what is claiming in horse racing

Claiming in horse racing is a process where a horse that has not won enough races is released from their current stable and entered into a claiming race by their new owner. If another owner wants the horse, they can submit a claim for it, essentially purchasing it for the amount of the claiming price. If the horse wins the race, the new owner wins the purse, but if it loses, they are responsible for the claiming price. This allows for lower-level horses to find a new home, helps to prevent horses from being overmatched in races, and provides opportunities for new owners to get involved in racing.

Claiming in Horse Racing

Claiming races are a unique aspect of horse racing where horses can be bought and sold during the race itself. Here’s an overview of how the process works:

The Process of Claiming

When a horse is entered into a claiming race, a claiming price is set. This price reflects the estimated value of the horse.

  • During the race, bettors can submit claims for any horse in the race up to a certain point (typically before the start of the race).
  • If a claim is successful, the claiming party must pay the claiming price to the horse’s owner.
  • The horse’s trainer and jockey are informed immediately, and the horse is removed from the race after passing the finish line.
  • The claiming party becomes the new owner of the horse and is responsible for all future training and racing expenses.

Why Do Owners Claim Horses?

  • To acquire a horse that fits their racing program or has potential for improvement.
  • To sell the horse later for a profit.
  • To replace a retiring or injured horse.
  • To add depth to their racing stable.

Table: Claiming Example

Claiming PriceHorseOutcome
$20,000Horse AClaimed during the race
$35,000Horse BNot claimed

Types of Claiming Races

In horse racing, claiming races allow owners to purchase horses directly from the track. Here are the types of claiming races:

  • Standard Claiming Races: The most common type, where horses are entered for a specific claiming price.
  • Starter Optional Claiming Races: Owners can choose to enter a horse for a claiming price or run in a non-claiming race.
  • Conditional Claiming Races: Horses are claimed with specific conditions, such as winning a certain number of races.
  • Tag Claiming Races: Similar to standard claiming races, but the claiming price is lower than the horse’s purchase price.
  • Low-Level Claiming Races: For horses with lower values, usually below $5,000.
  • High-Level Claiming Races: For horses with higher values, typically over $50,000.
Claiming Race Categories
CategoryClaiming PriceExamples
LowUnder $5,000Maiden Claiming, Starter Allowance Claiming
Medium$5,000 – $25,000Claiming, Allowance Claiming
High$25,000 and upOptional Claiming, Stakes Claiming

Claiming in Horse Racing: What You Need to Know

Claiming races in horse racing allow owners to purchase horses directly from the race itself. But why do owners participate in claiming races, and what are the potential advantages and disadvantages?


  • Acquiring Inexpensive Horses: Claiming races provide a cost-effective way to add horses to your stable without the expense of a traditional purchase.
  • Finding Hidden Gems: Horses in claiming races may have previously been overlooked or underperformed, offering potential for improvement under different ownership.
  • Building a Competitive Stable: Claiming allows owners to quickly build or enhance their stable with horses that fit their specific needs.


  • Inherent Risk: Claiming horses involves a level of risk, as the horse’s true abilities may not be known until after the purchase.
  • Limited Vetting: Claiming races typically have limited veterinary screening, which can lead to potential health issues later on.
  • Performance Drop-Off: Horses claimed from higher claiming prices may experience a drop in performance due to being in an unfamiliar environment or facing increased competition.

Types of Claiming Races

Claiming races are categorized by their claiming price, which represents the maximum amount an owner can claim a horse for. The common claiming price ranges include:

Claiming PriceDescription
$5,000 – $25,000Low-level claiming races for horses with limited earnings or potential
$30,000 – $100,000Mid-level claiming races for horses with some earnings and improvement
$125,000 – $250,000Allowance claiming races for horses with proven records at higher levels

Whether claiming is right for you depends on your individual goals and risk tolerance. By weighing the advantages and disadvantages, you can make informed decisions about participating in claiming races.

Claiming Races Explained

Claiming races are a common feature at horse racing tracks around the world. In these races, horses are entered for a specific price, and any other licensed trainer or owner can “claim” the horse for that price if they wish. The claim must be made before the race, and the horse’s new owner takes possession of it after the race. Claiming races are a great way for trainers and owners to acquire new horses or to get rid of horses that they don’t want.

Strategies for Claiming Horses

  • Do your research. Before you claim a horse, it’s important to do your research and make sure that you know what you’re getting into. You should check the horse’s past performances, its pedigree, and its veterinary records.
  • Set a budget. It’s important to set a budget before you start claiming horses. This will help you avoid getting in over your head financially.
  • Be prepared to move quickly. Claiming races can be fast-paced, so you need to be prepared to move quickly when you see a horse that you want.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re new to claiming horses, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a more experienced trainer or owner.
Can acquire new horses for a relatively low priceCan be risky if you don’t do your research
Can get rid of horses that you don’t wantCan be competitive, especially at larger tracks

Hey folks, thanks for sticking with me while we galloped through the ins and outs of claiming races. I hope this little adventure has left you feeling a bit more confident about making your next wager. Remember, claiming races are a unique and exciting part of the sport, so be sure to keep an eye out for them next time you’re at the track. And while you’re at it, check out our site again for more insider tips, race previews, and all the latest equestrian adventures. Until next time, keep your spurs sharp and your bets lucky!