By: John Timmons
Horse Races come in several types, namely, stakes,
handicap, allowance, claiming or maiden races. Each one of
these have important differences in terms of the types of
horses entered into the race, as well as how horse owners
and trainers will decide to run their horse in the race.
Stakes races are those which occur annually, offer very
large purses, and attract very high quality horses.
Examples of stakes races include the Belmont Stakes and the
Handicap races are such that the weights of the various
jockeys are equalized through the use of lead weights. Many
consider the weight that a horse is carrying to be one of
the critical factors in handicapping races. Older, stronger
horses are typically allowed to carry more weight than
younger horses, and these differences are one of the many
factors savvy handicappers take into account when choosing
Claiming races are far and away the most common type of
race. In a claiming race, each horse is entered at a
specific price, and may be purchased, or “claimed” by
another owner. Claiming is one way in which competition
between horses can be equalized. For example, an excellent
horse which is valued at $20,000 will not run in a claiming
race where the claiming price is $5,000 or less.
Conversely, a horse with a low value (e.g., due to poor
past performance) is unlikely to run in a race with a high
claiming price, simply because it will be outclassed. In
fact, it is unlikely that track officials would even allow
such discrepancies to take place.
Allowance races are essentially non-claiming races, usually
designed for horses which race infrequently.
Lastly, Maiden races are for those horses who have never
won. Other conditions may be applied to maiden races as
well, such as “Non winners in last 3 races.” Maiden races
are sometimes difficult to handicap because the entire
field may consist of horses with minimal past performance
histories. However, careful handicappers will spot maiden
races which have a horse or two which has some history of
winning relative to others in the race.
When one is placing a bet on a horse, the better is
actually betting on the skills of the horse, the jockey,
and the trainer. In the hands of skilled trainers and
jockeys, horses with poor past performances can have their
careers rejuvenated, oftentimes by making changes such as
race distances, conditioning regimens, and so forth.
Similarly, jockeys with excellent records can improve the
potential of even the most mediocre of horses, under the
right conditions. This is part of the reason why
professional handicappers tend to stick to a limited number
of tracks for their wagering. As they bet at particular
tracks, they become increasingly familiar with the trainers
and jockeys who work at that track, and this knowledge is
taken into account as they pick their winners.
About The Author
John Timmons is a horse racing player who lives in Florida.
His website http://www.5minuteracingsystem.com helps
people handicap horse races effectively. If your a horse
racing enthusiast be sure to visit and sign up for his
monthly Racing eZine.
This article was posted on January 28, 2006
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