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
to begin before the official starts the race
Sentence 1
He jumped the gun and will have to start again.
Meaning 2
to begin too soon
Sentence 2
Please don't jump the gun and begin to prepare the budget until all the figures are here.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
The horses are running together
Sentence 1
They were running neck and neck in the stretch.
Meaning 2
to be an even race
Sentence 2
Who are the best students? Jim and Jane are neck and neck. They both get straight "A"s.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
moving at the start
Sentence 1
The sailboats were off to a running start as they passed the buoys.
Meaning 2
a good start on something
Sentence 2
Good outline. You're off to a running start on that essay.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to give the baton, a hollow cylinder of about twelve inches, to the next runner in a relay race
Sentence 1
He finished his lap and passed the baton to the next runner.
Meaning 2
to continue the task
Sentence 2
The older generation is passing the baton to the younger generation.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to move in a particular way, usually with speed, along a measured course
Sentence 1
The harness horse was put through its paces.
Meaning 2
to show someone or something how to do something according to a predetermined standard
Sentence 2
Please put the new secretary through the paces and show her the routines.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to run or compete in a timed event (same as against the clock)
Sentence 1
The horse raced against his previous time on the track.
Meaning 2
to hurry to meet a deadline
Sentence 2
We better race against time. The copy for the newspaper is due at four o'clock.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
Track and Field Sports: Raising the bar for high jumpers, for horses, or for track runners makes it more difficult. Lowering the bar makes it easier.
Sentence 1
The horses have to work harder jumping over those new bar heights.
Meaning 2
To make the job or decisions more difficult
Sentence 2
The Supreme Court raised the bar in a decision making it more difficult to show worker discrimination.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to ride a horse with rough shoes on its hooves over something
Sentence 1
The cowboys rode roughshod over the trail in order to get the cattle to market on time.
Meaning 2
to treat someone poorly
Sentence 2
Please don't ride roughshod on the new employee. Be nice.

Derivation

When cowboys took cattle a long distance to market the shoes on their horses became rough and would tear up the trail.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be riding fast and/or dangerously
Sentence 1
He's riding for a fall in the steeplechase.
Meaning 2
to risk an accident or failure
Sentence 2
He's riding for a fall putting all his money in high risk stocks.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to be second
Sentence 1
She was runner-up in the hurdles.
Meaning 2
to be second in any competition
Sentence 2
We were runner-up in that ad campaign. We will not get the contract, but we came close.