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Horse Racing Wagering System:
Business And Pleasure At The Racetrack
Past Performances Of Horses
Getting Rid Of Goats At The Racetrack
Speed Vs. Class In Horse Racing
Fundamentals Of Handicapping Horse Racing
Colt System
Claiming Race System For Horses
$61,00 For $2 In 30 Days At The Races
Pulliing Out Of A Slump At The Racetrack
How To Bet Horses
More Horse Racing Tips

Claiming Race System For Horses

( Originally Published mid 1950's )

Because of the vast differences in the type of races and grade of horses encountered, the rules for this book's claiming race system are different from those given for the colt system.

However, there can not possibly be any conflict between the two systems because in this claiming race system we avoid high-class races in which our colts ran. Furthermore, colts are not considered in claiming races.

The same program of mass eliminations, rules of selection, and qualifying rules is maintained, however. After the rules have been explained fully, they will be abbrevi ated and typed on one handy card, as was done with the colts. The few horses that might be eligible at any one track can be spotted within a few minutes, so it will not take long to test these few on the half-dozen qualifying angles necessary.

This spadework can. be done at the track before the start of the first race, which rarely is worth playing anyway. In any event, by the time the program starts, we will have our selections pretty well lined up, with the possible exception of odds or late changes in weight. Just by using the simple rules given in this chapter, and despite the fact that the test was taken at a rather unfavorable time of the year, a winning percentage of 75 percent was obtained during 1952. Tests taken later in the year resulted even more favorably. Additional rules -designed to increase your winning percentage-will be given later because the more handicapping time a race fan is willing to spend, the greater he should profit financially.

In the first of the tests just mentioned, an average total of approximately two plays per day was forthcoming from both our colt and claiming race systems. This aver age was unusually low because the test was taken in May and June and the spring that year was an extremely rainy one, with the result that the tracks were muddy or heavy most of the time and so consequently, under the rules, there was little or no action on quite a few days.

The second type is a steed making a tremendous drop in class, and the third, almost always a gelding, is one that has a high money-winning average.

Nine times out of ten, the undesirables will be eliminated almost at a glance, by means of our drastic rules of elimination.

For instance, an "entire" horse generally must have averaged more money per race in purse earnings than a gelding. An "entire" horse is a male, aged five or more, that has not been unsexed in any manner.

The restrictions on female performers are even more drastic. Unless they look so powerful that they qualify as what we call an "automatic play," all females must have averaged as much as $500 per race in earnings and some of them must show a money-winning average of $900 or more. And the fastest eliminator of all the rules is the one that bars most steeds which lost ground in the stretch in their last race.

These sweeping eliminations will reduce your entire list of eligibles on the card to only 2 or 3 horses, as a rule, in just a few minutes. So the reader need not get alarmed at what at first might seem to be a long list of rules.

This process of wholesale eliminations not only saves considerable time, but also should enable us to avoid many losers.

Thirty years ago the writer, somewhat depressed by enforced and frequent visits to finance companies, asked a veteran bookmaker, that now vanishing type of Ameri can who used to take bets in the old days, if any of his customers was a consistent winner.

The answer, as might be expected, was in the negative.

The bookmaker then was asked what he thought was the best handicapping method ever employed by any of his clients during his scores of years on the turf.

He replied without hesitation:

"Process of elimination. Don't break your back looking for winners; just cross out horses that for any good reason look like losers. Then if you have left a horse that seems to have no strikes on him, take him."

Our little group of research workers, following this advice over a period of 25 years, found sure enough that it was not sufficient to learn what makes winners winthat it also was necessary to find out what makes losers lose.

In addition, of course, we retained our outstanding positive factors, which are found in the Rules of Selection. Which means that we should wind up with a horse that not only has no strikes on him, but also has something definitely in his favor.

The breakdown of the rules is much the same as was used in the colt system. The "Mass Elimination" rules, brutal but necessary, will chop off as many as half the races on the card at times.

A separate section of "negative" or qualifying rules deals with basic handicapping angles. These will be listed following the "positive" rules-the "Rules of Selection" which will reduce to a minimum the number of horses to be considered under the qualifying rules.

The rules first will be listed in summarized form, and then explained in detail where necessary.

So here are our claiming race rules, which a bit later will be abbreviated so that they can be typed or written on one handy card:


1 Mass Eliminations: (a) Except at Belmont Park, Aqueduct, Garden State, Arlington Park or Hawthorne, don't play if track is muddy or heavy at start of program. Skip minor tracks. Stick to claimers $2,500-$10,000 inclusive at 6 furlongs to 1 1/8 miles inclusive, but skip maiden races, turf course races, races with "special weights," races for two-year-olds, and United Hunts meeting at Belmont Park.

(b) Pass a race where, after scratches, there are 4 or more horses which in their last race (1) did not lose any ground, from the standpoint of beaten lengths, from the stretch call to the finish and (2) also finished either first or second (or were beaten by less than half a length for all the money).

(c) Pass any race at exactly 1 1/8 miles where after scratches there are three or more horses that won their last race.

(d) Don't play colts, ridgelings (rig), two-year-olds, or any steed aged 8 and up. And skip any horse whose last start was in a maiden race.

(e) Don't play a horse whose last race was at a minor track. Also, except for a horse that in his last race led both at the stretch call and finish and gained ground in the stretch, don't play a horse whose record shows four or more races at minor tracks, unless none of those four races was for a claiming price of $5,000 or less.

(f) Late Action: A horse must have had at least two races in last 24 days or less.

2 Mud Last Race: Except for males whose last race was at Belmont Park, Aqueduct, Garden State, Arlington Park or Hawthorne, eliminate any horse whose last race was on a muddy or heavy track.

3 Finish in Last Race: In his last race a horse must have finished sixth or better unless he:

(a) "Stumbled," was "forced wide," had a "slow start," or "ran out," or was "knocked back," or never has been beaten in any claiming race, or

(b) Never has been beaten at today's claiming price or lower, also is dropping $1,500 or more in class, also has had 2 or more races in last 16 days or less and was idle for 30 days or more prior to those 2 races, or

(c) Ran in a handicap in his last start.

However, if a horse was beaten by 20 lengths or more in his last start, he is not a play in any case.

4 High Weight: Eliminate horse carrying 121 or more pounds today. And if carrying exactly 119 or 120 pounds, a male must have gained ground in the stretch in both of his last two races.

5 Class: No horse can jump $3,000 or more in class. No female can jump any amount in class.

6 Slow Break and Outside Post Position: If distance of today's race is less than seven furlongs, horse must have broken 8th or better in last race, and must have post position 8 or lower today.

7 Next-to-last Race: Horse must have run second or better in next-to-last race unless he:

(a) In last race ran in the money (or was beaten for all the money by less than 3 lengths ), or

(b) In last race ran in a handicap, or "stumbled," or was "forced wide," or had a "slow start," or "ran out," or was "knocked back," or never has been beaten in any claiming race, or

(c) Never has been beaten at today's claiming price or lower, also is dropping $1,500 or more in class, also has had 2 or more races in last 16 days or less and prior to those 2 races was (1) idle for 30 days or longer, or (2) won 50 percent or more of his previous races this year (before those last 2 races).


Horse must be eligible as one of three types as well as on all 8 qualifying rules which follow:

1 Gelding or entire horse with a money-winning average of $300 or better per race ($500 in the case of a female) that either:

(a) Won last race, led in stretch and gained more than 1/2 length from stretch call to finish, or

(b) Won last race, was second in stretch, and gained more than 2 lengths from stretch call to finish.

2 Gelding that has averaged $300 or more per race ($500 if entire horse or female) that (a) drops $1,500 or more in class and never has been beaten in a claiming race at today's claiming price or lower, or (b) never has been beaten in any claiming race and is entered for $7,500 or lower today.

3 Any gelding that has averaged $500 or more per race ($400 if never beaten either at today's class or weight), (or $900 if entire horse or female), has qualified thus far and also passes the following 8 qualifying rules:


Eligible horse must now qualify on each of the following rules:

1 Eliminate any horse which in last race lost ground from stretch call to finish (from standpoint of beaten lengths) unless he was in one of the five types of serious trouble just mentioned or

(a) Ran in a handicap in last race, or

(b) Never has been beaten in a claiming race, or

(c) Horse is a gelding dropping $1,000 or more in class off last race, or

(d) Horse is a gelding that finished in the money in his last race and also previously ran in the money in a handicap, stake, futurity, etc., or

(e) Horse is a gelding that is dropping from an allowance race to a claimer of $3,500 or lower and also is dropping weight off last race.

2 Class jumps: (a) No entire horse can advance any amount in class over last race except that if he qualifies under Rule 1 (a) or Rule 1 (b) in Rules of Selection, he can jump $1,000 or less.

(b) A gelding qualifying under Rule 1(a) or Rule 1 (b) in Rules of Selection can jump as much as $2,500 in class.

(c) Other geldings running in a claiming race under a price of $6,000 can't jump any in class, but they can advance $1,000 or less at claiming prices of $6,000 to $7,500 inclusive (make that $1,500 instead of $1,000 if the horse won its last race and was second or better at the stretch call).

(d) Gelding in claimer $8,000-$10,000 inclusive can advance $2,000 or $1,500 in class.

(e) No horse (even those who qualify under Rule 1 (a) or under Rule 1 (b) in Rules of Selection) can be eligible in a race at a claiming price of $2,500 or higher if in his past performances he never has raced at a claiming price higher than $2,000.

3 Weight: No female can carry 120 or more pounds, and if 119, she must have won last race easily.

Eliminate any horse carrying a double apprentice allowance (two asterisks in front of weight). Single asterisk no good unless (a) horse has averaged $1,000 or more per race or (b) qualifies under Rule 1 (a) in Rules of Selection, or (c) is dropping from an allowance race and also is dropping to a new low weight. No overweights.

A female or entire horse can't pick up more than 2 pounds over last race. A gelding can't pick up more than five pounds unless in its last race it won easily (or ran in a handicap), and in any event can't pick up 8 pounds.

4 Big Field: If more than 12 horses go to the post, eliminate any horse with a post position of 4 or higher unless the distance of today's race is 1 1/8 miles.

5 Tough Race Last Race: Eliminate any horse that won its last race by a nose, or if it was involved in any dead heat or was disqualified.

6 Distance: (a) Eliminate any horse which shows no race as short as today's.

(b) A horse coming off of a race over a mile into a race under 7 furlongs must have closed fast in its last race and also must either (1) be dropping more than 10 pounds or (2) must have been in sprints in more than half of its last 6 races.

(c) A horse can not go from a race under 7 furlongs to a race over a mile unless it (1) gained in the stretch in its last race and also has been in the money in a race at more than a mile, or (2) is dropping from an allowance race and also is dropping weight.

7 Odds: Horse must be 9 to 5 or better at post time.

8 Tie: If tie, take horse with most total points here: (a) Starting with finish and reading from right to left, award 1 point if two consecutive aces last race or 2 points if 3 consecutive aces, or 3 points if 4 or more.

(b) Award 1 point or most average money won per race. (c) Award 1 point for horse with the latest race.

(d) Award 1 point for horse with latest next-to-last race. (e) Award 1 point for horse with latest workout.

(f) Award 1 point for horse that won easily in last race. (g) Award 1 point if horse is a gelding.

(h) Award 1 point if horse had no races at minors last 8 R.

(In figuring the average money won per race, the procedure in claiming races is that in the event a horse has had less than 10 races this year, his average earnings this year alone may be used or may be combined with his earnings the previous year. But if he has had 10 or more races this year, stick to his earnings this year.

(This is slightly different from procedure with colts). That winds up our list of rules.

At this point we are going to try to clarify a couple of terms that might have been used rather loosely in stating the rules. The first one is that when we refer simply to a "horse," we mean a steed of any age or any sex. But if we are referring to an "entire" horse, we mean a male steed aged 5 or over that has not been unsexed.

Secondly, when we talk about a horse dropping down to a claimer from an allowance race, we do not mean an allowance race such as the "phony" type referred to earlier, when we were talking about colts.

To be specific, if we are going to give a horse a break in that he apparently ran in an "allowance" race last out and supposedly is dropping in class today, he must qualify on ONE of the following counts:

(1) The horse must never have raced in a claiming race, or (2), must either have finished second or better, in his past performances, in a race equal to or higher than today's claiming price, or in his past performances must have won a race where the claiming price was within $1,000 of today's claiming price.

At this point the writer, not considering himself bombastic because these rules have been checked for more than a quarter of a century and have been tested and approved by numerous veteran race-goers and seasoned sports observers, wishes to sound off rather loudly on a few pregnant points, as follows:

(1) The writer has read for the past 30 years anything and everything he could find about racing systems and he has little hesitation in saying that the two racing systems just given you are superior to any racing system ever published. In fact, we cannot recall reading about any system, producing fairly decent prices, that would return even 40 percent winners, let alone 75 percent winners, for a period of 8 consecutive weeks or even 4 consecutive weeks-the ones described in this particular book.

(2) Even if our two systems should run into such a slump that they would produce only 15 or 20 percent winners, they still would show a profit because of the unusually healthy mutuel prices which they yield under the rules.

So on this note, we will conclude our "high school" education for turf students.

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