Horse Racing – A Quick Glossary of Terms

A horse race is a sporting event that features humans riding horses. It is a very competitive event and involves a lot of strategy. The winner of a horse race is decided by a variety of factors such as speed, endurance, and stamina. The most popular horse races are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes in the United States and the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St Leger in England. A bettor can win big by placing a bet on a particular horse. There are many different types of bets that can be placed on a horse race, including exotic bets.

A good place to start is by understanding the terminology used in horse racing. A quick glossary of terms is available here.

RACE-A group of races over a set distance and under set rules, such as a handicap or allowance race. PRIZE FIELD-A field that contains the top three finishers in a race. POSITION-A horse’s position in the race, such as leader or outsider. TRACK BIAS-A racetrack’s surface, which favors a particular running style or position. TRACK RECORD-A record of the fastest times at various distances on a track. TRIFECTA-A wager on the first three finishers in exact order.

BACKSTRETCH-The straight of the far side of a racetrack between the turns. BRIDGE-JUMPER-A person who makes large show bets on short-priced favorites.

SPRINT RACE-A race shorter than a mile and having one turn. STARTS-A number assigned to horses in a race by a race official. WORK OR BREEZE-A horse’s exercise run at a faster pace than usual for a specified distance, as indicated on the work tab for that day.

TURN-The curve around which a horse runs on the racetrack. APPRENTICE ALLOWANCE-A weight concession to an apprentice jockey, who must be a certain age and have no more than 35 mounts to qualify.

Behind the romanticized facade of Thoroughbred horse races, however, lies a world of injuries, drugs and gruesome breakdowns. Many horses are pushed beyond their limits, often under the threat of whips and illegal electric shock devices. This enables trainers to over-medicate and over-train the animals, which breaks them down and leads to untimely deaths by euthanasia or slaughter. Random drug testing is in place, but it is not always implemented properly. Moreover, ethical veterinarians are often turned off by the industry because of its use of cocktail of legal and illegal substances to mask injuries and enhance performance.