Racing Terminology

If you are new to wagering here are a few key

 terms to get you “out of the gate”


Win Bet – Your horse must finish first to win your bet.

Place Bet – Your horse must finish first or second to win your bet. 

Show Bet – Your horse must finish first, second, or third to win your bet.

Across The Board – You’re wagering to win, place, and show.  If your horse wins you collect on the Win, Place, and Show payout.  If your horse comes in second, you collect on the Place and Show payout.  If your horse comes in third, you collect only the Show payout.

Exacta Bet – Your horses must finish first and second in the exact order to win your bet.

Trifecta – You horses must finish first, second, and third in that exact order to win your bet.

Box – If you have two or more horses that you think will finish in the top spots, but you’re not sure of the order, you can box them.

Front Runner – Is a horse who uses his speed early to run in the lead.

Near the front runner – A horse who typically likes to be positioned near the front runner so that if the front runner tires he has an easier path to victory.

Middle of the pack – A horse who typically runs somewhere near the middle of the field for the fist part of that race and tries to make a run to the lead in the second half of the race.

Comes from behind – A horse who typically reserves his energy through the early and middle stages of a race and tries to use a late burst of speed to run past the tiring horses in front.

Versatile – A horse who has shown the ability to succeed while using different running styles in different races.

Undertermined – A horse who hasn’t established a successful running style in his previous races.

Closer - A horse that runs best in the latter part of the race.

Boxed (in) - Being trapped between, behind or inside of the other horses during a race.

Colt - A male horse under 5 years of age.

Filly - A female horse under 5 years of age.

Mare - A female horse 5 years or older.

Horse - An adult male horse that has not been castrated.

Stallion - Male horse used for breeding.

Gelding - A castrated male horse.

Foal - A horse under 1 year old, regardless of sex.

Graded Race - Established in 1973 to classify select stakes races in North America; graded races are always denoted with Roman numerals I, II, or III; grade is capitalized when used in a race title - The Grade I Kentucky Derby.

Thoroughbred - A horse whose parentage traces back to any of the three foundation sires for the breed: the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb.  They must also satisfy the rules and requirements of The Jockey Club and be registered in the American Stud Book or in a foreign stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee.

Triple Crown - Used generically to denote a series of three important races.  In the US, Triple Crown is used to denote the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes; in England, it is used for the 2,000 Guineas, Epsom Derby and St. Leger Stakes; and in Canada, it is used with the Queen's Plate, Prince of Wales Stakes and Breeders Stakes.