Glossary of Racing Terms
lactic acid: Organic acid normally present in muscle tissue, produced by anaerobic muscle metabolism as a by-product of exercise. An increase in lactic acid causes muscle fatigue, inflammation and pain.
lame: A deviation from a normal gait due to pain in a limb or its supporting structures.
laminae: A part of the hoof. See insensitive laminae and sensitive laminae.
laminitis: An inflammation of the sensitive laminae of the foot. There are many factors involved, including changes in the blood flow through the capillaries of the foot. Many events can cause laminitis, including ingesting toxic levels of grain, eating lush grass, systemic disease problems, high temperature, toxemia, retained placenta, excessive weight-bearing as occurs when the opposite limb is injured, and the administration of some drugs. Laminitis usually manifests itself in the front feet, develops rapidly, and is life-threatening. In mild cases, however, a horse can resume a certain amount of athletic activity. Laminitis is the disease that caused the death of Secretariat and Barbaro. Also known as founder.
Lasix: See furosemide.
late double: A second daily double offered during the latter part of the program. See daily double.
lateral: Toward the side and farther from the center. Pertains to a side.
lathered (up): See washed out.
lead [pr., LED]: Lead weights carried in pockets on both sides of the saddle, used to make up the difference between the actual weight of the jockey and the weight the horse has been assigned to carry during the race.
lead [pr., LEED]: 1) See shank. 2) The front leg that is last to hit the ground during a gallop or canter.
lead [pr., LEED] pony: See pony.
Leaky Roof Circuit: A derogatory term for minor tracks.
leg up: 1) To help a jockey mount a horse. 2) A jockey having a mount.
length: A measurement approximating the length of a horse, used to denote distance between horses in a race. Approximately 8' - 10'. For example, "Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths."
ligament: A band of fibrous tissue connecting bones, which serve to support and strengthen joints and to limit the range of motion. There are also ligaments that support certain organs.
listed race: A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality.
lock: Slang for a "sure" winner.
lug (in or out): See bearing in (out).
lunge (longe) 1) Horse rearing and lunging. 2) A method of exercising a horse on a tether (longe line).