Track & Field / Horse Racing Idioms

Track and field events have an ancient history, dating at least from the Oympics held in Greece two thousand years ago. Track and field sports include a viariety 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 horse 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 eliminate a horse from a particular race
Sentence 1
The horse was scratched from the race.
Meaning 2
to eliminate or stop a project
Sentence 2
Scratch that ad campaign. It won't work.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
The inside of a track is shorter than the outside; it is easier to win if one is on the inside of a track.
Sentence 1
The horse started on the inside track.
Meaning 2
to have information or a position which will make it easier to win
Sentence 2
He will be able to talk to the head of Disney first, because he has the inside track. He worked with Disney on a previous project.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to try and divert or confuse pursuers
Sentence 1
The fox crossed the stream to throw the dogs off his track.
Meaning 2
to confuse someone
Sentence 2
The questions threw the speaker off the track.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
Wire refers to the finish line
Sentence 1
The winner finished just under the wire ahead of the second horse.
Meaning 2
just barely in time, on time
Sentence 2
I turned in my paper to English class just under the wire.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
Running and or jumping over an obstacle (usually high jump)
Sentence 1
In an amazing feat of strength, the track and field star vaulted the highest bar in the meet.
Meaning 2
Being a top contender
Sentence 2
"Christie Vaults to Front Ranks of G.O.P. for 2016."
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
at the finish, to win by the length of a nose
Sentence 1
The horse won by a nose.
Meaning 2
to finish just a little better than the next person or business
Sentence 2
We won by a nose on that bid. We were only five hundred dollars under the next lowest bidder.
IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
to win a horse race with one's hands down
Sentence 1
Willie Shoemaker won the Derby hands down.
Meaning 2
to do the best one can in a competitive situation
Sentence 2
You'll get the job hands down. You're the best candidate they have.

Derivation

The jockey does not have to use the whip because the rider is so far ahead of the rest of the horses.

IDIOM ►
Meaning 1
a horse racing term for a horse that starts at the front of the pack, and finishes at the front for a win
Sentence 1
The favorite started right out of the gate in front and ended up the winner. He went wire to wire.
Meaning 2
In any competition, to start at the front and end up winning by staying at the front.
Sentence 2
McIlroy Goes wire to wire for Third Major Championship.