Racing Terms

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    Term Definition
    Half brother/sister

    Horses out of the same dam but by different sires. Horses with the same sire and different dams are not half siblings.


    A piece of equipment placed on a horse's head similar to a bridle but lacking a bit and reins. A long leather shank is attached to the halter for walking the horse. Also an expression used for claiming a horse deriving from the fact that when the representative of the new owner takes the horse he must have with him his own halter. A trainer who frequently claims horses is called a halter man.


    A unit of four inches by which a horse's height is measured, placing one hand above the other from the ground to the withers or the point where the saddle sits. A horse that measures 16 hands is 5 feet 4 inches tall at the withers.

    Handicap race

    A race in which the racing secretary assigns weights based on his evaluation of each horse's potential. In theory, these weights put all contestants on an equal basis. Some of the major stakes races are run under handicap conditions.


    One who assigns the weights to be carried in a handicap race. Also one who makes selections in a race based on a thorough study of the past performance of each horse.


    A horse working or racing with ease and without urging is said to be going "handily."


    The aggregate amount of money wagered on a race, a day, a meeting or a season.


    The straightaway leading to the finish.

    Hot walker

    A stable hand who leads a horse around the shedrow or walking ring in the "cooling out" process following a race or a workout. Walking hots is usually the first job given to a novice stable employee.



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