Most horses racing in the US run in claiming races. This means they are for sale each time they run. Claiming a horse is an easy way to get started owning horses.
Time Required: One month
- Familiarize yourself with the rules of racing in your state. These differ widely from state to state.
- Select a trainer. Sounds easy but that is deceptive.
- Select a horse to claim. You can check in the racing form and make suggestions, but take guidance from your trainer here, he is the expert.
- Have your trainer discreetly gather backside gossip about the condition of the horse to make sure he is sound.
- Get an owner's license. If this is your first horse, you will probably have to get a special claiming license. Refer to the rules you learned in step 1.
- Deposit sufficient funds to cover the claim with the horsemen's bookkeeper at the track where you will claim.
- On race day, have your trainer discreetly scope out the horse's condition when he comes to the paddock for the race.
- If the horse passes the physical inspection, have your trainer drop the claim slip. Refer to the rules from step 1 for the proper procedure to follow here.
- Watch the race and hope the horse finishes sound and runs well but doesn't win. It is to your advantage for his next race if he doesn't win.
- If more than one person dropped a claim, attend the shake to see if you win and get the horse.
- Have your trainer halter your new horse and take him or her back to the barn.
- In many states you will have to run back at a 25% higher claiming price if your horse wins the race you claim him from. This is known as being in jail.
- Beware horses making a sudden large drop in class. This usually indicates a 'fire sale' of a horse with a problem.
- Don't talk about the claim before hand except in private with your trainer. Gossip runs rampant on the backside and rumors of a claim can get your choice scratched.