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Types Of Horse Races

Several types of horse races exist for thoroughbred racehorses. Races may be run on the flat with a dirt, synthetic or turf surface. Thoroughbreds may also run steeplechase races. These races are run on turf and include jumps throughout the race. Here are some basic types of races:

Claiming Race - During claiming races, each horse may be bought or claimed for a price. Any person may claim the horse before the race and becomes the owner of the horse after the race, regardless of what happens during the race. The previous owner keeps any prize money, but must give the horse to the new owner.

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Allowance Race - Allowance races offer a higher purse than claiming races and horses are not sold or claimed in allowance races.

Stakes Race -Stakes races are the highest level of races with the highest purses. These are the top races that most people are familiar with including the Breeders' Cup Classic and the Kentucky Derby.

Maiden Race - A maiden race is a race with a field of horses who have never won a race. Once a horse wins a race or "breaks his/her maiden," it is no longer eligible to run in maiden races.

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Standardbred harness racing is also run on the flat and includes two classes of races:

Trotters -Trotters run with a diagonal gait. The trotters right front and left hind feet move forward together and vice versa.

Pacers - Pacers move both left feet together and both right feet together.

Other types of horses also run in horse races. Quarter horses are sprinters and run races that are generally a quarter of a mile in length and are run on the flat.

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