How to use Class in Horse Racing

Understanding Class can be the difference between winning and losing in horse racing betting. What is Class in horse racing? Class is basically defined as the skill level of the horse race that is going on.  This article gives you a great understanding of the types of class and what exactly to look for. 

When reading the daily racing program they let you know the class of race that is going on along with the prior classes that each horse has raced in. This gives you some key insight into whether the horse is facing some tough competition or if it going against a weaker field and with this knowledge you can begin to visualize how the race will play out. The better the horse is in quality and performance the quicker it will move up in class and pedigree also plays a big part in the type of races the horse will be racing in.

For starters there are various classes that a horse can race in. Here are the general ones you will see on the daily racing form:

Maiden Claiming


Starter Allowance



Derby/Stakes Races

With these classes Maiden Claiming being lower class going up to the Derby races as the cream of the crop they also have a number associated with them. You will see in the program it will tell you Claiming 10,000 or another number letting you know the amount the horses are racing for. The higher the dollar amount then the higher the class For example: if you have a horse that is running in a Claiming 10,000 and its last race was Claiming 5,000 this horse is going against a tougher field then it did its last time out Called moving up in class.

Also if you have an Allowance 10,000 and last time it raced a Claiming 40,000 it actually is dropping in class~ note that Allowance races are higher classes than a claiming. Don’t just look at the last race it is important to look at what level he is used to running and see where he is at today. If he is used to running higher claiming and dropped down today this is a horse to watch.  This information is crucial when handicapping horses because trainers are constantly moving up and down in classes and even though it does not seem like much of a difference between Claiming 7,500 and Claiming 5,000 its definitely something to be taking into account for.

Claiming races are very popular and an ideal contender to win these horse races have these 3 qualities:

1.)Early Speed

2.)Improved or peaking form

3.)A drop in class

This year I have found that at Gulfstream track the horses that were winning the race all had something in common. They were being maneuvered and dropped in class. I shifted my betting strategy for the rest of the day to eliminate all horses that did not drop in class and came out with a couple monster tickets.

This is some basic information for a beginner, professional handicappers look at this information daily as part of their routine. Its also important to not just refer to the last race but look at the entire race history of the horse. Has the horse always raced at a higher class? Has the horse showed it can compete at the current class that it’s racing in? How many horses or what horses are taking a significant drop in class? These are some general starting questions to ask yourself. Class is and will always be a huge factor in horse racing.

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Happy Handicapping 

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