Sometimes the terms and jargon used in horseracing can be baffling and confusing to say the least.  

Don’t be put off, it’s quite easy to pick it up. Here’s a useful guide which explains some common terms you might hear around the racecourse.

Added Money

Money added to the prize fund of a race by the racing or breeding association, or other fund to the amount paid by owners in nomination, eligibility, entry and fees.


All Standardbreds have their birthday on 1st Jan, regardless of when they were actually born during the year.  For example every foal born in 2011 will be regarded as 1 years old on 1st Jan 2012.


A horse that finishes outside of the prize money.


The process of randomly drawing the starting position of a horse on the starting gate.


A horse colour that varies in shades of brown. The mane, tail and lower portion of the legs are always black, except where white markings are present.

Bearing In (Or Out)

A horse that is deviating from a straight course.


A horse colour which is black, including the muzzle, flanks, mane, tail and legs unless white markings are present.


Equipment worn on the bridle to limit a horse's vision and enable them to concentrate on a specific course. A variety of different blinkers may been seen in use.

Boxed In

A horse that is racing on the rail (innermost side of the track) and is surrounded by other horses in front, outside and behind. A horse that is boxed in is held up and unable to gain a clear route.


When a horse goes off stride. A harness horse competes at either a trot (diagonal gait) or pace (lateral gait). A break occurs when a horse goes off stride (or breaks) into a gallop.  Once a horse breaks the driver should try to move to the outside of the track so as not to interfere with any other horse in the race. The driver should also attempt to regain the horse’s trotting or pacing gate as soon as possible.


Another term for sulky, or jog cart.

Catch Driver

A driver who doesn’t usually drive a particular horse, but gets to drive that horse on that specific race day.


A horse colour described as yellow-red, red-yellow or golden-yellow.  Mane, tail and legs are the same colour.

Claiming Race

A race in which each horse entered is eligible to be purchased at a set price. Claims must be made before the race (Claiming Races are not a common feature of Harness Racing in the UK).


A race of traditional importance.


Colours are the individual distinctive colours of racing suits worn by drivers during a race. Drivers register and race in their own colours as opposed to an owners' colours.


An ungelded (entire) male horse, 4 years old or younger.


The fitness level of a horse. 

1. For example, it may be described as peak racing condition or poor condition.

2. Specific criteria making a horse eligible to enter a race.

Conditioned Race

A race where eligibility is based on age, sex, money won, or races won. For example, ‘3 year old colts’,  ‘non winners of last 6 starts’; ‘winners of over £10,000’ or ‘mares only’.


Persons identified with a horse, such as an owner, trainer, or driver and stable employees.

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