How ‘B’ Claiming Races Are More Entertaining Than B-Movies

It is debatable whether claiming races with multiple conditions (noted with a “b” in the past performances) are more entertaining than a “B” movie, but they can certainly be more profitable!

The conditions of some claiming races are easier to decipher than others. When scanning through the past performances you can usually tell what the previous conditions were, yet you will encounter a claiming type of race noted with a “b” next to the claiming price.  What does that mean and how should you approach these races?

In the past we have discussed optional claiming races and conditioned claiming races that are for non-winners of a number of races over a certain period of time, such as “n1y” being non-winners of one race over the last year. You will often see non-winners of a number of races lifetime such as “n3L” being non-winners of three races lifetime. Open claiming races, races without any restrictions or conditions, are noted as “Clm5000” for a $5,000 claiming race with no restrictions.

So what does “b” mean?

The use of the designation “b” indicates a claiming race that has multiple conditions. The race is written for both non-winners of a number of races over a period of time and non-winners of a number of races lifetime. If the horse meets either of these conditions, they are eligible to run. An interesting twist on this condition earlier in the racing season is adding a third condition for age, allowing three year olds to run against older horses that must meet the non-winners conditions.

How should you approach this type of race?

First, it is important to see which conditions the entrants meet. Has the horse won more races than the non-winners of a number of races lifetime condition allows? What class races has this horse won or had quality start(s) against? If the horse has already beaten the number of races specified in the non-winners of lifetime condition, this can indicate an edge in class.

Second, if the horse meets the “non-winners of a number of races over a period of time” condition, why does the horse meet this condition? Is it as a result of a long layoff, troubled trips, being outclassed or being placed in races that are at the wrong distance or over the wrong surface? Check out my previous article that goes further into detail about what to look for in conditioned claiming races.

A solid example of this type of claiming race is the second race from Penn National on Oct. 26, 2016. The race was a $5,000 claiming event at one mile on the main track. The race was “for fillies and mares three years old and upward, which have not won two races since April 26 or which have never won four races.” The race is for horses that are either “n2y” or “n4L”.


Tactical Maneuver meets today’s conditions by not having won four races lifetime. Her last effort was solid, as she came from off the pace after three straight bad races. She is not the classiest horse here, but has shown decent form. Still, I think she may find the pace a little too fast here. She’s a non-contender.


Mrs Barbaroux meets today’s condition by not having won four races lifetime. While she is a strong early speed horse, the probable pace will be much faster than she can handle here. Non-contender.


Honor Achieved meets this class by not winning two races in the last six months. She won her last effort in a $4,000 claiming race, also for non-winners of two in the last six months and, before that, had her last win against “n3L,” or non-winners of three races lifetime, just before the April 26 cutoff specified in today’s conditions. She is a one-dimensional front runner who does not figure to get loose by the half-mile here.  Despite having an edge in class, she is hindered by the probable pace scenario here. Non-contender.


Nancy Pants also meets the “non-winners of two in the last six months” condition. She cleared the “n4L” condition back in May and does have a quality start against $6,250 claimers under the “n2y” condition back in July. She appears to have been outclassed in her subsequent two starts against $8,000 claiming horses and threw in a clunker against weaker horses last out. Her off-the-pace running style will help her here against a project soft pace. She’s a contender.


Precious Audrey also meets the “non-winners of four races lifetime” condition. She stretches back out after two excusable efforts in sprints. Her running style suggests that she will need to be close to the lead, but the projected pace here will be too fast. Non-contender.


Our Carly meets the “non-winners of two in the last six months” condition. She has shown the ability to take the race on the front-end against a slower pace and hung tough before tiring in her last start around two turns. She steps up a bit in class here, but seems to have found some life around two turns.  Another contender.


S W Tizherself meets the “non-winners of four lifetime” condition and is stretching back out in this race. She has one applicable running line against $7,500 maiden claimers where she showed some weak early speed in a slow-paced affair. Non-contender.


One Tough Cowgirl meets the “non-winners of two in the last six months” condition. She comes back first off of the layoff here and has not had a quality start in over a year. Non-contender.


Updated Daily also meets the “non-winners of two in the last six months” condition. She showed some early speed in an open claiming race last out before throwing in the towel before the half-mile. She has back class, having won an allowance race over a year ago, but is showing the continual drop in class through her running lines. She is not likely to rebound here today. Non-contender.


The critical pace horse (CPH) here is Mrs Barbaroux. She looks to apply the negative pressure to Honor Achieved to upset the early pace and set the race up for a horse to come from off the pace. Looking at the strong late-running horses in here, two also have an edge in class — Nancy Pants and Our Carly. Of those two entrants, Nancy Pants holds an advantage in class with the quality start against $6,250 claiming horses in a “n2y” race, versus Our Carly’s win against $4,000 claiming horses in a “n1y” race. Outclassed, Tactical Maneuver falls short on the Pace-Based Speed Rating (PBR) in this race, despite having a positive running style.


As expected, Mrs Barbaroux affected the early pace. She set a much faster pace than she is comfortable with and drew both Honor Achieved and Precious Audrey to chase her. As the early pace failed, the race set up for the two strong E/P horses — Nancy Pants and Our Carly. Tactical Maneuver was able to get up for show, completing a nice trifecta.

Racing secretaries continue to change the conditions of races to fill fields for races. By understanding how the conditions are written and taking the time to assess how the different conditions compare against to each other, you will find some solid betting opportunities.

Ray Wallin
Ray Wallin is a licensed civil engineer and part-time handicapper who has had a presence on the Web since 2000 for various sports and horse racing websites and through his personal blog. Introduced to the sport over the course of a misspent teenage summer at Monmouth Park by his Uncle Dutch, a professional gambler, he quickly fell in love with racing and has been handicapping for over 25 years.

Ray’s background in engineering, along with his meticulous nature and fascination with numbers, parlay into his ability to analyze data; keep records; notice emerging trends; and find new handicapping angles and figures. While specializing in thoroughbred racing, Ray also handicaps harness racing, Quarter Horse racing, baseball, football, hockey, and has been rumored to have calculated the speed and pace ratings on two squirrels running through his backyard.

Ray likes focusing on pace and angle plays while finding the middle ground between the art and science of handicapping. When he is not crunching numbers, Ray enjoys spending time with his family, cheering on his alma mater (Rutgers University), fishing, and playing golf.

Ray’s blog, which focuses on his quest to make it to the NHC Finals while trying to improve his handicapping abilities can be found at Ray can also be found on Twitter (@rayw76) and can be reached via email at

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