What do letters mean in form figures?
On a racecard, the form figures or, in other words, the string of numbers and letters to the left of each horse’s name, provide a ‘snapshot’ of its performance in recent races. Read from left to right, or least to most recent, the numbers 0-9 denote the horse’s finishing positions, if any, with ‘0’ representing a finishing position of tenth or higher.
Of course, not all horses finish all the races in which they participate, so form figures may contain letters, which, for the most part, indicate why a horse failed to finish. Alphabetically, ‘B’ stands for ‘Brought down’, ‘C’ stands for ‘Carried out’, meaning that the horse strayed from the designated course, or missed an obstacle, as the result of being hampered by a rival, and ‘F’ stands for ‘Fell’. ‘L’ stands for ‘Left at start’, meaning that the horse came under starter’s orders, but took no part, while ‘O’ stands for ‘ran Out’. The remaining letters, ‘P’ for ‘Pulled up’, ‘R’ for ‘Refused’, ‘S’ for ‘Slipped up’ and ‘U’ for ‘Unseated rider’, require no further explanation.
Two other letters, with a slightly different connotation, which may appear in form figures are ‘D’ and ‘V’; ‘D’ stands for ‘Disqualified’, while ‘V’ stands for ‘Void’, which indicates that, for whatever reason, the result of the race was stricken from the record.