Uneven stirrups, popularized by Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Arcaro, who rode with his left (inside) iron lower than his right to achieve better balance on turns.
across the board
A bet on a horse to win, place and show. If the horse wins, the player collects three ways; if second, two ways; and if third, one way, losing the win and place bets. Actually three wagers.
1) A horse's manner of moving. 2) A term meaning wagering, for example, "The horse took a lot of action."
Utilizing stimulation on acupuncture points to treat an animal.
A centuries-old means of treating an animal or human through the use of needles, electrical current or moxibustion (heat and herbs) to stimulate or realign the body's electrical fields.
Money added to the purse of a race by the racing association or a breeding or other fund to the amount paid by owners in nomination, eligibility, entry and starting fees: for example, "the $1 million-added Kentucky Derby."
A horse carrying more weight than the conditions of the race require, usually because the jockey exceeds the stated limit.
Brand name for polysulfated glycosaminoglycan, used in the treatment of certain arthritic conditions.
All Thoroughbreds celebrate their birthday on Jan. 1.
A person empowered to transact business for a stable owner or jockey, or empowered to sell or buy horses for an owner or breeder.
Not running at best speed in a race.
A race for two-year-olds and up.
When a horse extends itself to the utmost.
A race for which the racing secretary drafts certain conditions to determine weights to be carried based on the horse's age, sex and/or past performance.
Reductions in weights to be carried, allowed because of the conditions of the race or because an apprentice jockey is on a horse. Also, a weight reduction female horses are entitled to when racing against males, or that three-year-olds receive against older horses.
A horse officially entered for a race, but not permitted to start unless the field is reduced by scratches below a specified number.
angular limb deformity
A limb that is not conformationally correct because of developmental problems in the angles of the joints.
Inability to sweat in response to work output or increases in body temperature. Also known as a "non-sweater." Most are athletic horses though frequently the condition appears in pasteured horses not being ridden. Most commonly occurs when both the temperature and humidity are high. Horses raised in temperate regions and then transported to hot climates are most prone to develop the condition but even acclimated horses can be at risk. Clinical signs include inability to sweat, increased respiratory rate, elevated body temperature and decreased exercise tolerance. The condition can be reversed if the horse is moved to a more temperate climate.
Toward the front.
Acute inflammation of the small intestine producing signs of abdominal distress, such as colic and diarrhea.
Rider who has not ridden a certain number of winners within a specified period of time. Also known as a "bug," from the asterisk used to denote the weight allowance such riders receive.
Weight concession given to an apprentice rider: usually 10 pounds until the fifth winner, seven pounds until the 35th winner and five pounds for one calendar year from the 35th winner. More rarely, a three-pound allowance is allowed to a rider under contract to a specific stable/owner for two years from his/her first win. This rule varies from state to state. Apprentices do not receive an allowance when riding in a stakes race. All jockeys going from track to track must have a receipt from the clerk of scales from their track verifying the jockeys' most recent total number of wins. Also known as a "bug," from the asterisk used to denote the weight allowance.
The (usually) paved area between the grandstand and the racing surface.
Inflammation of a joint. An increase in the amount of synovial fluid in the joint is a result of this inflammation. Accumulation of synovial fluid in the fetlock joint is called a "wind puff" or "wind gall." In young horses, a swelling in the fetlock joint, particularly on the front of the joint where the cannon and long pastern bones meet, is called a "green osselet." This swelling is a result of inflammation and reactive changes of the front edges of these two bones and adjacent cartilage. If the green osselet does not heal, a "chronic osselet" might develop with a permanent build-up of synovial fluid in the joint and inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule over the damaged area with secondary bone changes following the initial inflammation.
A tiny tube of lenses used for viewing areas inside a joint. Usually attached to a small video camera.
Utilizing an arthroscope to perform surgery, eliminating the need to open the joint with a large incision in order to view the damaged area.
Cartilage that covers the ends of bones where they meet in a joint.
Includes artificial insemination or embryo transfer (transplants). Not approved by The Jockey Club.
Triangular cartilages in the upper part of the entrance to the larynx. Movements of the arytenoid cartilages control the diameter of the laryngeal opening.
Loss or failure of muscular coordination.
To waste away, usually used in describing muscles.
auxiliary starting gate
A second starting gate used when the amount of horses in a race exceeds the capacity of the main starting gate.
Average-Earnings Index (AEI)
A breeding statistic that compares racing earnings of a stallion or mare's foals to those of all other foals racing at that time. An AEI of 1.00 is considered average, 2.00 is twice the average, 0.50 half the average, etc.
A race for two-year-olds.
back at the knee
A leg that looks like it has a backward arc with its center at the knee when viewed from the side.
Stable area, dormitories and often times a track kitchen, chapel and recreation area for stable employees. Also known as "backstretch," for its proximity to the stable area.
1) Straight portion of the far side of the racing surface between the turns. 2) See backside.
A horse with a poor appetite, a condition that may be due to nervousness or other causes.
Bandages used on horse's legs are three to six inches wide and are 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 used during shipping and while in the stall to prevent swelling and/or injury.
Used to describe a filly or mare that was bred and did not conceive during the last breeding season.
A starting device used in steeplechasing consisting of an elastic band stretched across the racetrack which springs back when released. Also known as a "tape."
A horseshoe closed at the back to help support the frog and heel of the hoof. It is often worn by horses with quarter cracks or bruised feet.
A jockey's whip.
A term for an illegal electrical device used by a jockey to stimulate a horse during a race. Also known as a "machine" or "joint."
A horse color that varies from a yellow-tan to a bright auburn. The mane, tail and lower portion of the legs are always black, except where white markings are present.
bearing in (or out)
Deviating from a straight course. May be due to weariness, infirmity, inexperience or the rider overusing the whip or reins to make a horse alter its course.
Signal sounded when the starter opens the gates or, at some tracks, to mark the close of betting.
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. This enables different horses running at different racetracks to be objectively compared.
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 and remaining there to the finish. Term stems from "Father Bill" Daly, famous old-time horseman, who developed many great jockeys.
A stainless steel, rubber or aluminum bar, 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.
A horse color which is black, including the muzzle, flanks, mane, tail and legs unless white markings are present.
Boldface type, used in sales catalogues, to distinguish horses that 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.
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.
A horse that 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. Hot, humid weather and cold are known to exacerbate the problem. The most common preventative treatment currently available is the use of the diuretic furosemide (Lasix). Less than one bleeder in 20 shows signs of epistaxis. See "Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage" subsection of "Respiratory System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
A circumstance in which a rider's actions cause him/her to be impeded during a race.
A cup-shaped device to limit a horse's vision to prevent him from swerving from objects or other horses on either side of it. Blinker cups come in a variety of sizes and shapes to allow as little or as much vision as the trainer feels is necessary.
Counter-irritant causing acute inflammation used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg.
A person who advises and/or represents a buyer or seller of Thoroughbreds at a public auction or a private sale. A bloodstock agent usually works on commission, often five percent of the purchase price, and can also prepare a horse for sale.
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.
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.
Short for "tote board," on which odds, betting pools and other information are displayed.
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.
A filling with excess synovial fluid of the largest joint of the hock called the "tarsocrual joint."
Sudden veering from a straight course, usually to the outside rail.
A winning horse sent off at extremely high odds.
Utilizing bone taken from one part of the body to promote formation of bone in another region.
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."
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.
1) Stamina in a horse. 2) Subsurface of a racing strip.
A Thoroughbred's breeding on the female side. The lower half of an extended pedigree diagram.
A poor race run directly following a career-best or near-best performance.
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. Despite aggressive treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy and rest, horses commonly reinjure the tendon when they go back into competition. Two surgeries are felt to aid horses to come back to racing: tendon splitting at the lesion site to release accumulated fluid and blood, and superior check ligament desmotomy. The latter surgery is designed to reduce forces on the tendon when the horse returns to training and racing.
A wagering term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered.
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. Almost always done when the horse is a yearling. 2) To leave from the starting gate.
In pari-mutuel 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.
When a horse suffers a potentially career-ending injury, usually to the leg: The horse suffered a breakdown. The horse broke down.
Horse or rider winning the first race of its career. Also known as "earning a diploma."
Easing off on a horse for a short distance in a race to permit it to conserve or renew its strength.
1) A horse is considered to have been bred in the state or country of its birth: Secretariat was a Virginia-bred. 2) The past tense of "breed."
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.
Thoroughbred racing's year-end championships. Known as "Breeders' Cup World Championships," it consists of fourteen graded races conducted over two days with purses and awards totaling c$30 million. First run in 1984.
A state fund set up to provide bonuses for state-breds.
Working a horse at a moderate speed, less effort than handily.
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.
A piece of equipment, usually made of leather or nylon, which fits on a horse's head and is where other equipment, such as a bit and the reins, are attached.
Abnormality of the upper or lower respiratory tract causing loss of normal air exchange, generally resulting in reduced performance.
A filly or mare that has been bred and is used to produce foals.
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.
Inflammation of the covering of the bone (periosteum) of the front surface of the cannon bone to which young horses are particularly susceptible. This is primarily a condition of the front legs.
See apprentice; apprentice allowance.
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.
The best workout time for a particular distance on a given day at a track. From the printer's "bullet" that precedes the time of the workout in listings. Also known as a "black-letter" work in some parts of the country.
A small racetrack, usually less than one mile.
See run down. Commonly used in the term: burned heels.
A sac containing synovial fluid (a natural lubricant). The purpose is to pad or cushion and thus facilitate motion between soft tissue and bone. Most commonly occurring where tendons pass over bones.
Inflammation in a bursa that results in swelling due to accumulation of synovial fluid. Capped elbow is inflammation of the bursa over the point of elbow (olecranon process of the ulna). "Capped hock" is inflammation of the bursa over the point of the hock (tuber calcis).
Short for phenylbutazone, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication that is legal in many racing jurisdictions. Often known by the trade names Butazolidin and Butazone.
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.
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine & Surgery.
Bachelor of Veterinary Science.
A projection on the heels of a horseshoe, similar to a cleat, on the rear shoes of a horse to prevent slipping, especially on a wet track. Also known as a "sticker." Sometimes incorrectly spelled "caulk."
Running position of horses in a race at various points.
The third metacarpal (front leg) or metatarsal (rear leg), also referred to as the shin bone. The largest bone between the knee and ankle joints.
capillary refill time
The amount of time it takes for blood to return to capillaries after it has been forced out, normally two seconds; usually assessed pressing the thumb against the horse's gums. When the pressure is removed the gum looks white, but the normal pink color returns as blood flows into the capillaries.
Inflammation of the bursa over the point of the elbow. Also known as a "shoe boil." See bursitis.
Inflammation of the bursa over the point of the hock. See bursitis.
A joint in the horse's front leg, more commonly referred to as the knee.
A horse, positioned on its side or back, and wedged against a wall, such that it cannot get up.
Toward the tail.
Center of Distribution
A formula derived from the Dosage profile and a similar attempt to quantify speed and stamina.
Wagering favorite in a race. Dates from the days when on-track bookmakers would write current odds on a chalkboard.
Bettor who wagers on favorites.
See Eclipse Award.
A statistical "picture" of a race (from which past performances are compiled), that shows the position and margin of each horse at designated points of call (depending on the distance of the race), as well as the horses' age, weight carried, owner, trainer, jockey, and the race's purse, conditions, payoff prices, odds, time and other data.
When a jockey slows a horse due to other horses impeding its progress.
A list of superior sires used in the Dosage formula. Pronounced "chef de RAH."
1) A horse color which may vary from a red-yellow to golden-yellow. The mane, tail and legs are usually variations of coat color, except where white markings are present. 2) Horny, irregular growths found on the inside of the legs. On the forelegs, they are just above the knees. On the hind legs, they are just below the hocks. No two horses have been found to have the same chestnuts and so they may be used for identification. Also called "night eyes."
The use of bone alignment to treat specific or general health problems.
See dorsal displacement of the soft palate.
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Commonly known as "COPD," a hyperallergenic response of the respiratory system that involves damage to the lung tissue, similar in many ways to human asthma. Affected horses may cough, develop a nasal discharge and have a reduced exercise tolerance. Respiratory rate is increased and lung elasticity is diminished.
Permanent build-up of synovial fluid in a joint, characterized by inflammation and thickening of the joint capsule over the damaged area. Usually attended by changes in the bone and cartilage. See arthritis.
Extension of backstretch or homestretch to permit a straight running start in a race as opposed to starting on or near a turn.
Process by which a licensed person may purchase a horse entered in a designated race for a predetermined price. When a horse has been claimed, its new owner assumes title after the starting gate opens although the former owner is entitled to all purse money earned in that race.
Box in which claims are deposited before the race.
A race in which each horse entered is eligible to be purchased at a set price. Claims must be made before the race and only by licensed owners or their agents who have a horse registered to race at that meeting or who have received a claim certificate from the stewards.
1) A race of traditional importance. 2) Used to describe a distance A race at the American classic distance, which is currently 1 1/4 miles. The European classic distance is 1 1/2 miles.
clerk of scales
An official whose chief duty is to weigh the riders before and after a race to ensure proper weight is (was) carried.
When a horse lifts its front legs abnormally high as it gallops, causing it to run inefficiently.
One who times workouts and races.
A condition when the cartilaginous growth plate above the knee (distal radial physis) has turned to bone. Indicates completion of long bone growth and is one sign of maturity.
A horse that runs best in the latter part of the race, coming from off the pace.
Generally, the turn on a racing oval that is closest to the clubhouse facility; usually the first turn after the finish line.
The third phalanx (P3). The major bone that is within the confines of the hoof. Also called the "pedal [PEE-dal] bone."
Refers to abdominal pain. See "Colic" subsection of "Digestive System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
Colors accepted by The Jockey Club are bay, black, chestnut, dark bay or brown, gray, roan and white. See individual entries for definitions.
An ungelded (entire) male horse four-years-old or younger.
Combining mutuel pools from off-track sites with the host track.
A fracture with more than two fragments.
Class of horses in a race He last ran in stakes company.
Comparable Index (CI)
Indicates the average earnings of progeny produced from mares bred to one sire when these same mares are bred to other sires. A CI of 1.00 is considered average, 2.00 is twice the average, 0.50 half the average, etc.
A fracture where the damaged bone breaks through the skin. Also known as an "open" fracture.
A series of booklets issued by a racing secretary which set forth conditions of races to be run at a particular racetrack.
1) A trainer. 2) A workout or race to enable a horse to attain fitness.
The requirements of a particular race. This may include age, sex, money or races won, weight carried and the distance of the race.
A fracture in the lower knobby end (condyle) of the lower (distal) end of a long bone such as the cannon bone or humerus (upper front limb).
The physical makeup of and bodily proportions of a horse how it is put together.
Present at birth.
Persons identified with a horse, such as owner, trainer, rider and stable employees.
A payoff to holders of daily double tickets combining the winning horse in the first race of the double with a scratched horse in the second.
Restoring a horse to normal temperature, usually by walking, after it has become overheated during exercise. All horses that are exercised are cooled out.
An irritation on the sole of the foot, toward the heel. As in a human, the result of pressure from the shoe.
Where the hair meets the hoof. Also called the "coronet."
See coronary band.
Hormones that are either naturally produced by the adrenal gland or man-made. They function as anti-inflammatory hormones or hormones that regulate the chemical stability (homeostasis) of the body. One common misconception is that a horse which has received corticosteroids experiences an increase in its natural abilities and therefore has an unfair advantage. At the present time, there is no scientific evidence to support such a perception.
To expel air from the lungs in a spasmodic manner. Can be a result of inflammation or irritation to the upper airways (pharynx, larynx or trachea) or may involve the lower airways of the lungs (deep cough).
Two or more horses running as an entry in a single betting unit.
A single breeding of a stallion to a mare For example, "He covered 70 mares."
Abnormal conformation in which the points of the hocks turn in.
A vertical split of the hoof wall. Cracks may extend upwards from the bearing surface of the wall or downwards from the coronary band, as the result of a defect in the band. Varying in degrees of severity, cracks can result from injuries or concussion. Hooves that are dry and/or thin (shelly) or improperly shod are susceptible to cracking upon concussion. Corrective trimming and shoeing may remedy mild cracks but in severe cases, when the crack extends inward to the sensitive laminae, more extensive treatment is required, such as using screws and wires to stabilize the sides of the crack.
Toward the head.
A feed device designed to allow a foal to eat but keep its dam out. Otherwise, the mare will eat the foal's food.
A horse that clings to objects with its teeth and sucks air into its stomach. Also known as a "wind sucker."
1) The number of foals by a sire in a given year. 2) A group of horses born in the same year. For example, "An excellent crop of three-year-olds." 3) A jockey's whip.
Along the horse's topline, the area between the back and the tail. A straight, level croup provides maximum outreach of the Thoroughbred's hindquarters as it gallops, producing a longer stride.
A "unilateral cryptorchid" is a male horse of any age that has one testicle undescended. A "bilateral cryptorchid" is a male horse of any age that has both testicles undescended. The Jockey Club defines "cryptorchid" as a male horse of any age that has both testicles undescended.
1) Refers to the irregular occlusal surface of the tooth (the surfaces that meet when a horse closes its mouth) and is used as a visual method of determining age in a horse. 2) Trophy awarded to winning horse owners, usually in a stakes race.
A dry and loose racing surface that breaks away under a horse's hooves.
A thickening of the plantar ligament of the hock.
Top portion of a racetrack.
Horse suffering from injuries from being struck by the shoes of another horse. Or, due to a faulty stride, a horse may cut itself down.
Type of wager calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first and second. See late double.
Daily Racing Form
A daily newspaper containing news, past performance data and handicapping information. Do not use definite article "The" when describing. For example, "According to Daily Racing Form..."
A wager where the bettor must select the winner of three consecutive races. Not to be confused with "triple," meaning trifecta in some regions.
The female parent of a foal.
dam's sire (broodmare sire)
The sire of a broodmare. Used in reference to the maternal grandsire of a foal.
dark bay or brown
A horse color that ranges from brown with areas of tan on the shoulders, head and flanks, to a dark brown, with tan areas seen only in the flanks and/or muzzle. The mane, tail and lower portions of the legs are always black unless white markings are present.
Two or more horses finishing a race in a tie.
Racing surface lacking resiliency.
In the United States, a horse withdrawn from a stakes race in advance of scratch time. In Europe, a horse confirmed to start in a race.
deep flexor tendon
Present in all four legs, but injuries most commonly affect the front legs. Located on the back (posterior) of the front leg between the knee and the foot and between the hock and the foot on the rear leg. The function is to flex the digit (pastern) and knee (carpus) and to extend the elbow on the front leg and extend the hock on the rear leg. Functions in tandem with the superficial flexor tendon.
A position very close to the finish line in race.
degenerative joint disease (DJD)
Any joint problem that has progressive degeneration of joint cartilage and the underlying (subchondral) bone. Occurs most frequently in the joints below the radius in the foreleg and femur in the hind leg. Some of the more common causes include repeated trauma, conformation faults, blood disease, traumatic joint injury, subchondral bone defects (OCD lesions) and excessive intra-articular corticosteroid injections. Also known as osteoarthritis.
A stakes event for three-year-olds.
Inflammation of a ligament. Often a result of tearing of any number of ligament fibrils.
The use of drugs (anthelmintics) to kill internal parasites, often performed by oral paste or by passing a nasogastric tube into the horse's stomach.
Abbreviation for dead heat.
The amount of energy a horse is able to digest from a feedstuff.
See "Digestive System" in veterinary supplement for a detailed explanation.
The part of the limb below the ankle (fetlock) joint. Includes the long and short pastern bones and the coffin bone.
The area beneath the coffin bone in the back of the foot that separates it from the frog. The digital cushion serves as a shock absorber for the foot.
diploma (earning a)
See break maiden.
Change in order of finish by officials for an infraction of the rules.
A female horse.
A race for female horses.
Away from a reference point. Usually refers to the limbs The injury was distal (below) to the hock.
distal sesamoidean ligaments
Attaches to the bottom of the sesamoid bones, passing down and attaching to the long and short pastern bones.
Horse so far behind the rest of the field of runners that it is out of contact and unable to regain a position of contention.
Dimethyl sulfoxide, a topical anti-inflammatory.
Rubber traffic cones (or a wooden barrier) placed at certain distances out from the inner rail, when the track is wet, muddy, soft, yielding or heavy, to prevent horses during the workout period from churning the footing along the rail. Used in the phrase, "The dogs are up," or simply, "dogs up."
1) Slang term for past performances. Readers of past performances are said to dope out a race. 2) Any illegal drug.
Up; toward the back or spine. Also used to describe the front of the lower limb below the knee (front) or hock (rear).
dorsal displacement of the soft palate
A condition in which the soft palate, located on the floor of the airway near the larynx, moves up into the airway. A minor displacement causes a gurgling sound during exercise while in more serious cases the palate can block the airway. This is sometimes known as "choking down," but the tongue does not actually block the airway. The base of the tongue is connected to the larynx, of which the epiglottis is a part. When the epiglottis is retracted, the soft palate can move up into the airway (dorsal displacement.) This condition can sometimes be managed with equipment such as a figure eight noseband or a tongue tie. In more extreme cases, surgery might be required, most commonly a "myectomy."
Although there are actually many "Dosage theories," the one most commonly thought of as Dosage is the one as interpreted by Dr. Steven Roman. A variation of Dr. Franco Varola's work on pedigree analysis, the system identifies patterns of ability in horses based on a list of prepotent sires, each of whom is a chef-de-race. The Dosage system puts these sires into one of five categories brilliant, intermediate, classic, solid and professional, which quantify speed and stamina. Sires can be listed in up to two chef-de-race categories. Each generation of sires is worth 16 points, divided up by the amount of sires, i.e., the immediate sire is worth 16 points while the four sires four generations back are worth four points apiece.
Dosage index (DI)
A mathematical reduction of the Dosage profile to a number reflecting a horse's potential for speed or stamina. The higher the number, the more likely the horse is suited to be a sprinter. The average Dosage index of all horses is about 4.0.
A listing of Dosage points by category. Used to develop the Dosage index (DI).
Abbreviation for disqualified.
Liquid administered through mouth.
A horse that is all out to win and under strong urging from its jockey.
A horse meeting a lower class of rival than it had been running against.
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Extremely late in breaking from the gate.
A piece of equipment that covers a horse's ears to prevent it from hearing distracting sounds.
A horse that is gently pulled up during a race.
Running or winning without being pressed by rider or opposition.
Thoroughbred racing's year-end awards, honoring the top horses in 11 separate categories; the leading owner, trainer, jockey, apprentice jockey and breeder; as well as members of the media who have demonstrated excellence in their coverage of the sport. Their namesake is Eclipse, the great 18th-century racehorse and sire who was undefeated in 18 career starts and sired the winners of 344 races. Any Eclipse Award winner is referred to as a "champion."
EEE (Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis)
One of several different types of encephalomyelitis that are extremely contagious, causing sickness and death in horses by affecting the central nervous system. EEE is spread by mosquitoes and can affect humans. Can be prevented by annual vaccinations.
Exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage. See bleeder.
The topmost joint in the foreleg, formed by the humerus, ulna and radius. The elbow joint's action is that of a hinge, providing flexion and extension for the forelegs.
Qualified to start in a race, according to conditions.
An instrument used for direct visual inspection of a hollow organ or body cavity such as the upper airway or stomach. A "fiber optic endoscope" is comprised of a long, flexible tube that has a series of lenses and light at the end to allow the veterinarian to view and photograph the respiratory system through the airway. Other internal organs may be viewed through a tiny surgical opening. A "video endoscope" has a small camera at the tip of the instruments.
1) Stakes nomination. 2) Riding commitment.
An ungelded horse. In Europe, where geldings are not permitted to enter certain races, the race conditions might read "Entire colts and fillies."
Money paid by an owner to enter a horse in a stakes race.
A condition in which the thin membrane lying below the epiglottis moves up and covers the epiglottis. The abnormality may obstruct breathing. Usually treated by surgery to cut the membrane if it impairs respiratory function
Two or more horses with common ownership (or in some cases trained by the same trainer) that are paired as a single betting unit in one race and/or are placed together by the racing secretary as part of a mutuel field. Rules on entries vary from state to state. Also known as a "coupled entry."
A triangular-shaped cartilage that lies at the base of the airway just in front of the arytenoid cartilages which cover the airway during swallowing. It is normally located above (dorsal) the soft palate.
An inflammation in the growth plate (physis) at the ends of the long bones (such as the cannon bone). Symptoms include swelling, tenderness and heat. Although the exact cause is unknown, contributing factors seem to be high caloric intake (either from grain or a heavily lactating mare) and a fast growth rate.
A partnership between The Jockey Club and the Thoroughbred Racing Associations to establish and maintain an industry-owned, central database of racing records. Equibase past-performance information is used in track programs across North America.
See bandage; bar shoe; bit; blinkers; bridle; earmuffs; halter; hood; nose band; overcheck; overgirth; reins; saddle cloth; saddle pad; shadow roll; shank; stirrups; tongue tie.
Mutuel price horses would pay for each $1 bet.
Associated with ovulation; a mare usually is receptive to breeding during estrus. Referred to as "horsing."
The length of time between consecutive ovulations.
EVA (equine viral arteritis)
A highly contagious disease that is characterized by swelling in the legs of all horses and swelling in the scrotum of stallions. Can cause abortion in mares and can be shed in the semen of stallions for years after infection.
Neither gaining nor losing position during a race.
exacta (or perfecta)
A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked. Called an "exactor" in Canada.
A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet on. The total number of combinations can be calculated according to the formula x2-x, where x equals the amount of horses in the box. For example, boxing four horses would actually be 12 combinations (42-4). To arrive at the cost of the wager, multiply the total combinations by the cost of the individual wager.
exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage
Rider who is licensed to exercise a horse during its morning training session.
Experimental Free Handicap
A year-end projection of the best North American two-year-olds of the season, put together by a panel, under the auspices of The Jockey Club, that is based on performances in unrestricted races. Two lists are drawn up, one for males and one for females.
Any wager other than win, place or show. For the mathematically inclined, the amount of combinations in any exotic wager can be figured by the formula n!/(n-a!), where n is the number of horses in your wager and a is the number of finishers in the wager (two in an exacta, three in a trifecta, etc.)
Running at top speed.
Extends the knee (carpus) joint, ankle joint, pastern and foot and flexes the elbow. The muscles begin above the knee and attach to the coffin and pastern bones.
Horse that is a race favorite despite being outclassed by other competition in the field. See underlay.
Horseshoer, blacksmith. Also called a "plater."
Footing that is dry, even and resilient.
Weak points of a horse's conformation or character as a racehorse.
Light weight. Usually refers to the weight a horse is assigned to carry in a race.
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.
Joint located between the cannon bone and the long pastern bone, also referred to as the "ankle."
fiber optic endoscope
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 totalizator board.
Slang for speed figure.
figure eight (nose band)
See nose band.
Female horse four-years-old or younger.
A burst of acceleration by a horse in a race. For example, "The horse did (didn't) fire when asked."
See pin firing.
A condition of a turf course corresponding to fast on a dirt track. A firm, resilient surface.
Longitudinal crack through only one surface of a bone.
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.
Similar to a jackets worn by quarterbacks, the jockey's flak jacket protects the ribs, kidneys and back.
Area between the horse's ribs and hip. Lacking heavy musculature and the site of important internal organs, the flank is a very sensitive region on the horse's body and cannot be touched by a jockey's whip during a race.
Contested on level ground as opposed to a steeplechase. Often used in the term, on the flat.
A very tired horse that slows considerably, dropping its head on a straight line with its body. Some horses, however, like to run with their heads lowered.
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.
Flat plate or wooden implement (float) dragged over the surface of a wet track to aid in draining water.
1) A horse of either sex in its first year of life. 2) As a verb, to give birth. Also known as "dropped." 3) Can also denote the offspring of either a male or female parent.
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.
Area of the foreleg located between the elbow joint and the knee (carpus), which is made up of the radius bone and the ulna.
Lock of mane hair that falls forward from the poll (top of the head) to just above the horse's eyes.
The Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb. Every Thoroughbred must be able to trace its parentage to one of the three founding sires.
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.
A break in a bone. See comminuted; compound; condylar; fissure; metacarpal; oblique; saucer; sesamoid; slab; spiral; simple; stress. See "Fractures" subsection of "Musculoskeletal System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
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.
The V-shaped, pliable support structure on the bottom of the foot. See "Hoof" subsection of "Musculoskeletal System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
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.
A condition of a racetrack where any moisture present is frozen.
Horses that share the same sire and dam.
One-eighth of a mile, 220 yards, 660 feet.
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.
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.
The characteristic footfall pattern of a horse in motion. Thoroughbreds have four natural gaits-walk, trot, canter and gallop. Thoroughbreds compete at a gallop.
An opening in the rail where horses enter and leave the course.
A close victory, usually from off the pace. Derived from "Snapper" Garrison, old-time rider given to that practice.
Area of the hindleg between the stifle and hock joints, consisting of the tibia and fibula.
Ulceration of a horse's stomach. Often causes symptoms of abdominal distress (colic) and general unthriftiness.
See starting gate.
A card, issued by the starter, stating that a horse is properly schooled in starting gate procedures.
A male horse of any age that has been neutered by having both testicles removed ("gelded").
Amateur rider, generally in steeplechases.
Progeny of sire.
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.
Track that is firm under the surface, which may be dry or wet.
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 itself (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.
Established in 1973 to classify select stakes races in North America, at the request of European racing authorities, who had set up 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
1) Winning for the first time, horse or rider. 2) A horse that has moved up to allowance, stakes or handicap racing.
See second dam.
The grandfather of a horse; father ("sire") of the horse's dam or sire.
Used in some areas, permission to exercise a horse on the turf course.
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.
A horse color where 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 "roan or gray." 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.
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.
A person who cares for a horse in a stable. Known as a "lad" or "girl" in Britain.
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.
Located at the end of long bones where they grow in length. See physis.
A sac in the side of the head that may become infected. The sac is a pouch that is part of the eustachian tube, a passage between the pharynx and the inner ear and is unique to the horse.
Horses out of the same dam but by different sires. Horses with the same sire and different dams are not considered half-siblings in Thoroughbred racing.
Like a bridle, but lacking a bit. Used in handling horses around the stable and when they are not being ridden.
Slang for claiming a horse.
Four inches. A horse's height is measured in hands and inches from the top of the shoulder (withers) to the ground, e.g., 15.2 hands is 15 hands, 2 inches. Thoroughbreds typically range from 15 to 17 hands.
1) Race for which the track handicapper assigns the weights to be carried. 2) To make selections on the basis of past performances.
1) Working in the morning with maximum effort. Compare with, 2) A horse racing well within itself, with little exertion from the jockey.
Amount of money wagered in the pari-mutuels on a race, a program, during a meeting or for a year.
Urging a horse with the hands and not using the whip.
A condition of a turf course where there is no resiliency to the surface.
Denotes a well-traveled breeder whose boots are caked with mud and therefore hard. By extension, a breeder or trainer whose methods are characterized as old-fashioned. Generally used in the phrase, "Kentucky hard-boot."
Implement or unit with pulling teeth or tines used to rake and loosen the upper surface of a track.
A margin between horses. One horse leading another by the length of its head.
head of the stretch
Beginning of the straight run to the finish line.
1) A race in which more then one running is required to decide the winner. More common in
harness racing. 2) A breeding term. See estrus.
Emphysema. See chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Wettest possible condition of a turf course; not usually found in North America.
A crack on the heel of the hoof. Also called a "sand crack."
A lightweight fiberglass cap worn by riders to prevent head injuries. It is required equipment that is not considered part of a jockey's riding weight.
A blood-filled area resulting from injury.
Highest weight assigned or carried in a race.
Joint located in the hindquarters, which is formed by the pelvis and the femur.
A large joint just above the shin bone in the rear legs. Corresponds to the level of the knee of the front leg.
A horse bred by its owner.
A (usually) nylon covering which goes over a horse's head to which blinkers or earmuffs are attached.
The foot of the horse. Consists of several parts that play an integral role in supporting the weight of the horse. See "Hoof" subsection of "Musculoskeletal System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation. For hoof injuries, see cracked hoof; heel crack; quarter crack; toe crack.
A horse that has been illegally stimulated.
When reference is made to sex, a "horse" is an ungelded male five-years-old or older.
Behavior of a mare in heat (in season). See estrus.
Person who walks horses to cool them out after workout or races.
A horse that does not advance its position in a race when called upon by its jockey.
A normal component of joint fluid. Also can be a man-made intra-articular medication used to relieve joint inflammation.
1) A physical therapy procedure, properly known as "cryotherapy." 2) When a horse is stood in a tub of ice or ice packs are applied to the legs to reduce inflammation and/or swelling.
Abbreviation for intra-muscular; an injection given in a muscle.
A type of colic caused by a blockage of the intestines by ingested materials (constipation).
Weight carried or assigned.
inferior check ligament
A direct continuation of the posterior (back) ligaments of the knee (carpus), located below the knee. Function is in support of the deep flexor tendon.
Area encompassed by the inner rail of the racetrack.
Running under moderate control, at less than top speed.
Reviewing the race to check into a possible infraction of the rules. Also, a sign flashed by officials on the tote board on such occasions. If lodged by a jockey, it is called an objection.
The layer just under the wall of the hoof; similar to the human fingernail. It is an integral structure that helps to attach the hoof wall to the underlying coffin bone.
in the bridle
See on the bit.
in the money
A horse that finishes first, second or third.
Within a joint.
Deficiency of blood supply, which may be temporary or permanent. Caused by the shutting down of the blood vessels.
A facility used to separate sick horses from healthy ones.
Abbreviation for intravenous; an injection given in the vein.
See bone spavin.
Refers to the requirement that a horse which has been claimed that next runs in a claiming race must run for a claiming price 25 percent higher for the next 30 days. Commonly used in the phrase The horse is in (out of) jail.
Jockey Club (The)
An organization dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing. Incorporated Feb. 10, 1894 in New York City, The Jockey Club serves as North America's Thoroughbred registry, responsible for the maintenance of "The American Stud Book," a register of all Thoroughbreds foaled in the United States, Puerto Rico and Canada; and of all Thoroughbreds imported into those countries from jurisdictions that have a registry recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee.
Sum paid to rider for competing in a race.
A race whose outcome will hinge mostly on strategic thinking by the riders; i.e., one in which riders must pay close attention to pace to keep their horses fresh for a strong finish.
Slow, easy gait.
1) See musculoskeletal system. For injuries, see "Joint Injuries" subsection of "Musculoskeletel System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation. 2) See battery.
The structure that comprises the boundary to the joint space.
Steeplechase or hurdle horse.
A single horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic wager.
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.
A deviation from a normal gait due to pain in a limb or its supporting structures.
A part of the hoof. See insensitive laminae and sensitive laminae. See "Hoof" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
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. Also known as "founder."
A second daily double offered during the latter part of the program. See daily double.
Toward the side and farther from the center. Pertains to a side.
See washed out.
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
1) See shank. 2) The front leg that is last to hit the ground during a gallop or canter. See "Gaits" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed definition.
lead [LEED] pony
leaky roof circuit
1) To help a jockey mount a horse. 2) A jockey having a mount.
A measurement approximating the length of a horse, used to denote distance between horses in a race For example, "Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths."
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.
A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality.
Slang for a "sure" winner.
lug (in or out)
See bearing in (out).
1) Horse rearing and plunging. 2) A method of exercising a horse on a tether ("lunge line").
Physical therapy technique using magnetic fields. The low-energy electrical field created by the magnetic field causes dilation of the blood vessels (vasodilation) and tissue stimulation. Magnetic therapy may be used on soft tissue to treat such injuries as tendinitis or bony (skeletal) injuries such as bucked shins.
1) A horse or rider that has not won a race. 2) A female that has never been bred.
A race for non-winners.
Long hairs growing on the crest of the horse's neck, which are usually kept clipped to about six inches in length for neatness, or decoratively braided.
Female horse five-years-old or older.
September. In theory, because mares that have not run well during the summer often "wake up" in September.
Soft, moist mixture, hot or cold, of grain and other feed that is easily digested by horses.
Rubbing of various parts of the anatomy to stimulate healing.
Pertaining to the middle in anatomy, nearer the medial plane (the horizontal plane that bisects the center).
A list kept by the track veterinarian and published by the track and Daily Racing Form (when provided by track officials) showing which horses have been treated with legally prescribed medications.
Usually refers to a fracture of the cannon bone, located between the knee and the fetlock joint in the front leg. Also may refer to a fracture of the splint bone.
Broadly, from one mile to 1-1/8 miles.
A mutuel pool caused when a horse is so heavily played that, after deductions of state tax and commission, there is not enough money left to pay the legally prescribed minimum on each winning bet. The racing association usually makes up the difference.
A rider who excels in rich races.
Type of riding with short stirrups popularized by old-time riding great Tod Sloan.
A male horse of any age that has only one testicle in his scrotum-the other testicle was either removed or is undescended. See cryptorchid; ridgling.
Horse that performs well in morning workouts but fails to reproduce that form in races.
Probable odds on each horse in a race, as determined by a mathematical formula used by the track handicapper, who tries to gauge both the ability of the horse and the likely final odds as determined by the bettors.
A condition of a racetrack which is wet but has no standing water.
Horse that races well on muddy tracks. Also known as a "mudlark."
Consisting of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints of the head, vertebral column and limbs, together with the associated muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. See "Musculoskeletal System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
Short for "parimutuel pool." Sum of the wagers on a race or event, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool, etc.
1) Nose and lips of a horse. 2) A guard placed over a horse's mouth to prevent it from biting or eating.
name (of a Thoroughbred)
Names of North American Thoroughbreds are registered by The Jockey Club. They can be no longer than 18 characters, including punctuation and spaces. The words "the," "and," "by," "for," "in" and "a" are almost always lower case unless they are the first word in the name. Examples "Love You by Heart," "Go for Wand" and "Strike the Gold."
A long tube that is capable of reaching from the nose to the stomach.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)
Non-profit, membership organization created in 1997 to improve economic conditions and public interest in Thoroughbred racing.
A small, flat bone within the confines of the hoof that helps-along with the short pastern bone and the coffin bone-to make up the coffin joint.
A degenerative disease that affects the navicular bone (small bone in the back of the foot), navicular bursa and deep flexor tendon. Generally considered a disease of the front feet. Both front feet are often affected, but one will usually be more noticeable than the other.
Left side of a horse. Side on which a horse is mounted.
Unit of measurement. About the length of a horse's neck; a little less than a quarter of a length.
Brand name for a plastic mesh which is mixed into the soil of a turf course. The grass roots grow around and through the mesh, helping to prevent divoting, especially in wet weather.
A surgical procedure in which the nerve supply to the navicular area is removed. The toe and remainder of the foot have feeling. Also referred to as "posterior digital neurectomy" or "heel nerve." Also known as "nerving."
Lowering of head. To win by a nod, a horse extends its head with its nose touching the finish line ahead of a close competitor.
Nom de Course
Name adopted by an owner or group of owners for racing purposes.
One who owns a horse at the time it is named to compete in a stakes race.
Smallest advantage a horse can win by. Called a short head in Britain.
A leather strap that goes over the bridge of a horse's nose to help secure the bridle. A "figure eight" nose band goes over the bridge of the nose and under the rings of the bit to help keep the horse's mouth closed. This keeps the tongue from sliding up over the bit and is used on horses that do not like having a tongue tie used.
A stakes event for three-year-old fillies (females).
Claim of foul lodged by rider, patrol judge or other official after the running of a race. If lodged by official, it is called an inquiry.
Fracture at an angle.
A cartilaginous or bony lesion that is the result of a failure in development.
Odds of less than even money.
1) Notice displayed when a race result is confirmed. 2) Used to denote a racing official.
Right side of horse.
Wagering at legalized betting outlets usually run by the tracks, management companies specializing in parimutuel wagering, or, in New York State, by independent corporations chartered by the state. Wagers at OTB sites are usually commingled with on-track betting pools.
Administration of mineral oil via nasogastric tube to relieve gas or pass blockage. Preventative procedure commonly used in long van rides to prevent impaction with subsequent colics. See colic.
on the bit
When a horse is eager to run. Also known as "in the bridle."
on the board
Finishing among the first three.
on the muscle
Denotes a fit horse.
on the nose
Betting a horse to win only.
See compound fracture.
A condition of young horses in which the physis of the knee has not closed; an immature knee. Often used to describe the status of the physis immediately above the knee and is an indicator of long bone growth in two-year-olds.
A permanent form of arthritis with progressive loss of the articular cartilage in a joint. See degenerative joint disease.
Abbreviation for off-track betting.
out of the money
A horse that finishes worse than third.
over at the knee
A leg that looks like it has a forward arc with its center at the knee when viewed from the side.
A strap that holds the bit in place.
An elastic band that goes completely around a horse, over the saddle, to keep the saddle from slipping.
Toe of hind shoe striking the forefoot or foreleg.
Racing wide throughout, outside of other horses.
A horse going off at higher odds than it appears to warrant based on its past performances.
A sheet published by the racing secretary's office listing the entries for an upcoming racing card.
A race in which entries close a specific number of hours before running (such as 48 hours), as opposed to a stakes race for which nominations close weeks and sometimes months in advance.
Surplus weight carried by a horse when the rider cannot make the required weight.
Third phalanx. See coffin bone.
The horse that is running in front (on the lead).
Area where horses are saddled and paraded before being taken onto the track.
Official in charge of paddock and saddling routine.
Counter-irritant used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg. A mild form of blistering.
Back of the front limb from the knee down.
A slang term for a furlong.
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 "parimutuels."
A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on each succeeding race.
A horse with an extreme overbite.
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.
Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations. See
A lightning fast racing surface.
A horse's racing record, earnings, bloodlines and other data, presented in composite form.
Denotes the area between the fetlock joint and the hoof. The joint between the long and short pastern bones is called the "pastern joint." Can also be used to describe the area of the limb or to describe a specific bone long pastern bone. Technically known as the P1 (long) and P2 (short).
Official(s) who observe the progress of a race from various vantage points around the track.
See group race.
See coffin bone.
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."
A result so close it is necessary to use the finish-line camera to determine the order of finish.
Plural physes. The "growth plate" at the end of the long bones (such as the cannon bone) that lets the bone grow in length.
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.
Small numbered ball used in a blind draw to decide post positions.
A horse forced back due to racing in close quarters.
Thermocautery used to increase blood flow to the leg to promote healing.
A person who buys a racehorse with the specific intention of re-selling it at a profit.
Exercise at a brisk speed.
Second position at finish.
Wager on a horse to finish first or second.
Official who posts the order of finish in a race.
Pertaining to the sole of the foot or back of the hind limb from the hock down.
The large ligament that is below and behind the hock joint.
1) A prize for a winner. Usually less valuable than a cup. 2) Generic term for lightweight (usually) aluminum horseshoes used during a race.
1) Claiming horse. 2) A farrier.
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 its running position is noted on a chart. The locations vary with the distance of the race.
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.
The top of the head, between the ears.
Any horse or pony that leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate. Also, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate. Also can be used as a verb He was ponied to the gate. Also known as a "lead [LEED] pony."
See mutuel pool.
popped a splint
1) Starting point for a race. 2) An abbreviated version of post position. For example, "He drew post four." 3) As a verb, to record a win. For example, "He's posted 10 wins in 14 starts."
Situated behind or toward the rear.
Horses going from paddock to starting gate past the stands.
Position of stall in starting gate from which a horse starts.
Designated time for a race to start.
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.
A workout (or race) used to prepare a horse for a future engagement.
When a horse suddenly stops moving by digging its front feet into the ground.
Toward the body, i.e., the proximal cannon region is the upper portion of the cannon bone.
One whose services are not exclusively engaged by a single stable and who accepts horses from a number of owners.
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.
To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout.
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.
1) A U.S. Department of Agriculture structure used to isolate foreign horses for a short period of time to ensure they are not carrying any diseases. The structure may be at a racetrack, airport or specially designated facility. Horses must be cleared by a federal veterinarian before being released from quarantine. 2) Any facility used to keep infected horses away from the general equine population.
A crack between the toe and heel, usually extending into the coronary band.
Wager in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order.
A speed horse running as an entry with another, usually come-from-behind horse. The rabbit is expected to set a fast pace to help the chances of its stablemate.
Official who drafts conditions of races and assigns weights for handicap events.
The picture or image on film generated by x-rays.
The barrier on either side of the racing strip. Sometimes referred to as the "fence."
Horse that prefers to run next to the inside rail.
A horse that refuses to settle under a jockey's handling in a race, running in a headstrong manner without respect to pace.
Used in the expression, "He likes to hear his feet rattle," a horse that likes a firm turf course.
Structure used by horses shipping in for a race who do not have a stall at that racetrack.
1) Old-time method of declaring a race official, by posting a red flag or board on the tote board. 2) A mildly derogatory phrase used to describe someone who claims to have selected the winner, but always after the race.
The reason that the horse was scratched out of the race was that he was either a) entered in another race on that day, either at the same track or another track and opted to race in the other race OR b) was scratched out of this race to run in another race in the next few days.
1) When a horse will not break from the gate. 2) In jumping races, balking at a jump.
Long straps, usually made of leather, that are connected to the bit and used by the jockey to control the horse.
A minimum price, set by the consignor, for a horse in a public auction. For example, "The horse did not reach its reserve."
1) Held for a particular engagement or race. 2) Held off the pace.
Organ system responsible for gas exchange from nostrils to lungs.
A horse that finishes a race under mild urging, not as severe as driving.
Using short stirrups.
A term describing either a cryptorchid or monorchid. Also spelled "ridgeling."
Osteoarthritis of joints between the pastern bones ("high ring bone") or just above the coronet ("low ring bone").
"Reserve not achieved." See reserve.
A horse color where the majority of the coat of the horse is a mixture of red and white hairs or brown and white hairs. The mane, tail and legs may be black, chestnut or roan unless white markings are present. Starting with foals of 1993, the color classifications gray and roan were combined as "roan or gray." See gray.
roaring (laryngeal hemiplegia)
A whistling sound made by a horse during inhalation while exercising. It is caused by a partial or total paralysis of the nerves controlling the muscles which elevate the arytenoid cartilages which thereby open the larynx. In severe cases, a surgical procedure known as "tie-back surgery" (laryngoplasty) is performed, in which a suture is inserted through the cartilage to hold it out of the airway permanently. Paralysis almost exclusively occurs on the left side, most frequently in horses over 16 hands high.
Broadly, a race distance of longer than 1-1/8 miles.
Horse that performs well at longer distances.
Abrasions of the heel.
A special type of bit to prevent a horse from bearing out (or in).
A Thoroughbred racing saddle is the lightest saddle used, weighing less than two pounds.
A cotton cloth which goes under the saddle to absorb sweat. It usually has the horse's program number and sometimes, in major races, its name.
A piece of felt, sheepskin, or more usually, foam rubber, used as a base for the saddle.
See heel crack.
Stress fracture of the front of the cannon bone that can be straight or curved.
When a horse bites another horse or a person.
scale of weights
Fixed weights to be carried by horses according to their age, sex, race distance and time of year.
Process of familiarizing a horse with the starting gate and teaching it racing practices. A horse may also be schooled in the paddock. In steeplechasing, more particularly to teach a horse to jump.
List of horses eligible to school at the starting gate before being permitted to race.
A technique where radio-labeled technetium is injected intravenously into a horse. A gamma camera is used to record uptake of the nucleotide in the tissues. It is particularly useful diagnostically to localize an area of inflammation in the musculoskeletal system. The most common radioisotope used to image bones is technetium-99m.
To be taken out of a race before it starts. Trainers usually scratch horses due to adverse track conditions or a horse's adverse health. A veterinarian can scratch a horse at any time.
A procedure in which steel-alloy screws are surgically inserted to hold together a fractured bone.
A secondary mount of a jockey in a race in the event his primary mount is scratched.
Grandmother of a horse. Also known as a "granddam."
See claiming race.
The area of the hoof that contains nerves and vessels.
Two small bones (medial and lateral sesamoids) located above and at the back of the fetlock joint. Four common fractures of the sesamoids are apical (along the top of the bone), abaxial (the side of the sesamoid away from the ankle joint), mid-body (sesamoid broken in half) and basilar (through the bottom) fractures. See "Fractures" subsection of "Musculoskeletal System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
Fracture of the sesamoid bone. Fractures can be small chips or involve the entire bone. Surgical repair is often done by arthroscopy.
Inflammation of the sesamoid bones.
A group of horses being exercised together.
1) A suspension. For example, "The jockey was set down five days for careless riding." 2) When a jockey assumes a lower crouch in the saddle while urging the horse to pick up speed. For example, "The horse was set down for the drive to the wire."
Female horses (fillies and mares), according to their age and the time of year, are allowed to carry three to five pounds less when meeting males.
A (usually sheepskin) roll that is secured over the bridge of a horse's nose to keep it from seeing shadows on the track and shying away from or jumping them.
Rope or strap attached to a halter or bridle by which a horse is led.
Stable area. A row of barns.
A handicapping tool assigning a numerical value to each race run by a horse to enable different horses running at different racetracks to be objectively compared.
See capped elbow.
A horse in need of more work or racing to reach winning form.
Area located at the base of the neck, formed by the scapula and the humerus. The angle of the shoulder usually is the same as that of the foreleg pastern. The more "laid back" the shoulder is, the further out the forelegs can reach, producing an even, rhythmic motion. The heavily muscled shoulder area is one of two regions on the horse's body (the other being the hindquarters) that a jockey is permitted to touch with a whip.
Third position at the finish.
Wager on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.
Unable to improve position due to being surrounded by other horses.
Jacket and cap worn by riders to designate owner of the horse, or at some smaller tracks, to designate post positions (e.g., yellow for post position one, blue for two, etc.).
(a) Silky Sullivan
A horse that makes a big run from far back. Named for the horse Silky Sullivan, who once made up 41 lengths to win a race.
A fracture along a single line which does not penetrate the skin.
A simultaneous live television transmission of a race to other tracks, off-track betting offices or other outlets for the purpose of wagering.
1) The male parent. 2) To beget foals.
A fracture in a bone in a joint that extends from one articular surface to another. Most often seen in the third carpal bone of the knee.
A breeding term meaning spontaneous abortion.
A racing strip that is saturated with water; with standing water visible.
A racing strip that is wet on both the surface and base.]
Small patch of white hairs on the nose or lips of a horse.
Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the ankles.
Condition of a turf course with a large amount of moisture. Horses sink very deeply into it.
Three-year-old horses. Called sophomores because age three is the second year of racing eligibility.
See bog and bone spavin.
A handicapping tool used to assign a numerical value to a horse's performance. See Beyer number.
Injury to the inside of the knee or hock caused by a strike from another foot.
Fracture that spirals around bone.
A generic term describing a barn where horses are brought for post-race testing. Tests may include saliva, urine and/or blood.
spit the bit
A term referring to a tired horse that begins to run less aggressively, backing off on the "pull" a rider normally feels on the reins from an eager horse. Also used as a generic term for an exhausted horse.
1) Either of the two small bones that lie along the sides of the cannon bone. 2) The condition where calcification occurs on the splint bone causing a bump. This can result from response to a fracture or other irritation to the splint bone. A common injury is a "popped splint," see periostitis
Short race, less than one mile.
A race for which the owner usually must pay a fee to run a horse. The fees can be for nominating, maintaining eligibility, entering and starting, to which the track adds more money to make up the total purse. Some stakes races are by invitation and require no payment or fee.
Finished second or third in a stakes race.
A horse whose level of competition includes mostly stakes races.
A male horse used for breeding.
The right to breed one mare to a particular stallion during one breeding season.
A lifetime breeding right to a stallion; one mare per season per share.
Horse that moves about its stall constantly and frets rather than rests.
1) Any of a number of white markings on the forehead. (The forehead is defined as being above an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.) 2) A type of credit a horse receives from the racing secretary if it is excluded from an over-filled race, giving it priority in entering future races.
1) An official responsible for ensuring a fair start to the race, the starter supervises the loading of horses into the starting gate through a gate crew. He/she also has control of the opening the gate. 2) A horse that is in the starting gate when the race begins, whether he runs or not.
An allowance or handicap race restricted to horses that have started for a specific claiming price or less.
Partitioned mechanical device having stalls in which the horses are confined until the starter releases the stalls' confined front doors to begin the race.
A horse bred in a particular state and thus eligible to compete in races restricted to state-breds.
A horse that can race long distances.
A horse being taken in hand by its rider, usually because of being in close quarters.
A race in which horses are required to jump over a series of obstacles on the course. Also known as a "chase."
A horse moving up in class to meet better competition.
Officials of the race meeting responsible for enforcing the rules of racing.
A jockey's whip.
The large joint above the hock which is made up by the femur, the patella and the tibia.
Metal "D"-shaped rings into which a jockey places his/her feet. They can be raised or lowered depending on the jockey's preference. Also known as "irons."
Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock.
A fracture produced by the stress created by a repetitive loading cycle on the bone, commonly found in athletic training. Usually seen in the front of the cannon bone as a severe form of bucked shins. Also seen in the tibia and causes a hard-to-diagnose hind limb lameness.
Final straight portion of the racetrack to the finish.
Position of horses at the eighth pole.
Horse that runs its fastest nearing the finish of a race.
Bend of track into the final straightaway.
Manner of going. Also, distance covered between successive imprints of the same hoof.
A white marking running down a horse's face, starting under an imaginary line connecting the tops of the eyes.
1) Male horse used for breeding. 2) A breeding farm.
Registry and genealogical record of Thoroughbreds, maintained by the Jockey Club of the country in question. Use lower case when describing a generic stud book, all words, including "The," are capitalized when describing "The American Stud Book."
Fee paid by owner to nominate a horse for a stakes race or to maintain eligibility for a stakes race.
Alternate race used to replace a regularly scheduled race that does not fill or is canceled.
A foal in its first year of life, while it is still nursing.
When a horse refuses to extend itself.
superficial flexor tendon
Present in all four legs, but injuries most commonly affect the front legs. Located on the back (posterior) of the front leg between the knee and the foot and between the hock and the foot on the rear leg. The function is to flex the digit (pastern) and knee (carpus) and to extend the elbow on the front leg and extend the hock on the rear leg. Functions in tandem with the deep flexor tendon.
superior check ligament
Fibrous band of tissue that originates above the knee and attaches to the superficial flexor tendon. Primary function is support of this tendon. Accessory ligament of the superficial flexor tendon.
Originates at the back of the knee (front leg) and the back of the top part of the cannon bone (hind leg), attaching to the sesamoid bones. The lower portion of the ligament attaches the lower part of the sesamoid bones to the pastern bones. Its function is to support the fetlock. The lower ligaments that attaches the sesamoid bone to the pastern bones are the distal sesamoidean ligaments.
Horse with a prominent concave shape of the backbone, usually just behind the withers (saddle area). Scoliosis.
synchronous diaphragmatic flutter
A contraction of the diaphragm in synchrony with the heart beat after strenuous exercise. Affected horses have a noticeable twitch or spasm in the flank area which may cause an audible sound, hence the term "thumps." Most commonly seen in electrolyte-depleted/exhausted horses. The condition resolves spontaneously with rest.
Lubricating fluid contained within a joint, tendon sheath or bursa.
A movable joint that consists of articulating bone ends covered by articular cartilage held together with a joint capsule and ligaments and containing synovial fluid in the joint cavity
The inner lining of a tendon sheath that produces synovial fluid. Allows ease of motion for the tendons as they cross joints.
Inflammation of a synovial structure, typically a synovial sheath.
1) Rider's racing equipment. Also applied to stable gear. 2) As a verb, a jockey, including his/her equipment, as in "He tacks 112 pounds."
Trade name for the drug cimetidine, a medication used to treat ulcers.
Commission deducted from mutuel pools which is shared by the track, horsemen (in the form of purses) and local and state governing bodies in the form of tax.
A horse pulled up sharply by its rider because of being in close quarters.
A permanent, indelible mark on the inside of the upper lip used to identify the horse.
A male horse used at breeding farms to determine whether a mare is ready to receive a stallion.
Special facility for showing simulcast races.
Cords of strong, white (collagen) elastic fibers that connect a muscle to a bone or other structure and transmit the forces generated by muscular contraction to the bones.
Diagnostic technique utilizing instrumentation that measures temperature differences. Records the surface temperature of a horse. Unusually hot or cold areas may be indicative of some underlying pathology (deviation from the normal).
See coffin bone.
A Thoroughbred is a horse whose parentage traces back to any of the three "founding sires" the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb, and who has satisfied the rules and requirements of The Jockey Club and is registered in "The American Stud Book" or in a foreign stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee. Any other horse, no matter what its parentage, is not considered a Thoroughbred for racing and/or breeding purposes.
Thoroughbred Racing Associations (TRA)
An industry group comprised of many of the racetracks in North America.
Swelling of the synovial sheath of the deep flexor tendon above the hock.
See synchronous diaphragmatic flutter.
A procedure (laryngoplasty) used to suture the arytenoid cartilage out of the airway. See roaring.
Ready to race.
1) A race used to give a horse a level of fitness that cannot be obtained through morning exercises alone. 2) A leg brace.
Jumper or steeplechase horse. More properly horses jumping over timber fences
A crack near the front of the hoof.
A conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces in and looks pigeon-toed, often causing the leg to swing outward during locomotion ("paddling").
A conformation flaw in which the front of the foot faces out, often causing the leg to swing inward during locomotion ("winging").
Strip of cloth-type material used to stabilize a horse's tongue to prevent it from "choking down" in a race or workout or to keep the tongue from sliding up over the bit, rendering the horse uncontrollable. Also known as a "tongue strap."
1) A Thoroughbred's breeding on its sire's side. 2) The visual line presented by the horse's back.
See high weight.
A twist in the intestine.
An automated parimutuel system that dispenses and records betting tickets, calculates and displays odds and payoffs and provides the mechanism for cashing winning tickets. Often shortened to "tote."
The (usually) electronic totalizator display in the infield which reflects up-to-the-minute odds. It may also show the amounts wagered in each mutuel pool as well as information such as jockey and equipment changes, etc. Also known as the "board."
Person who professes to have, and sells, advance information on a race. Also used as a verb meaning to sell or advertise. For example, "He's touting the four horse."
A poisoning sometimes due the absorption of bacterial products (endotoxins) formed at a local source of infection.
A racing surface that favors a particular running style or position. For example, a track bias can favor either front-runners or closers or horses running on the inside or outside.
Condition of the racetrack surface. See fast; good; muddy; sloppy; frozen; hard; firm; soft; yielding; heavy.
Used to describe a fit horse losing its competitive edge.
See entrapped epiglottis.
In Thoroughbred racing, a preparatory race created in tandem with a subsequent, more important stakes race to be run a few days or weeks hence The Derby Trial.
A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order. Called a "triactor" in Canada and a "triple" in some parts of the U.S.
A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon. The total number of combinations can be calculated according to the formula x3-3x2+2x, where x equals the amount of horses in the box. The sum of the formula is then multiplied by the amount wagered on each combination.
An individual horse's race, with specific reference to the difficulty (or lack of difficulty) the horse had during competition, e.g., whether the horse was repeatedly blocked or had an unobstructed run.
Used generically to denote a series of three important races, but is always capitalized when referring to historical races for three-year-olds. In the United States, the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. In England the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St. Leger Stakes. In Canada, the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes and Breeders' Stakes.
Inserting a nasogastric tube through a horse's nostril into its stomach for the purpose of providing oral medication.
Rear shoe that is turned down 3/4-inch to one inch at the ends to provide better traction on an off-track. Illegal in many jurisdictions.
A restraining device usually consisting of a stick with a loop of rope or chain at one end, which is placed around a horse's upper lip and twisted, releasing endorphins that relax a horse and curb its fractiousness while it is being handled.
tying up (acute rhabdomyolysis)
A form of muscle cramps that ranges in severity from mild stiffness to a life-threatening disease. A generalized condition of muscle fiber breakdown usually associated with exercise. The cause of the muscle fiber breakdown is uncertain. Signs include sweating, reluctance to move, stiffness and general distress. See "Muscular Injuries" subsection of "Musculoskeletal System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
1) Diagnostic ultrasound: a technique that uses ultrasonic waves to image internal structures. 2) Therapeutic ultrasound: a therapy to create heat and stimulate healing.
A horse racing at shorter odds than seems warranted by its past performances.
Horse under stout restraint in a race or workout to keep it from pulling away from the competition by too large a margin.
1) Not raced or tested for speed. 2) A stallion that has not been bred.
Gradually withdrawing a horse from intensive training.
A person employed by a racing association to clean and care for a jockey's tack and other riding equipment.
VEE (Venezuelan Equine Encephalomyelitis)
A highly contagious disease affecting the central nervous system that can cause illness or death in horses and humans.
Down; toward the belly.
Commission The commission (or board) veterinarian, sometimes referred to as the state veterinarian, is usually appointed by the state racing commission. This person serves as professional adviser and consultant to the State Racing Commission on veterinary matters including all regulatory aspects of the application and practice of veterinary medicine at the track. Association Sometimes referred to as the track veterinarian, this person is employed by the racing association and serves as a professional adviser and consultant to the racing association and its operational staff at the track. Practicing Private practitioner employed by owners and trainers on an individual case or contract basis.
Veterinary Medical Doctor.
The membranes attached to the arytenoid cartilages in the larynx. Vibration produces vocalization.
A race in which only one horse competes.
A horse that becomes so nervous that it sweats profusely. Also known as "washy" or "lathered (up)."
A foal that is less than one-year-old that has been separated from its dam.
weigh in (out)
The certification, by the clerk of scales, of a rider's weight before (after) a race. A jockey weighs in fully dressed with all equipment except for his/her helmet, whip and (in many jurisdictions) flak jacket.
An allowance condition in which each entrant is assigned a weight according to its age. Females usually receive a sex allowance as well. (Compare with a handicap race.)
Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key. See part wheel.
A horse color, extremely rare, in which all the hairs are white. The horse's eyes are brown, not pink, as would be the case for an albino.
When looking at the sole of the foot, the thin area between the insensitive outer hoof wall (insensitive laminae) and the inner sensitive laminae.
The finish line of a race.
Area above the shoulder, where the neck meets the back.
Neurological disease clinically associated with general incoordination and muscle weakness. Can be caused by an injury to the spinal cord in the area of the cervical (neck) …
A costly type of x-ray procedure using specially sensitized screens that give higher resolution on the edges of bone and better visualisation of soft tissue structures.
A horse in its second calendar year of life, beginning January 1st of the year following its birth.
Condition of a turf course with a great deal of moisture. Horses sink into it noticeably.
Trade name for the drug ranitidine, a medication used to treat ulcers.