Glossary: Horse Racing Terminology L-P

lactic acid
Organic acid normally present in muscle tissue, produced by anaerobic muscle metabolism as a by-product of exercise. An increase in lactic acid causes muscle fatigue, inflammation and pain.
A deviation from a normal gait due to pain in a limb or its supporting structures.
A part of the hoof. See insensitive laminae and sensitive laminae. See "Hoof" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
An inflammation of the sensitive laminae of the foot. There are many factors involved, including changes in the blood flow through the capillaries of the foot. Many events can cause laminitis, including ingesting toxic levels of grain, eating lush grass, systemic disease problems, high temperature, toxemia, retained placenta, excessive weight-bearing as occurs when the opposite limb is injured, and the administration of some drugs. Laminitis usually manifests itself in the front feet, develops rapidly, and is life-threatening. In mild cases, however, a horse can resume a certain amount of athletic activity. Laminitis is the disease that caused the death of Secretariat. Also known as "founder."
See furosemide.
late double
A second daily double offered during the latter part of the program. See daily double.
Toward the side and farther from the center. Pertains to a side.
lathered (up)
See washed out.
lead [LED]
Lead weights carried in pockets on both sides of the saddle, used to make up the difference between the actual weight of the jockey and the weight the horse has been assigned to carry during the race.
lead [LEED]
1) See shank. 2) The front leg that is last to hit the ground during a gallop or canter. See "Gaits" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed definition.
lead [LEED] pony
See pony.
leaky roof circuit
Minor tracks.
leg up
1) To help a jockey mount a horse. 2) A jockey having a mount.
A measurement approximating the length of a horse, used to denote distance between horses in a race For example, "Secretariat won the Belmont by 31 lengths."
A band of fibrous tissue connecting bones, which serve to support and strengthen joints and to limit the range of motion. There are also ligaments that support certain organs.
listed race
A stakes race just below a group race or graded race in quality.
Slang for a "sure" winner.
lug (in or out)
See bearing in (out).
1) Horse rearing and plunging. 2) A method of exercising a horse on a tether ("lunge line").
See battery.
magnetic therapy
Physical therapy technique using magnetic fields. The low-energy electrical field created by the magnetic field causes dilation of the blood vessels (vasodilation) and tissue stimulation. Magnetic therapy may be used on soft tissue to treat such injuries as tendinitis or bony (skeletal) injuries such as bucked shins.
1) A horse or rider that has not won a race. 2) A female that has never been bred.
maiden race
A race for non-winners.
Long hairs growing on the crest of the horse's neck, which are usually kept clipped to about six inches in length for neatness, or decoratively braided.
Female horse five-years-old or older.
mare's month
September. In theory, because mares that have not run well during the summer often "wake up" in September.
Soft, moist mixture, hot or cold, of grain and other feed that is easily digested by horses.
Rubbing of various parts of the anatomy to stimulate healing.
Pertaining to the middle in anatomy, nearer the medial plane (the horizontal plane that bisects the center).
medication list
A list kept by the track veterinarian and published by the track and Daily Racing Form (when provided by track officials) showing which horses have been treated with legally prescribed medications.
metacarpal (fracture)
Usually refers to a fracture of the cannon bone, located between the knee and the fetlock joint in the front leg. Also may refer to a fracture of the splint bone.
mid-body (fracture)
See sesamoids.
middle distance
Broadly, from one mile to 1-1/8 miles.
minus pool
A mutuel pool caused when a horse is so heavily played that, after deductions of state tax and commission, there is not enough money left to pay the legally prescribed minimum on each winning bet. The racing association usually makes up the difference.
money rider
A rider who excels in rich races.
Type of riding with short stirrups popularized by old-time riding great Tod Sloan.
A male horse of any age that has only one testicle in his scrotum-the other testicle was either removed or is undescended. See cryptorchid; ridgling.
morning glory
Horse that performs well in morning workouts but fails to reproduce that form in races.
morning line
Probable odds on each horse in a race, as determined by a mathematical formula used by the track handicapper, who tries to gauge both the ability of the horse and the likely final odds as determined by the bettors.
muddy (track)
A condition of a racetrack which is wet but has no standing water.
Horse that races well on muddy tracks. Also known as a "mudlark."
musculoskeletal system
Consisting of the bones, muscles, ligaments, tendons and joints of the head, vertebral column and limbs, together with the associated muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints. See "Musculoskeletal System" in veterinary supplement for a more detailed explanation.
mutuel field
See entry.
mutuel pool
Short for "parimutuel pool." Sum of the wagers on a race or event, such as the win pool, daily double pool, exacta pool, etc.
1) Nose and lips of a horse. 2) A guard placed over a horse's mouth to prevent it from biting or eating.
name (of a Thoroughbred)
Names of North American Thoroughbreds are registered by The Jockey Club. They can be no longer than 18 characters, including punctuation and spaces. The words "the," "and," "by," "for," "in" and "a" are almost always lower case unless they are the first word in the name. Examples "Love You by Heart," "Go for Wand" and "Strike the Gold."
nasogastric tube
A long tube that is capable of reaching from the nose to the stomach.
National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA)
Non-profit, membership organization created in 1997 to improve economic conditions and public interest in Thoroughbred racing.
navicular bone
A small, flat bone within the confines of the hoof that helps-along with the short pastern bone and the coffin bone-to make up the coffin joint.
navicular disease
A degenerative disease that affects the navicular bone (small bone in the back of the foot), navicular bursa and deep flexor tendon. Generally considered a disease of the front feet. Both front feet are often affected, but one will usually be more noticeable than the other.
near side
Left side of a horse. Side on which a horse is mounted.
Unit of measurement. About the length of a horse's neck; a little less than a quarter of a length.
See neurectomy.
Brand name for a plastic mesh which is mixed into the soil of a turf course. The grass roots grow around and through the mesh, helping to prevent divoting, especially in wet weather.
A surgical procedure in which the nerve supply to the navicular area is removed. The toe and remainder of the foot have feeling. Also referred to as "posterior digital neurectomy" or "heel nerve." Also known as "nerving."
night eyes
See chestnuts.
Lowering of head. To win by a nod, a horse extends its head with its nose touching the finish line ahead of a close competitor.
Nom de Course
Name adopted by an owner or group of owners for racing purposes.
One who owns a horse at the time it is named to compete in a stakes race.
See anhydrosis.
Smallest advantage a horse can win by. Called a short head in Britain.
nose band
A leather strap that goes over the bridge of a horse's nose to help secure the bridle. A "figure eight" nose band goes over the bridge of the nose and under the rings of the bit to help keep the horse's mouth closed. This keeps the tongue from sliding up over the bit and is used on horses that do not like having a tongue tie used.
A stakes event for three-year-old fillies (females).
Claim of foul lodged by rider, patrol judge or other official after the running of a race. If lodged by official, it is called an inquiry.
oblique (fracture)
Fracture at an angle.
OCD lesion
A cartilaginous or bony lesion that is the result of a failure in development.
Odds of less than even money.
1) Notice displayed when a race result is confirmed. 2) Used to denote a racing official.
off side
Right side of horse.
off-track betting
Wagering at legalized betting outlets usually run by the tracks, management companies specializing in parimutuel wagering, or, in New York State, by independent corporations chartered by the state. Wagers at OTB sites are usually commingled with on-track betting pools.
oiled (oiling)
Administration of mineral oil via nasogastric tube to relieve gas or pass blockage. Preventative procedure commonly used in long van rides to prevent impaction with subsequent colics. See colic.
on the bit
When a horse is eager to run. Also known as "in the bridle."
on the board
Finishing among the first three.
on the muscle
Denotes a fit horse.
on the nose
Betting a horse to win only.
open fracture
See compound fracture.
open knee
A condition of young horses in which the physis of the knee has not closed; an immature knee. Often used to describe the status of the physis immediately above the knee and is an indicator of long bone growth in two-year-olds.
See arthritis.
A permanent form of arthritis with progressive loss of the articular cartilage in a joint. See degenerative joint disease.
Abbreviation for off-track betting.
out of the money
A horse that finishes worse than third.
over at the knee
A leg that looks like it has a forward arc with its center at the knee when viewed from the side.
A strap that holds the bit in place.
An elastic band that goes completely around a horse, over the saddle, to keep the saddle from slipping.
Toe of hind shoe striking the forefoot or foreleg.
Racing wide throughout, outside of other horses.
A horse going off at higher odds than it appears to warrant based on its past performances.
A sheet published by the racing secretary's office listing the entries for an upcoming racing card.
overnight race
A race in which entries close a specific number of hours before running (such as 48 hours), as opposed to a stakes race for which nominations close weeks and sometimes months in advance.
Surplus weight carried by a horse when the rider cannot make the required weight.
Third phalanx. See coffin bone.
The horse that is running in front (on the lead).
See toe-in.
Area where horses are saddled and paraded before being taken onto the track.
paddock judge
Official in charge of paddock and saddling routine.
Counter-irritant used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg. A mild form of blistering.
Back of the front limb from the knee down.
A slang term for a furlong.
A multi-race bet in which all winnings are subsequently wagered on each succeeding race.
parrot mouth
A horse with an extreme overbite.
Used by the International Cataloguing Standards Committee to separate races from different countries for sales cataloguing purposes. Races of Part I countries (Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Peru, South Africa, the United States, the Hong Kong International Cup and the Japan Cup) are accepted for black-type and graded purposes; races of Part II countries (Belgium, Hong Kong [except Hong Kong International Cup, see above], India, Japan [except Japan Cup, see above], Malaysia, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Scandinavia, Singapore, Spain, Uruguay and Venezuela) are accepted for black-type purposes only, with no grade or group designators; races of Part III countries (all others) are not accepted for cataloguing purposes.
A form of wagering originated in 1865 by Frenchman Pierre Oller in which all money bet is divided up among those who have winning tickets, after taxes, takeout and other deductions are made. Oller called his system "parier mutuel" meaning "mutual stake" or "betting among ourselves." As this wagering method was adopted in England it became known as "Paris mutuals," and soon after "parimutuels."
part wheel
Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations. See wheel.
pasteboard track
A lightning fast racing surface.
past performances
A horse's racing record, earnings, bloodlines and other data, presented in composite form.
pastern (bones)
Denotes the area between the fetlock joint and the hoof. The joint between the long and short pastern bones is called the "pastern joint." Can also be used to describe the area of the limb or to describe a specific bone long pastern bone. Technically known as the P1 (long) and P2 (short).
patrol judge(s)
Official(s) who observe the progress of a race from various vantage points around the track.
pattern race
See group race.
pedal bone
See coffin bone.
See exacta.
Inflammation of the tissue (periosteum) that overlies bone. Periostitis of the cannon bone is referred to as "bucked shins," while periostitis of the splint bone is called a "splint." May be heard in the expression Popped a splint.
See bute.
See bute.
photo finish
A result so close it is necessary to use the finish-line camera to determine the order of finish.
Plural physes. The "growth plate" at the end of the long bones (such as the cannon bone) that lets the bone grow in length.
Pick (number)
A type of multi-race wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected. Pick Three (sometimes called the "Daily Triple"), Pick Six and Pick Nine are common.
Small numbered ball used in a blind draw to decide post positions.
pinched back
A horse forced back due to racing in close quarters.
pin firing
Thermocautery used to increase blood flow to the leg to promote healing.
A person who buys a racehorse with the specific intention of re-selling it at a profit.
Exercise at a brisk speed.
Second position at finish.
place bet
Wager on a horse to finish first or second.
placing judge
Official who posts the order of finish in a race.
Pertaining to the sole of the foot or back of the hind limb from the hock down.
plantar ligament
The large ligament that is below and behind the hock joint.
1) A prize for a winner. Usually less valuable than a cup. 2) Generic term for lightweight (usually) aluminum horseshoes used during a race.
1) Claiming horse. 2) A farrier.
A position in a race with horses in front and alongside.
point(s) of call
A horse's position at various locations on the racetrack where its running position is noted on a chart. The locations vary with the distance of the race.
Markers at measured distances around the track designating the distance from the finish. The quarter pole, for instance, is a quarter of a mile from the finish, not from the start.
The top of the head, between the ears.
Any horse or pony that leads the parade of the field from paddock to starting gate. Also, a horse or pony which accompanies a starter to the starting gate. Also can be used as a verb He was ponied to the gate. Also known as a "lead [LEED] pony."
See mutuel pool.
popped a splint
See periostitis.
1) Starting point for a race. 2) An abbreviated version of post position. For example, "He drew post four." 3) As a verb, to record a win. For example, "He's posted 10 wins in 14 starts."
Situated behind or toward the rear.
post parade
Horses going from paddock to starting gate past the stands.
post position
Position of stall in starting gate from which a horse starts.
post time
Designated time for a race to start.
preferred list
Horses with prior rights to starting, usually because they have previously been entered in races that have not filled with the minimum number of starters.
prep (race)
A workout (or race) used to prepare a horse for a future engagement.
When a horse suddenly stops moving by digging its front feet into the ground.
Toward the body, i.e., the proximal cannon region is the upper portion of the cannon bone.
public trainer
One whose services are not exclusively engaged by a single stable and who accepts horses from a number of owners.
pulled suspensory
Suspensory ligament injury (suspensory desmitis) in which some portion of the fibers of the ligament have been disrupted and some loss of support of the distal limb may have occurred.
pull up
To stop or slow a horse during or after a race or workout.
The total monetary amount distributed after a race to the owners of the entrants who have finished in the (usually) top four or five positions. Some racing jurisdictions may pay purse money through other places.
Note: Information Provided by Thoroughbred Racing Communications, Inc.
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