Racing Terms

//Racing Terms
Racing Terms 2018-03-03T22:15:55+00:00



A race in which the eligibility and the weight a horse carries is based on the amount of money or the number of races the horse has won. A basic weight is assigned for all eligible horses with “allowances” (less weight) in weight for horses with the poorer records. These allowances are given to provide a more competitive race.


Horse entered into this type of race may be purchased (claimed) at a stated price by a licensed owner or trainer. The purpose is to provide competition among like quality and value of horses. Any money won goes to the former owner, and the new owner must take the horse following the race. Entering a horse in a claiming race with too high a price offers little chance of earning a share of the purse.


A stakes race for 4-year olds.


A race exclusively for female horses.


A stakes race for 3-year olds where owners often begin the nomination process when the horses are very young.


A race in which the racing secretary or track handicapper assigns weights to theoretically equalize the winning chances of all entrants.


A race for horses that have never won a race, although if a maiden horse is disqualified after finishing first, it is still considered a maiden. This classification of race may have conditions set to it such as claiming price, allowances or restrictions such as filly and mare or age. It is usually the first type of race into which a horse is entered.


A stakes race for 4-year old fillies.

Open Race

A race with lenient eligibility conditions permitting entry of a wide variety of horses regardless of sex, place of birth, or previous number of victories. Invariably a race of higher class than one that is more restricted.

Overnight Race

This term is used for any race which closes at regular entry time (48 hours before the race), does not require earlier nominations, or entry fees. The term originally meant that these races were put into daily program form one day for running the next (or overnight)


Short for sweepstakes. A race in which owners pay a fee to nominate, enter and run their horses. To attract the best possible eligible runners by increasing the total purse, “added money” is put up by the track racing association or sponsor. Nominations are usually taken months in advance of the race and entries close at least 72 hours before the running of the race.

Starter Allowance

An allowance race for horses that have raced in a claiming race sometime in their racing careers.

Weight for Age

A race where horses carry set weights based upon age, and the older horses carry more weight.

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