CLAIMING RACE HANDICAPPING
Claiming Races - Multiple Winners
I think that claiming races are pretty easy to beat - especially claiming races for horses that have won TWO or more races in their careers. In this type of race, basically the horse(s) that have finished the best in their most recent races at the highest claiming levels are the logical contenders. The other horses to look for are ones that ran close to the pace early, faded somewhat late, and are now DROPPING in class. Often these horses can be competitive. For example, a horse that showed good early speed at the $20,000 level before fading into 4th or 5th could be a great bet when it runs back for $10,000.
Claiming Races - Non-winners of Two Races (N2L)
These races are very popular now, because they usually get big fields and allow horses to compete for a restricted claiming price. This is especially useful if they can't compete in allowance (non-claiming) company. Unlike claiming races for multiple winners, where the quality is usually well established, the results of these N2L races can be quite erratic. Keep in mind there may be four, five, or six horses capable of winning one of these events, so don't take a short price. Horses that are unable of hitting the board in an Non-Winners of 1 other than allowance race (NW1ot or NW1x) can "drop into" a N2L claiming race and actually be the horse to beat. Watch those droppers closely!
Maiden Claiming Races
I REALLY like maiden claiming races because a lot of horses are generally not placed at the correct level of competition and can be eliminated. The class horse(s) in the race are the ones DROPPING down in class. Remember dropping from a Maiden Special Weight, or MSW (where a horse can not be claimed) into a Maiden Claiming (MDC) race is a very significant drop! Some players consider the MSW to MDC drop the "biggest drop in racing." Otherwise, focus on horses that while not winning, are dropping in class from say $40,000 to $30,000. That is a significant drop. After evaluating the class droppers, look at first time starters, especially from barns that do well with horses entered in maiden claiming races. Lastly, as the claiming tag gets cheaper and cheaper, keep in mind the equine quality and reliability will also deteriorate. Any maiden claiming race at the $15,000 level and lower is eligible for a win by a big longshot.