Horse races are more than fancy hats, Ray Bans, and costly heels. They are about sportsmanship, high spirits, and a rush of adrenaline. They are about rooting for your favorite horse and keeping your fingers crossed the entire time—while your heart does some racing of its own. Even for the absolute newbie, equine sports are exciting and enthralling. As long you know the basic horse racing terms, you'll be on your way to enjoying equestrian events in no time.
Here are some of the most common terms to familiarize yourself with:
Handicap: This is a pretty standard term you'll come across on horse racing websites and the field. It is essentially a race where horses have to carry different weights to level the ground. The better the performance of a horse, the more weight it usually takes.
On the bridle: On the bridle refers to a horse that's in good shape who is running with enough energy to complete the race comfortably. Off the bridle is the exact opposite of it.
Favorite: The favorite is the horse with the highest chances of winning.
Form: Form refers to how well the horse has performed in the previous races. There are a few codes you should be aware of. O stands for unplaced, P represents pulled, R represents refused to race, F stands for fell, U is for an unseated rider, and SU refers to slip up. BF represents a beaten favorite.
Banker: The banker is the horse that has the highest odds of winning a particular race.
Apprentice: The apprentice is a jockey who hasn't ridden a winner within a specific period. Some refer to apprentices as bug boys.
Filly and colt: A filly is a female horse younger than four years old and a colt is a male horse lesser than four years old.
Gelding: A gelding is a castrated male horse. It can be of any age.
Maiden: A maiden is a horse of any age and any sex, who is yet to win a race. A break maiden refers to the horse and the rider, who together win the first race of their respective careers.
Mare: A mare refers to a female horse older than four years.
These terms are relatively common at almost all famous races. So, learning your equine language before your big day at the track will help you understand what is happening on the field.