Claiming horse races involve the horse owners putting a "claiming price" on the horses that are involved in the race. Others are able to put a claim on the horse by agreeing to pay the dollar amount the owner is asking. However, claiming horse races work differently depending on the racetrack and its location.
If at the end of the race, someone has entered a claim on a horse, the claimant takes ownership of the horse, and the previous owner gets the money from the claim. If there is more than one claim on a horse, the winning claimant is chosen at random.
Each track has different rules regarding who can put a claim on a horse. In most states, claimants are required to purchase an owner's license to buy a horse during a claim horsing race. When a claim is made, money equal to the claim amount must be submitted to a bookkeeper prior to the race.
One downside to a claiming horse race is the fact that claimants cannot inspect the horse prior to putting in a claim. This means that undiagnosed health problems may not be apparent until the claimant takes ownership of the horse. However, the owner has no obligation to disclose potential problems with the horse to claimants.