How to Read A Horse Racing Program?- 6 Steps

how to read a horse racing program

Betting on a horse race can be an exciting and potentially lucrative experience, but those new to the game must understand the basics before risking any hard-earned money. A good way to learn how to place smart bets is first to understand how to read a thoroughbred horse racing program.

This program contains all the information you need about the upcoming race, including which horses are running, their past performances, and detailed information about each jockey. Analyze a horse racing program to make better betting choices.

An easy way to learn how to read a thoroughbred horse racing program is first to observe what type of information it contains. Horse names, owners, and jockeys will all be listed. For each horse, there will also be important statistics such as past wins or losses in similar races and other pertinent information like post positions or raced distance. That way you can win the beat and go home with a dozen-dollar dig into learning the step-by-step guide.

How to Read A Horse Racing Program?

Reading a horse racing program can be a challenging task for those who are unfamiliar with the sport. Horse racing programs provide detailed information about upcoming races, past performances, and handicapping information to help you make informed decisions about which horses to bet on. This guide will show you how to read a horse racing program in order to better understand the details of each race and make educated wagers.

Step 1: Reviewing Race Information

Reading a horse racing program can be overwhelming for newcomers to the sport. However, with some practice and knowledge of the basics, you will soon become comfortable with the format and language used. The first step in reading a horse racing program is to review the race information at the top of each page. This includes details about the track, type of race, purse size (the amount of money awarded to the winning horse), and number of entrants.

Step 3: Reviewing Past Races

When you have a thorough understanding of the basic information contained in a horse racing program, it is time to start reviewing past races. This will provide detailed insight into each runner’s performance and give you an idea of who may be best suited for the race. Check the records section of the program to find out where each horse has raced recently, their placings, and any comments on their performance.

Step 4: Using the Racing Form to Win

Step 4 of reading a horse racing program is to use the Racing Form to make informed decisions about which horses have the best chance of winning. The Racing Form contains essential information such as the horse’s recent performance records, past race times, and jockey experience. It also includes details about the track conditions and weather for that particular day. All this information can help you make an educated bet on who will win the race.

Step 5: Analyzing Horse Information

Next, take a look at the information provided for each horse in the race. This includes their name, trainer, jockey, post position (starting spot), and odds. You should also review their past performance record to get an idea of how they have performed in similar races. By analyzing this information, you can begin to determine which horses may be the most likely winners.

Step 6: Examining Handicapping Factors

Lastly, review any handicapping factors listed in the racing program. This includes information such as the horse’s speed ratings, ability to handle different track surfaces, and other variables that can impact a race. By examining this data, you can make more informed decisions about which horses may have an edge in the upcoming race.

Now that you have a better idea of how to read a horse racing program, you can start placing smarter bets and increasing your chances of success at the track. Just remember to always do your research before committing any money to a wager, as no one can guarantee the outcome of a race. Good luck.

What Do Those Symbols Mean in Horse Racing?

When reading a horse racing program, knowing the meaning of the various symbols used can help you to better understand what you’re looking at and how it applies to your bet. These symbols are usually located either directly above or below the horses’ names on the program and can provide invaluable information when trying to make an informed betting decision.

The first symbol is the jockey silk, which is a small colored image of the jockey’s uniform. This can help you to identify the horse and rider quickly in the program.

The second symbol is the race number, which is assigned to each race for that day. You should pay attention to this when looking at past races as it will tell you how many times the horse has run in that particular race before.

The next symbol to look for is the horse’s weight, which indicates the amount of weight each horse must carry during the race. This number is important as it can affect a horse’s performance, so take this into account when looking at past races. Additionally, you may see a “d” or an “m” next to the weight designation.

What Does Those Codes Mean in Horse Racing?

Horse racing programs contain a lot of codes and terms that can be confusing to newcomers. Knowing what these codes mean is essential for understanding the program and identifying potentially profitable opportunities. Here are some of the common codes you’ll find in a horse racing program:

  1. PP (Past Performances): PP refers to the past performance of a horse in previous races. It typically includes information such as the date, track, race number, distance, track condition, finishing position, and the horse’s performance in previous races.
  2. CD (Course and Distance): CD indicates that a horse has won a race at the same track and distance as the current race. It implies that the horse has previous success under similar conditions.
  3. DNF (Did Not Finish): DNF is used when a horse did not complete a race due to reasons such as injury, fatigue, or disqualification. It means the horse was unable to finish the race.
  4. DSQ (Disqualified): DSQ indicates that a horse was disqualified from a race due to a rules violation. The horse may have impeded another horse, taken an incorrect path, or committed another infraction, leading to its disqualification.
  5. NR (Non-Runner): NR is used when a horse is declared a non-runner, meaning it was withdrawn from the race before it started. This could be due to various reasons, such as injury, illness, or a change in strategy.
  6. LFT (Left at the gate): LFT means that a horse failed to start the race as it did not leave the starting gate. It usually occurs due to issues with the horse or rider at the moment of the start.
  7. PU (Pulled Up): PU indicates that the jockey decided to pull up the horse during the race. This could be due to the horse’s poor performance, fatigue, or an injury concern.
  8. UP (Unseated Rider): UP is used when the jockey is unseated from the horse during the race. It implies that the rider fell off the horse and was unable to complete the race.

These codes are commonly found in horse racing programs or past performance charts, providing valuable information to bettors, analysts, and fans to assess a horse’s form, track record, and potential in a race.

how to read a horse racing program


Where Can I See Horse Previous Performance?

Studying a horse’s past performance is an important factor to consider when picking out a horse for racing. Examining the horse’s previous races and the conditions they have raced in before, can provide insight into how they will fare at the current race. This information can be found in the horse racing program where lifetime records as well as their performance in each race are provided.

These records consist of data such as the abbreviated track name and race number, race name, along with the condition of the track during each event (which includes soft, good, and firm). Knowing this information about a horse’s past performance can give valuable information as to how well they may perform at their current race, making it an essential part of choosing which horses to wager on.

A deeper look into a horse’s record beyond just its wins and losses will lend even more insight that could aid in improving wagers. Reviewing their starts per month or the position and odds of their last races can help to identify if there has been significant improvement or decline since that most recent event. The longer streaks (whether either win or loss) could also signify something needs to be looked into further lest bets are to be placed poorly.

What Things to Keep In Mind While Beating on Horse?

Horse betting is both a thrilling and challenging endeavor. It requires intimate knowledge of the track, horses, jockeys, and trainers, as well as a bit of luck. To better enable one’s chances for success, it’s important to have a strategy in place and utilize the data provided in each race program to the best of your ability.

A majority of the information in an average horse racing program pertains to horse names, and silks (or colors) that the jockeys wear when riding. Knowing track data like surface, distance, weather, and history can improve betting decisions.

Betting on multiple horses in various races also helps increase your chances of success due to the varied variables that exist with each individual event or race. Once you are aware of all the information available it’s easier to make informed decisions on which beasts will most likely Win, Place, or Show at any given time.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What does it mean when a horse has a high number in its past performances?

A high number in a horse’s past performances simply represents the finishing position of the horse in previous races. It does not imply a better or worse performance. The higher the number, the farther back the horse finished in the race.

2. How do I interpret the abbreviations in the past performances section?

Abbreviations in the past performances section are used to represent various information. For example, “1st” indicates the horse finished first, “2nd” indicates second place, and so on. You can refer to the program’s legend or key to understand the specific abbreviations used.

3. What does it mean when a horse has a series of numbers or letters in its past performances?

A series of numbers or letters in a horse’s past performances often indicates the specific details of its performance. For example, “1-3-2” would mean the horse finished first, then third, and then second in its three most recent races. “LFT” may indicate that the horse left at the gate and did not start the race.

4. How do I assess a jockey’s influence on a horse’s performance?

To assess a jockey’s influence, consider their win percentage, experience, and recent form. Experienced and successful jockeys often have a good understanding of race strategy and can guide horses to optimal positions. A jockey’s previous success at the track or with a specific trainer may also be a positive indicator.

5. What should I look for in a trainer’s record?

When evaluating a trainer’s record, consider their win percentage, recent performance, and the types of races they excel in. A trainer with a high win percentage and consistent success indicates their ability to prepare horses for races. Additionally, trainers who have achieved success at the specific track or with similar race conditions may have an advantage.


Reading a horse racing program is an essential part of making informed betting decisions. Understanding the data available and how to interpret it can help you make more informed bets, increasing your chances of success. It is important to keep in mind that no system or strategy guarantees a win and that risk management is key in any form of gambling.



  • Michael M. Gibson

    Michael M. Gibson, the brilliant mind behind, is a sports aficionado who brings passion and expertise to every article. With insightful analysis and captivating writing, he fuels the enthusiasm of sports fans worldwide, fostering a community of like-minded individuals who share his unwavering love for all things athletic.

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