A horse race is a competitive event in which horses are ridden by jockeys and are guided along the prescribed course and over obstacles (if present) while trying to reach a finish line first. Prize money is awarded to the first, second, and third place finishers of each race. Differing national horse racing organizations may have slightly different rule books, but the vast majority follow the same basic rules.
The fixed scale of weights that a horse is assigned to carry in a race, depending on his age, sex, the distance of the race, and the season. The total weight of a horse includes the amount of weight carried by the jockey and his equipment, including his saddle.
Term used to describe a horse that is unable to gain ground in the stretch run, either because of traffic problems or simply due to lack of speed. Often, this horse will be forced to race wide and could have been a legitimate contender with better racing luck or if his jockey had the ability to apply pressure to his rivals.
An important factor to consider when handicapping a horse. The higher a horse’s speed figure, the more likely he is to win a given race. The speed figures are compiled by the Daily Racing Form and show up as black dots next to the horse’s morning workout time.
A horse that carries a large amount of weight relative to his competitors. In some countries, a high carrying weight may be an advantage in winning certain races.
In races involving jumps, the term “crossover” refers to the point at which a horse leaves the specialized dirt or turf track onto the main surface of the course. This is generally a sharp left-hand turn.
A jargon term that describes a situation in which a horse rears or acts unsteady in the gate at the start of a race. Usually, this results in the horse losing its rider. This type of incident is especially serious if it occurs in the early stages of a race when momentum and pace are at their most important.