Track Terminology

This is DRB‘s final installment of the colorful language heard, and used at tracks here and around the world.  Speaking of which, I was visiting London not long ago and saw what amounted to a betting parlor of some sort.  Akin to Off Track Betting offices here in the states.  I walked in looked around and saw mostly men watching and shouting at multiple television monitors showing various races from around the UK.  I didn’t wager, and walked back out to join my group.  A buddy of mine asked me how it was, and what I saw.  I told him I didn’t know anyone in there, but recognized them all.

Picking up where we left off;

Racecard:  It is not a picture of a horse, and a piece of stale bubblegum, rather it is a full day’s races at one track.

Ridden Out:  Mild encouragement by the rider  in the stretch run.

Route Race:  Race at a distance of a mile or longer.

Saddle Cloth:  Cloth under the saddle on which a horses program number, and sometimes name is displayed.

Scratch:  The withdrawal of a horse after the entries are announced but before racetime.

Show:  Finishing third in a race.

Sire:  The father of a horse.

Soft:  Condition of the turf course that usually indicates the worst type of footing.  Track conditions are always listed on the infield tote board.

Sprint:  Any race at a distance of less than a mile.  For instance 6 furlongs.

Starting Gate:  Mechanical device having stalls for horses in which they are confined until the starter releases the doors in front to begin the race.

Stewards:  The top track officials, responsible for enforcing the rules.

Stretch Call:  The position of the horses at the eighth pole, when one furlong remains in the race.

Tout:  One who gives tips on racehorses, usually with the expectation of some personal reward in return for a successful suggestion.

Tote Board:  A computerized display with odds, time, payouts, and other race details.  (such as track conditions)

Turf:  The grass oval portion of the track.  The most common racing surface in most of the world, excluding North America, where dirt is more popular.

Wire:  The finish line. It’s an imaginary line running between poles across the track.

Yielding:  Another listed condition of the turf course, which is between firm and soft.

DRB  hopes you enjoyed our rudimentary glossary of racing lingo.  It was just a basic list of some key things which can help you better understand the thoroughbred world around you.  Should you have any questions in regard to anything we cover here, feel free to reach out in the comments section.  Starting on July 20th DRB will focus strictly on racing at Saratoga, and perhaps a bit on Delmar race track in California.  So check back with us early and often.

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