What Are the Terms Used to Define a Horse Race?

horse race

A horse race is a competition in which horses race against each other for the prize money. The race is usually held at a track and the winning horse is typically crowned the winner.

Racing is an industry that has become increasingly crooked and corrupt. Those who run the industry have been known to use drugs and whips in their training of horses, as well as a variety of other tactics to win races.

The racing industry is also a source of suffering for the millions of horses that are abused, maimed and killed as a result of this business. Animal rights groups like PETA estimate that ten thousand American thoroughbreds are killed annually in horse slaughterhouses.

These horses are bred, trained and sold by people who work under the illusion that horseracing is an all-honorable sport, a fantasy that many of those involved in the industry still labor under. The majority of those who are not killed are merely dupes, and there is no escaping the fact that the industry’s practices are much more crooked than it should be, but there are those in the middle who do their best to make racing as fair as possible for all concerned.

As a result, there is a wide range of terms that are used to describe a horse’s performance during a race. Here are some of the more common ones:


A horse that breaks MUCH quicker than the rest of the field is considered to be breaking sharply. Generally, this term should be noted in the “good for all but…” category in the start line, but it is not necessary to do so with every race that features a horse that breaks quickly.


A horse is outrunning the leaders, but gets into gear too late to make a significant move on them. He should finish with good energy, moving fastest at the end of the race.


A term that describes a horse that is closing ground through the stretch run and finishing closer to the leaders than he was when entering the stretch. He may be turning in his best effort, but this is not enough to win the race on this particular day.


A race term that applies to a horse that finishes in a winning position, or close to the top of the pack. He has had a strong showing and was well placed from the outset, but was not able to muster the surge needed for a victory.


A horse that meets his teammates with a cheerful attitude is considered to be in good form. He was rated well, and his rider did a good job of getting him into his stride at the right time.


A race term that refers to a horse that is steadily closing ground through the stretch run, but does not gain significantly on the leaders. He is not able to close as fast as he should, but his efforts are not insufficient for the winner to make up ground on him at the finish.