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Glossary of Racing Terms

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P3: Third phalanx. See coffin bone.

pacesetter: The horse who is running in front (on the lead).

paddle: See toe-in.

paddock: Area where horses are saddled and paraded before being taken onto the track. Also, on a farm, a paddock is a fenced-in field where horses run, eat grass and enjoy the company of other horses.

paddock judge: Official in charge of paddock and saddling routine.

paint: Counter-irritant used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg. A mild form of blistering.

palmer: The back of the front limb, from the knee, down.

panel: A slang term for a furlong.

pari-mutuel(s): A form of wagering originated in 1865 by Frenchman Pierre Oller, in which all money bet is divided up among those who have winning tickets, after taxes, takeout and other deductions are made. Oller called his system parier mutuel meaning "mutual stake" or "betting among ourselves." As this wagering method was adopted in England, it became known as Paris mutuals, and soon after, pari-mutuels.

parlay: A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on each succeeding race.

parrot mouth: A horse with an extreme overbite.

Part: Used by the International Cataloguing Standards Committee to separate races from different countries for sales cataloguing purposes. The Jockey Club Information Systems publishes the annual International Cataloguing Standards Book.

part wheel: Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations. See wheel.

pasteboard track: A lightning-fast racing surface.

past performances: A horse's racing record, earnings, bloodlines and other data, presented in composite form.

pastern (bones): Denotes the area between the fetlock joint and the hoof. The joint between the long and short pastern bones is called the pastern joint. Also can be used to describe the area of the limb, or to describe a specific long pastern bone. Technically known as the P1 (long) and P2 (short).

patrol judge(s): Official(s) who observe the progress of a race from various vantage points around the track.

pattern race: See group race.

pedal bone: See coffin bone.

perfecta: See exacta.

periostitis: Inflammation of the tissue (periosteum) that overlies bone. Periostitis of the cannon bone is referred to as bucked shins, while periostitis of the splint bone is called a splint. May be heard in the expression, popped a splint.

phenylbutazolidan: See 'bute.

phenylbutazone: See 'bute.

photo finish: A result so close it is necessary to use the finish-line camera to determine the order of finish.

physis: Plural, physes. The growth plate at the end of the long bones (such as the cannon bone) that lets the bone grow in length.

Pick (number): A type of multi-race wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick Three (sometimes called the Daily Triple), Pick Six and Pick Nine are common.

pill: Small numbered ball used in a blind draw to decide post positions.

pinched back: A horse forced back due to racing in close quarters.

pin firing: Thermocautery used to increase blood flow to the leg, reputedly to promote healing.

pinhooker: A person who buys a racehorse with the specific intention of conditioning, training and re-selling her/him at a profit.

pipe-opener: Exercise at a brisk speed.

place: Second position at finish.

place bet: Wager on a horse to finish first or second.

placing judge: Official who posts the order of finish in a race.

plantar: Pertaining to the sole of the foot or back of the hind limb from the hock down.

plantar ligament: The large ligament that is below and behind the hock joint.

plate(s): 1) A prize for a winner. Usually less valuable than a cup. 2) Generic term for lightweight (usually) aluminum horseshoes used during a race.

plater: 1) A claiming horse. 2) A farrier.

pocket: A position in a race with horses in front and alongside.

point(s) of call: A horse's position at various locations on the racetrack where her/his running position is noted on a chart. The locations vary with the distance of the race.

pole(s): Markers at measured distances around the track designating the distance from the finish. The quarter pole, for instance, is a quarter of a mile from the finish, not from the start.

poll: The top of the head, between the ears.

pony: Noun, At a racetrack, any horse who is not a racehorse is called a pony.  (Retired Thoroughbreds may be employed at tracks as lead ponies.) Any horse or pony who leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate. Also, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate.  Verb, to pony.

pool: See mutuel pool.

popped a splint: See periostitis.

post: 1) Noun, The starting point for a race. 2) Abbreviation for the phrase, post position. ("He drew post four.")  3) Verb, to record a win. ("He's posted 10 wins in 14 starts.")

posterior: Situated behind or toward the rear.

post parade: Horses walking from the paddock to the starting gate, (parading) past the stands.

post position: Position of stall in starting gate from which a horse starts the race.

post time: Designated time for a race to start.

preferred list: Horses with prior rights to starting, usually because they have previously been entered in races that have not filled with the minimum number of starters.

prep (race): A workout (or race) used to prepare a horse for a future engagement.

prop: When a horse suddenly stops moving by digging her/his front feet into the ground, the horse props.

proximal: Toward the body, i.e., the proximal cannon region is the upper portion of the cannon bone.

public trainer: One whose services are not exclusively engaged by a single stable, and who accepts horses from a number of owners.

pulled suspensory: Suspensory ligament injury (suspensory desmitis), in which some portion of the fibers of the ligament have been disrupted and some loss of support of the distal limb may have occurred.

pull up: To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout.

purse: The total monetary amount distributed after a race to the owners of the entrants who have finished in the (usually) top four or five positions. Some racing jurisdictions may pay purse money through other places.

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