Have you ever heard someone say they had to â€œgoâ€ like a racehorse? Think it was just an odd saying? Well actually, there is some truth and some history behind that.Â
Just for fun, I thought Iâ€™d point out a few expressions thatÂ have seeped into everyday use but originateÂ from horse racing. Some of these are subjective to their actual origins but you’ll get the drift.
The above came about because itâ€™s a healthy habit of a racehorse after a race.Â At the track, the first and second place finishers always go to the test barn to be tested for any performance enhancing products. To do that, a urine test is performed. So often grooms, trainers and vets have to act fast to catch their sample for testing.
Getting a leg up: This comes from jockeys and riders who generally need a little help to swing their leg up and over the horse. (This has often been my job race day.)
Dead ringer: A ringer was a horse substituted for another in order to defraud the bookies. It originated around the end of the 19th century.
Vetting: To vet originally referred to the requirement that a horse be checked for health and soundness by a veterinarian before being allowed to race. Now, the general meaning is “to check”.
Dark Horse: Word is, a Tennessean horse trader mixed a race-bred dark colored horse in with workhorses and would enter into local races and win. People began to say â€œBeware of the dark horseâ€ and it eventually came to be known as one no one knows much about.
Right out of the gate
Chomping at the bit
Down to the wire: Dates back to around 1900 when a wire would literally be stretched across the finish line.
Under the wire
By a nose
Having the inside track: In longer races, having the inside is, of course, the best as it is the shortest route to a finish line.
Homestretch: It refers to the last stretch of a race
Jockey for a position: The jockeys have to find the right place to move up in a race, their main job is to help guide the horse.
Hit your stride: Horses should run on the right â€œledeâ€ or be using the correct stride to run best.
Neck and neck
Across the board: A bet on a horse to win, place or show.
Closer: A horse that runs best in the latter part of the race
Off and running
Upset: The term as it is used now has long been attributed to the only loss by Man oâ€™ War (One of the greatest racehorses ever. Once more popular and beloved than Secretariat.) The only horse to beat Man oâ€™War was called Upset around 1920.