- O -
Objection :a jockey can lodge an objection with the stewards
when he considers another jockey has impeded his progress during a race.
The stewards will then open an inquiry to decide whether to maintain or
alter the official result. A siren announces that a jockey has lodged
Other meetings :open to horses in the French Trotter's Stud-Book
bred in a European Union country.
Outclass : when a horse easily defeats his opponents in a
race he outclasses them.
Outsider : a horse that isn't fancied to win a race.
Over-reach pads : protect a horses legs. Particularly when
a horse's hind legs collide with its forelegs
Overweight : the extra weight that certain riders carry over
the allotted weight.
- P -
Pacing : a pacer moves both legs on one side of its body
at the same time.
Part-breed : when a thoroughbred couples with a horse of
another breed the resulting foal is a part-breed. A part-bred sire and
dam also produce a part-breed.
Pari Mutuel : the only type of betting in France. Those who
have bet on the winner of a race share in the total amount wagered on
that race less a percentage for the organisers.
Pedigree : a horse's genealogical tree.
Penetrometer : an instrument used to measure the going. When
dropped onto the track, the deeper it penetrates the soil, the heavier
the going. Measurements are made at a dozen different parts of the track.
The average measurement gives a figure between 1 and 5.5 which characterises
the going (1 = hard, 2 = very firm, 2,5 = firm, 3 = good to firm, 3,5
= good, 4 = good to soft, 4,5 = soft, 5 = soft to heavy, 5,5 = heavy).
Photo finish : all racecourses are equipped with photographic
equipment set up at the finish line to determine the finishing order,
even when two horses seemingly cross the line together. A close finish
is therefore known as a photo finish.
P.M.H : Pari Mutuel Hippodrome (bets placed at the racecourse
P.M.U : Pari Mutuel Urbain (bets placed off-course).
Produce : progeny from a stallion and a brood mare. A brood
mare's first produce is her first foal. A stallion's first produce includes
all his progeny in his first year covering mares. It is sometimes necessary
to wait for a number of foals to be born before judging the quality of
a stallion's produce.
Purse : the amount of prize-money on offer for a race.
- R -
Racegoers : punters and spectators at the racetrack.
Red : in France we say "le rouge est mis" to indicate that
there is a red flag on the board before the race. This means that the
betting is open, and after the race, that the result is now official and
punters can collect their winnings.
Red Roan : a horse with a red and white coat.
Reins: a pair of leather straps used to control the horse, running
from the side of the bit to the hand of the jockey or driver.
Riding boots : what a jockey or a driver wears on his/her
- S -
Saddle : a curved leather seat for the jockey on the horse's
back secured by a girth under the belly.
Silks : the jockey's silk or nylon apparel which sports the
Stallion : a horse used for covering dams (siring).
Stalls : (also called starting-gates) this is where the horses
are placed before the start of a flat race. The stalls are lined up side
by side and all open at the same time.
Starter : checks that all the horses are present at the start.
The track speaker then announces that the horses are "under orders". It
is the starter who decides if the horses get off to a "fair start" or
not. If he decides otherwise, he raises his flag and the flag-bearer positioned
200 metres from the start then raises his flag to indicate to the jockeys
or riders that they have to restart the race.
Steeple-Chase : a race over many different and difficult
obstacles. So called because originally the race took place cross-country
with a church tower serving as a landmark to guide the riders.
Stewards : persons responsible for ensuring the Code is adhered
to on French racecourses.
Stewards' inquiry : the stewards open an inquiry after a
race if they suspect there has been foul play. An inquiry doesn't necessarily
mean the result will be changed. A certain horse could be demoted in the
order, however, or disqualified altogether. An inquiry can also be launched
if a jockey lodges a objection against another jockey.
Stirrups : metal loops on a saddle with a flat footpiece
through which a jockey puts his foot for support.
Stockings : white markings on a horses legs below and above
Stud-Book : this lists the various thoroughbred bloodlines.
In France there is a thoroughbred and a French Trotter Stud-Book.
Stud farm : where breeding takes place. Certain farms in
France are state-owned (intended to improve the various breeds of horse),
others are private. The first state-owned stud farm was built in the 14th
century by Philippe VI at Domfront (Orne).
Study form : to examine how all the horses in a given race
have been performing in an attempt to pick out the winner.
Sulky : the two-wheeled vehicle used in harness racing.
Suspension : a penalty imposed on a jockey forbidding him/her
from racing for a certain period of time. It can be for 4 days (for a
small offence) or a life suspension (for a serious offence).
- T -
Tack :the horses start the race behind the starting tape
which runs across the track at the various starting points. On French
tracks a loudspeaker intones the same countdown instructions before each
The tape is lifted at the count of three. There are four and a half seconds
between the first and second instruction, one and a half seconds between
the second and third, then two half second intervals between the last two.
- get ready
- take your places
Traquenard : an irregular trot, galloping with the hind legs
and trotting with the forelegs.
Trotter : a horse that competes in trotting races. Unlike
flat horses, trotters run in all conditions.
Trotting and harness racing : one of the three kinds of racing
in France. It is a gait in which the diagonally opposed legs of the horse
come down together. Trotting races are generally carried out on cinder
tracks, with on course judges making sure the horses maintain a trotting
gait throughout. Harness racing also requires the horses to maintain a
trotting gait as they are driven by a driver sat on a sulky. Trotters
are generally aged between 3 and 10. Their racing career is a long one,
with many outings enjoyed by the racegoing public. The most famous race
in the trotting calendar is on the last Sunday in January at the Paris-Vincennes
track, when the world's best trotters gather for the Prix d'Amérique over
2,600 metres. The French public also enjoy attending trotting and harness
racing meetings under floodlights.
Turf : what many tracks are made of.
- U -
Under orders : means the horses are waiting in the stalls
or behind the tape for the starter's signal to begin the race.
- V -
Van : a horse box that can transport up to 6 horses.
- W -
Weighing cloth : generally made of felt, it protects the
saddle from the rider's sweat.
Weighing room : where jockeys weigh-in and weigh-out.
Weight : a jockey must weigh-in and out with his saddle,
weighing cloth, girth, surcingle, hunting stock and body protector. The
whip, number cloth and helmet aren't weighed. The rest of the tack (blinkers,
bridle, shoes, etc) don't count in the announced weight.
Whip : a riding crop used to spur a horse on. It cannot be
longer than 1.30m for trotting and 68 cm for flat or jump racing.
Winner : the horse that finishes the race first.
Winning distance : the official distance which separates
the first two horses at the finishing post. The following terms are employed:
dead-heat, nose, head, short head, neck, half a length (of a horse), a
length (1, 2, 3, etc...). In trotting races, the time taken by each horse
to cover the distance is clocked and posted.
- Y -
Yearling : a year-old horse (born the previous year).