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Harness Racing Terms

Age - Every horse shares a "birthday" of January first. A horse becomes one year old on the first of January after he or she is born, and turns two one year later -- regardless the actual date of his or her birth.

Break - When a horse gallops, instead of trotting or pacing, it's on a break. The driver must get the horse out of the way of the others, must not improve their position, and must attempt to get the horse back on its proper gait. A horse is not automatically disqualified by making a break.

Colt - A male horse, age three or under. Filly - A female horse, age three or under.

First-Over - A horse racing on the outside without another horse directly in front of him or her. A foreshortening of of the phrase "first overland."

Foal - A newly-born horse. (verb) The act of giving birth.

Gelding - A desexed horse of any age.

Green Horse - A horse that has not raced, or has raced only a few times.

Horse - A male horse, age four and up.

Maiden - A horse (male or female) who has never won a racing purse.

Mare - A female horse, age four and up.

Parked-out - A horse racing on the outside with at least one horse between him and the inside rail or barrier.

Purse - The cash prize won by the owner. The purse is usually paid to the first five finishers; 50% is paid to the winner, 25% for place, 12% for third, 8% for fourth, and 5% for fifth.

Purse - Prize money earned for winning a race.

Qualifying Race - A race without a purse or betting used to determine a horse's ability and manners. Horses who have made repeated breaks in stride or have been away from the races for a long period of time must race in a qualifying race before being allowed to race in a betting race.

Scratch - A horse who is withdrawn before the race starts.

Sire - The male parent of a horse.

Trainer - The person responsible for keeping a horse in top racing condition. In harness racing the trainer is often the driver.

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