Using the Class System for Betting

Horse racing is a hugely lucrative betting opportunity for gamblers, but understanding everything that makes the sport tick is essential for making the most knowledgeable bets. Understanding the different markets available to bet on is important, but it’s also essential to have a basic understanding of the Class system and how it could affect the bets that you make.

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What Do The Classes Mean?

We will go through the different classes further down in this article, but it’s important to understand what the different classes mean. Simply put, the better the class, the harder the race is to win, as it will attract more talented horses than non-classed races.


These classed races are also the ones with the more lucrative prize pots available, which means that they are the ones that trainers and owners will be looking to win with their horse.

Why Are They Important?

There are a number of comparisons that can be made to help understand why classes are important when it comes to betting. We will use the NFL as an example. The NFL is the pinnacle that all players want to reach in the sport, and that is similar to the classed races in horse racing. 

However, not every horse is able to reach the pinnacle of the sport, which means that the different classes are there to see where the horse fits in. Should they not be good enough for a Grade 1, then they may be tested in Grade 2 and Grade 3 races.


However, if they aren’t successful in any of these races, then they may be best suited to trying to claim wins in listed races. Understanding the importance of class when it comes to betting is important. Horses that have won graded affairs in the past should be taken as serious contenders, while those that haven’t won even a Grade 3 could be taken out of the equation for a big Grade 1 such as the Kentucky Derby.

Claiming Races & Why They Are Important

Claiming races are an important part of deciding the class that a horse will run at. These races in the US and Canada will see the runners all available to buy for the prize listed. For example, if the race is a $10,000 Claiming Race, then trainers and owners could look to buy before the race starts for the price set.


The reason for this kind of race being so important is to ensure that the horses involved are all of the same caliber. That means that horses that are worth $50,000 or more won’t be entered, as the trainers and owners could stand to lose their investment in the horse.

First Stop To Discovering Class Of A Horse 

The first race that is significant to find the class that a horse may be able to run at is in their maiden start. This is traditionally in the form of a Maiden Special Weight, with horses carrying weight depending on the age they are. 

These races come with a variety of different prize pots depending on the prestige of the contest. Winners of the race can no longer compete at this level, which means that they then step up to allowance races.


Allowance races are where the superstars are able to stand out from the crowd, as they will not stay in this classification for long. Simply put, it is the middle ground of the racing world. 

There isn’t massive prize money up for grabs in the allowance races. Horses involved in these races tend to have not won more than one race during their career or have not won considerable prize money previously. Handicaps will also be in operation for horses, depending on the prize money that they have won and the wins that they have recorded.

High-Class Races

Horses that are talented enough then reach the highest standards open to them, which are Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3 contests. The prior mentioned Grade is where the biggest superstars compete, with prize money being the highest. The prize money in each of the Graded races is much more than you would find in the races that we have previously mentioned.


However, with that comes a higher entry fee. For example, horses looking to enter the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby will need to win a qualifier before the owner pays the $50,000 entry fee.


Below you will see some of the most lucrative Grade 1 races in the United States:



However, just because a horse wins a Grade 2 contest doesn’t necessarily mean that they will step up into Grade 1 and be comfortable. Gamblers should still carry out all the necessary research and not rely solely on the class of the horse.