A Look at the Many Different Types of Horseraces

Spring isn’t too far away.  This is the time of the year to start thinking about your young horses debuting with their first starts at the track.  Most people know about races like the Breeders’ Cup Classic yet few understand how horses qualify to compete in such races.  The North American flat racing system establishes classes that determine which horses qualify to start in particular races.  There are four primary race categories.  Each race category is subdivided with with conditions ranging from prior performance to age, etc.

Claiming Races

Most of the horseraces in the United States are claiming races.  In this type of race,e each horse can be purchased for an established price.  Claiming prices sometimes go as low as $10,000 yet sometimes exceed $80,000.  The higher the claiming price, the more prize money is awarded.  Prospective buyers are required to place their claim prior to the start of the race.  These buyers own the horse following the race no matter where it finishes.  Horses are connected with grooms following the race.  The racetrack official attaches a tag to the claimed horse.  Funds are transferred by way of the horseman’s bookkeeper at the track.  The sale is completed.  The trainer that represents the buying owner brings the horse to the barn to settle down following the race.

Horse owners will find it interesting to learn horses can be entered into all Claiming races as long as the horse is in compliance with the nuanced conditions.  If the horse competes against inferior competition for a better chance at winning the prize money, the horse can be claimed for significantly less than the actual value.  Optional claiming races are a combination of the claiming race and allowance race.  If horses complete all of the allowance conditions such as winning too many races yet is not a factor in stakes races, entry is not permitted to the optional claiming race.  However, the horse must run for the listed price.

Stakes Races

Stakes races are considered the highest level of competition.  These races are made up of Listed Stakes and Graded Stakes.  Graded Stakes are competitions labeled Grade 3, Grade 2 and Grade 1.  Listed Stakes competitions are a notch below Grade 3.  More than 100 Grade I stakes races will be completed in the United States this year alone.

Aside from sex and age. Stakes races do not have restrictions on horses. An annual meeting is conducted to gauge the quality of the forementioned races.  This TOBA Graded Stakes Committee review culminates in either an upgrading or downgrading of each race each year.  Stakes races must meet the exact criteria of International Cataloging Standards as thoroughbred sales are now worldwide in scope.

Black Type

In order for a horse to be considered black type, the stakes races has to be in compliance with the specific requirements of the International Cataloging Standards.  Black type is a reference to the typeface the pedigree uses.  It permits buyers to gauge the pedigree’s quality in full confidence.

Allowance Race Weight

Allowances races are characterized by the allowances provided for a narrow list of conditions.  Conditions range from earnings to the length of time since the horse’s last win, the number of horses the race has won and so on.  When there is a Starter Allowance, the runners must have competed in a claiming race at an exact price.  Horses in Allowance races are assigned weight in accordance with whether they adhere to the criteria.  Some horses end up with less weight as there is a comparably light jockey.  The weight allowance is meant to even out the field of competition, providing for a much more intriguing race.

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