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Ask Dr. Rich
Rich Simons | Upper East 11th Street

Photo illustration Art Olson.  Click on image to enlarge.


Q – My husband and I have just recently moved here from a small town in Iowa. We didn’t have horses there and we certainly didn’t have a racetrack. Can you tell us what all the excitement is about? – g.r.

Space considerations prohibit me from giving you a full tutorial on horses and what is called “The Sport of Kings,” but following is a brief glossary of common terms that should get you started. They are not in any particular order. If that bothers you, feel free to arrange them any way you wish. If it really, really bothers you, you might consider seeking professional help:

fetlock – a security device that attaches to the front door of a stable

paddock – a soft cushion that jockeys like to sit on when they are not in the saddle

backstretch - what race patrons want to do after sitting through six races

stretch run – same as the above, but with a little jogging thrown in

quarter pole – commentary on the ethnicity of some of the jockeys

quinella – thought by some to be a betting term, but actually a means by which generous patrons can make a charitable contribution to the track

pick six – same

superfecta - ditto

where the turf meets the surf – reference to a popular local restaurant where they serve sand crabs on a bed of coastal seagrass

daily double – a special offered by the concession stands at the track. Maybe a beer and popcorn one day for only $15; a coke and a hotdog for $10 the next.

broke her maiden – you should maybe ask your mother/father about this

gallop – an organization that surveys the opinions of bettors

canter – a guy who sings in the synagogue

withers – what my horse always does as soon as it sees the finish line

I regret that I can’t add more to your “equine education” at this time, but hope that the terms above will get you started on years of entertainment here in our city. I just have enough space to pass on to you what we call a “hot betting tip,” which was given to me by a very savvy horse player named Ronny. Ronny says that you can’t go wrong if you always bet on the jockey wearing white pants and black boots.



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