Tips, Terms & How-To's

Ready to Make a Bet

Ok, you’ve decided on the pretty gray filly, it’s now time to make that bet. You do not go up to the teller and say “I want to bet $2 to show on that pretty gray filly.” Each horse is assigned a program number. If your horse is the #4 in the second race, your bet would be:

“DEL MAR, Second Race, $2.00 to show on #4”

Some bettors write their bets on that race’s program page in exactly the way they’ll call out the bet to the teller. That way, should it be very hectic — as it often is — when making bets, it’s easy to remember what the actual bet is.

Racing Terms

Age – Every horse celebrates a birthday on January 1, regardless of the actual date of birth.

Two-year-olds only race against other two-year-olds. Three-year-olds normally only compete amongst themselves during the first half of the year then begin to challenge older horses as they gain experience. Many handicappers watch for older horses racing against three-year-olds.

Chalk – When a horse is the favorite — or has the most money bet on it — that horse is termed the “chalk.”

Handle – Amount of money wagered on a single race or a full-day of racing.

Morning Line – A prediction by the Track Line Maker of what the final odds will be based on how the public wagers. The Morning Line is the initial odds in the program.

Post position – The post position is the position from which the horse breaks out of the gate.

Post Time – The time the horses are expected to reach the starting “post”; when a race begins.

Race Types

Stakes and Handicap Races – Del Mar has one of the richest stakes schedules in this country. Graded stakes and handicap races are the highest level of racing and the best horses usually compete in stakes competition.

Overnight Stakes – The main difference between an overnight stakes race and a stakes race is the amount of entry fees a trainer must pay to enter the horse. Overnight stakes do not usually require nomination, entry and starting fees.

Claiming Races – A claiming race means that the horses may be purchased by a qualified, licensed person for the claiming price listed in that race. Many people do not understand why someone would want a horse to be claimed. Just as in other professional sports, not all horses are good enough to be top competitors in stakes level races.

Starter Allowance Races – A horse entered in a starter allowance race cannot be claimed.

Allowance Race – Allowance races are exactly like their name implies. Allowances are made or “conditions are set” in order for the horse to be eligible in that race. Examples of allowance races are: Non-Winners of 2 (races), Non-Winners of 3 (races), Non-Winners of 4 (races). As you can see, each level is more competitive.

Maiden Races – The term “maiden” means non-winner, the horse has never won a race. Some maidens, in fact, have never raced at all (nonstarter). There are two types of maiden races. Generally, the maiden special weight race is the best.

Scratch – When a horse is withdrawn from a race in which it’s scheduled to run. Depending upon the type of wager you’ve placed, you’re entitled to either a refund or your interest will automatically be transferred to the betting favorite.

Tote Board -. The infield graphics board, or tote board, provides the following information: the amount of money wagered on each horse individually in the win, place and show pools, updated odds, fractional and final race times, the results of the preceding race and additional messages including program changes, post time for the upcoming race and the time of day. The tote board is updated frequently. Also see Del Mar’s CyberTote Board on our website.