Today I’ll go to the opposite end of the competition spectrum, and that is the Maiden Race. Even the greatest race horse of all time (my opinion) Secretariat had to run as a maiden, way back in 1972. These races are exclusively for horses which have never Won a race. A horse that has had multiple starts but never a Win still qualifies as a maiden. Occasionally a maiden race has some, or all, first time starters. These races are difficult to handicap in that there are no past race performances to look back on. Then you must rely on a horses breeding, human connections (jockey, trainer), and workouts. All of which are listed in the track program. Sometimes with first time starters it just doesn’t matter. You don’t know how a horse will react racing with a full field of other horses. Maybe the horse doesn’t like traffic, or having dirt kicked up in his/her face. So all this said, Maiden Races often offer BIG VALUE. A lot of bettors take a pass on maiden races, because there just isn’t enough information on the horses in the race. Dig a little deeper, find something you like about a long-shot and give it a go !
Once a horse has Won its first race, thereby “breaking it’s maiden” it must progress to a higher level of competition. Rarely do horses make the jump from winning a maiden race to a Stakes Race. It has happened, but usually jumping up in class too quickly doesn’t pan out. The two levels between Maiden and Stakes races are; Claiming Races, and Allowance Races. Both of which I’ll talk about in the near future.
BTW Secretariat finished fourth in his debut race on July 4th, 1972 at Aqueduct Park. He came back eleven days later to break his maiden in a six furlong race at the same track.