Horse Racing’s Language Lost in Translation

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copyright AgameofSkill.com 2016 A while back Amanda Duckworth wrote an excellent piece for ESPN entitled “Word Play” that raised an important issue for those of us in the horse racing industry:

It was at this moment in time last week when I was approached by a woman who was astonished I knew how to read a [sales] catalog page. As the days have passed, I keep returning to our conversation because it highlighted a long standing issue: is horse racing’s vernacular keeping fans away?

Although all sports have their own terminology, horse racing takes things to another level. Take a gander at just a few of these words that a novice might hear on their first trip to the track.

Claiming races

Furlongs

Lasix

“Sheets”

Bug boys

Starter allowance

Maiden Special Weights

7/5 odds

Super Hi-5

Place Pick All

What comes second nature to most of us handicappers is like a foreign language to the overwhelming majority of the public.  I know this isn’t the first time this has been addressed, but it’s an important issue that I truly believe does keep potential fans away.

Maybe every entrant into every racetrack in America should have the opportunity to pick up a flyer that addresses the basic terms used and what they mean.  Education creates fans and we’re not doing nearly enough.

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 15-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 twice. He cashed on the NHC Tour for 2018 with a 19th overall finish. Rich was also a winner of a $24,000 package into Kentucky Derby Betting Championship I. A former executive with Brisnet.com, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of AGameofSkill.com, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

Comments

  1. Program kind of does this…………no?

  2. There is a defininitions section in the program at most tracks…has been for years

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