Once in a while, you’ll find a racing terminology can get you stumped.
Or a betting jargon can stop you from having a fun punt.
Coat-tugger. Quinella. Trifecta. Stone Motherless Last.
Welcome to the world of horse racing and sports betting terms.
At one point, everyone has a question to ask.
But when in doubt, Glossary it.
Horse Racing Terms
– Added Weight
Added weight is when a horse carries more weight than it can handle. In a handicap race, horses will carry allocated weights to equalize their chances of winning.
To make it easier to group horses for racing every Australian horse share the same birthday on the year they were foaled. Happy Birthday to every horse on August 1!
– All Clear
The all clear is given when horses and jockey placings are made official. With objections out of the way, any winnings can now be paid out.
– Also Ran
Horses who ran in the race but won nothing. They are listed as ‘also ran’.
A Bagman is any bookmaker employee authorized to settle bets at the track.
– Back Up
A horse who races for the second time within one week is referred to ‘Back Up’ again.
– Bailed Up
A horse bailed up gets caught up racing inside other runners. Its hope of winning is to get a clear running room.
The starting gates or stalls randomly allocated to every runner.
The area where horses are shown off before entering the race track. It’s also known as the celebrity room in the Melbourne Cup because of the front-row viewing spot.
When a horse bleeds from the lungs during or after the race. First-time bleeders will be banned from racing for three months. Second-time bleeders will be banned from racing for life.
A gear placed around the horse’s eyes to limit vision of other horses on either side. This can improve a horse’s concentration.
A horse that has bolted in has won the race at long odds or by many lengths.
– Bookmakers or Bookies
A person licensed by the government to conduct betting on or off course.
– Box Seat
A good position for a runner during the race is to be one horse away from the fence and one spot away behind the leader.
When a horse gets stuck in the starting barrier
Incident during a race that results in an interference. A horse could get blocked for example.
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Describes the standard or grade of a race such as from lowest to highest: Maiden, Class 1 to Class 6, Mares, Open, Listed, Group 3, Group 2, Group 1.
Someone who will tip a horse to a punter and demands a portion of the winnings after.
The owners, trainers and jockey of a horse
– Correct Weight
A signal from the steward that the jockeys have confirmed their ‘correct weight’ after the race and there’s no protest. Placings in a race will be made official after the correct weight and it’s a sign for bookies and tote to pay out on winning tickets.
– Cricket Score Odds
When the odds of a runner to win are long, usually 100 to 1 or higher
– Dead (track rating)
The old scale for a track rating which is just on the softer side of Good.
– Dead Heat
A tie between two or more horses who reached the finish line at the same time. When this happens, the odds of a horse are divided equally so pay-out is even for all winners.
A Stakes event for 3-year-olds
Well beaten, finishing behind the winning horse from a great distance
Refers to a tardy hose that hesitated to break in from the barrier
– Dropped the Bit
A horse who dropped the bit isn’t racing at the speed the jockey wants and requires a push to continue
Eased can mean two things. First it means a horse that is pulled up prior to finishing the race (often to prevent injury or further harm). It can also refer to the odds of a horse increasing in the lead-up or before the start of a race.
Reserved runners or substitutes for horses which are scratched from a race. Emergency starters are randomly drawn to take the place of any runner that is withdrawn.
Also known as ‘firm’ when it comes to tracks. The firmest track rating but is rare in Australian tracks to prevent injury to the horses.
– Feature Race
The most popular and highest rated race of the day due to the category, prize money and ratings of the horses involved
The horses competing in the race.
– First Up
A runner resuming from a 3-month break from racing or more.
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– First Starter
A horse making its race debut
– Flat Race
A race that is competed on level ground, not a hurdle race or steeplechase.
A “freshened” runner took a 28-day break or no less than three months.
– Front Runner
The horse who takes the lead and settles out in the front of a race
Furlong is the traditional measure of distance. A furlong is equivalent to approximately 200 meters (or one eight of a mile, which is 220 yards or 660 feet). Hence, a 1200m race is 6 furlongs and at Flemington is referred to as the straight 6.
– Good Track
The ideal racing surface, not too firm and not too soft. A good track happens when the weather is perfect.
– Grew Another Leg
The horse that grew another leg suddenly improved during the race.
– Group Races
The best horse races in the country with Group 1 (the highest), Group 2, Group 3 and Listed (Group 4) arranged in order of importance as determined by the Australian racing board.
A class of race like the Melbourne Cup for which the official handicapper assigns the weight each horse has to carry to equalize the field’s winning chance.
A close margin between horses, a lead roughly by the length of a horse’s head.
– Heavy Track
The worst possible track rating due to the rain affecting the condition of the track.
Another informal name for a jockey.
In horse racing, the term means the specified weight each horse has to carry
– In the Money
A horse in the money finished in a paying position
– Jumped out of the ground
A horse jumped out of the ground comes from nowhere to lead at the end of the race
– Jumped out of trees
If you’re a punter, don’t jump out of trees and rush to bet on a horse
– Just about square
Punters who almost won back what they lost in a bet earlier but won just about square
– Knocked Up
A horse is knocked up when it gets tired of running and stops racing altogether often in the final stretch
When a horse fell on its knees or stumbles forward, it is said to have knuckled in a race.
– Late Mail
On the day of the race meeting, last minute inside information may result in late scratchings or jockey changes. These tips that don’t really come in an envelope are known as ‘late mail’.
– Late Scratching
A runner that is withdrawn from the race after 8am on race day. If a Late Scratching happens, the betting odds are adjusted and so is the dividend.
In horse racing, length is a unit of measurement to describe the winning or losing distance. One length is from nose to tail or approximately 3 meters.
– Long Shot
A horse paying at long odds because it’s unlikely to win.
When a runner races erratically or hang out to one side, it’s lugging in. A lugging bit can help correct a horse’s course.
– Maiden Race
A race restricted for non-winner horses. It’s not advisable to bet on a maiden horse either or one that has never won any race.
– Middle Distance
Racing distance classification at approximately1400, 1600 or 2040 metre races.
A horse that is suited to run between 1400m – 1700m.
A horse guaranteed to win the race.
– Mounting Yard
The area of the racecourse where the horses are paraded and the jockeys mount and dismount on their horses.
A horse that excels on wet tracks, which is rare.
Strawberry Road was a famous Mudlark
Read More: Horse Care Tips and Tricks for Beginners
– Mug Punter
A person who is not very good or surprisingly poor at punting, which is common.
– Near side
Left side of a horse.
Tight Margin between horses, about the length of a horses’ neck.
The smallest margin between horses on the finish line, which is the length of a nose.
Also known as shadow-roll. It’s A gear attached to the bridle on the horses nose to keep the head in line with the body and prevent the horse from getting spooked by seeing shadows down.
– Off Side
Right side of horse.
– On the Bit
A horse eager to run
– Off the Bit
A horse that exerts too much effort in the beginning of the race long before the finish line
A gear placed on the head of the horse to restrict the peripheral vision. This may help calm an excitable horse down.
The additional weight the horse must carry as a result of winning too much.
– Photo Finish
A result of the race in the finish that is so close a photograph is necessary to tell the winner apart. In the above photo the result was overturned in favor of House of Stars after the judge reviewed the photo finish.
– Pig Root
A pig rooting horse bucks and tries to throw off a jockey
Another term for a horse’s shoes
An objection lodged against the winner. A jockey, owner, trainer or other connections may allege an interference that affects the outcome of a race. The protest can either be held accepted or dismissed.
– Pulled up
To stop or slow a horse during a race
A person placing a bet
In horse racing, the term ‘rails’ can mean three things. The prime position in the on-course bookmakers ring where larger bets are exchanged. The fence-like boundary of the racetrack and lastly it could mean the horse trying to find a clear racing room along the rails.
– Ridden Dead
When it looks like the jockey fails to even try winning in the race.
– Ridden Out
A horse ridden out finishes the race without the jockey having to use a whip
– Ridden Upside Down
This means a horse not ridden in the best way possible that matches the horse’s caliber. An example would be a normal front runner will end up back in the field if it’s ridden upside down.
An area on a racecourse where the bookmakers are positioned
A horse that has been illegally substituted for another acceptor in a race. The most infamous ring-in case in Australia was the Fine Cotton Affair in 1984.
A horse at long odds in the ring that has little chance of winning
– Saddle Cloth
Cloth under the saddle displaying the horses number.
A horse which has been taken out of the race before 8am on race day due to injury, illness or any reason deemed right by racing officials.
– Second Up
The run of a horse that resumes following a first spell of 90 days or more
A jockey’s jacket and cap. Silks are identifying trademarks with colors that represent either the trainer or the owner of the horse.
A track rating between Dead and Heavy. Other track ratings include fast, slow, good and dead.
A horse that has had a break from racing for 90 days or more
A horse that can endure racing in long distance races, as 2000 meters and more (Caulfield cup and Melbourne Cup). Like Makybe Diva in the video above.
Racing officials responsible for enforcing the rules of racing.
Another term for Groom. A person employed by the trainer to attend to the needs of a horse. Duties may include feeding, grooming, riding, training and leading in the mounting yard.
– Stone Motherless Last
Bart Cumming’s used to say this often which means the horse is clearly running last or the horse finished in the last position in the race.
A horse that likes to run in from behind but swoops in for the win at the end of a race.
– Taken to the cleaners
An expression of bookies and punters that means a bet that led to a huge loss
The toppy is a horse that carries the top weight and assigned No. 1 saddlecloth. As presumed to be the best horse, don’t be surprised if most punters back the toppy.
Almandin was the favorite in the Melbourne Cup 2017
– Track Conditions
The track rating given to a racing surface. E.g. Fast, Good, Dead, Slow, Heavy
– Under Double Wraps
An expression that means the horse runs well or wins easily less the jockey’s effort
Taking “unders” means taking the odds that are too low but should have been higher, hence a bad value
When a protest lodged by a jockey, trainer or owner is accepted
A popular term for bet.
– Warned Off
Any person warned off is prohibited from entering a racecourse or associate with other licensed people even at other training establishments.
– Weight For Age
A class of race, usually group races, where the horses carry the weight according to their age and sex in order for horses to compete on equal terms.
A well-held horse is one that wins easily. A jockey may choose to hold it a bit to avoid a big margin which could mean an added weight penalty on the next race.
– Write Your Own Ticket
The horse is so unlikely to win so a bookie would give you any odds you asked for.
A horse is a horse but names vary to specify their age and gender.
Colt. Male horse below the age of four
Filly. Female horse below the age of four
Stallion. Adult or four year old (or older) male horse than can breed
Mare. Adult or four year old female horse or more
Foal. Horse less than a year old that can either be a male or a female
Dam. Parent Female horse that has produced foals
Sire. Parent male horse that has produced foals
Gelding. A male horse castrated at any age
Weanling. A foal no longer nursing from from the mother
Yearling: A young horse, a 2Y0.
Untried. A horse not raced at a certain distance.
Essential Sports Betting Terms
A bet for a winning outcome.
When the odds of a previously unwanted horse before the race “increases” the bookies will also increase the price.
– Backed off the Map
A horse that’s been backed to win more bets results in a substantial decrease in its odds.
The payout or return from a winning bet. A winning $5 bet at 5.00 odds would pay a $25 dividend.
The most popular horse in betting and therefore the one who starts at the shortest odds
– In the Red
A term for odds on, less than evens or very shorts odds, shown in red on the betting boards.
– Fixed odds bet
A form of betting where the punter knows the exact odds or returns when they place a bet. Whatever happens, the odds are fixed once the bet has been placed.
The movements of the odds of (moving up or down) of a runner due to betting activity
– Get out stakes
The last event on the card and a punter’s last chance to roll the dice, hoping for a win.
When bookmakers take a risk, and increases the odds of a particular horse to entice more bets. They believe the horse cannot win.
– Midi Div
The Middle Tote which means you get the second highest paying tote from all three TABs.
The figure or amount by which a bookie offers to multiply a bet. It is based on the chances of a horse to win a race based on parim
– On The Nod
A bet where a bookmaker has agreed to take a bet on credit
– On The Nose
A bet placed on the win only.
The money a punter bets is called the ‘outlay’.
The Odds for a selection appear to be of good value that the price is well over the odds
– Parimutuels or Tote Betting
A form of wagering where all the losing bets will be pooled together and divided among winning bettors, after the house-take is removed.
A massive and sudden support for a horse
– Starting Price
A common question is what does SP mean? SP stands for the Starting Price. The Starting Price is the final fixed odds offered by a bookie as determined by the official Bookmakers Pricing Services (BPS). Available on selected events only.
– Starting Price Guaranteed (SPG)
Punters are paid out using highest of either Fixed Odds Price and the Starting Price.
– Top Fluc
The bookie’s top odds offer on a horse also known as Best fluc. Simply put, bets placed at Top Fluc are guaranteed the best odds.
– Top Tote Plus
Choosing Tote or the Best tote means you’ll get the highest odds or the best dividend out of all three Australian totes.
Frequently Asked Questions on Popular Bet Types
What is a Win and Place Bet?
The Win and Place bets are the most popular and simplest bet types in sports betting.
In a Win Bet, choose the one best horse who finishes first.
In a Place Bet, pick a horse who can make it in either the first, second or third place after the race. As long as your horse lands any of the top 3 places, you get the place dividend. Your odds of winning are better but the amount you can collect gets lowered too.
How does an Each Way bet work?
This bet type covers both the perks of Win and Place. Collect the Win dividend if your horse places first or collect the Place dividend if your horse lands on either second or third.
What are the Exotic Bet Types?
An exotic bet allows you to bet on several horses in the same race.
If you are eager to take more risks, then back more than one horse. You can bet on two, three, four or more. The only limit to any combination is your imagination.
The exotic bet types include Quinella, Exacta, Trifecta and First Four.
What is a Quinella?
In a Quinella Bet, you must choose the first two winning horses to finish first and second in any order. A Quinella bet type can either be Standard or Box Quinella.
For the Standard Quinella, pick the first two horses of the race in any order and you’re good as a winner too.
In a Box Quinella, you can choose as many horses as you want for a possible first and second place. For example you can nominate three horses to win in the first place or 4 horses to win in the second place.
Hopefully you get two horses placed right to win. The cost of this bet depends on the number of your selection.
What is the Difference between a Quinella and an Exacta Box?
Both an Exacta and Quinella allow you to choose two horses to finish first and second. The difference is with an Exacta, you must correctly the select the first two horses in exact order. This is opposed to Quinella where you win if your horses place either first or second.
What is a Trifecta?
To win a Trifecta bet type, you must correctly select the first three winning horses from the same race.
A boxed trifecta promises big returns if your selection of three horses finishes in the first three places. That’s in any order. But a straight trifecta gives you an even bigger return if you can correct their exact order of winning.
What is First Four Bet?
A first four bet is when you pick the first four horses to finish the race. As if choosing four horses isn’t complicated enough this bet type comes in four more forms:
Straight First Four. Choose the first four horses in the exact same order they finish.
Box First Four. You can choose more than four horses, but at least four of them should finish in the first four places, in any order.
Standout First Four. You should get the first placer right. Then the second, third and fourth can come in any order. For you to win this bet, both circumstances should happen.
Multiple First Four. You should get the first placer right and get the succeeding places in any order. However, with your first placer horse, you can nominate many horses to win.
Other Bet Types Explained
– Daily Doubles
A bet on the winners of two consecutive or nominated races at the same track.
A bet on the winners of three consecutive or treble races at the same track.
– Quaddies or Quadrella
A bet on the winners of four consecutive races at the same track.
– The Super 6 (Big 6)
A bet on the winners of six consecutive races at the same track.