Simplified Class Based Ratings
Handicapping class levels in horse racing can be difficult for many horse players. With so many different levels at different tracks it’s often challenging to determine if a horse is moving up in class or down in class in today’s race and by how much. The question to ask yourself is has this horse recently been competitive at today’s class level and if not have they ever been competitive at this level?
Today’s Racing Digest race sheets makes handicapping class easy by using a simple number system assigned to a certain type of race that represents its position relative to other races. By assigning a numerical value to a race it allows the you to easily discern the quality of one class of horses from another. The Digest does this by designating a number, anywhere from 75 to 210, to each race. The higher the number, the stronger the race. For the most part, each class receives a number that remains constant. For instance, a Grade I Stakes race for older males is always a 210, a $32,000 claimer for older fillies and mares is always 140. (Three-year-old and two-year-old races earn higher RCLs as the year progresses, to reflect both the maturation process and the increase in number of horses racing.)
Five points equals one class level.
A Grade I race for older males has an RCL of 210, with Grade II older males receiving a 205. Since the Grade I race is five points higher than a Grade II race, the Grade I race is considered to be one class level stronger than a Grade II race. You can determine the relationship between any class levels using the RCL; it’s that easy
With this simplified class rating system you will now clearly understand if a move up or drop in class for a horse in today’s race is a big jump and how that compares to other horses in the field allowing you to you quickly and easily determine if the horse is a contender at today’s race class level.
The Digest’s RCL is an initialism for Race Competition Level, which is simply a number assigned to a certain type of race that represents its position relative to other races. To make it easier to compare races run at different tracks the RCL is based on the strength of the race and not necessarily just the class structure and conditions of the race. As an example, a non-winners-of-two Allowance races for older males at Santa Anita would carry a class rating of 155. But the same race conditions at Golden Gate Fields would be rated at 145. A similar race at Turf Paradise is rated at 130. Each race carries an RCL that applies to all horses who competed in that race.
Recent Race Level (RRL)
Recent Competition Level (RCL)
Highest Proven Race Level (Past Class)
To easily determine if a horse has ever been competitive at today’s current class level the “Digest” gives you the highest class level each horse has been proven effective (2-year -old races are not considered). Past Class can be found in the race header in column 13 titled Past Class.
Race Competition Level (RCL) for Past Performances