Claiming Races: What Are They And How Do They Work?

Horse racing

Image by Clarence Alford from Pixabay

There are different types of horse races that fall into a hierarchy regarding the quality of horses they attract. On top of the hierarchy are handicap races and graded stakes races which attract the best horses. These races are followed by maiden races, which attract relatively unseasoned horses. Finally, claiming races fall at the bottom of the hierarchy and form a bulk of the races run. However, what are they, and how do they work? Read on to find out.

What are claiming races?

Simply put, claiming races are those in which the horses available for the race are being put up for sale to be bought at more or less the same price they were worth before the race. There are numerous reasons why you would want to claim a horse. Perhaps you see potential, or with a lucky 15 tip from a trustworthy source, you believe this horse can make you a good win. Whatever your reasons, claiming a horse is not a challenging task. However, there are various rules you need to be aware of before you go ahead to make such a purchase. 

How do they work?

As stated earlier, the claiming process is a simple one governed by a set of rules. Although each racecourse or track may have different rules, general ones are common and constant. Here are a few essential ones.

You must be a licensed racehorse owner or agent

To place a successful claim over a racehorse, first and foremost, you must be a licensed racehorse owner or agent registered at the track. You must also have a horse or horses running at the track you seek to claim the horse. 

Claimants must make claims in writing

In addition to being a licensed racehorse owner or agent of the track, your claims to get a horse should also be in writing. After claims are written, they are placed in a sealed envelope and delivered to the racing secretary ten minutes before the post time. Once your claim has been delivered, it is irreversible. However, few factors may render your claim void. The first is if the owner misrepresented the age or gender of the claimed horse. Another factor that could render your claim void is if your claimed horse dies during the race or euthanised on the track the day after you make your claim.

A “shake” determines the new owner of a claimed horse

The problem in claiming races usually occurs when more than one person claims the same horse. How would a horse be claimed? The overall owner would be determined by a lot or also known as a shake. This is done by giving each potential new owner a number, and then the winner is chosen at random. 

To prevent foul play and protect the potential new owners, each claimed horse would undergo mandatory blood and urine tests. Where banned substances are found, the claim would be made void, and the horse returns to its original owner. 

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