Monthly Archives: July 2012

Reading a Condition Book

How Thoroughbred Partnerships Spot Horses in Competitive Races

A condition book is a book of upcoming races that is released every two to three weeks depending on the race track, by the racing secretary. This book contains a list of races that horse racing partnerships, owners, and trainers use to point their horses to an upcoming race. The book is usually released about two weeks before the first scheduled race in the book and has races mapped out for the following two to three weeks. This book is very important and not understanding how read it can lead to the possibility of putting your horse in a race that is not necessarily the best fit.

The condition book has a few major components that are important to understand. First, races are categorized by the sex of the horse, male and female. Male horses are never allowed to run in a race restricted to fillies and mares, but in certain circumstances fillies and mares may run against male horses. The next step is finding the races that fit your horse’s age group. Races are categorized in a few different age groups; 2 year olds, 3 year olds, 3 year olds and upward, and 4 year olds and upward. This seems pretty straight forward but it is important to note that if you have a 3 year old it is best to try and race in races for 3 year olds only because typically as horses get older they continue to mature and get better with age and the races for 3 year olds and up are naturally tougher.

The next important piece is the type of race; maiden race, claiming race, allowance race, and stakes race. These are the basic types of races that are offered and each has a specific set of conditions to them. For example, a maiden race is only for horses that have never won a race before. Most horses start in a maiden race and owners and trainers must also determine if they want to run their horse in a maiden claiming or maiden special weight race. The maiden claiming race will be easier competition but you take the risk of letting another thoroughbred partnership, owner, or trainer claim your horse away from you. But at the same time you don’t want to run your horse in a maiden special weight race if they won’t be competitive because this race will be tougher.

Finally, the last component is determining the best distance and surface for the horse to run on. This can be a difficult decision at times especially with young horses because you may not know what the horse likes to run on or how far they want to run. Typically, the majority of horses will begin their careers running in 5 to 6.5 furlong races on dirt or synthetic tracks. Horses that start on the turf usually have a proven pedigree of turf horses in their family or may have certain conformation, like the shape of their hooves that leads a trainer and owner to want to start a horse on the grass first time out. In the same way, a horse with proven pedigree of distance horses in their family may start at lengths of a 1 mile or 1 1/16th miles. Yet, the majority of horses will make their debuts in sprint races at under 1 mile.

The key to reading a condition book is reading each condition of each race in detail, and also learning from someone who has been doing it for a long time and understands that to be successful you must put the horse in the best spot to win. It may not always be the spot you want to put the horse in because it’s a lower level race or a claiming race, but in the end to be competitive in this game you must be able to spot a horse where they best fit at that specific time and not where you wish they could be.  In addition, it is best to consult with your trainer and other partners to talk through the potential races and get one another’s perspectives. At Blinkers On Racing Stable we make it a priority to understand how to read a condition book and consult with our trainers before a race is decided on. In addition, we know that we need to put each horse in a spot where they can be competitive for the horse racing partnership to be successful.

Blinkers On

Blinkers On Racing Stable, a leader in thoroughbred horse racing partnerships, brings together the finest in thoroughbred horse racing expertise with the best in business know-how, and above all, a team of people you can trust, to manage your investment. We are committed to helping you experience the joys of thoroughbred horse ownership. For more information on thoroughbred partnerships visit our website or request an information package about our partnership. Keep up with horse racing in California by reading our Blog, finding us on Facebook, following us on Twitter, checking us out on LinkedIn, or visiting our YouTube Channel!


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