Newcomers to the world of horse racing are usually exposed to big names such as the Kentucky Derby and the Breeders’ Cup. The thing is, these are the races that every horse dreams of – or at least their owners. Before they can reach this stage, they have to undergo different levels of racing to get the experience and exposure that they need.
The maiden race is one of the first types of races that a horse has to run. Any horse who has not won any prize yet is called a maiden. Maiden races are also classified into different levels.
In a claiming race, horses come with a price tag. Anybody can claim a horse for the price tag, given that the person wanting to claim the horse puts in his request before the race. Regardless of what happens to the horse during the race, the person can claim the horse and the owner keeps the purse money (if any).
Next in line is the allowance race which simply means that there are certain conditions to be met in order to join the race. For example, an allowance race could only be for non-winners of certain races except for the maiden, claiming, and stakes races. Allowance races usually have large purses associated with them.
Last (for now) we have the stakes race. This category is where the Breeders’ Cup fall under. Of course, not all stakes races are as big as the Breeders’ Cup. What makes a race a stakes race is that the purses are the highest. Local races may have restrictions such as the horse has to be bred locally. This kind of stakes race is called restricted stakes.