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  1. #1
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    Default What would happen if the racing community got rid of claiming races?

    I've heard it said that claiming races help level out the fields since people are less likely to "sandbag" if there is a chance their horse might be claimed away.

    Aren't there other ways to do this, like substituting in more allowance races with specific requirements as to who can or can't race in it?



  2. #2
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    The most effective way of doing this would be to just get rid of the claiming level races entirely. Of course, that would leave the majority of horses and horsemen in this country without a job. But the way our industry is built, it would take a lot of restructuring and creative thinking to remove the claiming aspect and maintain a "fair" playing field for wagerers and horsemen.

    Australia has the #2 largest TB industry, after the US. It is my understanding that claiming races are rare there, although I'm not sure how they handled their conditions for non-blacktype races.
    Don't fall for a girl who fell for a horse just to be number two in her world... ~EFO



  3. #3
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    What purpose would be accomplished by getting rid of claiming races? It's a pretty easy way of buying and selling horses, and the purchase price and performance history of the horse is clearly documented. In that respect, you have a lot of transparency. What you see is what you get. The race horses I've purchases privately have been the biggest risks and the biggest money losers for me.


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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash44 View Post
    What purpose would be accomplished by getting rid of claiming races? It's a pretty easy way of buying and selling horses, and the purchase price and performance history of the horse is clearly documented. In that respect, you have a lot of transparency. What you see is what you get. The race horses I've purchases privately have been the biggest risks and the biggest money losers for me.
    It's a hypothetical question.

    Also, are claiming races more about making things fair for the people betting than anything else?

    One issue I see with claiming races is that you don't know exactly what you have until you claim it. The horse could have an unsoundness that might not be readily apparent, unless it had an irregular workout schedule or some such thing. Not like you get to see radiographs on file I don't think?



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    Quote Originally Posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
    It's a hypothetical question.

    Also, are claiming races more about making things fair for the people betting than anything else?
    ?
    And for the owners and trainers with the majority of horses who'll never be competitive at Allowance, let alone stakes level. The transparency Flash44 means is not as much for bettors (we get conditions and PPs on every race we play if we're playing seriously) as for trainers/owners. If you claim a horse who's running for a $56k tag, you know that's what the people who have it are willing to let it go for and the level they think the horse is at. You can look back at its record and see if this was a step up from winning at the $25k level, or dropping from $64k, and whether this is a rise up because the horse was winning and they don't want to lose it for the lower tag or if this is a sudden, suspicious drop with no readily apparent reason (don't bet that one or drop a tag--a horse who'd been doing all right at upper levels suddenly dangling for a cheaper tag is a horse they want off the feed bill for some reason). Very few people buying anything but the very top working racehorses are going to view it like hobby owners buying a show mount--you don't waste hundreds or thousands on PPEs or the trainer or owner's time haggling. If you're trying to pick up a claiming-level horse, even one you're thinking about moving into allowance company, it's a lot faster and cheaper to look at ones that are running for a tag, look at their record and where they're being entered now, and decide if that looks like a decent risk. If you're the person trying to move a horse via a claim, you stand to make a much better sale price if something claims them.

    And it does prevent sandbagging (no one's going to risk running a horse who wins AOCs or better in a $15000 claiming race just to pick up some purse money-unless there was something CLEARLY sneaky he'd get snapped up probably in a multi-way shake). Without claim prices and optional claims, you'd have to do that with weight, and very few trainers want their horses to carry an ounce more than they have to. Put too much on and the trainers won't enter.



  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
    It's a hypothetical question.

    Also, are claiming races more about making things fair for the people betting than anything else?

    One issue I see with claiming races is that you don't know exactly what you have until you claim it. The horse could have an unsoundness that might not be readily apparent, unless it had an irregular workout schedule or some such thing. Not like you get to see radiographs on file I don't think?
    I don't think they make anything fair. They just make everyone gamblers and handicappers - owners and trainers as well as bettors. You have to decide what spot to run the horse in to make money, and do you want to lose the horse or not? I think the claiming structure really benefits the astute trainer - one who can read multiple condition books and can find spots to keep a useful horse winning but still eligible for races.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by SnicklefritzG View Post
    It's a hypothetical question.

    Also, are claiming races more about making things fair for the people betting than anything else?

    One issue I see with claiming races is that you don't know exactly what you have until you claim it. The horse could have an unsoundness that might not be readily apparent, unless it had an irregular workout schedule or some such thing. Not like you get to see radiographs on file I don't think?
    That is the purpose of claiming races!! The person claiming must be smart enough to read the past performances/ DRF and "see" lameness issues, horses running the "wrong" distances, poor training practices and see if they think they can improve on the previous trainer!! Trainers/owners rarely risk the loss of a good horse by running him way below his proper class.
    www.crosscreeksporthorses.com
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash44 View Post
    What purpose would be accomplished by getting rid of claiming races? It's a pretty easy way of buying and selling horses, and the purchase price and performance history of the horse is clearly documented. In that respect, you have a lot of transparency. What you see is what you get. The race horses I've purchases privately have been the biggest risks and the biggest money losers for me.
    "you have a lot of transparency. What you see is what you get”

    Not to be snarky but you can’t be serious.

    Low level claiming races, and these make up the majority of claiming races are by and large little more than “dumping grounds” for a lot of horses. The connections hope to squeeze what they can out of the horse and hope it gets claimed before it is used up. Basically a game of musical chairs.

    What kind of “transparency” are you talking about? The horse’s PPS? Because there sure as heck isn’t a lot of transparency when it comes to knowing the horse’s level of soundness or what has been done to it behind closed doors. How many times has it been injected and when. Was shock wave, which doesn’t test been used just before the race? Yes, shock wave is not to be used X days before a horse runs but that sure as heck doesn’t stop it from being done at the track and even more so at a training center or farm. Frog juice, buzzers, designer drugs, you name it. Low level claiming races IMO are the bane of racing and more importantly the horses.

    There are those of us who are pushing that ALL vet records are to be electronically collected by the attending vet. The attending vet will be held responsible for its accuracy. The data to be sent on a daily bases to a central data base and be available to anyone eligible to claim. The same as the horse’s PPs. Any false or manipulated information and the vet will lose their license to practice.

    This would be “transparency”.

    As far as I and many others in the sport want to get rid of most claiming races all together.

    In other parts of the world they have what are called “selling races”. After the race is run and the horses cooled out they are brought to area of the track, like the paddock and are offered “auction style”. Buyers are given an opportunity to inspect the horse and there is a “reserve” set similar to a claiming price.

    Instead of claiming in other parts of the world horses are given a “class level”. Pretty much like a speed rating. A race would is written for horses that have a “Beyer Speed Figure of X”. There are a number of ways of offering opportunity for “lesser” horses that is fair to all and especially the horse.

    “I've purchases privately have been the biggest risks and the biggest money losers for me”

    If you are talking about unraced and or lightly races horses I don’t disagree. It takes a different level expertise. And can have an expensive learning curve. But when the person knows what they are doing they certainly have a much higher chance of coming up with a MUCH better horse.

    Curious, where do you race?


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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by gumtree View Post
    "you have a lot of transparency. What you see is what you get”

    Not to be snarky but you can’t be serious.

    Low level claiming races, and these make up the majority of claiming races are by and large little more than “dumping grounds” for a lot of horses. The connections hope to squeeze what they can out of the horse and hope it gets claimed before it is used up. Basically a game of musical chairs.
    I... think I'm going to have to disagree with this statement, at least in my personal experience. Maybe *some* trainers think that way, but most (at least in harness racing) don't.

    The horses in lower level claiming races are admittedly not the creme of the crop, but they're grouped with others of their own ability, and they're competitive within that level. (and well cared for)

    There is a bit of an honor code as well, (since in the lower ranks, the claiming races are often the only races that a horse is realistically eligible for) and that does tend to limit the amount of claiming that gets done. You don't want to be the douchenozzle that claims someone's only decently racing horse and so forth...

    Edited to add: That said, I have heard that the culture is COMPLETELY different in TB racing, so it may well be as you've said over there...
    The ninja monkeys are plotting my demise as we speak....


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  10. #10
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    Aren't there other ways to do this, like substituting in more allowance races with specific requirements as to who can or can't race in it?


    The rest of the world by and large accomplishes this with handicap races. The majority of day to day races being handicaps, with weight assigned to level the playing field. Generally how it works is that every horse is assigned a handicap rating, which is updated everytime the horse runs (rating goes up, down or stays the same depending on how the horse performs). The highest rated horse in the race carries top weight and others assigned less according to their rating.

    For example, here is a race tomorrow at nottingham......
    http://www.racingpost.com/horses2/cards/card.sd?race_id=631726&r_date=2015-08-11#raceTabs=sc_


    http://www.racingpost.com/horses2/ca...1#raceTabs=sc_


    The top two weighted horses (no.1 and no.2) are carrying 136lbs. Their official rating is 59. The no.3 horse is rated at 56 and is carrying 133lbs. The no.4 is actually the highest rated horse in the race with an official rating of 60, but because he is a 3yo he gets an age allowance of 4lbs from the older horses and therfore carries 133lbs. The lowest rated horse in the race has an official rating of 45, and therfore gets 14lbs from the top weighted horse and carries 122lbs. (59-45=14, so 136lbs-14lbs=122lbs).
    Every week the official handicap ratings for the horses that ran the previous 7 days are updated by a team of officials.



  11. #11
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    That link comes up as a result, not a card, so harder to make sense of it.

    Try this... http://www.racingpost.com/horses2/ca...2#raceTabs=sc_
    Top weights carrying carrying 136lbs, rated at 75. The no.7 horse is rated at 70 and carries 131lbs etc, etc, etc



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    And it does prevent sandbagging (no one's going to risk running a horse who wins AOCs or better in a $15000 claiming race just to pick up some purse money-unless there was something CLEARLY sneaky he'd get snapped up probably in a multi-way shake).
    Almost no one...


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  13. #13
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    The rest of the world manages without claiming races. I've seen "selling" races in the UK but the horses are sold AFTER the race, at auction. At least in the ones I saw. Horses could be graded like greyhounds. They would then work their way up or down the grades (no reason to mess with the rest of the allowance, etc. races). Claiming races are indeed a dumping ground and encourages the treatment of horses as inanimate products to be moved on by hook or by crook, or run into the ground instead. Although I suppose they would still be run into the ground, just not pawned off on unsuspecting buyers.
    Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by propspony View Post
    I... think I'm going to have to disagree with this statement, at least in my personal experience. Maybe *some* trainers think that way, but most (at least in harness racing) don't.

    The horses in lower level claiming races are admittedly not the creme of the crop, but they're grouped with others of their own ability, and they're competitive within that level. (and well cared for)

    There is a bit of an honor code as well, (since in the lower ranks, the claiming races are often the only races that a horse is realistically eligible for) and that does tend to limit the amount of claiming that gets done. You don't want to be the douchenozzle that claims someone's only decently racing horse and so forth...

    Edited to add: That said, I have heard that the culture is COMPLETELY different in TB racing, so it may well be as you've said over there...
    Good points, and purchasing a horse privately or at auction does not guarantee that you have a complete and accurate medical history on the horse. Saw a screw in a leg at the repository at a recent 2yo sale and OOPS that surgery was not disclosed...

    Most people don't have enough money to own a farm and raise and train home breds. For better or worse, the claiming game is the easiest way they can get a horse. For the most part, the trainers who are winning and doing well locally with claiming horse are not using them up and hoping to get one last race out of them, they are feeding them good and taking good care of them. At least that has been my personal experience. I'm impressed with how well some trainers know not only the horses in their own barn, but most of the horses running in the area. Of course, there are those at all levels of the sport who are just trying to make a buck and the welfare of the horse is not a priority.
    Last edited by Flash44; Aug. 12, 2015 at 12:20 PM.


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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Drvmb1ggl3 View Post
    That link comes up as a result, not a card, so harder to make sense of it.

    Try this... http://www.racingpost.com/horses2/ca...2#raceTabs=sc_
    Top weights carrying carrying 136lbs, rated at 75. The no.7 horse is rated at 70 and carries 131lbs etc, etc, etc
    Yeah, and as I said, no one's going to fill races here doing that. It was considered rather sporting that Game On Dude's owners and trainer okayed a weight assignment of 128 where they were spotting 6+ to the rest of the field instead of opting out. And that's a multiple Grade I winner. Most horses will never carry more than 118, tops. The notion of 130+ is almost unheard of.



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by propspony View Post
    I... think I'm going to have to disagree with this statement, at least in my personal experience. Maybe *some* trainers think that way, but most (at least in harness racing) don't.

    The horses in lower level claiming races are admittedly not the creme of the crop, but they're grouped with others of their own ability, and they're competitive within that level. (and well cared for)

    There is a bit of an honor code as well, (since in the lower ranks, the claiming races are often the only races that a horse is realistically eligible for) and that does tend to limit the amount of claiming that gets done. You don't want to be the douchenozzle that claims someone's only decently racing horse and so forth...

    Edited to add: That said, I have heard that the culture is COMPLETELY different in TB racing, so it may well be as you've said over there...

    “The horses in lower level claiming races are admittedly not the creme of the crop, but they're grouped with others of their own ability, and they're competitive within that level. (and well cared for)”

    That’s a given. My point is that the same thing can be accomplished without “claiming”. Be it handicapping by weight and or by “class”. Class with “conditions”.

    “There is a bit of an honor code as well”

    It is the same by and large in the TB racetrack world. But IMO and experience it is a bit of BS. It distorts the whole idea/meaning of claiming races. TOTAL BS. I understand playing the “sympathy card” for a little mom and pop outfit. But they are by far the exception than the rule.

    Smaller trainers won’t claim off of big claiming outfits because of fear of retribution. This is fact not my opinion. The big outfits and their owners get a “pass” and are able to “sandbag”. Completely unfair to the small outfits.
    We race in the mid-Atlantic area. Lots of different race track. A lot of horses ship in for a race. “The honor code” doesn’t really carry over to ship in horses and their connections. A bit more of “distortion” and BS of the claiming game.

    I know little to nothing about the Harness game. But I have been friends with some trainers that move their tack to flat racing. From my conversations with them I did not get the impression it was that much different.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash44 View Post
    Good points, and purchasing a horse privately or at auction does not guarantee that you have a complete and accurate medical history on the horse. Saw a screw in a leg at the repository at a recent 2yo sale and OOPS that surgery was not disclosed...

    Most people don't have enough money to own a farm and raise and train home breds. For better or worse, the claiming game is the easiest way they can get a horse. For the most part, the trainers who are winning and doing well locally with claiming horse are not using them up and hoping to get one last race out of them, they are feeding them good and taking good care of them. At least that has been my personal experience. I'm impressed with how well some trainers know not only the horses in their own barn, but most of the horses running in the area. Of course, there are those at all levels of the sport who are just trying to make a buck and the welfare of the horse is not a priority.
    Purchasing a horse privately or at auction does not guarantee that you have a complete and accurate medical history on the horse. Saw a screw in a leg at the repository at a recent 2yo sale and OOPS that surgery was not disclosed...”

    Assume you are talking about a 2 year old in training sale? What sale what hip number? I ask this because different sales companies have slightly different conditions of sale. What has to be announced what doesn’t. This is clearly stated in the catalog. Hip number because I am curious who the seller was because I know most of the consignors. Some I am happy and confident to do business with, some I will buy a horse from but will go over with a fine toothed comb. And some I won’t do business with.

    The fact the horse had a complete set of x-rays in the repository gives complete “disclosure” without the buyer having to spend a cent on x-rays. If the buyer didn’t due their due diligence they have no one to blame but themselves. I have worked and purchased at the 2 year old in training sales for over 30 years. I find it very hard to believe that a horse was being offered with a screw in its leg let alone being trained with it.

    Purchasing a horse privately gives the buyer the complete opportunity of determining its “medical history” by and large. Especially when you buy from a reputable seller.

    IMO and experience, lots of experience claiming a horse is MUCH more risky by and large then buying a horse privately or at auction. When it comes to being sound and useful for racing. With just about any kind of possible future. Yes, the very “odd” claimer can and does go up the ladder. But that if by far the exception. Charismatic could have been claimed for $50,000 several months before he won the Kentucky Derby.

    How the “claiming game” is played differently in different areas of the country. Which is why I asked where you worked and or raced. A simple, relevant and informative question not sure why you didn’t want to answer it.

    I never meant to imply that those that work with claimers aren’t good care takers. By and large they are. It’s in their best interest. More so than the horse’s. Having worked for a number of low level claiming outfits back in my formative years I also know that a LOT more is given to the horses than just good “hay, oats and water. But that can be said about a lot of outfits. Racing or sport.

    “I'm impressed with how well they know not only the horses in their own barn, but most of the horses running in the area”

    If they didn’t they would have no shot at making a living. The “claiming game” is a completely different “mind set” than those that work with and train upper level horses. Making a living training horses is a pretty tough. Being good at the claiming game is even tougher. For both horses and trainers.

    I am not picking on you personally. I take the time to compose more detailed comments so as to present the larger picture to those with little to no experience but are interested.


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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by danceronice View Post
    Yeah, and as I said, no one's going to fill races here doing that. It was considered rather sporting that Game On Dude's owners and trainer okayed a weight assignment of 128 where they were spotting 6+ to the rest of the field instead of opting out. And that's a multiple Grade I winner. Most horses will never carry more than 118, tops. The notion of 130+ is almost unheard of.
    If they are the only races offered they will fill. I and many others are sick and tired of certain trainers being allowed to call the shots. Strong arming the racing secretaries.

    Horses in this country up until the mid 70's carried 135+ on a regular bases. With absolutely no ill effect on the horses.

    The BIGGEST problem with claiming is not in the upper levels, $30,000+ it is the lower levels. Especially for owners and trainers of maidens.

    The way the system is rigged, rather run now horses of lesser ability that are not competitive in open Maiden Special Weight have no choice but to run in low claiming. So the owners of these horse who have at least $35-40,000 into training expenses alone run the risk of loosing the horse right from the get go in a $5 to $15,000 maiden claiming. If a horse show any kind of form in their first couple of starts the will be taken. "Honor code" or not.

    It is stupid money management for any owner to keep pouring money into training expenses on a horse that will not be competitive in at least MSW and or high maiden claiming.

    The system is broken and it one of the main reasons the sport is losing owners year in and year out.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonskin View Post
    Great comment. Still chuckling. Good to see new blood around here. And someone with a sense of humor.



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    Quote Originally Posted by Drvmb1ggl3 View Post
    That link comes up as a result, not a card, so harder to make sense of it.

    Try this... http://www.racingpost.com/horses2/ca...2#raceTabs=sc_
    Top weights carrying carrying 136lbs, rated at 75. The no.7 horse is rated at 70 and carries 131lbs etc, etc, etc
    Thanks for taking the time to go into a bit more depth than I did.



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