Claiming Races, Allowance Races, Stakes Races and Graded Stakes Races
Like any other sport, horse racing has varying levels of ability and experience. Because of the variety in ability, class and experience, the industry has different types of races available so that horses can be entered in a race in which they have a legitimate chance to win.
In claiming races, all horses entered have a price tag and are available to be “claimed” or purchased by anyone who has an owner’s license and funds to cover the price of the horse on deposit at the track. The claim is placed in a claim box at the track before the start of the race. At the end of the race, the horse is “claimed” by a new owner while the previous owner gets any purse won by the horse in that race. Horses in claiming races are often older or have low to moderate ability. More than half of all races are claiming races.
In allowance races, the horses do not have a price tag and are not for sale. The purse levels in allowance races are higher than claiming races because the horses are of a higher quality. However, it is not unusual for a horse to go back and forth between claiming races and allowance races based on how the horse is performing at any given time. Allowance races have conditions that horses must meet before they can be entered into the race. Such conditions may include the weight or sex of the horse, but normally these conditions have more to do with how often the horse has won and the purses the owner has taken.
Stakes races have higher purses than claiming or allowance races due to the tougher competition and higher level of ability of the competing horses. In stakes races, owners contribute to the purse of the race through entry fees or nomination fees at the race track. Each race has certain conditions that must be met before a horse enters the race. These conditions can relate to the horse’s racing record, sex, age, etc.
Graded Stakes Races
Graded stakes races are the top of the line in horse racing. The top horses are usually found in graded stakes racing, which offers the highest purses. Graded stakes racing terms are applied by the American Graded Stakes Committee of the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association. In order to race a horse in a graded stakes race, the owner must pay a “stake” or an entry fee. In some races, there are weight limits and others require certain genders, classes and ages to be entered. The Preakness, Belmont Stakes and the Kentucky Derby are all graded stakes races.
Knowing the various types of horse races can be helpful, especially for those who are considering investing in horse racing, either through the purchase of a horse or investing in a racing partnership.
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