At the Thoroughbred Racing Track

When you go to the track, there’s this document that they provide. It gives you the information you need about the day’s races-- the horses’ names and starting positions, morning line odds, past performances, etc. What is that document called? The day’s program? And what does it cost (or is it free)?

I think what you are looking at is called the Daily Racing Form or the Race Program. They have different levels of information but include the basics. Every track should have something, I have no idea who charges what.

Do a Google image search for either phrase and you’ll get several examples.

The Official Program gives the named of the horses in the race card, as well as the jockey, trainer, owner, post position, weight, morning line odds, silk color, horse color, sire, dam, and other basic information. It is published by the track.

The Daily Racing Form is a newspaper published by an outside company and sold at the track. It has the same basic information about the horses as the program (though the Official Program includes some late changes), but also has past performance information. You can see the last ten or so races run by each horse. It is the essential tool for handicappers, as it lets you see at a glance much of what you need to know to evaluate the chances of each horse in each race.

There are also tip sheets. There are usually one-page guides to the races telling you who the tipster thinks will win. They’re usually hawked outside the track. Most of them will tell you how many winners they had the previous day, though the word “winner” is a bit misleading: often the touts will pick a first choice, second choice, third choice, and “saver.” If any of those four win, they count it as a winner.