Betting Basics: Glossary of Racing Terms

Abandoned: A race meeting may be abandoned due to poor weather conditions. All bets on races that get abandoned are refunded.
Accumulator - An accumulator bet encompasses a number of selections, all of which must win for the bet to be successful.
Across the Board: A bet used in North America that combines a win bet, a place bet and a show bet.
Added Weight: Weight carried by a horse that is over the amount required by the conditions of a race. Typically due to a jockey exceeding the weight limit.
All Age Race: A race for all horses aged two years and older.
All Out: When a horse is running at full speed.
All Weather: An artificial racing surface designed to be suitable for racing in all weather conditions.
Allowance Race: A race in which the required weights to be carried by the competing horses is determined by factors such as age, gender and previous performances.
Allowance: Reduction in the required weight to be carried in accordance with the conditions of a race.
Amateur: A jockey that does not receive fees for riding in races.
Ante-post - Bets placed in advance, predicting the outcome of a future event. In return for the chance of better odds, punters risk the fact that stakes are not returned if their selection pulls out or is cancelled.
Apprentice: A trainee jockey.
At The Post: Horses are said to be at the post when they arrive at the start.
Back - To bet on a specific horse is to back it. A heavily backed horse is one with many bets laid on it.
Backed - A 'backed' horse is one on which lots of bets have been placed.
Backed-in - A horse which is backed-in means that bettors have outlaid a lot of money on that horse, with the result being a decrease in the odds offered.
Banker - These are horse racing bets where the bettor believes their selection is (close to) certain to win.
Banker: A horse strongly favored to win a race.
Bar price - Refers to the odds of those runners in a race not quoted with a price during early betting shows. The bar price is the minimum odds for any of those selections not quoted.
Bearing In/Out: When a horse deviates from a straight course.
Bet - The amount of money laid, or bet, on a horse.
Betting Ring: The area at a racecourse where the on-course bookmakers are situated.
Bismarck - A favourite that the bookmakers do not expect to win or ‘go down’.
Bit: A piece of equipment that is fitted into a horse’s mouth and attached to the bridle. Helps a jockey to guide and control a horse.
Bleeder: A horse that often suffers from broken blood vessels when racing.
Blinkers: A garment fitted to a horse’s head to reduce vision to the side and focus it to the front.
Book closed - The race is most likely under way and, therefore, no more bets can be placed.
Book - The range of betting markets we offer for a horse race.
Bookmaker/Bookie - The person/establishment who takes punters' horse race bets and pays out winnings.
Bottle – 2/1.
Boxed In: When a horse gets trapped behind or between other horses.
Breather: Jockeys may give a horse a breather during a race, allowing it time to fill its lungs.
Breeder: An individual or organization that breeds racehorses.
Bridle: A piece of equipment that fits over a horse’s head and is used to control the horse. Holds the bit in the horse’s mouth.
Burlington Bertie - 100/30.
Canadian - Also known as a Super Yankee. A Canadian is a combination bet consisting of 26 bets with 5 selections in different events. The combination bet is made up of 10 doubles, 10 trebles, five 4-folds and one 5-fold.
Carpet – 3/1
Chalk Player: A bettor that backs mostly favorites.
Chalk: The favorite horse in a race, i.e. the one with the lowest odds.
Chaser: A horse that runs in steeplechase races.
Claiming Race: A race in which the competing horses are all for sale until just before the race.
Classic: A race of traditional significance.
Clerk Of The Course: The racecourse official that has overall responsibility for the course.
Clerk Of The Scales: The racecourse official responsible for weighing jockeys before and after a race.
Closer: A horse that runs well towards the end of a race
Colours - The racing silks of the horse owners, as worn by the jockeys
Colt: An ungelded male horse aged four years or younger.
Combination Bet: A bet that consists of multiple wagers on multiple selections combined into one.
Combination Forecasts (CFC) - Punters may bet on three or more horses in a race, of which any two must finish 1st and 2nd in any order to gain any returns. Selecting four horses effectively means placing 4x3 = 12 separate bets (or "lines") for a return if any two of the four selections finish first and second.
Combination Tricasts (CTC) - Similar principle to CFC but selections are made for first second and third in a race in any order. For five selections, the punter pays 5x4x3=60 times the stake, meaning a £2 combination tricast would cost £120 and would win 2x the odds.
Come in - Winning horse racing bets are said to have 'come in.'
Computer Straight Forecast (CSF) - The odds for a forecast bet. The product of each selection's win odds are multiplied together automatically
Conditions Race: A type of race in which horses may be allocated extra weight based on factors such as age, gender and previous performances.
Conformation: The build and physical structure of a horse.
Connections: The people connected with a horse such as the owner(s) and the trainer.
Course Specialist - A horse who tends to run well at a particular track
Daily Double: A bet used in North America where you have to back the winner in two consecutive races.
Dead Heat: When two or more horses cannot be separated at the finishing post, resulting in a tie.
Double - A two-bet accumulator: Predicting the winners of two races, of which both must win to gain any returns.
Draw: The starting position of a horse in the stalls for a flat race.
Drift - The price is said to 'drift' if the odds get longer (from 3-1 to 4-1).
Driving: Pushing a horse to its maximum limits.
Dual Forecast: See Exacta.
Each Way Bet: A win bet and a place bet combined.
Each Way - In horse racing bets, betting each way means staking the same amount of money on the selection to win, at the stated odds, and on the selection placing 1st, 2nd or 3rd. A '£1 each way' bet would cost £2. The odds obtained for the place bet are usually a fraction of the win bet odds and depend on the number of competing horses. If the horse wins, both the win odds on the win bet and the place odds on the first place are returned. If the horse finishes second, punters get only the return on the place part of the bet. Therefore a £10 each way bet on a horse at 10-1 would return 10x10 = 100 + the stake of 10 = 110 on the win bet, and 10/5=2-1 on the place, the latter being £30 (i.e. the winnings of 2x10 plus the stake of 10).
Each-way - UK term for betting on a horse to win and/or 'place'. An each-way bet is when you have the same amount on the horse for a win and for a place.
Earplugs: Equipment that is placed in a horse’s ears to prevent possible distraction from noise.
Entire Horse: An ungelded horse.
Evens - The fractional odd 1/1. A bet of £10 at evens would win £10, and your returns would be £20 (including return of initial stake)
EW or E/W - Each way, see above
Exacta: A bet on which two horses will finish in the top two positions in a race, in the correct order. Also known in some countries as dual forecast, exactor, perfecta.
Exactor: See Exacta.
Exotics: A collective term used to describe certain wagers that are more complex than straight bets.
Favourite - The most popular horse in a race from a betting perspective, which is quoted at the lowest odds because it is deemed to have the best chance of winning the race.
Field: Collective term for all the horse in a race.
Filly: A female horse aged four years or younger.
Firm: A condition of a turf course; indicates there is little to no give in the ground.
Fixed-odds betting - Odds are quoted at the time of placing the bet making clear from the outset the amount which can be won or lost. Fixed odds may be quoted as SP (starting price) which may be higher or lower than the odds offered at the time of placing the bet.
Flat Racing: Racing where there are no obstacles for the horses to negotiate.
Fold - When preceded by a number, a fold indicates the number of selections in an accumulator (e.g. 5-Fold = 5 selections).
Forecast - A bet that involves correctly predicting the 1st and 2nd for a particular event. This bet can be straight, reversed or permed.
Form - Form refers to the performances of a horse in its recent races, and in most cases form guides are available for reference.
Front Runner: A horse who tends to run races from the front, or close to it.
Full Cover Bet: A bet that combines multiple wagers on multiple selections so that you don’t need all your selections to win to get a return.
Furlong: A unit of distance equivalent to 220 yards/660 feet/one eighth of a mile.
Gelding: A male horse that has been neutered.
Going In - When horses are put into the stalls.
Going to Post - When horses are on the way to the start of a race.
Going: The going describes the condition of the surface at a race track.
Goliath - Multiple bet consisting of 247 bets (28 doubles, 56 trebles, seventy 4-folds, fifty-six 5-folds, twenty-eight x 6-folds, eight 7-folds and an 8-fold) involving 8 selections in different events.
Graded Race: A race of a certain quality. Can be Grade I, II or III with Grade I being the highest quality.
Group Race: A race of a certain quality. Can be Group 1, 2, or 3, with Group 1 being the highest quality.
Hand: A unit of measure used to describe the height of a horse. Equal to 4 inches.
Handicap Race: A race where the horses are allocated a weight to carry as decided by the official Handicappers. The goal is to level the playing field so all the horses have a theoretically equal chance of winning.
Handicap Rating: A rating assigned to a horse once it has run three times, used to determine what weight it will carry in a handicap race. The better the horse the higher the rating.
Hard: A condition of a turf course; indicates there is no give in the ground. No longer permitted in UK races
Heinz - A Heinz is a multiple bet consisting of 57 bets involving 6 selections in different events. The multiple bet breakdown is 15 doubles, 20 trebles, 15x4-folds, 6x5-folds and one 6-fold.
Hurdler: A horse that races over hurdles.
In the money / frame - Describes the horses in a race that finish 1st, 2nd and 3rd (and sometimes 4th) or the horses on which money will be paid to bettors, depending on the place terms.
Jackpot - A type of bet in which the winners of all the included races must be selected.
Jockey - The rider of the horse.
Joint-favourites - When a bookmaker cannot separate two horses for favouritism, they are made joint favourites.
Jolly - The favourite in a race.
Jump Racing: Racing where there are obstacles for the horses to negotiate, such as fences and ditches.
Juvenile: A two year old horse in flat racing, and a 3 or 4 year old in National Hunt racing.
Lay - To bet or wager.
Length: An approximate unit of measure used to describe the distance between horses. For example “he went eight lengths clear in the final straight”. Equal to the average length of a horse.
Level Weights: When all horses are carrying equal weight.
Listed Race: A race of slightly lower quality than Group Races and Graded Races.
Lock: Slang term for a sure winner.
Long-shot (also outsider) - A runner is often referred to as being a long-shot, because of the fact it is returning high odds and is therefore deemed to have little chance of winning the race.
Lucky 15: A bet that combines 15 separate wagers on 4 selections.
Lucky 31: A bet that combines 31 separate wagers on 5 selections.
Lucky 63: A bet that combines 63 separate wagers on 6 selections.
Maiden Race: A race for horses (or jockeys in some cases) that have never won a race.
Maiden: A horse or jockey that has never won a race.
Mare: A female horse aged five years or older.
Market - The betting available on any event taken as a whole.
Monkey - £500.
Multiple - See accumulator.
Mutuel pool - Short for 'parimutuel pool', also known as a tote pool. Sum of the bets on a race or event, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool, etc.
Nap - The selection nominated by Racing Correspondents and Tipsters as their major selection of the day or meeting.
National Hunt: The official term for jump racing in the UK and Ireland
Nod: The action of a horse lowering its head. Used to describe a very close finish between two horses. For example “he won on the nod”.
Non Runner: A horse that was expected to run in a race but is withdrawn for some reason.
Nose: An approximate measure to describe the distance between horses, typically used at the end of a race. For example “he just won it by a nose”. Roughly 5% of one length.
Not Under Orders - On the 'Off' of a race the flag is raised, and any runner withdrawn before the signal is deemed not to have come 'Under Starter's Orders.'
Objection: A complaint made by one jockey against another, relating to some action in a race.
Odds - The bookmakers’ view of the chance of a competitor winning (adjusted to include a profit). The figure or fraction by which a bookmaker or totalisator offers to multiply a bettor's stake, which the bettor is entitled to receive (plus his or her own stake) if their selection wins.
Odds-against - Where the odds are greater than evens (e.g. 5/2). When the bookmaker's stake is greater than the bettor's stake. For example, a horse that is quoted at 4/1 would be odds against, because if it wins a race, the bookmaker or totalisator returns £4 for every pound a bettor places on that horse, plus his or her original outlay.
Oddsmaker - A person who sets the betting odds.
Odds-on - Odds of less than even money. This a bet where you have to outlay more than you win. For example if a horse is 1/2, you have to outlay two pounds to win one pound and your total collect if the horse wins is three pounds. That is made up of your two pounds and the one pound you win.
Off the Bridle - When the horse is urged on by its jockey.
On The Bridle: A term to describe a horse that is running comfortably.
On The Nose: Slang term for betting on a horse to win only.
Out of the money - A horse that finishes worse than third.
Outlay - The money a bettor wagers/bets is called his/her outlay.
Outsider - A horse deemed unlikely to win a particular race.
Overlay - A horse with high odds in comparison with its good chances of winning.
P – Rider Pulled Up
Paddock - The part of the race course incorporating the pre-parade ring (where horses are paraded before the race) and winner's enclosure.
Parimutuel Betting: A form of betting where all stakes are pooled and, after deductions, the pool is split between winning bets. Also known as tote betting.
Parlay: A bet on 4 or more selections in separate races. All selections must win to get a return. Also known as an accumulator.
Patent - A multiple bet consisting of seven bets involving three selections in different events. A single on each selection, plus three doubles and one treble.
Perfecta: See Exacta.
Permutations - It is possible to perm bets or selections (e.g. on four selections all the possible doubles could be permed making 6 bets).
Photo Finish: When two or more horses are so close at the finishing post that a photo is used to determine the winner.
Place Bet (American Definition): A bet on a specified horse to finish first or second in a specified race
Place Bet (Rest of World Definition): A bet on a specified horse to finish in the places (first 2, 3 or 4 positions, depending on race and number of horses)
Place - In horse racing, it is possible with some bookmakers to bet on a win or a place. In large fields, the place may be 2nd, 3rd or 4th, in smaller fields, 2nd or 3rd. Odds are naturally shorter for a place bet than a win bet.
Placepot - A type of bet in which a placed horse in all six included races must be selected.
Pony - £25.
Post Time: Scheduled starting time for a race.
Pulled Up: When a horse is stopped during a race.
Punt - To bet or a bet ("I had a punt on the 2:15 at Aintree"). A punter is the person placing the bet.
Purse: The total amount of prize money awarded for a race.
Quinella: See Reverse Exacta.
Refuse: When a horse will not start a race, or will not jump an obstacle.
Return - The money paid to out for a winning selection: Stake plus winnings.
Reverse Exacta: A bet on which two horses will finish in the top two positions in a race, in either order. Also known as reverse forecast, reverse perfecta, quinella.
Reverse Trifecta: A bet on which three horses will finish in the top three positions in a race, in any order. Also known as reverse triactor, combination tricast.
Reverse Forecast - Betting on the first and second horses in a race, irrespective of the order in which they finish. Punters pay twice the stake, because it is two bets, meaning a £5 reverse forecast costs £10. In effect, you are betting on horse 'X' winning and horse 'Y' coming second, and the reverse of that bet as well. Winnings will be the combined odds of the wining horses.
Scratch: To remove a horse from a race before it starts.
Selection - The horse backed.
Short Head: An approximate measure to describe the distance between horses, typically used at the end of a race. For example “she only won by a short head”. Roughly 10% of one length.
Show Bet: A bet used in North America on a specified horse to finish first, second or third in a specified race.
Silks: The jacket and cap worn by jockeys to represent the owner of the horse they are riding.
Single - A bet on the exact score of two teams playing a series of games, given that every win awards the winning team with 1 point.
Sire: the father of a horse
SP: See Starting Price.
Sprint: A short race run at a quick pace. Typically less than one mile.
Stake - The amount of money bet.
Stallion: A male horse used for breeding.
Stalls - Stalls are the row of compartments designed to help give all the runners in a flat race an even start.
Starting Price: The final betting odds in place at the time a race starts. Commonly abbreviated to SP.
Stayer: A horse with good stamina that tends to do well in long races.
Steeplechase: A type of race in which the horses have to jump over obstacles.
Stud Book: A registry of Thoroughbred horses. Maintained by the relevant club or association in each region.
Stud: A farm where horses are bred. Also another name for a stallion.
Super Heinz: A bet that combines 120 separate wagers on 7 selections.
Super Yankee: A bet that combines 26 separate wagers on 5 selections. Also known as Canadian.
Thoroughbred: The breed of horse used for most competitive horse racing.
Through The Card - When a jockey, a particular number, a punter, the favourites, or a racing tipster etc, has been successful at every event at a particular meeting, they are described as having gone 'through the card'.
Tic-Tac - The sign language used by UK bookmakers to communicate with each other at track-side.
Tote Betting: See Parimutuel Betting:
Tote Return - All the money bet on the Tote for an event is split between all the punters who backed the winner (form of pool based betting system with a jackpot incentive).
Tote - The organisation appointed to receive bets and supply dividends in proportion to the amount of the investment. A body in the UK set up to operate pool-betting on all racecourses.
Treble - A bet consisting of three selections, all of which must win for the wager/bettor to be successful.
Tricast - A wager/bet picking the first three finishers in exact order. The dividend is computer calculated based on starting prices amongst other things
Trifecta: A tote bet on which three horses will finish in the top three positions in a race, in the correct order. Also known as triactor, tricast. Dividend is calculated by pool betting rules.
Trip - The distance of the race.
Triple Crown: A series of classic or famous races. Different regions have their own Triple Crowns.
Trixie - Trixies consist of 4 bets involving 3 selections in different events. The bet includes 3 doubles and 1 treble. A minimum of 2 of your selections must be successful to gain any returns.
Unseated Rider - When a horse does not fall, but causes enough problems for the jockey to part company
Walk-Over - Walk-overs occur when only one participant runs in the race. In order to collect the prize money the participant must go through the normal procedure. For bet-settling purposes, the winner of a walk-over is considered a non-runner.
Win Bet: A straight bet on a specified horse to win a specified race.
Win Double: See Double.
Win Treble: See Treble.
Yankee - A multiple bet consisting of 11 bets (six doubles, four trebles and one four-fold) on four selections in different events.
Yankee: A bet that combines 11 separate wagers on 4 selections.
Yearling: A horse aged one year.
Yielding: A condition of a turf course; indicates wet ground with plenty of give.