Glossary of Racing Terms
false favorite: Horse that is a race favorite despite being outclassed by other competition in the field. See underlay.
farrier: Horseshoer, blacksmith. Also called a plater.
fast (track): Footing that is dry, even and resilient.
fault: Weak points of a horse's conformation or character as a racehorse.
feather: Lightweight: usually refers to the weight a horse is assigned to carry in a race.
fee: 1) Amount paid to a jockey for riding in a race. 2) The cost of nominating, entering or starting a horse in a stakes race.
fence: See rail.
fetlock (joint): Joint located between the cannon bone and the long pastern bone. Also called the ankle.
fiber optic endoscope: See endoscope.
field: The horses in a race.
field horse (or mutuel field): Two or more starters running as a single betting unit (entry), when there are more starters in a race than positions on the tote board.
fig: Slang for speed figure.
figure eight (nose band): See nose band.
filly: Female Thoroughbred, four-years-old or younger, who has not been bred. Female Thoroughbreds who have been bred are called mares, regardless of age.
fire: A burst of acceleration by a horse in a race. For example, "The horse did (didn't) fire when asked."
firing: See pin firing.
firm (track): A condition of a turf course corresponding to fast on a dirt track. A firm, resilient surface.
fissure (fracture): Longitudinal crack through only one surface of a bone.
flag: Signal manually held at a short distance in front of the gate at the exact starting point of race. Official timing starts when flag is dropped by the flagman to denote proper start.
flak jacket: Similar to the jackets worn by police and military, the flak jacket protects the ribs, kidneys and back. At a racetrack, flak jackets are worn by jockeys, starters, exercise riders and outriders.
flank: Area between the horse's ribs and hip. The flank lacks heavy musculature, and is the site of important internal organ. Therefore, the flank is a very sensitive region on the horse's body and cannot be touched by a jockey's whip during a race.
flat race: Contested on level ground as opposed to a steeplechase. Often used in the term, on the flat.
flatten out: A very tired horse who slows considerably, dropping her/his head on a straight line with her/his body. Some horses, however, like to run with their heads lowered.
float: 1) An equine dental procedure in which sharp points on the teeth are filed down. 2) The instrument with which the above procedure is performed.
floating: Flat plate or wooden implement (float) dragged over the surface of a wet track to aid in draining water.
foal (-ed): Noun: A horse of either gender in her/his first year of life. Verb: To give birth. Also known as to drop.
Fontana safety rail: An aluminum rail in use since 1981, designed to help reduce injuries to horse and rider. It has more of an offset (slant) to provide greater clearance between the rail and the vertical posts as well as a protective cover to keep horse and rider from striking the posts.
forearm: Area of the foreleg located between the elbow joint and the knee (carpus), which is made up of the radius bone and the ulna.
forelock: Lock of mane hair that falls forward from the poll (top of the head) to just above the horse's eyes.
founder: See laminitis.
founding sires: The three Arabian stallions who were used to create the Thoroughbred in the 17th and 18th Centuries. (The Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Arabian.) Every Thoroughbred in the world must be able to trace its parentage to one of the three founding sires on both dam and sire sides, in order to be registered as a Thoroughbred.
fractional time: Intermediate times recorded in a race, as at the quarter, half, three-quarters, etc. The quarter time, for example, refers to the time after the first quarter-mile, not the first 25 percent of the race.
fracture: A break in a bone. See comminuted; compound; condylar; fissure; metacarpal; oblique; saucer; sesamoid; slab; spiral; simple; stress.
free handicap: A race in which no nomination fees are required. More recently, and more commonly: a ranking of horses by weight for a theoretical race. See Experimental Free Handicap.
frog: The V-shaped, pliable support structure on the bottom of the foot.
front-runner: A horse whose running style is to attempt to get on or near the lead at the start of the race and to continue there as long as possible.
frozen (track): A condition of a racetrack where any moisture present is frozen.
full-brother, full-sister: Horses who share the same dam and sire.
furlong: One-eighth of a mile, 220 yards, 660 feet.
furosemide: A medication used in the treatment of bleeders, commonly known under the trade name Lasix, which acts as a diuretic, reducing pressure on the capillaries. Horses who are on Lasix are indicated by (L) next to their name in racing programs.
futurity: A race for two-year-olds in which the owners make a continuous series of payments over a period of time to keep their horses eligible. Purses for these races vary but can be considerable.