Betting terms

Blinders / Blinkers


Blinders, also known as blinkers, are a piece of horse tack that prevent the horse seeing to the rear and, in some cases, to the side.


Bounce A poor performance by a horse following an exceptionally good performance
Chalk The betting favorite in a race
Entry Two or more horses representing one betting interest
Handle Total money wagered
Morning Line A prediction of the odds for each horse set by the track handicapper prior to the opening of wagering
Odds On Odds of less than even money
Parimutuel betting Parimutuel betting is a betting system in which all bets of a particular type are placed together in a pool. The “house-take” (and any taxes) are removed, before payoff odds are calculated by sharing the pool among all winning bets.
Simulcast A simultaneous live television transmission of a race to other tracks, off-track betting offices, or other betting outlets
Totalisator A totalizator calculates and displays bets during parimutuel betting.


Because of this, parimutuel betting is sometimes referred to as tote.

Horses etc

Check When the horse is pulled up briefly by its jockey to stay out of trouble.
Closer A horse that performs best during the later stage of a race.
Hand A hand is four inches.


The height of a horse is measured in hands and inches, from the ground to the withers.

Pace-setter A horse that is running in front during a race
Stalker A horse that runs just behind the leading horses
Withers The withers is the ridge between the shoulder blades of the horse. The withers are formed by the dorsal spinal processes of roughly the 3rd through 11th thoracic vertebrae.

Humans etc

Apprentice jockey A jockey who has ridden for less than a year and who receives weight allowances.


The weight allowance given to an apprentice jockey is called bug.

Silks The jockey’s jacket and cap


Officials responsible for overseeing the racing track. Stewards will, among other things, enforce rules and dispense punishments for rule infractions.
Vale The valet keeps the jockey’s silks and equipment in order.

The race

Assigned weight



The weight that a horse is required to carry during the race. The assigned weight includes the weight of the jockey, of the equipment and of supplemental weighting (if any).
Call to Post This bugle call signals the horses onto the racetrack.
Dead Heat When two horses tie for a placing in the race.
Field The horses in the race
Fraction The split time and distance of a race.


Fractions are usually clocked in ΒΌ mile intervals.

Furlong 1 furlong = 1/8 of a mile = 10 chains = 40 rods = 220 yards
Post Position A horse’s position in the starting gate
Purse Money paid to the top finishers of a race
Scratch To remove a horse from a race (at any point prior to the start of the race)
Wire The finish line of the race