While we have had years of experience around the racetrack, many people may just be getting into the sport, and we are here to help you learn along the way. We don’t believe horse racing is strictly an elite activity meant only for the rich and famous. To start with Horse Racing 101, you should know a few terms and definitions.

A Glossary of Horse Racing Terms

Furlong: A furlong is a unit of distance in horse racing, equal to one-eighth of a mile (220 yards or 201.2 meters).

Handicap: A handicap race is a type of race in which horses carry different weights assigned by the racing authorities to equalize their chances of winning.

Maiden: A maiden is a horse that has not yet won a race.

Stakes: Stakes refer to the prize money or the total amount of money offered in a race.

Post Position: Post position refers to the starting position of a horse in a race. Horses are assigned post positions randomly or based on a draw. They are lined up in the starting gate based on their drawn numbers.

Trifecta: A trifecta is a type of bet in which bettors must correctly predict the first three horses in the exact order of finish.

Exacta: An exacta is a bet in which bettors must correctly predict the first two horses in the exact order of finish.

Win, Place, Show: These are the three most common types of bets. A “win” bet is a bet on a horse to finish first, a “place” bet is a bet on a horse to finish first or second, and a “show” bet is a bet on a horse to finish first, second, or third.

Jockey: A jockey is a professional horse rider who competes in races.

Exercise Rider: An exercise rider is a professional who gallops the horses in the morning during their daily training. An exercise rider may also be or become a jockey.

Silks: Silks are the colorful and unique jackets worn by jockeys to identify the owners of the horses. Each owner has their own distinct set of silks.

Derby: A derby is a prestigious horse race usually reserved for three-year-old horses. The most famous example is the Kentucky Derby held annually at Churchill Downs.

Triple Crown: The Triple Crown is a series of three prestigious races for three-year-old Thoroughbreds. The races include the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes. A horse that wins all three races is considered to have won the Triple Crown.

Do you want to know more about racing and how to get involved through pinhooking?

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