A Glossary of the Terms and Phrases Used in Horse Racing

The more you know the happenings at a horse racetrack, the more fun and excitement you will get. You will actually enjoy the spectacle more if you make an effort to learn the terms and phrases being used. Like any other sport, horse racing has unique phrases and terms. In America, most people are addicted to a sport of their choice. As such, understanding the sport’s verbiage makes it more enjoyable and interesting to everybody. The following is a short list of common horse racing terms and their unique meaning.

Hot walker: This is a person who walks the horse to cool it down after races.

Outrider: This is the person who catches the horses that get loose and rides the horse that accompanies the racehorse to the post.

Steward’s enquiry: An enquiry by the stewards into the running of a race.

Mutuel clerk: Also called the teller, this is the person who takes your bets at the window.

Racing secretary: This is the official who assigns weights for handicap races and also writes the conditions of the races.

Stewards: A panel of people responsible for overseeing that the rules of the race are kept.

Agent: Refers to a jockey’s agent who lines up rides for him or her. Actually, this is a person who is authorized to act on behalf of a jockey or the horse’s owner.

Clerk of scales: This is an official who is responsible for weighing the riders before and after the races to make sure that the correct weight is carried.

Apprentice: Horse riders who have not ridden a particular number of winners within a specific time are known as apprentices.

Racing terms and phrases

Walk over: A race that has only one runner.

Run Free: A phrase used to describe a horse that has gone off too fast in the early stage of the race.

Maiden: A horse that has not yet won a race.

Green: An inexperienced horse.

A plater: A horse that usually runs in selling races.

On the bit: A horse going well within himself

Off the bit: A horse being rousted along by the jockey.

Steamer: A horse whose price shortens dramatically in the betting prices.

Photo finish: A photograph that shows the winner in a close-finish race.

Ante-post: Betting weeks, months or days before the race is due to commence.

Veterinary and health terms

Bleeder: A horse who has a ruptured blood vessel.

Break down: A horse who has suffered an injury or any form of lameness.

Bowed tendon: This is a rupture of the sheath enclosing the tendon.