Going (horse racing)

Last updated
A sloppy racetrack in United States. Horse race, Churchill Downs 2008-04-18.jpg
A sloppy racetrack in United States.

Going (UK), track condition (US) or track rating (AUS) are the track surface of a horse racing track prior to a horse race or race meet. The going is determined by the amount of moisture in the ground and is assessed by an official steward on the day of the race.


The condition of a race track plays an important role in the performance of horses in a race. The factors that go into determining race track condition include the surface conditions, type of surface, and track configuration. The surface conditions are influenced by the type of surface factoring in soil type, and if the track is dirt, turf, artificial surface; plus surface density, porosity, compaction and moisture content.


Prior to a race meeting, an inspection of the racecourse’s surface is conducted by officials. This process consists of a visual inspection and the use of a tool called a penetrometer which measures the soil’s resistance to penetration. The inspection is conducted before the meeting to allow publication of the track rating for the benefit of punters and trainers. In the case of rain prior to a meeting, a much earlier inspection will be made to permit an early decision as to whether the meeting can proceed, before travelling horses depart for the meeting.

Tracks may be upgraded or downgraded while a race meeting is taking place. The main reasons for this is that sun/heat is able to dry out the track during the course of the day possibly resulting in track upgrade or that inclement weather and rain continues as the racing continues (track downgrade). Jockeys, too, will be involved in inspections made during the meeting if there is any doubt as to the safety of riding on a downgraded or wet track. [1]

On December 1 2014, the Australian Racing Board (ARB) put into place a revised 10 point system using ratings from Firm 1 through to Heavy 10. The revised system removes the terms ‘Fast’, ‘Dead’, and ‘Slow’ replacing them with ‘Firm’ and 'Soft’ while also retaining the terms ‘Good’ and ‘Heavy’. [2]

Below are the official ratings recognised by all race clubs in Australia: [3]

Additionally, a rating of AWT is being used to signify an All Weather Track, which equates to a Good (4) surface under some bad weather conditions.

United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland

In the UK and Republic of Ireland, there are seven grades of surface, which are: [4]

Since 2009, in addition to the official description of the going, British racecourses are required to report penetrometer readings on the day of the race. A penetrometer designed by Cranfield University and TurfTrax, known as the 'GoingStick', is used for these measurements. [5] The 'hard' grade is rarely used, as a racetrack with this type of surface is generally deemed to be dangerous to both horses and jockeys. No races took place on tracks rated as 'hard going' between 2008 and 2013. [5]

In Ireland the term "yielding" is used for "good to soft" going.

For artificial surfaces in the UK the official grades are:


In the United States, different systems are used for turf racetracks and dirt tracks. Artificial surfaces (called all-weather tracks in official charts) use the dirt track rating system.

For dirt tracks the track conditions are: [6] [7]

For turf tracks, the track conditions are: [6] [7]

Related Research Articles

Race track Facility built for racing of animals, vehicles, or athletes

A race track is a facility built for racing of vehicles, athletes, or animals. A race track also may feature grandstands or concourses. Race tracks are also used in the study of animal locomotion. Some motorsport tracks are called speedways.

Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita Park is a Thoroughbred racetrack in Arcadia, California, United States. It offers some of the prominent horse racing events in the United States during early fall, winter and in spring. The track is home to numerous prestigious races including both the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap as well as hosting the Breeders' Cup in 1986, 1993, 2003, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2019. Since 2011, The Stronach Group are the current owners.


Keeneland Association, Inc. is an equine business based in Lexington, Kentucky. It includes two distinct divisions: the Keeneland Race Course, a Thoroughbred racing facility, and Keeneland Sales, a horse auction complex. It is also known for its reference library.

Woodbine Racetrack

Woodbine Racetrack is a racetrack for thoroughbred horse racing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Owned by Woodbine Entertainment Group, Woodbine Racetrack manages and hosts Canada's most famous race, The Queen's Plate. The track was opened in 1956 with a one-mile oval dirt track, as well as a seven-eights turf course. It has been extensively remodeled since 1993, and since 1994 has had three racecourses.

The Australian and New Zealand punting glossary explains some of the terms, jargon and slang which are commonly used and heard on Australian and New Zealand racecourses, in TABs, on radio, and in the horse racing media. Some terms are peculiar to Australia, such as references to bookmakers, but most are used in both countries.

Kentucky Downs is a Thoroughbred horse racing track located on the border between Kentucky and Tennessee, in the city of Franklin, Kentucky, just off Interstate 65. It is unique among American tracks in that it is a European-style course—its surface is all turf (grass) instead of dirt, and it is not oval in shape.

Del Mar Fairgrounds

The Del Mar Fairgrounds is a 370-acre (1.5 km2) event venue in Del Mar, California. The annual San Diego County Fair is held here, which was called the Del Mar Fair from 1984 to 2001. In 1936, the Del Mar Racetrack was built by the Thoroughbred Club with founding member Bing Crosby providing leadership.

Hawthorne Race Course is a racetrack for horse racing in Stickney/Cicero, Illinois, near Chicago.

A graded stakes race is a thoroughbred horse race in the United States that meets the criteria of the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA). A specific grade level is then assigned to the race, based on statistical analysis of the quality of the field in previous years, provided the race meets the minimum purse criteria for the grade in question. In Canada, a similar grading system is maintained by the Jockey Club of Canada. Graded stakes races are similar to Group races in Europe but the grading is more dynamic in North America.

The Canadian International Stakes is a Grade I stakes race for thoroughbred racehorses three years of age and up on Turf. It is held annually in October at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The current purse is CA$800,000

The Violet Stakes is an American Thoroughbred horse race held annually at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey. Inaugurated in 1977, the current Listed race is open to fillies and mares age three and older and is raced on turf over a distance of ​1 116 miles. First run at Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, New Jersey, it had its final running there in 2009. Not run in 2010, it was picked up by the Monmouth Park track in 2011 and as such was able to maintain its Grade 3 status.

Soaring Softly was an American Thoroughbred racehorse whose biggest win came in the 1999 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. She originally raced on dirt, with limited success. Switched to turf at age four, she won seven of eight starts and was named the American Champion Female Turf Horse.

A penetrometer is a device to test the strength of a material.

Racehorse injuries and fatalities are a side effect of training and competition. The problem with equine injuries is that they so often result in death. A 2005 study by the United States Department of Agriculture found that injuries are the second leading cause of death in horses, second only to old age. Nureyev's recovery from a broken leg while retired at stud in 1987 typifies the struggle horses have after being injured.

The 2011 Tums Fast Relief 500 was a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stock car race held on October 30, 2011, at Martinsville Speedway in Ridgeway, Virginia, United States. Contested over 500 laps on the 0.526-mile (2.414 km) oval, it was the 33rd race of the 2011 Sprint Cup Series season, as well as the seventh race in the ten-race Chase for the Sprint Cup, which ends the season. The race was won by Tony Stewart for the Stewart Haas Racing team. Jimmie Johnson finished second, and Jeff Gordon clinched third.

Glossary of North American horse racing:

The track surface of a horse racing track refers to the material of which the track is made. There are three types of track surfaces used in modern horse racing. These are:

2015 Breeders Cup

The 2015 Breeders' Cup World Championships was the 32nd edition of the thoroughbred horse racing season-ending premier event held on October 30 and 31 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. The race series, held for the first time at Keeneland, required a significant amount of preparation to transform the small, historic track into a venue capable of handling large crowds, comprising 13 championship races held over a two-day period.

Handicap (horse racing)

A handicap race in horse racing is a race in which horses carry different weights, allocated by the handicapper. A better horse will carry a heavier weight, to give it a disadvantage when racing against slower horses.

2020 Breeders Cup

The 2020 Breeders' Cup World Championships was the 37th edition of the premier event of the North American thoroughbred horse racing year. The 14 races, all but one of which were Grade I, took place on November 6 and 7 at Keeneland racetrack in Lexington, Kentucky. The races were telecast by NBCSN on Friday and early Saturday, and by NBC later on Saturday.


  1. Retrieved 2015-8-21
  2. Retrieved 2015-8-21
  3. Australian Horse Racing Track Ratings Retrieved 2015-8-21
  4. "BHA GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS" (PDF). British Horseracing Authority. 29 March 2014. para. 22. Archived from the original (PDF) on 12 September 2014. Retrieved 12 September 2014.
  5. 1 2 "GoingStick Average Readings" (PDF). British Horseracing Authority. March 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  6. 1 2 "Glossary of Saratoga racetrack terms". nyra.com.
  7. 1 2 "Equibase Codes and Definitions". www.equibase.com. Retrieved 8 May 2017.
  8. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-08. Retrieved 2014-05-07.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)