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This article covers claiming races on the dirt or all-weather surfaces.

Caliber of claiming races is sometimes very hard to judge. Some rank lower than maiden claiming and others above good allowance races. As for key horse handicapping, we can divide this class into two groups according to claiming price. Lower and higher levels. Furthermore we need to define these two levels at lower and higher circuits. At higher circuits, we call 30K claimers the dividing line, and in lower circuits, a 15K claiming line is the divider. These figures are loosely selected and need to be adjusted according to the track we are playing.
Now that we have divided the claimers into two levels, let's cover them seperately.

The lower level group of claimers are similar to maiden claimers and very slow compared to higher level claimers. Because of this, recent pace figure of less than 42 days layoff becomes the deciding factor and class is the secondary factor. The lower the claiming level, the more important the pace figure in selecting a key horse. We can use the same examples for maiden claimers for this group of races and will not repeat the process.

 

Higher level claimers can handle more pace pressure and still produce a good final time and speed figure therefore the speed figure becomes the measuring stick for this group. Same as lower levels, class is the secondary factor.
Here are a few examples for higher class claimers.

High class claimersIn this race, top selection has a clear advantage over the field in the speed figure and total points and can be confidently keyed on top in vertical plays and singled in horizontal plays. This horse may not have as high of the class as the third choice but class figure is at an acceptable level as a secondary factor. If the class figure of this horse for example in the 60s or 70s, then we needed to include other speed figures with higher class ratings.


Not so obvious figures for higher class claimersIn this example, there is no clear stand out in speed figures. The top three and the Fifth choice are top speed contenders. The top pick is not a top candidate in class but can not be thrown out of this wide open race because of the advantage in total points (PT) over the field. We could have easily taken the chance in leaving the top pick out of our exotics if total points were within a couple of points of each other. We suggest playing the top pick and the two horses with 89 class ratings in horizontal plays.

 Figure handicapping drawbacks