Definition of be at the races in English:

be at the races

(Australian, NZ be in the race)

phrase

informal
  • usually with negative Competing with a chance of success.

    ‘they were never quite at the races against Rangers’
    ‘with you dressed up, none of us others will be in the race’
    • ‘As well as skill and luck, players will need fitness and endurance to be in the race for these prizes.’