Glossary of Racing Terms
gait: The characteristic footfall pattern of a horse in motion. Thoroughbreds have four natural gaits: walk, trot, canter and gallop. Thoroughbreds compete at a gallop.
gap: An opening in the rail where horses enter and leave the course.
Garrison finish: A close victory, usually from off the pace. Derived from "Snapper" Garrison, a 19th Century jockey given to that practice.
gaskin: Area of the hindleg between the stifle and hock joints, consisting of the tibia and fibula.
gastric ulcers: Ulceration of a horse's stomach. Often causes symptoms of abdominal distress (colic) and general lack of vigor (unthriftiness).
gate: See starting gate.
gate card: A card, issued by the starter, stating that a horse is properly schooled in starting gate procedures.
gelding: A male horse of any age who has been neutered by having both testicles removed (gelded).
gentleman jockey: Amateur rider, generally in steeplechases.
get: Progeny of sire.
girth: 1) An elastic and leather band, sometimes covered with sheepskin, that passes under a horse's belly and is connected to both sides of the saddle. 2) Deepest point of the horse's midsection, around which the saddle girth is tightened.
good bottom: Track that is firm under the surface, which may be dry or wet.
good (track): A dirt track that is almost fast or a turf course slightly softer than firm.
grab a quarter: Injury to the back of the hoof or foot, caused by a horse stepping on her/himself (usually affects the front foot). Being stepped on from behind in the same manner usually affects the back foot. A very common injury during racing. Generally, the injury is minor.
graded race: Established in 1973 to classify select stakes races in North America, at the request of European racing authorities, who had established group races two years earlier. Always denoted with Roman numerals I, II, or III. Capitalized when used in race title ("the Grade I Kentucky Derby"). See group race.
graduate: 1) A horse or rider who wins for the first time. 2) A horse who has moved up to allowance, stakes or handicap racing.
granddam: The grandmother of a horse. See second dam.
grandsire: The grandfather of a horse.
grass slip: Used in some areas: permission to exercise a horse on the turf course.
gravel: Infection of the hoof resulting from a crack in the white line (the border between the insensitive and sensitive laminae). An abscess usually forms in the sensitive structures and eventually breaks at the coronet as the result of the infection.
gray: A horse color in which the majority of the coat is a mixture of black and white hairs. The mane, tail and legs may be either black or gray unless white markings are present. Starting with foals of 1993, the color classifications gray and roan were combined as gray/roan. See roan.
Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation: A charitable organization established in 1989, which combined the Grayson Foundation (established 1940) and The Jockey Club Research Foundation (established 1982). The Grayson-Jockey Club Research Foundation is devoted to equine medical research. www.grayson-jockeyclub.org
green osselet : An inflammation and swelling in the fetlock joint of young horses, particularly on the front of the joints where the cannon and long pastern bones meet. See arthritis.
groom: A person who cares for a horse in a stable. Known as a lad or girl in Britain.
group race: Established in 1971 by racing organizations in Britain, France, Germany and Italy to classify select stakes races outside North America. Collectively called pattern races, equivalent to North American graded races. Always denoted with Arabic numerals 1, 2, or 3. Capitalized when used in race title (the Group 1 Epsom Derby). See graded race.
growth plates: Located at the end of long bones where they grow in length. See physis.
guttural pouch: A sac in the side of the head that may become infected. The sac is a pouch that is part of the eustachian tube. This pouch between the pharynx and the inner ear is unique to the horse.