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Horse Wagering Terms A-C

Racebook Terms

The following is a list of common horse wagering terms. If you have questions, please visit our Help section or FAQs page.

Across The Board (ATB)
Choosing the same horse to win, place and show in a single race. The total wager costs three times a single bet. If the horse wins, the player collects on all three wagers. If it places second, the player collects on the place and show bets. If it finishes third, the player collects only the show bet.
Also-Ran
A horse that finishes out of the money, that doesn’t win, place or show.
Apron
An area located next to the racetrack where players may watch racing up close and in person. A fence line separates the apron from the actual racing surface.
Backstretch
The area of the racetrack opposite the finish line. At most tracks, it is the area that crosses in front of the tote board.
Backer
A person or group of persons who provides the bankroll to a horseplayer but remain behind the scenes. 
Bad Beat
A tough, unforeseen loss.  A situation when the favored horse loses by a nose, or a horseplayer loses his bet after seemingly having it won.
Bankroll
The total available wagering funds held by a horseplayer.
Best Bet
The horse selected by a handicapper to win an individual race.  Can also be the best selection in a single race on a single card on a particular day.
Bet
The amount of money a player voluntarily risks on a horse to win, place or show, or in an exotic wager.
Bettor
A person who wagers horse races. A bettor is also called a horseplayer or horse bettor in the US, or punter in the UK.
Bet Spread
The ratio between the maximum and minimum bet size. A player who uses $50 maximum bets and $5 minimum bets is using a 10:1 bet spread.
Betting Limit
The set minimum and/or maximum amount of money that the horseplayer can wager on a single bet. For example:  the minimum betting limit to place onto a horse to win is $2.
Blow Back
A loss of gains/profit after enjoying a plus in the win column.
Book
A sportsbook or betting establishment that sets odds and accepts wagers on the outcome of horse races. Often times, the book is referred to as the racebook.
Bookie
A short term for bookmaker, i.e., the person or shop accepting horse racing wagers.
Bookmaker
A person who is licensed to accept wagers on the outcome of horse races. Such wagers are based on odds provided to the horseplayer by the individual racetrack odds makers and change according to individual betting pools. The equivalent term commonly used in the US is racebook.
Break-Even Point
The point at which a player's bets approximately equal to the payoffs received.
Bridge-Jumper
A player in the US who specializes in large show bets on odds-on favorites in a horse race.  The term refers to the fact that, should the bet lose, the person who made the wager will jump off of a bridge.
Call
The position of each horse, relative to the other horses, at specific points on the track during a race.
Chalk
The favorite in an individual horse race.
Chalk-Eater/Chalk-Player
A player who tends to wager only on favorites and rarely on longshots.
Chart
A record of each race showing finish, calls, odds and comments describing the performance of each runner. The chart is considered a useful statistical aid to handicappers for studying the past performance of each racing horse.
Chartwriter
A statistician who compiles records and writes comments describing the performance of each horse or player.
Clocker
The individual or individuals that time horse workouts in the morning at racetracks.
Close
The final odds given on a race before it begins. Also referred to in the UK as the Starting Price.
Crow's Nest
A high vantage point where the racetrack announcer, judges and other officials sit to observe the races.

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