TOBA: Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association
Owner Education

Factors to Consider When Claiming a Horse

By Gary Burke

Reprinted with the permission of the Thoroughbred Owners of California

Even though most of the news in horse racing is about the high-profile horses, most of the races are for claiming stock. I have been claiming horses for more than fifteen years and find it to be a preferred strategy for many owners and trainers.

While claiming is sometimes called a lessor way to participate, it helps owners because the value of the horse has been more clearly established. Additionally, the majority of these horses are ready to race within three weeks after they are claimed.

Following is a partial list of factors to consider when claiming a horse:

  1. Can an equipment change improve the horse?
  2. How about a surface change (dirt to turf)?
  3. Will a different distance work?
  4. How about different training techniques?
  5. Are there any obvious physical problems?
  6. What is the age of the horse?
  7. Does the horse appear to be in good condition?
  8. Do you like the way he or she walks?
  9. What race conditions is the horse eligible for?

As you can readily conclude, it is very important to have a professional point of view to help make these decisions. Hence, the quality of the owner-trainer relationship will insure long-term involvement and success.

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