Glossary of Racing Terms
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
baby race: A race for two-year-olds.
back at the knee (back): A leg that looks like it has a backward arc with its center at the knee when viewed from the side.
backside: The stable area of a racetrack. Stable area, dormitories and usually a track kitchen, chapel and recreation area for stable employees are on the backside. Also known as the backstretch, for its proximity to the stable area.
backstretch: 1) Straight portion of the far side of the racing surface between the turns. 2) backside.
bad doer: A horse with a poor appetite, which may be due to nervousness or other causes.
bandage: Bandages used on horses' legs are three- to six- inches wide, and made of a variety of materials. In a race, they are used for support or protection against injury. Rundown bandages are used during a race, and usually have a pad under the fetlock to avoid injury due to abrasion when the fetlocks sink toward the ground during weight-bearing. A horse may also wear standing bandages, thick cotton wraps that are used during shipping. Also used when a horse is in the stall, to prevent swelling and/or injury.
barren: A filly or mare who was bred but did not conceive during the last breeding season.
barrier: A starting device used in steeplechase, a barrier consists of an elastic band stretched across the racetrack, which springs back when released. Also known as a tape.
bar shoe: A horseshoe closed at the back to help support the frog and heel of the hoof. Often worn by horses who have quarter cracks or bruised feet.
basilar (fracture): : See sesamoids.
bat: A jockey's whip.
battery: An illegal and cruel electrical device, used by jockeys to stimulate a horse during a race. Also known as a machine or a joint.
bay: The entire coat of the horse may vary from a yellow-tan to a bright auburn. The mane, tail and lower portion of the legs are always black, unless white markings are present.
bearing in (or out): : Deviating from a straight course. Weariness, infirmity, inexperience or the rider overusing the whip or reins can make a horse alter its course.
bell: The bell goes off when the starter opens the gates or. At some tracks, a bell is used to mark the close of betting.
Beyer number: A handicapping tool, popularized by author Andrew Beyer, assigning a numerical value (speed figure) to each race run by a horse based on final time and track condition. The theory is that this tool enables different horses running at different racetracks to be compared objectively
Big Red: : Refers to either of two famous chestnut-colored horses: Man o' War or Secretariat.
Bill Daly (on the): Taking a horse to the front at the start of the race, and remaining there to the finish. Term stems from "Father Bill" Daly, famous old-time horseman, who developed many great jockeys.
bit: A stainless steel, rubber or aluminum bar that is attached to the bridle, which fits in the horse's mouth and is one of the means by which a jockey exerts guidance and control. The most common racing bit is the D-bit, named because the rings extending from the bar are shaped like the letter D. Most racing bits are snaffled, (snaffle bit) which means the metal bar is made up of two pieces, connected in the middle, which leaves it free to swivel. Other bits may be used to correct specific problems, such as bearing in or out.
black: The entire coat of the horse is black, including the muzzle, the flanks, the mane, tail and legs, unless white markings are present.
black type: Boldface type, used in sales catalogues, to distinguish horses who have won or placed in a stakes race. Many sales catalogues have eliminated the use of black type for stakes below a certain monetary level: $15,000 in 1985, $20,000 from 1986-1989 and $25,000 beginning in 1990. If a horse's name appears in boldface type in a catalogue and in all capital letters, it has won at least one black-type event. If it appears in boldface type and capital and lower case letters, it was second or third in at least one black-type event. (Black type was awarded to fourth-place finishers in races before Jan. 1, 1990.)
blaze: A generic term describing a large, white vertical marking on a horse's face. The Jockey Club doesn't use blaze, preferring more descriptive words. See snip; star; stripe.
bleeder: A horse who bleeds from the lungs when small capillaries that surround the lungs' air sacs (alveoli) rupture. The medical term is exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage (EIPH). Blood may be seen coming out of the horse's nostrils, known as epistaxis, although it is typically discovered by a fiber optic endoscopic examination after exercise. (Less than one bleeder in 20 shows signs of epistaxis.) Hot, humid weather and cold exacerbate the problem. The most common preventative treatment currently available is the diuretic, furosemide (Lasix).
blind switch: A circumstance in which a rider's actions cause him/her to be impeded during a race.
blinkers: A cup-shaped device used to limit a horse's vision, preventing her from swerving from objects or other horses on either side. Blinker cups come in a variety of sizes and shapes to allow as little or as much vision as the trainer feels is necessary.
blister: Action of applying a counter-irritant, causing acute inflammation. The theory is that this irritant causes heat via increased blood supply/blood flow, and thereby promotes healing of the leg. This concept is abusive, not healing, akin to the soring of the legs of a Tennessee Walking Horse. (Hawthorne Berry, on the other hand, when applied topically or internally, is a natural, healthy and genuine agent used to increase the supply/flow of blood.)
bloodstock agent: A person who advises and/or represents a buyer or seller of horses at a public auction or a private sale. A bloodstock agent usually works on commission, often 5% of the purchase price, and also can prepare a horse for sale.
blood-typing: A way to verify a horse's parentage. Blood-typing is usually completed within the first year of a horse's life, and is necessary before registration papers will be issued by The Jockey Club.
blow-out: A short, timed workout, usually a day or two before a race, designed to sharpen a horse's speed. Usually three-eighths or one-half of a mile in distance.
board: Short for tote board, on which odds, betting pools and other information are displayed.
bobble: A bad step away from the starting gate, usually caused by the track surface breaking away from under a horse's hooves, causing it to duck its head or nearly go to his knees.
bog spavin: A filling with excess synovial fluid of the largest joint of the hock called the tarsocrual joint.
bolt: Sudden veering from a straight course, usually to the outside rail.
bomb(er) : A winning horse sent off at extremely high odds.
bone graft : Utilizing bone taken from one part of the body to promote formation of bone in another region.
bone spavin: Arthritis of the hock joint. A bone spavin that has progressed to the point that the arthritis can be seen externally is called a Jack spavin.
book: 1) The group of mares being bred to a stallion in a given year. If a stallion attracts the maximum number of mares allowed by the farm manager, he has a full book. 2) A term used to describe a jockey's riding commitments with his agent: An agent handles a jockey's book.
bottom: 1) Stamina in a horse. 2) Subsurface of a racing strip.
bottom line: A Thoroughbred's breeding on the female side. The lower half of an extended pedigree diagram.
bounceÂ : A poor race run directly following a career-best or near-best performance.
bowed tendon: A type of tendinitis. The most common injury to the tendon is a strain or bowed tendon, so named because of the appearance of a bow shape due to swelling. The most common site of injury is in the superficial flexor tendon between the knee and the ankle.
box: A wagering term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered.
boxed (in) : To be trapped between, behind or inside of other horses.
brace (or bracer): Rubdown liniment used on a horse after a race or workout.
break (a horse): 1) To train a young horse to wear a bridle and saddle, carry a rider and respond to a rider's commands. Usually done when the horse is a yearling. 2) To leave from the starting gate.
breakage : In parimutuel payoffs, which are rounded down to a nickel or dime, the pennies that are left over. Breakage may be used for any of a number of purposes, depending upon a state's rules of racing.
breakdown: When a horse suffers a potentially career-ending injury, usually to the leg: "The horse suffered a breakdown," "The horse broke down."
break maiden: Horse or rider winning the first race of her/his career. Also known as earning a diploma.
breather: Easing off on a horse for a short distance in a race to permit it to conserve or renew its strength.
bred: 1) A horse is considered to have been bred in the state or country of her birth: Secretariat was a Virginia-bred. 2) The past tense of the verb, to breed.
breeder: Owner of the dam at time of foaling, unless the dam was under a lease or foal-sharing arrangement at the time of foaling. In that case, the person(s) specified by the terms of the agreement is (are) the breeder(s) of the foal.
Breeders' Cup : Thoroughbred racing's year-end championships. Known as Breeders' Cup World Championships, it consists of 14 graded races conducted over two days, with purses and awards totaling $25.5 million. First run in 1984, the races are the:
* Grade 3 $500,000 Breeders' Cup Marathon, for three-year-olds and up at 1 3/4 miles;
* Grade 2 $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, for two-year-old fillies at 1 mile on the turf;
* Grade 1 $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, for three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, at 7 furlongs;
* Grade 1 $2,000,000 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, for three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, at 1 3/8 miles on the turf;
* Grade 1 $2,000,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, for two-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles;
* Grade 1 $2,000,000 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, for three-year-olds and up, fillies and mares, at 1 1/8 miles;
* Grade 2 $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf, for two-year-olds at 1 mile on the turf;
* Grade 2 $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint, for three-year-olds and up at 5 furlongs on the turf;
* Grade 1 $1,000,000 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, for three-year-olds and up at one mile on the turf;
* Grade 1 $2,000,000 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, for two-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles;
* Grade 1 $2,000,000 Breeders' Cup Mile, for three-year-olds and up at one mile on the turf;
* Grade 1 $2,000,000 Breeders' Cup Sprint, for three-year-olds and up at six furlongs;
* Grade 1 $3,000,000 Breeders' Cup Turf, for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/2 miles on the turf;
* Grade 1 $5,000,000 Breeders' Cup Classic, for three-year-olds and up at 1 1/4 miles.
breeding fund: A state fund set up to provide bonuses for state-breds.
breeze (breezing): Working a horse at a moderate speed, less effort than handily.
bridge jumper: A person who wagers large amounts of money, usually on short-priced horses to show, hoping to realize a small, but certain profit. The term comes from the structure these bettors may seek if they lose.
bridle: A piece of equipment, usually made of leather or nylon, which fits on a horse's head, to which other equipment, such as a bit and the reins, are attached.
broken wind: Abnormality of the upper or lower respiratory tract, causing loss of normal air exchange, generally resulting in reduced performance.
broodmare : A filly or mare who has been bred and is used to produce foals.
brush: 1) During a race, two horses who slightly touch each other. 2) Injury that occurs when one hoof strikes the inside of the opposite limb.
bucked shins: Inflammation of the covering of the bone (periosteum) of the front surface of the cannon bone. A condition to which young horses are particularly susceptible, primarily a condition of the front legs.
bug: See apprentice; apprentice allowance.
bug boy: An apprentice rider.
bulbs (of the heel) : The two areas on either side of the back of the foot, similar to the heel of the hand.
bullet (work): The best workout time for a particular distance on a given day at a track. From the printer's bullet Â that precedes the time of the workout in listings. Also known as a black-letter work in some parts of the U.S.
bullring: A small racetrack, usually less than one mile.
burn(ed) : See run down. Commonly used in the term: burned heels.
bursa: A sac containing synovial fluid (a natural lubricant). The purpose is to pad or cushion, hence facilitate motion between soft tissue and bone. Occurs most commonly where tendons pass over bones.
bursitis: Inflammation in a bursa: results in swelling due to accumulation of synovial fluid.
'bute: Short for phenylbutazone, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Legal in many racing jurisdictions. Known more often by the trade names, Butazolidin and Butazone.
buy-back: A horse put through a public auction that did not reach a minimum (reserve) price set by the consignor and so was retained. The consignor must pay a fee to the auction company based on a percentage of the reserve, to cover the auction company's marketing, advertising and other costs.
B.V.M.S.: Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery.
B.V.Sc.: Bachelor of Veterinary Science.