Glossary

B

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.  

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