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How do you read a horse racing program?

The program offers a vast amount of information about each race on a given day at any racetrack.

They are available for sale at the track and also can be accessed free online.

The top portion of the page lists the parameters of that particular race, including the distance and surface condition, the “conditions” of the race that determine which horses are eligible to run, and the time the race is scheduled to be run. 

Below that, the program lists information about the horses in the order of their post positions, beginning with No. 1, drawn closest to the rail, and working outward.

Among other things, It lists each horse’s name, its pedigree, trainer and jockey. It also gives the morning line odds (or current odds if you’re playing online) and the amount of weight the horse must carry.

Many track programs also now incorporate what for many years considered a separate product known as past performances (often called simply “The Form” in deference to its famed practitioner the Daily Racing Form). These blocks of information consist of running lines from the recent races of each participant – a subject worthy of its own discussion.