Glossary

B

Baby Race
A race for two-year-olds.  

Backside
Stable area, dormitories and often times a track kitchen, chapel and recreation area for stable employees. Also known as "backstretch," for its proximity to the stable area.  

Backstretch
1) Straight portion of the far side of the racing surface between the turns. 2) See backside.

Bad Doer
A horse with a poor appetite, a condition that may be due to nervousness or other causes.  

Bandage
Bandages used on horse's legs are three to six inches wide and are made of a variety of materials. In a race, they are used for support or protection against injury. "Rundown bandages" are used during a race and usually have a pad under the fetlock to avoid injury due to abrasion when the fetlocks sink toward the ground during weight-bearing. A horse may also wear "standing bandages," thick cotton wraps used during shipping and while in the stall to prevent swelling and/or injury.  

Bar Shoe
A horseshoe closed at the back to help support the frog and heel of the hoof. It is often worn by horses with quarter cracks or bruised feet.  

Barren
Used to describe a filly or mare that was bred and did not conceive during the last breeding season.  

Barrier
A starting device used in steeplechasing consisting of an elastic band stretched across the racetrack which springs back when released. Also known as a "tape."  

Bay
A horse color that varies from a yellow-tan to a bright auburn. The mane, tail and lower portion of the legs are always black, except where white markings are present.  

Bearing In (Or Out)
Deviating from a straight course. May be due to weariness, infirmity, inexperience or the rider overusing the whip or reins to make a horse alter its course. 

Bell
Signal sounded when the starter opens the gates or, at some tracks, to mark the close of betting.  

Beyer Speed Figure
A handicapping tool, popularized by author Andrew Beyer, assigning a numerical value (speed figure) to each race run by a horse based on final time and track condition. This enables different horses running at different racetracks to be objectively compared.  Can be found in Daily Racing Form past performances.

Big Red
Refers to either of two famous chestnut-colored horses Man o' War or Secretariat.  

Bit
A stainless steel, rubber or aluminum bar, attached to the bridle, which fits in the horse's mouth and is one of the means by which a jockey exerts guidance and control. The most common racing bit is the D-bit, named because the rings extending from the bar are shaped like the letter "D." Most racing bits are "snaffled," (snaffle bit) which means the metal bar is made up of two pieces, connected in the middle, which leaves it free to swivel. Other bits may be used to correct specific problems, such as bearing in or out.  

Black
A horse color which is black, including the muzzle, flanks, mane, tail and legs unless white markings are present. 

Black Type
Boldface type, used in sales catalogues, to distinguish horses that have won or placed in a stakes race. Many sales catalogues have eliminated the use of black type for stakes below a certain monetary level -- $15,000 in 1985, $20,000 from 1986-1989 and $25,000 beginning in 1990. If a horse's name appears in boldface type in a catalogue and in all capital letters, it has won at least one black-type event. If it appears in boldface type and capital and lower case letters, it was second or third in at least one black-type event. Black type was awarded to fourth-place finishers in races before Jan. 1, 1990.  

Blaze
A generic term describing a large, white vertical marking on a horse's face. The Jockey Club doesn't use blaze, preferring more descriptive words. See snip; star; stripe.  

Blind Switch
A circumstance in which a rider's actions cause him/her to be impeded during a race.  

Blinkers
A cup-shaped device designed to limit a horse's vision and prevent him from reacting to and swerving from objects and other horses.  

Blister
Counter-irritant causing acute inflammation used to increase blood supply, blood flow and to promote healing in the leg.  

Bloodstock Agent
A person who advises and/or represents a buyer or seller of Thoroughbreds at a public auction or a private sale. A bloodstock agent usually works on commission, often five percent of the purchase price, and can also prepare a horse for sale.  

Blood-Typing
A way to verify a horse's parentage. Blood-typing is usually completed within the first year of a horse's life and is necessary before registration papers will be issued by The Jockey Club.  

Blow-Out
A short, timed workout, usually a day or two before a race, designed to sharpen a horse's speed. Usually three-eighths or one-half of a mile in distance.  

Board
Short for "tote board," on which odds, betting pools and other information are displayed.

Bobble
A bad step away from the starting gate, usually caused by the track surface breaking away from under a horse's hooves, causing it to duck its head or nearly go to his knees.  

Bolt
Sudden veering from a straight course, usually to the outside rail.

Bomb
A winning horse sent off at extremely high odds.  

Book
1) The group of mares being bred to a stallion in a given year. If a stallion attracts the maximum number of mares allowed by the farm manager, he has a full book. 2) A term used to describe a jockey's riding commitments with his agent An agent handles a jockey's book.  

Bottom
1) Stamina in a horse. 2) Subsurface of a racing strip.

Bottom Line
A Thoroughbred's breeding on the female side. The lower half of an extended pedigree diagram.  

Bounce
A poor race run directly following a career-best or near-best performance.  

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

Boxed (In)
To be trapped between, behind or inside of other horses.  

Brace (or Bracer)
Rubdown liniment used on a horse after a race or workout.  

Break (a horse)
1) To train a young horse to wear a bridle and saddle, carry a rider and respond to a rider's commands. Almost always done when the horse is a yearling. 2) To leave from the starting gate.  

Break Maiden
Horse or rider winning the first race of its career. Also known as "earning a diploma."  

Breakage
In parimutuel payoffs, which are rounded down to a nickel or dime, the pennies that are left over. Breakage may be used for any of a number of purposes, depending upon a state's rules of racing.  

Breather
Easing off on a horse for a short distance in a race to permit it to conserve or renew its strength.  

Bred
1) A horse is considered to have been bred in the state or country of its birth -- Secretariat was a Virginia-bred. 2) The past tense of "breed."  

Breeder
Owner of the dam at time of foaling unless the dam was under a lease or foal-sharing arrangement at the time of foaling. In that case, the person(s) specified by the terms of the agreement is (are) the breeder(s) of the foal.  

Breeders' Cup
Thoroughbred racing's year-end championships conducted on back-to-back days at a different racetrack each year, consisting of 14 races, and with purses and awards totaling over $25 million.  

Breeding Fund
A state fund set up to provide bonuses for state-breds.  

Breeze (Breezing)
Working a horse at a moderate speed, less effort than handily.  

Bridge Jumper
A person who wagers large amounts of money, usually on short-priced horses to show, hoping to realize a small, but certain profit. The term comes from the structure these bettors may seek if they lose.  

Bridle
A piece of equipment, usually made of leather or nylon, which fits on a horse's head and is where other equipment, such as a bit and the reins, are attached 

Broodmare
A filly or mare that has been bred and is used to produce foals.  

Brush
1) During a race, two horses who slightly touch each other. 2) Injury that occurs when one hoof strikes the inside of the opposite limb.  

Bucked Shins
Inflammation of the covering of the bone of the front surface of the cannon bone to which young horses are particularly susceptible. This is primarily a condition of the front legs.

Bug Boy
An apprentice rider.  

Bulbs (of the heel)
The two areas on either side of the back of the foot, similar to the heel of the hand.  

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