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What is a maiden race in horse racing?

A maiden race is restricted to horses that have never won a race.

Such contests are divided into various “classes” that indicate how much promise the owner and trainer believe the horse possesses.

 If the horse seems like it could develop into a stakes winner, it will likely be initially entered into a maiden special weight race, meaning it cannot be “claimed,” or purchased, by a rival owner.

 If the horse appears talented, but not quite a stakes-caliber runner, it could be entered it in a high-level maiden claiming race, which does allow rival trainers and owners to claim the horse at a set price. In a $/£100,000 maiden claiming race, for example, each runner in the field is essentially for sale for $/£100,000.

If a horse just isn’t very fast or doesn’t do well in training, it might be entered in a low-level maiden claiming race where it can be claimed for as little as $/£5,000 (or even less at smaller tracks).