the barrier draw is conducted by a computer, however, for special races like the Miracle Mile, the barrier draw may be conducted manually in front of patrons at a paceway.

all-the-way win
To lead from start to finish in a race.