You may have heard the term “condition book” before. The mysterious book referenced that holds the secrets to racehorse training. Not quite.
It is called a condition book because it contains the “conditions” of the races available to enter. For example, conditions would refer to the distance, claiming price, and other specifics such as age and sex that limit a race to a certain group of horses.
The condition book is produced by the racing office and in simple terms is a list of the upcoming races available for horses to enter. You can see the condition book here. The racing office writes the races based on the horse population currently on the grounds.
The condition book is crucial to a trainer because it gives them a race for the horse to point towards. For Emerald Downs, we typically have seven condition books printed throughout the season and they cover about nine days (three weekends) of racing at a time. The most recent edition linked to above is for May 24 – June 6.
According to Sharon, there is a race for Yodeler on Sunday, June 1. If we scroll through to Sunday, June 1 we’ll see that entries will close on Thursday, May 29. That means that as owners, we’ll know if Yodeler was entered and if he made it into the race.
Three things will keep a horse from running in a race that you’ve entered him for other than health and soundness:
-The horse is ineligible – i.e. Race for maidens, and your horse has a win. Mistakes at entry time like this are rarely made, but it can happen.
-There aren’t enough entries to make your race “go”. If a race only has three or four horses in it at close of entries, then there aren’t enough horses to make a betting race. The racing office has to take the races that fill with enough horses and then create the best betting card for the public.
-There are too many entries, this doesn’t happen very often, but if there are too many entries, your horse might be excluded.
Let’s look at the races and see where Yodeler fits in:
Race 1 – Maiden Claiming – Yodeler isn’t a “maiden” (a horse that has never won a race), not eligible
Race 2 – WA Maiden Claiming – This is restricted to WA Bred maidens. Yodeler is not a WA Bred nor a maiden.
Race 3 – Maiden Special Weight for two-year-olds – Yodeler isn’t a two-year-old maiden, not eligible.
Race 4 – Maiden Special Weight for three-year olds and up – Yodeler isn’t a maiden, not eligible.
Race 5 – Quarterhorse maiden – Yodeler is a Thoroughbred, not eligible.
Race 6 – Quarterhorse allowance – Yodeler is a Thoroughbred, not eligible.
Race 7 – Claiming Race for $5,000 going six furlongs – These are Yodeler’s conditions! He is eligible to enter in this race.
Race 8 – Claiming Race for $32,000 – This is above his competition level.
Race 9 – Seattle Handicap – This is our Stakes race and best class of horses. Yodeler is “outclassed” by these horses.
Race 10 – Claiming Race for $12,500 going a mile, fillies and mares – Again, too rich for Yodeler, he’s a boy, and we want to sprint him primarily. Not eligible.
Race 11 – Claiming Race for $10,000, fillies and mares – too rich for Yodeler and he is ineligible because he’s a boy.
Race 12 – Claiming for $10,000 restricted to three-year-olds – Yodeler is too old at age six. Ineligible.
Race 13 – Claiming for $2,500, fillies and mares – Too cheap and a race for girls, and Yodeler is ineligible.
Race 14 – Claiming for $12,500, for three-year-olds and up that have never won two races – Too rich, and Yodeler has won more than two races, so not eligible.
Race 15 – Claiming for $3,500, for three-year-olds and up that haven’t won a race since Oct. 1, 2013 – Yodeler won a race on March 15, making him ineligible.
Race 16 – Claiming for $2,500, for three-year-olds and up which have never won three races – Too cheap, and Yodeler has won more than three races.
Let’s look closer at Race 7:
The purse is the amount he will be racing for – $7,200. In the back of the physical condition book (not on the PDF download) there is a chart called 2014 Division of Purses. According to the chart, the winner takes home 55% with the remainder distributed 2nd – 5th and a $125 “unplaced” fee for any horses that don’t finish in the top five.
He is older than three so he starts out carrying 124 lbs. However, he has not won a race since April 1 (his last win was March 15, Dancing Yodeler – Past Performance) so per the conditions, we can subtract 2 lbs.
The race is a Claiming Race – Claiming Price is $5,000, we could enter him for $4,000 in which case we’d be “allowed” three more lbs but we aren’t going to do that so he’ll be entered for the race and will carry 122 lbs.
Sharon will continue to monitor his health, soundness and mental state but is pointing him towards this race as of now.