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How to claim a horse

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.

Difficulty Level: Hard      Time Required: One month

Here's How:
  1. Familiarize yourself with the rules of racing in your state. These differ widely from state to state.
  2. Select a trainer. Sounds easy but that is deceptive.
  3. 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.
  4. Have your trainer discreetly gather backside gossip about the condition of the horse to make sure he is sound.
  5. 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.
  6. Deposit sufficient funds to cover the claim with the horsemen's bookkeeper at the track where you will claim.
  7. On race day, have your trainer discreetly scope out the horse's condition when he comes to the paddock for the race.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. If more than one person dropped a claim, attend the shake to see if you win and get the horse.
  11. Have your trainer halter your new horse and take him or her back to the barn.
  1. 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.
  2. Beware horses making a sudden large drop in class. This usually indicates a "fire sale" of a horse with a problem.
  3. 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.

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