Going Up and Down the Claiming Ladder

You may have heard the term “going up the ladder” or “dropping in class”. Both these phrases are referring to a horse moving up or down in claiming price.

You think of the different claiming prices ($2,500, $5,000, $7,500, $10,000, etc) as rungs on a ladder. We can refer to Yodeler’s race today as a good example showing horses moving up and down the ladder in order to find a “rung” or price at which they are competitive.

A quick glance at the Condition Book Index page we learned about a few blogs ago and we can easily distinguish the rungs on the ladder. These may not be all the rungs, but they are the rungs available for this current edition of the Condition Book.


  • M=Maiden race
  • (WA)= Restricted to Washington bred horses
  • NW=”Non-Winners of”, followed by a number.
  • NW2 = Non-Winners of 2 races and so forth.
  • NW1{Date}=Non-Winners of a race since a certain date. 
  • ALW=Allowance race. No claiming price. 


For an example of the claiming ladder, I referred to the “open” claiming prices in the most recent condition book. “Open” refers to any claiming race without conditions. C4000NW2 translates to “$4,000 Claiming for horses are Non-Winners of 2 Races”. That is a “condition” whereas C5-4000 has no restrictions and is “open”.

  • $50,000-$40,000 (this is same level whether it is for $50K or $40K, but an owner can opt to list the horse for the lower claiming price in order to get a break in the weight allowance. But it is the same “rung”)
  • $20,000-$18,000
  • $15,000
  • $10,000-$8,000
  • $7,500
  • $5,000-$4,000

If we look at Yodeler’s Past Performances we can see that he has essentially stayed at his spot on the ladder. The $3,200 level he was claimed for in California could be equated to our $5,000 level here.

We can feel pretty confident based on his past performances that he can be competitive at the $5,000 level here and he showed us that by finishing a game third against Hip Hop City during his last out.

However, we now have to account for his competition and determine if they are moving down a rung or two to his level, or moving up. His greatest competition would likely come from horses moving down the ladder or “dropping in class” OR a horse performing extremely well at a level below “moving up in class.”

Storming Kentucky is a great example that shows a horse moving up and down the ladder.

For comparison, I’ve charted both horses Claiming Price over their last six starts to better illustrate the ladder concept.

Claiming Chart

Nothing here will predict how one will fare against the other, it just demonstrates the different paths a horse can take to get to where they are at.

So the next question is, why would you move a horse up or down the ladder?

Each claiming price runs for a different purse. The higher the claiming price, the better the purse. So if you can jump a horse up in class, you are rewarded with more purse money.

The following example is of purses for our wide open claiming races, three year olds and upwards. All of this information I found in the newest edition of the Condition Book.

Claiming Price Purse
 $50-$40,000  $       20,475
 $20-$18,000  $       14,800
$15,000  $       12,700
 $10-$8,000  $       10,500
$7,500  $         9,300
 $5-$4,000  $         7,200
$2,500  $         5,900

We reference the condition book a lot, but the truth is a lot of owners aren’t familiar with the condition book at all. It is really the realm of the trainer. However, as an educated owner, the condition book can help you better understand the earning potential for your horse as well as understand how certain races make it from condition book to actual race day.

Paddock for Sunday

Paddock List for Sunday:

Robert Buendia
Virginia Sharpy
Mike Waters
Steve Priem
Chris Trujillo
Brad Meyer
Jim Engstrom
Robert and Celia Handley
Gerald Flowers
CJ Koenig
Marla (Kay) Ray
John Goebel

Meet at the entrance to the Paddock immediately after the 6th race. Our Customer Service Staff will meet you and walk you in to the Post 7 spot.

Ana Update

Ana continues to have some edema in the left ankle so she has not gone to the track to train. Dr. Stenslie evaluated it again this morning and can’t find anything, nor has she exhibited any soreness. However, we will give it a little more time and possibly ultrasound on Monday. If she whacked her leg, the edema could be a result of a broken blood vessel.

Save The Date

Save Saturday, August 2 in your calendars. We are building a sales seminar that we will hold in the Emerald Room for Emerald Racing Club members. This will precede a weekend visiting Sales Prep Farms (that’s still in the works) and the WTBOA Yearling Sale on Tuesday, August 26.

More details to come.

Luck O’ The Irish For Dancing Yodeler

Dancing Yodeler is in! He is entered in the seventh race on Sunday, June 29. It is the same $5,000 claiming price going a distance of 6 furlongs. He drew post position 7 of 10 horses.

Sunday, June 29 also marks our annual Irish Day celebration at the track with Irish dancers, live Irish music, and free family activities. So wear lots of green and hope for some luck from the Emerald Isle.

Paddy Coyne’s Irish Pubs are in the tents on Sunday, so you are on your own for seating. However, if you want to party it up with the Irish, we do have individual buffet tickets available in the North Tent for $35 (includes tax & gratuity).

Menu: Corned Beef and Cabbage with Horseradish Mustard & Roasted Salmon with Lemon Dill Butter.
Served with Boiled Potatoes, Carrots and Turnips, Emerald Isle Green Salad, Fruit Salad, Rolls & Butter, Bread Pudding with Irish Whiskey Caramel Sauce and Shortbread cookies.


For that, contact Group Sales at 253-288-7700 or email groupevents@emeralddowns.com.

But a reminder that Section 15 is available for horsemen (that’s you!).

Will call tickets will be available through the Will Call Gate under Emerald Racing Club for your extra guests.

RSVP if you’d like to be considered for the paddock. We’ll be taking in ten ERC members.

Ana Update

Ana still appears to be doing well. Dr. Stenslie believes she must have just whacked her leg and that a broken blood vessel resulted in the edema. She will go to the track to train tomorrow and then we’ll evaluate and see how she’s feeling.





Anelina Runs Hard Closing Second in Debut

Anelina did not disappoint the Emerald Racing Club masses today with a steady run up the rail to finish second by a short head!

Under jockey Leslie Mawing, Anelina stalked the pace, closed well around the turn and just ran out of ground. She will be well suited to the 6 1/2 furlong distance (today’s race was 6 furlongs).

Link to the Official Equibase Chart is here.

Race Replays can be found at emeralddowns.com>Racing>Race Replays.

_MG_1668 _MG_1656 _MG_1002 _MG_0997



Anelina captured in Emerald Downs Training Day Video

The Emerald Downs TV crew caught Anelina during her morning jog today! You can catch her at 1:25 in the video.

(If you receive the email and don’t see a link to the Youtube video, go to http://www.emeraldracingclub.com to see the video embedded in this blog).

Yodeler Update

Yodeler worked a half mile today in 48:2, 5th of 16 for the distance. Jockey Felipe Valdez said that is the best he’s worked yet! He’ll be entered on Thursday, June 26 for a race on Sunday, June 29.


Anelina To Race Saturday, June 21

Anelina was entered today and her race is a go for Saturday, June 21!

She is in the 6th race – a $7,500 claiming race for fillies and mares, three years old and upward. She is in post 3 of seven horses. Overnight is here.

The Trackside Tents are again open for the Emerald Racing Club to use. Same deal as Yodeler’s race, non-alcoholic beverages are comped, cash bar available for those looking to have an adult beverage.

To alleviate the burden on the office for accommodating Will Call for all 128 of you, we will be leaving tickets at the Will Call gate under Emerald Racing Club. No need to call in to make your reservation unless you’d like to sit somewhere else. And no need to RSVP as we still have the list of 20 from Sunday that will go in the paddock:

Jon Shanks
Marty Smith
Lana Nugent
Cathi Udasco-Dunn
Glenn Akramoff
David Pitts
Robert Greco
Brian Guenther
Greg Green
Robert Buendia
Scott Jofuku
Virginia Sharpy
Jacque Dempster
Virgil Maas
Pete Deraitus
Wade Thorlacius
Stacy Kanda
Jet Parrett
Andy Ward
Patricia Klump
Cindy Tomlinson

Please meet at the entrance to the Trackside Tents immediately after the 5th race to be escorted to the paddock by one of our customer service staff.

And as a reminder, please be kind to our staff. On Father’s Day we had reports that one of our staff were treated harshly by folks identifying with the Emerald Racing Club. Whether it was the disappointment of Yodeler not running or perhaps the stress of a big day, please be kind to each other and to our staff.

Yodeler Update

Yodeler is scheduled to have a workout on Thursday or Friday. There is a race for him next weekend. Can you take what you’ve learned thus far and identify the race he is being pointed towards? Condition book is here.





Dancing Yodeler Scratches After Downpour

Dancing Yodeler is a SCRATCH after an incredible rainstorm hit the track just shy of 1:30 pm turning a fast track to sloppy in minutes.

If you were here – you were in it and it was impressive.

We’ll save the horse for another day. Because he was scratched due to the change in race conditions, there is no penalty and he is free to enter again.



Yodeler a “Go” as of 11:30 am, Seats for Father’s Day

As of 11:30 am – Yodeler is a “go” for his race today. We didn’t receive any rain over night and despite a handful of sprinkles this morning, the weather is holding.

Pending any deluge, Yodeler will run!

If you have been making last minute reservations for Will Call, please note that we have tickets at Will Call under Emerald Racing Club. The Will Call gate will accommodate you if they see your lanyard.

Also, we have been able to set aside Section 19 (3rd floor Grandstand) for seating for you. After you come in the gates proceed to the 3rd floor reserved seating and the usher will seat you in section 19. Again, they have been told to accommodate ERC members (and guests) with lanyards.

Ana Update

Ana’s race did not “fill” for Friday, which means that she will not race on Friday. You can see from the photo below that “Book 7” only had 5 entries and the racing secretary opted to use the seven races with the most entries.

Ana Entry

However, the racing secretary, Bret Anderson, has the option to “write it back” for the next entry day. “Extra” races are races available to enter in that are not in the previously published condition book.

Because Book 7 had five entries, it will be “brought back” on Wednesday, when they accept entries for Saturday.

Ana will be re-entered on Wednesday for a race on Saturday. We will know Wednesday afternoon if the race filled and if she will run on Saturday, June 21.


And in honor of Father’s Day – here’s photos of Yodeler’s and Ana’s fathers.

Swiss Yodeler

Swiss Yodeler stands in California and is the sire of Dancing Yodeler. In horse terms, “sire” will always refer to the horse’s father.

Interestingly enough, if you have two horses by the same sire, they are not considered half-siblings. BUT if you have two horses out of the same dam (mother), but different sires, they are called half-siblings. This is because a sire might have 100 progeny in one year, but a dam will only have one foal a year.

lion heart

Lion Heart is Anelina’s sire. Lion Heart was an accomplished racehorse and finished second in the 2004 Kentucky Derby to Smarty Jones. He stood at Ashford Farm in Kentucky before being sold to the National Stud in Turkey.

Happy Father’s Day!



Please Read – Yodeler’s Race

Two very important items to be aware of for tomorrow:

1) If the track conditions are sloppy or muddy, Yodeler will SCRATCH. I’ll post here as soon as we know one way or the other.

From Sharon: The horse comes first and this horse will not run on a muddy or sloppy track. He is doing great – squealing in his stall this morning – but there will always be another day – but if we hurt him on a wet track there will be no other day. 

2) No barn visits on race day. We are intending to run and have fingers crossed for a good track. Barn visits are not permitted on race day to protect Yodeler from any possible contamination and also to keep him as quiet as possible. Race day can be stressful even without disruptions.

If Yodeler runs, the 20 people drawn for the paddock visit tomorrow are:

Jon Shanks
Marty Smith
Lana Nugent
Cathi Udasco-Dunn
Glenn Akramoff
David Pitts
Robert Greco
Brian Guenther
Greg Green
Robert Buendia
Scott Jofuku
Virginia Sharpy
Jacque Dempster
Virgil Maas
Pete Deraitus
Wade Thorlacius
Stacy Kanda
Jet Parrett
Andy Ward
Patricia Klump
Cindy Tomlinson

Please go to the paddock immediately after the 1st race. Meet in the middle of the paddock by the lawn jockey. I will meet you there. If he does not run, then you’ll get first option on the paddock for Ana’s first race (tentative June 20).

I apologize about the uncertainty surrounding tomorrow’s race but….that’s horse racing!

And on a fun note – Yodeler was visited by the chiropractor (yes, there are horse chiros) and he loved it!