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Race Types
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ALLOWANCE RACE:   A race where weights and eligibility to enter are determined by conditions set by the racing secretary.

BABY RACE:   A race for 2-year-olds.

CLAIMING RACE:   A race where horses are entered for a specified price and can be claimed (purchased) from the race for that price. Claimers are horses who generally run only in claiming races.

CLASSIC:   A race for three-year-olds, such as a Derby or Oaks, that has a long standing tradition behind it. The American classics are the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.

CONDITIONED RACE:   Eligibility to enter is determined by a set of conditions such as age, sex, races won, etc.

DERBY:   A stakes race for three-year-old colts.

DISTAFF RACE:   A race for fillies, mares, or both.

GRADED RACE:   The most important or prestigious races in North America are assigned grades (I, II, or III) based on the quality of previous winners and the race's influence on other races or championships.

GROUP RACE:   European equivalent to North American graded races.

HANDICAP:   Race where the racing sectretary or track handicapper assigns the weights to be carried.

INVITATIONAL:   A stakes race open only to horses who are invited to enter. Generally no entry fee is charged.

MAIDEN RACE:   Horses who have not yet won a race are referred to as maidens, hence a race for non winners.

OAKS:   A stakes race for 3-year-old fillies.

OVERNIGHT RACE:   A race where entries close a specific number of hours before running (such as 48 hours), as opposed to a stakes race where nominations close far in advance.

ROUTE RACE:   A race run at a mile or longer, generally around two turns.

SCALE OF WEIGHTS:   Fixed weights to be carried by horses in a race according to age, distance, sex, and time of year.

SPRINT RACE:   A race run at less than a mile, generally with only one turn.

STAKE:   A race for which an owner must pay an entry fee to run his horse. The fees can be for nominating, maintaining eligibility, entering and starting, and are generally added to the amount put up by the track to make up the total purse.

Other resources:

Graded Stakes Calendar
From the Blood Horse

Scale of Weights
as used in "weight for age" races

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