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This article covers allowance and stakes races on the dirt or all-weather surfaces.

As the horses step up in class, the value of pace and speed decrease and value of class rating increases. In lower class races pace is the dominating factor. As the class level of the race rises, the speed becomes the deciding factor. When we are in the stakes level of competition, class becomes the dominating factor. Other factors are still used to separate the top contenders.

Allowance races cover young horses that are stepping up to allownace company for the first time to horses that are just bellow stakes caliber. The deciding factor in this class starts with speed and early pace for the young three year olds and becomes the speed at the top of this level with class being a very strong secondary factor. The higher we move in this level of competition, the more important the class figure become in effecting our decision making. When we move to stakes level of competition, class figures are the dominating factor and speed figures are secondary.

At the very bottom, usually a three year old trying the allowance company for the first time, will always face a stronger early pace pressure and no matter if he or she has speed figures comparable to the rest of the field, if he or she does not have a comparable early pace number (EP) to the rest of the field, it can not be considered a top key in the field.

Young allowance runner with weak early pace figure Here we have an example of a young three year old (top pick) that has the top speed rating but lacks the early pace number close enough to this field's early pace to effectively step up in class. We understand that this horse is a sustained runner and will be flying late down the stretch but these numbers may be good enough to run down a field of claimers but not this allowance field. On the other hand, our second pick becomes a very attractive key horse.

When moving upward in this level, experienced three year olds and older, the speed figure becomes the dominating factor and class is a close secondary factor. We do not consider pace because higher level horses can handle different pace pressures and still post a good speed figure. We still use the pace figures to determine how a race may shape up but will not use these figures to seperate the top contenders.

experienced allowance horsesIn this example, the top three horses are very close in speed ratings but the third choice becomes our key horse with that superior class rating. Here is when we use the pace calls to determine if our key horse is a solid top key or should it be keyed in the second hole also. When we look at early and turn pace numbers, we notice that second and third choice are identical in numbers and will be hooking each other the whole race, lower class horses usually give up the fight but this long fight may have just taken too much out of both to fend off a late challenger so we play our key in both holes of an exotic.

Clear allowance winnerHere is an example of a clear top key selection. The top pick has the top speed, top class and not much of pace challenge that may stop this horse from winng the race easily. Of course this horse will be a short price key. Horses like this are not good for most players because no matter how strong a horse is, some will try to beat them and end up losing money on an exotic with a free square. Our suggestion is that if you do not like to play short price horses and exotics that do not offer a good price, sit the race out instead of trying to beat a solid winner.

key horse in a stakes raceHere is an example of a G3 stakes race. The top pick has superior total points over this field but that low class rating indicates that this horse is stepping up in class. The second choice and the Sixth choice are stepping down in class. The sixth choice is too far down the list to be considered so the second choice is our top key selection. A conservative player may play the second choice in top two holes or the top two picks in a horizontal play due to the big total point spread of the top choice.

 Figure handicapping drawbacks