Owner Handbook: Definitions of Common Condition Book Terms

TOC Owner Handbook

Definitions of Common Condition Book Terms


The person who enters a horse in a stakes race. (The owner at time of entry pays the “nominating” fee. If ownership has changed since nomination, the current owner collects the purse).

By Subscription

Designates that an entry fee is required.


A horse foaled in California (please see chapter on Organizations, sections on “California Thoroughbred Breeders Association” for details).


A horse of any age (or sex) that has never won a race in any recognized jurisdiction, meaning any meet covered by The Daily Racing Form or its equivalent.


Female horses 2, 3 or 4 years old; indicated on forms with a lower-case “f.”


Female horses that have turned 5 (as of January 1 from the year of their birth);indicated on forms with lower-case “m.”


Male horses (not gelded) 2, 3 or 4 years old; indicated on forms with lower-case “c.”


Males that have turned 5 (as of January 1 from the year of their birth);indicated on forms with lower-case “h.”


Male horses (over 2 years) that have been castrated. These are indicated on forms by the notation “g.”


Male horses that have one or both testicles undescended, or that have (for whatever reason) only one testicle.

Gray or Roan

White with black hairs or white with red hairs, respectively. (Abbreviations in programs and on forms are “Gr.” or “Ro.”).


Brown coat, with a darker-brown or black mane (abbreviation indicated by “B”).


A horse with a black coat, mane and tail (indicated by abbreviation “Blk”).


Darker brown than Bay (usually mane, tail and coat are uniform color). Indication is “B.” or sometimes “Dkb.” – i.e., dark brown.


A reddish, or copper-colored horse (indicated by “Ch.”).


Horses that specialize in short races (4-½ to 7-½ furlongs).

Route Horses

Horses that specialize in longer races (one mile or more), generally covering two turns or more on the track.

Turf Horses

Horses that specialize in races on grass tracks.

The Chronology of Entering

(Owners, unless they are owner-trainers, are rarely involved in this process, so the following is not essential reading!)


The official submissions by trainers, which take up place 48 hours (beginning at 7 a.m.) before the day the race in question will be run. (Note that stakes and handicap races require a much longer lead-time). Since the tracks are generally closed at least one day a week, you must mentally “back up” the entry date for a race being run on the day the meet resumes to the last racing day at the track.

Before any entry can be made, the specific horse must be registered with the Clerk of the Course (in the Racing Office), and its foal registration papers from The Jockey Club must be on file in the Racing Office.

Each entry must be accompanied by a form, filled out by your trainer, stating the name of the owner (or partnership, farm or stable), the silks the horse will be running under, the name of the trainer, and which jockey is set to ride the mount – as well as the horse’s name, age, sex, color and parentage. The trainer must also specify if a horse runs with Lasix, if it has been gelded since its last race, and if it will be running with blinkers on or off.

The Card

Once all entries have been checked and processed, the Racing Secretary (in conjunction with the TOC) determines which races – and their accompanying purses – will be used to make up a day’s program or “card.” He then determines “the set,” meaning the order in which the races will be run on that day.

The Final

This is the announcement – usually about 9:00 a.m. on a race day – of all the accumulated, confirmed entries for the day’s written races. For any races that can accommodate more horses, entries will continue to be taken until about 10:30 a.m. when, at last, The Draw is held.


If a race over-fills with entries, the actual starters will be chosen based on “preference conditions.” Depending on how the race has been written (see related wording in Condition Book), a given horse may be “preferred” based on races previously run or on the class in which the horse most recently competed. Most often, preference will be based on the “date system,” meaning that the horse, which has started most recently is the least “preferred.”

Also Eligible

A mount on the “waiting list” for any given race. In the event that a horse entered in that race is declared (“scratched”), or withdrawn due to condition entry, a drawing by lot will determine which “also eligible” horse gains entry to the race.

Unfilled Races

In the case of claiming races fewer than eight entries will constitute an unfilled race; in the case of allowance races, fewer than seven entries will constitute an unfilled race. When a race written in the Condition Book fails to fill the day it’s published, that unfilled race may show up the next day as an “Extra” race.


A Substitute race for which entries are actually taken and which might be used if other races do not “fill.”

The Draw

When the “final” is announced, jockeys’ agents, trainers and often owners assemble to witness the drawing of post positions. Usually, a steward will be present at the draw to monitor the procedure and resolve any disputes that may arise. A member of the Racing Office staff will coordinate the draw, utilizing a “bonafide horseman” – i.e., trainer, jockeys’ agent or owner – to select the numbered “pills” which represent post positions. (Here too is where horses are selected, if not by “preference,” then by lot, if the race is over-subscribed).


These are the true “finals,” which list all the races, horses, as well as all extras for the next day. On any day entries are taken, this is the final word. As soon as the overnights are published (usually by midday), the sheet is available from the office of the Racing Secretary.

A word of caution:

If you and/or your trainer decide to scratch your horse from a race, the scratch must be submitted – with a full explanation, usually medical – no later than the morning before the scheduled race day (this varies slightly by track). A scratch by your trainer from a race with eight horses or fewer (at some tracks, and for some races, the number is 10 or fewer) means automatic inspection by the State Vet for the illness or injury you are claiming, and automatic placement of your horse on the Vets List. If the reason you give is injury, the horse will be on the Vets List for three days; if the reason is illness, the time will be five days – and during those days, the horse will be ineligible to be entered in a race in California until the waiting time is over and the horse has passed inspection. (Please see chapter on “Stewards…Vets List”).

Note: Every meet’s Condition Book contains a list of a salient rules and regulations applicable to that particular track, and warrants a careful reading by you and your trainer.