ABCs of Racing Series - Part 1: Learn the Lingo [Kentucky Derby]


Maiden - a horse that has not yet won a race or a race in which all competitors are winless.

Mare - a female horse five years old or older.

Pacesetter - a horse that tends to stay just behind the leaders in the middle of the pack.

PPs - a horse's past performances for each previous race.

Ridgling - a partially castrated male horse or a male horse having one or both testes retained in the inguinal canal.

Schooling in the Paddock - walking a horse around the paddock to get it acquainted with the noise and crowd anticipated on a big race day.

Track Surfaces: Dirt - dirt track; Turf - grass track; Synthetic - any artificial surface, e.g., Polytrack, Cushion, Tapeta.

Wire-to-Wire - a horse that takes the lead at the start of the race and wins, never having relinquished the lead.

Wise Guy Horse - a horse with higher morning-line odds that handicappers jump on as race time nears.

Work/workout - Scheduled and timed exercise for the horse. Typically, a horse will work 3-5 furlongs once a week in preparation for an upcoming race or to maintain fitness. Workouts are usually listed at the bottom of the horse's stats in the program. Completing a furlong in 12 seconds or less is a very fast work.

Photo: Courtesy Kentucky Derby

About Jessie Oswald
I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as an immigration paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!
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