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What is a claiming race in horse racing?

In a claiming race, all entrants are available for purchase at a price specified in the conditions of the contest.

In a $/£12,500 claiming race, for example, a would-be buyer can put up that amount and put in a claim for the entrant he would like to purchase. If no other claims for the same horse are submitted, the money is transferred from the owner’s account and that person assumes ownership as soon as the race is declared official. If there are multiple claims for an individual horse, the tie is generally resolved by a shake or shakes of the dice in the racing office.

Claiming races serve an important role in leveling the field in horse racing. They do that by providing horses that are unable to compete at the higher levels of the sport with opportunities to collect purse money against competition of their caliber. That’s because owners of superior racehorses are discouraged from risking losing them if they enter a race with a claiming price below their true value.