Track & Field / Horse Racing Idioms

Track and field events have an ancient history dating at least from the Olympics held in Greece two thousand years ago. Track and field sports include a variety of running, jumping and throwing contests,which take place on an oval track surrounding the field events area.

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There are two basic types of horse racing, flat racing and races where the horses jump over fences and other obstacles. Races vary according to distance, terrain or ground surface, type of horse, prize money and weighting system. Horses may be ridden by a rider or driven by a driver in a variety of vehicles. Races begin at a starting gate, a starting stall, or by someone waving a flag or lifting a wire. The first horse past the finish post is the winner. If two or more horses finish together, a judge decides which horses nose passed the post first.

Horse racing was one of the first sporting events and betting on horses one of the first forms of gambling in the United States. As early as 1740 horses were being imported from England by colonists for breeding purposes. On southern plantations blacks were used as jockeys by their slave owners. The War of Independence against England slowed the growth of the sport, but never stopped it. Horse racing is popular in the United States today as well in the rest of the world. Because horses have been used for transportation, recreation and racing, there are many idioms associated with their use.

Shrink

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
Track sports: The bar set for hurdles, high jumps, or pole vaulting is set high and higher for the runners or jumpers as the meets progress and the competition gets more difficult.
Sentence 1
The record for pole vaulting was set at Donetsk by Renaud Lavillenie. The bar was at 6.16 meters.
Meaning 2
The lowest bar set is the least restrictive and the least difficult.
Sentence 2
"The Corwyn (gun) bill would set a national bar at the lowest denominator."

Derivation

Track sports.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to start with an advantage, a head before the other runners
Sentence 1
They gave him a head start, because he was so little.
Meaning 2
to begin early
Sentence 2
We have a head start, because they faxed their contract to us and mailed it to the others.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
racing bets where one bets that the same competitor will place in first, second and third
Sentence 1
Let's bet across the board on American Pharoah.
Meaning 2
equally for everyone, everyone gets the same
Sentence 2
The new president will ask for resignations across the board.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to compete in sports in a timed event or against another competitor's time
Sentence 1
She's running against the clock and has only two seconds to better Cindy's time for first place.
Meaning 2
to be in a hurry to meet a deadline or time for completion of something
Sentence 2
I'm running against the clock here on this project. The architectural drawings are due next week.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
a horse which no one thinks will win but does
Sentence 1
The odds on the dark horse were ten to one, but he won.
Meaning 2
a person or company no one thinks will win but does.
Sentence 2
President Truman was the dark horse in the 1948 election.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
referred to the wire used to mark the end of a race; now the wires are electronic
Sentence 1
They were neck and neck down to the wire.
Meaning 2
the last few minutes before something must be accomplished
Sentence 2
I'll have to stay late tomorrow to get this finished. I'm down to the wire on the proposal.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
from the starting line for a race
Sentence 1
Her time from scratch to finish in the mile was just over four minutes.
Meaning 2
from the beginning
Sentence 2
I need you to work on this legal brief from scratch.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to compete for money
Sentence 1
That horse will give the crowd a run for it's money.
Meaning 2
to do the best one can in a competitive situation
Sentence 2
We'll give our competitor a run for their money. I think we can make the best computer peripheral.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
the horse is running its fastest
Sentence 1
That horse hit its stride at the second turn.
Meaning 2
to do one's best
Sentence 2
He's finally hit his stride and is doing his job well.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
in the final part of a race track between the last turn and the finish line
Sentence 1
The favorite horse was ahead by two lengths going into the stretch.
Meaning 2
in the final stages of an event, such as a business or political campaign
Sentence 2
Although the Democrats were ahead in the political campaign in August, the Republicans moved ahead in the stretch.