Glossary of Common Racing Terms

Across the Board

Placing bets on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways, winning the place and show bets; and if third, one way, winning the show bet.

Allowance Race

A race other than claiming for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions to determine weights. Horses can't be claimed in an allowance race.

Apprentice Jockeys

Riders starting their professional careers have to prove themselves. To help them break in, the horses they ride are allowed to carry less weight. They're also called "bug" riders because a little asterisk appears next to the weight assigned to their horse. After they rack up a certain number of wins, they "lose the bug" and become full-fledged jockeys.


Equipment to limit a horse's vision to prevent him or her from swerving from objects or other horses on either side of him or her.

Claiming Race

All the horses in the race can be purchased for the price set in the race conditions. It ensures that horses with similar abilities compete together and none is overmatched. A trainer or owner won't enter a horse worth $10,000 in a $4,000 claiming race just for the chance to get an easy win because the horse might be bought away from them at a bargain.

Daily Double

Type of wager calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first two races of the day and the last two races of the day.


A race restricted to three-year-old horses. They've got a really big one on the first Saturday in May in Kentucky every year.


Ratings assigned to a horse's past races judging how fast or how well he or she performed that day. Some are simple and some are advanced calculations of speed. Your program or racing newspaper will have an explanation how they arrive at their "figs."


An eighth of a mile. Most sprint races are measured in furlongs with five furlongs equaling 5/8 of a mile and six furlongs meaning 3/4 of a mile.


A type of race where our racing secretary rates each horse's ability and assign heavier weights (mostly the jockey and his/her saple) to the most accomplished runners. Our biggest race is the Massachusetts Handicap. Both Cigar and Skip Away had to carry the most weight each time they raced in the MassCap, with Cigar toting an incredible 130 lbs in his second win in 1996. The act of handicapping also means you rate each horse's chances before deciding on a wager.

Horse's Birthday

Every horse celebrates a birthday on January 1, regardless of the actual day of birth. Two-year-olds race only against other two-year-olds. Three-year-olds usually compete among themselves during the first half of the year, and then begin to challenge older horses as they gain experience.

In the Money

When a horse finishes first, second or third in a race.


Reviewing the race to check into a possible infraction of the rules. Also, a sign flashed by officials on tote board on such occasions.


A two-year-old horse, male or female.


A horse who has never won a race.

Morning Line

A prediction by the Track Line Maker of what the final ops will be based on how the public wagers. Usually pretty accurate, and helpful in determining the favorites.


The place where horses are brought before each race. Fans can get an up-close look at the competitors while owners, trainers and jockeys can meet before the race to plan strategies.

Past Performance

A history of each horse's racing performance. How he/she ran, placed, the jockey, at what track, etc. It's up to you to decide which bits of information are most relevant in each race.

Post Parade

Horses going from the papock and onto the track, past the stands and eventually to the starting gate. Horses are traditionally summoned to the track for the post parade with the bugler's "call to post."

Post Time

The time the horses are expected to reach the starting "post."


When a horse is withdrawn from a race in which it's scheduled to run. Depending upon the type of wager you've placed, you're entitled to either a refund or your wager will be automatically transferred to the betting favorite.


The shirts worn by the jockeys denoting the colors of each horses' owner or stable. Every owner has their own design and it helps identify the runners while they race.