Preakness Celebration is a weeklong festival of block parties, carnival rides, food and live entertainment. And then there's the horse race. But you don't have to be a professional gambler to have fun at the track or sound smart at a party. Here's a guide to racing for clueless bettors everywhere:
PLACING A BET
(Tip: Read this before you begin, or you'll annoy the clerk at the betting window.) You can bet any number of ways, including complex bets like the Exacta Box and the Trifecta, which require a bettor to make a wager on multiple horses. But for beginners, you may want to stick to the basics.
* According to www.horse-smart.com, "straight wagers" are bets that you make on a single horse. For example, you can bet on a horse to win, place or show.
* Betting to "win" means that you think a specific horse will come in first.
* Betting to "place" means that you are gambling money on that horse to place first or second.
* And betting to "show" means the horse you picked can come in first, second or third.
* If you place equal win, place and show bets on a single horse, you are betting "across the board."
Use these terms at Preakness, and everyone will think you're a pro.
* Blinkers: Eye cups that limit a horse's vision to prevent it from shying from other horses or objects.
* Fast track: Best type of track condition; dry and even.
* Longshot: A horse that is not expected to win. (It may result in a high payoff if it does win, though.)
* Nose: The smallest winning margin at the finish.
* Post time: The start time of a race.
* Scratch: The withdrawal of a horse from a race.
* Silks: The uniforms worn by the jockeys. The design and colors represent the owner of the horse.
* Stretch: The straight part of a race course.
* Thoroughbred: A horse bred for racing that has lineage traceable to one of three original sires, Darley Arabian, Godolphin Arabian and Byerly Turk.
Compiled from www. horse-smart.com / definitions.htm
For more on Preakness, look for The Sun's special May 17 race day section or visit www.sunspot.net / preakness