What Are the Terms Used to Describe a Horse Race?

A race for horses, usually over an oval track, with organized betting on the outcome. Horse racing is one of the oldest sports in history and has been a popular spectator sport for thousands of years. The power and beauty of the horses and the potential for a large payout were enticing reasons for people to attend the races.

However, the racetrack industry has long been plagued with crooked conduct. Some owners and trainers use performance-enhancing drugs, others abuse their animals or their agents. Still others have a naive or corrupt mindset that allows them to cheat the system without fear of punishment.

The horse racing system is riddled with shoddy regulation, a lack of uniformity in racing jurisdictions and an unwillingness to police itself. It is also a sport that relies heavily on veterinarians to prescribe drugs that can improve a horse’s athletic performance.

It’s no wonder, then, that a small, feral minority of horsemen and horsewomen have abused the system. These crooks know that they are being wronged, but they refuse to admit it and dare the authorities to come down on them.

In contrast, there are a large number of honest, responsible people who see wrongs and don’t give up hope that the industry will reform itself. These people are the real engine of the horse racing economy. They’re the ones who keep horse racing alive, and they’re the ones who need serious reform if the industry is to survive and thrive.

Here are some of the terms that are often used to describe a horse’s performance during a race:


The term is used to describe a horse that was forced back or pinched by another horse in close quarters and did not move or react accordingly. It is most commonly used at the start of a race, when the horsing is sandwiched between rivals and loses valuable ground.


This term is more of an editorial comment than a formal designation for a horse that was in contention at various points during the race but did not manage to gain a victory. This could have been for a variety of reasons, such as overcoming traffic problems, dueling for command throughout or not being able to find the best stride through the stretch run.


This is another term that is used to describe a horse that left his feet and was thrown off stride for a brief time. It is similar to FOUND BEST STRIDE LATE, but a horse that JUMPED TRACKS had the advantage of gaining ground with every stride.


This term is used to describe a horse that has managed to overcome several obstacles in the race and finished well enough to win the competition. It is most often used in conjunction with other terms such as OUTRUN, SLOW, TIRED and WEAKENED, but may be used alone.


This is a term used to describe a horse that was unable to run up to speed or reach his full potential in the race. It is most commonly used in conjunction with other terms such as ERRATIC, WEAKENED, SLOW and TREATED.