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Horse Racing Terms

Horse Racing Terms and DefinitionsThe horse racing industry of Australia contains hundreds of racetracks, including Thoroughbred racing and harness racing. This article also contains a few terms involving greyhound racing, so punters can know all the parimutuel wagering terminology needed.

Added Weight – A horse carrying extra weight, to compensate in different jockey weights.

Age of Horse – Age of horse on August 1st each year.

Also Ran – A horse which did not place in the money.

Auto Start – A device on start gates which allows the starter to concentrate on position.

Backed off the Map – A runner which is backed heavily in the betting.

Bagman – A bookmaker who settles up on bets after the race.

Bailed Up – A horse racing on the inside, which cannot get a lane for clear running.

Barriers – The starting gates.

Birdcage – The part of the racecourse where horses are paraded before the race begins.

Blinkers – A hood placed over the bridle which holds cups which restrict a horses vision, so as not to get spooked.

Bookmaker – A person licensed to accept bets on or off the course.

Broken Down – When a horse becomes lame or has an injury.

Checked – A horse which is interfered with.

Connections – The horse’s owners, jockey, training staff, or other representatives.

Cross the Tasman – To cross the sea to compete in New Zealand. This is common, because rules are the same in both countries.

Daily Double – Selecting a winning in two races. A type of bet.

Dam – Mother of a foal.

Dead Track – A race surface which is too soft.

Dead Heat – Two horses finished in a tie with one another.

Death Seat – A horse who starts outside the leader. So-named because Australian race leaders don’t have to hand up the lead to challenges, as in North America.

Dweit – When a horse breaks from the gate late.

Exotics – Multiple bets, included the Exact, Trifecta, Quinella, First Four & Quaddle. (See our frequently asked questions page about horse racing for more about this.)

Facing the Breeze – Synonymous with the “death seat”.

False Favourite – A horse which is the betting favourite, when another horse should be.

Field – All the horses in the race.

First Four – Selecting the top 4 horses in the correct order. A type of bet.

Flat Racing – Thoroughbred horse racing run at a predetermined distance over a level track.

Foal – A horse under one year old.

Greyhound Racing – A racetrack which allows dog racing, specifically the greyhound breed.

Harness Racing – Racing horses at a trot, with a human passenger being pulled on a two-wheeled cart behind the horse.

Head – The margin between runners.

Hoop – The jockey.

Hot Blooded – Breeds of horses of the “oriental” stock, such as the Thoroughbred, the Barb, the Arabian horse, and the Akhal-Teke. Slim, thin-skinned, and long-legged, these horses are bred for speed and agility.

In Foal – A pregnant mare.

In the Money – A horse when finished the race winning prize money.

Jockey Club – Another name for a racecourse.

Knuckled – A horse when fell onto its knees or otherwise stumbled.

Maiden – A horse which has not won a race yet.

Maiden Race – A race for non winners.

Monkey – $500, usually in casino chip form.

Moral – A horse which is certain to win the race.

Mudlark – A runner which does well on a wet track.

National Racing Service – Is a continuous broadcast of thoroughbred, greyhound, and harness racing.

Near Side – The left side of the horse.

Pacing – One of two specific gaits. This is the speed of harness racing, the other being trotting.

Passing Lane – Name for an open land in New Zealand racing.

Photo Finish – A result which is so close that a camera at the finish line is used to determine the winner.

Plunge – A sudden rush of money for a horse.

Punter – A bettor. A person making a wager.

Off Side – The right side of the horse.

Open Lane – When horses come around the post for the final stretch, this rule requires the horse in the lead to maintain the lane it’s in, or even open a lane to the inside for other horses. This gives other competitors a better chance of winning, because they cannot be boxed in like in earlier times. Open lane racing is not found everywhere in Australia, and is a source of some controversy.

Quadrella – Selected the winner of four races on the card.

Scratched – Taken out of the race.

Stallion – A male horse used for breeding.

Standardbred – A trotter, gaiter, or pacer. A name for a harness racing equine.

Stewards – Officials who enforce the rules.

Straight Six – Selecting the winner of six consecutive races. This pays a huge amount, but is difficult to predict.

Stone Motherless – The last horse in the race.

Sulky – A two-wheeled cart pulled in harness racing.

Trotting – One of two specific gaits. This is the speed of harness racing, the other being pacing.

Trot Monte – The French term for racing under saddle.

Racecourse – A horse racing track.

Racetrack – Another name for a pari-mutual wagering track. This includes 77 tracks in New South Wales, 138 in Queensland, 38 in South Australia, 45 in Western Australia, 11 in Tasmania, 1 in the Northern Territory, 3 in the Australian Capital Territory, and 85 in Victoria. Of these, a handful are dogtracks, while the majority are either horse racing or harness racing tracks.

Score Up – When the horse’s enter the start gate.

Showground – A type of racetrack which often features harness racing. Oval tracks are common.

Sprint Lane – Name for an open lane in Australian racing.

TAB – The acronym for the totalisator agency board.

The Death – Synonymous with the “death seat”.

Thoroughbred – Horse breed known for its horse racing qualities. Known for their speed, agility, and high spirits, thoroughbreds are known as hot-blooded horses. Any purebred breed is sometimes known as thoroughbred, though this isn’t technically correct.

Totalisator Agency Board – The original name for the tote board, which runs parimutuel betting. This displays bet, calculates payoff odds, and produces tickets.

Tote Board – An alphanumeric display for conveying race information.

Trotting – Another name for harness racing.

Turf Club – A name for a racecourse.

Wager – A racetrack bet.

Warned Off – When a licensed person is forbidden from entering a racetrack.

Yearling – A young horse.

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