horse racing wagering online betting usa

Horse Racing Terms



Across The Board
- (See 'Place') a bet on a horse to win, place or show. Three wagers combined in one. If the horse wins, the player wins all three wagers, if second, two, and if third, one.


- A wagering term denoting a combination bet whereby all possible numeric combinations are covered.


Chalk - Wagering favorite in a race. Dates from the days when on-track bookmakers would write current odds on a chalkboard.

Chalk Player - Bettor who wagers on favorites.


Daily Double - Type of wager calling for the selection of winners of two consecutive races, usually the first and second. See 'Late Double'

Daily Triple or Pick Three - A wager where the bettor must select the winner of three consecutive races.

Daily Racing Form - A daily newspaper containing racing information including news, past performance data and handicapping.

Dead Heat - A tie. Two or more horses finishing equal in a race.


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Even Money Bet (or Evens) - A 1:1 bet. A $10 wager wins $10.

Exacta - (Also, Perfecta) A wager that picks the first two finishers in a race in the exact order of finish.

Exacta Box - A wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are covered.

Exotic (wager) - Any wager other than win, place or show.


Favorite - The most popular horse in a race, which is quoted at the lowest odds because it is deemed to have the best chance of winning the race.

Field - 1) All the runners in a race. 2) Some sportsbooks or bookmakers may well group all the outsiders in a competition under the banner headline of 'Field' and put it head to head with the favorite. This is known as favorite vs the field betting and is common in horse and golf betting.

Fixed Odds - Your dividend is fixed at the odds when you placed your bet.

Futures - (Also, Ante Post) Bets placed in advance predicting the outcome of a future event.


Handicapper - The official who decides the weights to be carried in handicap events, and the grading of horses and greyhounds


In The Money - Finishing first, second or third.

Jumper - Steeplechase or hurdle horse.

Key Horse - The main expected winning horse used in multiple combinations in an exotic wager

Late Double - A second daily double offered during the latter part of the program. See 'Daily Double' above.

Lock - (As in 'Banker') US term for an almost certain winner. Easy winner.


Mare - Female horse five-years-old or older.

Morning Line - Approximate odds quoted before wagering begins.

Mutual Pool - Short for 'Pari-mutuel Pool'. Sum of the wagers on a race or event, such as thewin pool, daily double pool, exacta pool, etc.

Neck - Unit of measurement about the length of a horse's neck.


Objection - 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.

Odds - The figure or fraction by which a bookmaker or totalisator offers to multiply a bettor's stake, which the bettor is entitled to receive (plus his or her own stake) if their selection wins.

Oddsmaker - A person who sets the betting odds. (Sportsbooks or Bookies don't set the odds. Most major sportsbooks use odds set by Las Vegas oddsmakers.)

Official - Sign displayed when result is confirmed. Also racing official.

Off-Track Betting (OTB) - Wagering at legalized betting outlets.


Pari-mutuel(s) - 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'.

Parlay - (Also, Accumulator) A multiple bet. A kind of 'let-it-ride' bet. Making simultaneous selections on two or more races with the intent of pressing the winnings of the first win on the bet of the following race selected, and so on. All the selections made must win for you to win the parlay.

Part Wheel - Using a key horse or horses in different, but not all possible, exotic wagering combinations.

Photo Finish - A photo is automatically taken as the horses pass the winning line and when the race is too close to be judged the photo is used to determine the order of finish.

Pick Six (or more) - A type of wager in which the winners of all the included races must be selected.

Place - Finish in the top two, top three, top four and sometimes also top five in a competition or event. A Place bet will win if the selection you bet on is among those placed. Usually, a horse runs a place if it finishes in the first three in fields of eight or more horses. If there are only six or seven runners the horse must finish first or second to place. Different sportsbooks have different Place terms and you should check their rules before placing a bet. (See 'Each Way' UK.)

Post Time - Designated time for a race to start.

Price - The odds

Punter - Bettor or investor.

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Quiniela (Quinella) - Wager in which the first two finishers must be picked in either order. Payoff is made no matter which of the two wins and which runs second. ('Reverse Forecast' in the UK. See Wagers for Quiniela variants.)

Racecard - A program for the day's racing.


Scratch - To be taken out of a race before it starts. Trainers usually scratch horses due to adverse track conditions or a horse's adverse health. A veterinarian can scratch a horse at any time.

Show - Third position at the finish.

Show Bet - Wager on a horse to finish in the money; third or better.

Sportsbook - The person, shop or website who accepts bets.

Sprint - Short race, less than one mile.

Superfecta - A bet placed on four horses to cross the finish line in exact chosen order.


Thoroughbred - A Thoroughbred is a horse whose parentage traces back to any of the three 'Founding Sires' the Darley Arabian, Byerly Turk and Godolphin Barb, and who has satisfied the rules and requirements of The Jockey Club and is registered in 'The American Stud Book' or in a foreign stud book recognized by The Jockey Club and the International Stud Book Committee. Any other horse, no matter what its parentage, is not considered a Thoroughbred for racing and/or breeding purposes.

Ticket - The betting slip or ticket which is received by the bettor from the bookmaker or totalisator, as proof of his or her wager. The ticket is necessary to collect the dividends.

Tote Board - The (usually) electronic totalizator display in the infield which reflects up-to-the-minute odds. It may also show the amounts wagered in each mutuel pool as well as information such as jockey and equipment changes, etc. Also known as the 'Board'.

Trifecta - A wager picking the first three finishers in exact order. Called a 'Triactor' in Canada and a 'Triple' in some parts of the U.S. ('Tricast' in the UK.)

Trifecta Box - A trifecta wager in which all possible combinations using a given number of horses are bet upon. The total number of combinations can be calculated according to the formula (x3)-(3x2)+(2x), where x equals the amount of horses in the box. The sum of the formula is then multiplied by the amount wagered on each combination.

Triple - (Also 'Treble') See 'Trifecta' above.

Trotting - A term for harness racing in general. It also describes the specific gait of a trotter.


Underlay - A horse racing at shorter odds than seems warranted by its past performances.

Wager - Another term for bet.

Wheel - Betting all possible combinations in an exotic wager using at least one horse as the key. See 'Part Wheel'

Win Bet - Wager on a horse to finish first.

Yielding - Condition of a turf course with a great deal of moisture. Horses sink into it noticeably.

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