Knowing these terms will help you understand and follow steeplechase
Allowance: A race restricted to horses with certain
records. Example: A "non-winners of two" allowance is open only
to horses with one victory or less.
Apprentice: A relatively inexperienced jockey. The
National Steeplechase Association gives apprentice jockeys the
following weight allowances (deductions): Non-winners of one
race, 10 pounds; non-winners of five races, seven pounds; non-winners
of 10 races, five pounds. Riders must be at least 16 years old
before obtaining a license.
Claiming: Certain races are designated as claiming
races, where a horse may be purchased, or claimed. The claim
is made and money put up before the race is run, and the purchase
must go through, no matter where the horse finishes.
Furlong: The standard measure in U.S. racing. One furlong
equals one eighth of a mile.
Handicap: A race in which the horses are assigned different
amounts of weight to carry, according to their respective abilities
and past performances. In theory, the purpose is to have all
horses reach the finish line at the same time.
Maiden: A horse that has never won a race. National
Fence: A synthetic steeplechase fence used at most stops in
the U.S. Consists of a steel frame stuffed with plastic "brush"
and standing 54 inches high. A foam-rubber roll, covered with
green canvas, is placed on the takeoff side. Horses jump the
fence in stride, much like human hurdlers in track and field
Novice: A horse in the early stages of its steeplechase
career. Novice races are held at many meets, to give horses
experience over hurdles before they compete with more-seasoned
National Steeplechase Association: The NSA, founded
in 1895, is the governing body for steeplechase racing in the
United States. Based in Fair Hill, MD, the NSA sanctions, takes
entries, approves officials, and inspects courses. The NSA licenses
all participants and keeps official statistics.
Paddock: Area where horses are saddled before a race.
Purse: Total money distributed in a race. Winner usually
collects 60 percent of total purse, with shares paid to fifth
Stakes: An open race which any horse can enter. Usually
attracts most-talented horses. NSA requires purse of at least
Stewards: Presiding judges or officials at a race meet.
They have final decision on all matters pertaining to a race.
They may levy fines on owners, trainers, or jockeys who violate
the rules of racing. Typical rulings include disqualification
of horses who interfere with others in a race. Each race meet
has three stewards.
Timber fence: Natural, wooden fence constructed of
boards, logs or posts and rails. Timber races are held as part
of many race meets.
Wings: The panels on either side of a steeplechase
fence which are designed to guide a horse to a fence.