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Horse Racing Glossary
Allowance Is the weight concession the horse is given to compensate for its rider's inexperience
All Weather Racing Flat racing which takes place on an artificial surface
Amateur (rider) On racecards, their names are prefixed by Mr, Mrs, Captain, etc, to indicate their amateur status
Ante-Post Betting (usually on the most important races) days, weeks and even months before the race is due to take place
Apprentice A young jockey tied by annually renewed contract to a licensed trainer while he or she is learning the business of race-ridingon the flat
At the post When all the horses have arrived at the start before a race, they are said to be ‘at the post’
Bankroll Also known as 'roll' or 'wad' (colloq.) This is gambling money or risk money, as opposed to the money you live on.
Bay Horse colour – any brown horse with a black mane/tail and legs.
Book Running a 'book' is the act of quoting odds and accepting bets on an event. Hence the term 'Bookmaker'.
Bumper A Flat race run under Jump Rules, used to educate young prospective jumps horses before they tackle hurdles or fences. Officially called National Hunt Flat Race.
Burlington Bertie The tic-tac bookmaking term for 100-30.
Carpet The tic-tac bookmaking term for 3-1. Double carpet is 33-1.
Case money Emergency money.
Chase Having lost money on a bet, "chasing" is having another bet simply to try and get back the loss, usually on a random wager.
Claiming race / Claimer A race in which each horse's weight is determined by the price placed on them by connections. The lower the claiming price, the lower the weight. Horses can be ‘claimed' (bought) by other owners/trainers for the specified price after the race.
Cockle The tic-tac bookmaking term for 10-1.
Conditional jockey A Jump jockey, under 26, who receives a weight allowance for inexperience until they have ridden a certain number of winners. A conditional jockey is licensed to a specific trainer. Some races are restricted to conditionals-only.
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
Draw for flat racing only, describes a horse's position in the starting stalls, drawn randomly the day before
Exacta First two horses in a race in the correct order. A Straight forecast
Drop Money lost.
Filly Female horse up to four years old
Foal Horse of either sex from the time of its birth until 1 January 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 its caree
Gelding castrated horse
Get on Have your bet accepted
Going The description of conditions underfoot on the racecourse. Official Jockey Club going reports progress as follows: Heavy - soft - good to soft - good - good to firm -firm
Going Down When horses are on their way to the start.
Hand Unit of four inches in which a horse's height is measured, at the shoulder
Half-brother/sister When two horses have the same mother (dam), they are half-brothers/sisters. Horses are not referred to as half-brothers/sisters when they share only the same father (sire).
Jolly Betting parlance for the favourite in a race - the horse with the shortest odds
Juice (U.S) See 'Vig'..
Juvenile Two-year-old horse
Lay Take a bet on, like a Bookmaker.
Line Betting It is an even-money paid bet where you take a position either side of two possible outcomes of the event. e.g. England runs vs. Australia may quote 225-230 (a bit like a spread), thats called the Line. Selling the Line means you win if they score less than 225 and Buying the line means winning if they score more than 230. This is popular in the U.S.
Maiden Horse which has not won a race
Mare Female horse five years and over
Match Bet A bet between two horses or people, not necessarily in competition with each other. e.g. two golfers who will be trying to win their tournament, not beat each other or be aware that the bet exists
Objection Complaint by one jockey against another regarding breach of rules during a race
Odds The ratio to which your bet will be paid if your bet wins. e.g. 3-1 means for every £1 you bet, you will receive £3 of winnings
On tilt Losing the ability to rationalise bets and betting wildly on every race.
Overlay This is a price offered on a particular horse that is higher than the true odds of it winning.
Paddock Area of the racecourse incorporating the pre-parade ring, parade ring (where horses are paraded before each race) and winner's enclosure
Patent Multiple bet consisting of seven bets involving three selections in different events. A single on each selection, plus three doubles and one treble. One successful selection guarantees a return.
Pattern The grading system for the most important races, introduced on the Flat in 1971 and later for jumps racing. The top races on the Flat are Group 1, followed by Group 2 and Group 3 (the next highest category is Listed, which, while not technically part of the Pattern, combine with Group races under the heading of black-type races). The jumps Pattern has a similar structure, except that the races are termed Grade 1/2/3, rather than Group 1/2/3. All of these races are in Class 1 or either flat or jumps.
Plater Horse which usually runs in selling races
Pool A pool is a sum of many collected as bets on a horse race. i.e. the tote.
Price Noun ~ The quoted odds for a horse to win
Verb ~ The process of giving Prices
Quinella First two finishers in no particular order.
Schooled Trained to jump
Selling plate/selling race Low-class race in which the winner is offered at auction afterwards; other horses in the race may be claimed for a fixed sum. If the winning stable buys back its own horse it is said to be 'bought in'. The racecourse receives a percentage of the selling price of each horse.
Shorten Odds that reduce, say from 10-1 to 8-1, are said to have shortened.
Sire Father of a horse
Stewards The panel of men and women - usually a total of four - who are responsible for ensuring adherence to the Rules of Racing
Tote "Tote" is short for Totalisator, a system introduced to Britain in 1929 to offer pool betting on racecourses.
True Odds The real odds of something happening as opposed to what the bookies offer.
Vig Vig is short for the word 'vigorish'. Also referred to as 'juice' (US). The edge that one side of a bet has to make their advantage.
White meat Profit.
Yearling Horse of either sex from 1 January to 31 December of the year following its birth
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