What is an allowance race in horse racing?
Allowance races are the class of races just below stakes races – the highest level of competition.
They provide opportunities for horses that can’t quite compete with the very best and also serve as stepping stones for improving horses before they take on stakes competition.
In contrast to claiming races – where each horse entered is essentially up for sale at a specified price – horses in allowance races cannot be purchased out of the race.
Allowance races are themselves divided into categories to give different types of horses the ability to compete against fields that have comparable talents.
The requirements for the race are spelled out in the racing conditions. An allowance race often referred to as a “non-winners of one” event, for example, may be restricted to 3-year-old horses “that have never won $15,000 once other than maiden claiming or starter races.”
In other words, horses that had won once against other non-winners (maidens) AND horses that had captured multiple races (as long as they were starter races) were both eligible to run in this race. Without being able to look at the individual attributes of the various starters, I would tend to favor the horses that have already won more than once.