Horse Racing’s Language Lost in Translation

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.