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Horse Racing Terms – The "S" List
Saddle: Thoroughbred racing saddle weighing less than two pounds.
Saddle cloth (pad): Cotton cloth that goes under the saddle to absorb sweat that usually shows the horse’s program number; piece of felt, sheepskin or foam rubber used as a base for the saddle.
Scale of weights: Fixed weights to be carried by horses according to their age, sex, race distance and time of year.
Schooling: Process of familiarizing a horse with the starting gate and teaching racing practices; may also involve being schooled in the paddock.
Scratch: To be taken out of a race before it starts. Trainers usually scratch horses due to adverse health or track conditions while the track veterinarian can do so at any time.
Second dam: Grandmother of a horse; also known as a granddam.
Set down: Jockey suspended for a number of days for racing infractions.
Sex allowance: Female horses, fillies and mares, according to age and time of year allowed to carry three to five pounds less when meeting males.
Shadow roll: Usually a sheepskin roll secured over bridge of a horse’s nose to keep animal from seeing shadows on the track and shying away from or jumping them.
Shedrow: Stable area; row of barns.
Short: Horse in need of more work; racing to reach winning form.
Show (bet): Third position at the finish; wager on horse to finish in the money.
Shut off: Unable to improve position due to being surrounded by other horses.
Silks: Jacket and cap worn by riders to designate owner of the horse or at some smaller tracks to designate post positions.
Simulcast: A simultaneous live television transmission of a race to other tracks, off-track betting offices or other outlets for the purpose of wagering.
Sire: Male parent; to beget foals.
Sloppy (track): Racing surface saturated with water; with standing water visible.
Slow (track): Racing strip wet on both the surface and base.
Socks: Solid white markings extending from top of the hoof to ankles.
Soft (track): Condition of a turf course with a large amount of moisture that has horses sinking very deeply into it.
Sophomores: Three-year-old horses named for their second year of racing eligibility.
Speed figure: Handicapping tool used to assign a numerical value to a horse’s performance.
Spit the bit: Term referring to tired horse that begins to run less aggressively, backing off on the pull a rider normally feels on the reins from an eager horse.
Sprint: Short race less than a mile.
Stakes: Race for which the owner usually must pay a fee to run a horse. Fees can be for nominating, maintaining eligibility, entering and starting, to which the track adds more money to make up the total purse.
Stakes horse: Runner whose level of competition includes mostly stakes races.
Star: Any number of white markings on the forehead.
Starter: Official responsible for ensuring fair start to a race who supervises loading of horses into starting gate through a gate crew and has control of opening gate; a horse in starting gate when the race begins, whether he runs or not.
Starter race: Allowance or handicap race restricted to horses that have started for a specific claiming price or less.
Starting gate: Partitioned mechanical device having stalls in which horses are confined until the starter releases front doors to begin the race.
State-bred: Horse bred in a particular state and eligible to compete in races restricted to state-breds.
Stayer: Horse that can race long distances.
Steadied: Horse taken in hand by rider usually because of racing in close quarters.
Step up: Horse moving up in class to meet better competition.
Stewards: Officials of a meeting responsible for enforcing rules of racing.
Steeplechase: Race in which horses are required to jump over a series of obstacles on the course.
Stockings: Solid white markings extending from the top of the hoof to the knee or hock.
Stretch (turn): Final straight portion of the track to the finish; bend of track into final straightaway.
Stretch call (runner): Position of horses at eighth pole: l; horse that runs fastest nearing finish line.
Stride: Manner of going: distance covered between successive imprints of the same hoof.
Stripe: White marking running down a horse’s face starting under an imaginary line connecting tops of the eyes.
Stud: Male horse used for breeding; a breeding farm.
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Here are some other handy links to the major races that you may fine valuable through out the year. We also have updated event pages for all major races. Check out our home page on the left navigation bar under the handicapping resources section during all major horse racing events. (Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes and Breeders Cup)
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