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6 Sayings You Didn't Know Came from Racing


Thoroughbred Racing has a history stretching back hundreds of years, and has traditions that are still upheld. For example, there's a certain sort of language spoken around a race track. Plenty of terms are thrown around and it can be hard to keep up.

Don't fear - there are some terms used that just about everyone would be familiar with, as they've made their way into our everyday repertoires! 

'On The Home Stretch'

We all need to remind ourselves during some difficult times that we're 'on the home stretch'. This came about in the late 1800s, referring to the final length of a race track. 

'Dark Horse'

Katy Perry wrote a song about them, and it's not uncommon you hear people use the term when referring to someone who is little known but unexpectedly succeeds. 'Dark Horse' was a label for horses the organiers and odd makers weren't familiar with, in particular, the sire and breeding lineage. 

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'Hands Down'

You might remember a time that you won something 'hands down'. The term originated from jockeys who would loosen their hold on the reins of the horse when they knew they were going to win a race.

'Running Mate'

US politics aficianados would be familar with a running mate; the candidate a presidential selects to be their running mate and potential vice president. In thoroughbred racing, a running mate is the horse that runs alongside another to set the pace. 

'Down to the Wire'

It's common to come down to the wire when completing a task you haven't quite got enough time for, but have you ever wondered why a wire? The term originated in tight races, where a thin wire was strung above the finish line to help the official spot the horse that crossed the line first. Thankfully, today we have the power of modern technology to immediatly tell with complete accuray which horse has won a race!

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'Give and Take'

Some may say the key to any success relationship is give and take. You put as much in as you expect returned to you. This one originated in the 1700s, referring to races where heavier horses were given more weight to carry, and lighter horses given less. This was to ensure fairness for all race participants. Now we all know it as a saying that represents fairness and equality.


If you'd like to use your new-found knowledge on the track, head to the Thoroughbred Racing SA website to see the full calendar of events and read more about Thoroughbred Racing in South Australia. 

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