Monday, December 22, 2014

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Spectators Get a Vocabulary Lesson Before Next Week's Race at Belmont Park

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California Chrome is getting ready for the big race, but spectators who want to follow along will need to know some unusual vocabulary. NY1's Bree Driscoll filed the following report.

Overhear a conversation at the track and you might just think you are listening to a different language—the sport is chock full of some pretty unique terms.

We decided to give spectators a little quiz on some words used at the track. Since we are about to learn a lot, lets start with schooling. What does that mean?

"Training after the first year," says one spectator.

"I would say that is when they train the horses by running around," another says.

Close. Actually, it means getting a horse accustomed to starting from the gate; teaching racing practices.

How about the so-called "morning line?"

"No. The line to get in. I have no idea what that is," says one person.

"The horses that warm up in the morning," another says.

Nope. It is the approximate odds quoted before wagering determines exact odds.

The Belmont stakes is one of the longer races at 12 furlongs. But just how long is that?

"A furlong: 200 meters and that is 400 feet. I think it is 400 feet," says a jockey.

The answer may surprise you. A furlong is one-eighth of a mile; 220 yards or 660 feet.

Moving on to the horses. What if a horse is washy? What does that mean?

"I would have guessed what they scrub them down with. But I don't believe that's correct," says one spectator.

"A washy is when a horse is washed out. It is sweating heavily. Like me after I run a half a block," another says.

That's right—a horse breaking out in nervous sweat before a race.

A horse's height is actually measured in hands from its hooves to its withers.

Since all our hands are different sizes exactly how big is one hand?

"Yeah a man hand. So about 8 inches," one woman says.

"Probably 12 inches. Yeah, where is a guy?" says another.

A hand is just 4 inches. A shock to some of our players.

So after our little schooling session you will know how to sound like a pro at the track, but how to pick a winner...that's a whole other lesson. ClientIP:,, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP