View Full Version : What is Class?

Rick Ransom
05-19-2001, 07:48 PM
OK, new topic. What the hell is class anyway?

Is it versatility (the ability to win running either early or late)? Or is it the ability to triumph when challenged?

To the guy who always thinks I have an answer before I ask the question: I don't know. That's why I'm asking. There's no conspiracy here. OK?

There is some evidence that horses who are challenged by another who is within say one length and who fight for the lead (even if they don't get it) might be a better bet than those who give up under the same circumstances.

I also like the horses that run 2-3 lengths off the lead and can run either early or late.

What do you think?

05-19-2001, 08:15 PM
The ability of a horse to carry it's speed over a distance of ground?

Larry Hamilton
05-19-2001, 08:22 PM
I think it would be easier to catch smoke with a net than to define class, but I am going to enjoy the attempts.

Here is one approach. Start with something easy and work up to horses. What is class in a human?

05-19-2001, 08:25 PM
The ability to set or overcome the pace of the race under less than optimum conditions. The ability to dig down and either resist challenges or overcome them.
It is more mental than physical, although the physical is needed to perform. Balto Star had ability, but not class.
When challenged by his peers, he quit. Millenium Wind had speed, not class. Monarcos had a pace advantage,
not a class advantage. Forgoe has class-he was hopelessly beaten more than once, but came on to win.
That undefeated filly who won her last race in the breeders cup by a nose had class. Hallowed Dreams has class. Class horses do what they have to to win. Other horses do what they can and win if that is enough.
It is a lot like Gusto.

05-19-2001, 08:27 PM
The classiest horse in any field is the one with a pace advantage over his rivals at today's distance, good form, positive trainer intent AND THE DESIRE TO WIN!

Rick Ransom
05-19-2001, 08:36 PM

I'm afraid that class in a human is entirely different that class in a race horse when confined solely to the ability to win. I guess you could say that in Bill Gates has class accoriding to the ability to win, but I would disagree with you on whether, in human terms, he has class.

Now, race horses don't get extra points for being really nice, but I once owned a horse that I would say had class (only in human terms), but definitely couldn't ever win a race.

I'm talking about making money here, though. If I were buying stock, I'd bet on the a******* who had f***** over people the most. Actually, I probably woudn't do that since I don't believe that whoever has the most toys when they die wins!

OK, let's get back to horses.

Larry Hamilton
05-19-2001, 08:53 PM
I wasnt trying to step on your thread, i was trying to point out how difficult this is. The example is 4 people above me have defined class--4 different ways.

05-19-2001, 09:31 PM
Since we can't agree on what class is, does that mean we don't have any?

05-19-2001, 09:33 PM
The a horses ability to compete at a certain level. The maximum level that it is able to be competitive in .

05-19-2001, 09:35 PM
Class: The horse that has shown the ability to win or place at the highest purse, taking into account differences in the pars at various race tracks.


05-20-2001, 02:01 AM
I guess class is relative.....if a 20k claimer is placed in a 5k claimer race he is the class....the same horse in a grade 3 race is certainly NOT the class.
Class is generally referred to as the ability to....or demonstration of, winning at a higher level than the rest of todays field.
There are OFTEN races devoid of a horse considered to be the class of the field.
I guess you could also think of class this way....look at a race and say if i were a trainer and i could select any horse from this field to be in my barn who would it be.
I couldn't think of to many trainers not selecting a Cigar, or Skip Away, or Alysheba out of a typical grade 3 stakes race.

05-20-2001, 04:39 AM
Class is Competive race levels. Class is money earned.
Class is ability to keep going when hurting. Class is giving all to win. Class is a combination of speed and stamina. Class is attitude. Class is the ability to rate and win races.
Take your choice or choices or add your own.

Now explain to me why a class horse that has won at the allowance and high claiming races show up later in their career in low price claiming races. Is class also health?


05-20-2001, 08:50 AM
Slider i would imagine its the same reason why guys like pete rose, or whoever, can no longer hit a 320 average when they become 44 years old...it's called father time
I mean you don't see to many 49 year old height weight champs either know what i mean.

05-20-2001, 08:53 AM
I define "class" in a thoroughbred as the ability to successfully overcome a variety of pace scenarios at varying distances.

05-20-2001, 09:39 AM
What if the guy that bought Zippy Chippy had trained Secretariat? Would we even know his name today?
How many potentil superstars are out there right now running for a tag and losing? Who could have pedicted Cigar's streak?
Class ain't that easy to see, either.

Big Bill
05-20-2001, 10:30 AM
Reading all of the above descriptions of class caused me to
recall something out of the past......way out of the past. Back
in the early 50's my wife and I went to Keeneland and on the
day after the races we took one of the Lexington horse farm
tours. BTW, back then segregation was still in force at Keene-
land, i.e., blacks had to sit in their own grandstand located
down by the far turn.

During the horse farm tour the tour guide pulled to the side of
a little back road and pointed to a horse gravesite. He ex-
plained the inscription on the tombstone. I can't remember
it exactly (or even the name of the horse), but it had some-
thing to do with this horse (undefeated as I can best re-
member) being the most fair thoroughbred ever in that he
never, in all his wins, would win by more than a very narrow
margin. As the story went, a match race was set up between
the horse and a "milk wagon" nag, one that the thoroughred
should win by miles, to see if his fairness would apply. And
in that race the thoroughbred only beat the nag by the same
narrow margin.

When it comes to class in horses, I'd say that horse had lots
of it!

If anyone knows this story and/or the horses name, please
post it.

Big Bill

05-20-2001, 12:23 PM
Tilson said class is relative, but my relatives have no class. (insert rimshot here)
Seriously, class is a horse that can consistently win when pace, post position, track condition and stuff like
that does not favor them.

Rick Ransom
05-20-2001, 01:34 PM
Using consistency as a measure of class works well for the owner but not for betting purposes. A horse that runs consistently (pretty close to the same speed every race) will actually finish second a lot and the inconsistent horse with the same average speed will win more races.

Some of the definitions of class sound like form, some like pace, some like speed, etc. The best ones (in my opinion) involve things that can't be measured easily.
We know that it exists though, because horses that drop in class improve their speed on the average.

Which horse in the current Triple Crown series has the most class? If you look just at finishing positions of the horses who have run in both races, you have a pretty close contest. Point Given 5th and 1st, Congaree 3rd and 3rd, Monarchos 1st and 6th, A P Valentine 7th and 2nd. Congaree looks consistent, but if these were maiden races instead of stakes races, they would probably call him a proven loser (doesn't want to win, etc.). I haven't watched the replays in detail, but you could probably make a case for one of them based on their determination when challenged by other horses. You can't see that in the charts easily though, and you can't put a number on it. I'm not necessarily stuck on numbers, but it's hard to test something unless you can at least rank the performances consistently.

Rick Ransom
05-20-2001, 01:49 PM

I just read your post and want to say that my last post is not meant to disagree with you. Your definition of consistency is different that what people usually say, but I totally agree with you. The main point is whether the horse can win under a variety of conditions. Versatility, I guess.

05-20-2001, 02:38 PM

Here's what Tom Ainslie said about class in his book The Compleat Horseplayer: "The fundamental quality,or class, of a Thoroughbred is expressed in much the same way as the quality of a man. The horse which is put together well enough to cope readily with the stresses and challenges of its environment is a horse of higher quality than one which folds up when the going gets tough. Courage is part of it. A good horse can trail a cheap speedster for half a mile, move alongside at will, keep pace for a few strides and then pull off easily to win- and in slower final time than the cheap horse has been able to run the distance in the past...More demonstrably true is the good horse's reservoir of racing energy, and its willing ability to cut out a faster pace than the speediest cheapster can withstand."

Rick Ransom
05-20-2001, 04:14 PM
Sounds like my money management needs a lot more class to deal with losing streaks.

Ainsle's definition is a good one, but how do we measure or rank horses according to something like that? If you could set up a precise definition for when a horse is challenged and a rating for how he responds to the challenge, taking into account the quality of the other horse, you might have something. I always wondered if these authors were being purposely vague so as not to give away anything really important, or just had a feel for these kinds of things and couldn't teach someone else a set of rules for identifying or rating it.

There must be an answer to this though. I think the pace guys made some headway when they started looking at energy and acceleration, but as far as I know they never looked at horse vs horse matchups within a race.

Rick Ransom
05-20-2001, 07:36 PM
OK, here's an idea.

You guys with the huge databases, do you have comments in them? Let's say that we wanted to know how well a horse did when it was challenged. Well, if you looked at the comments and it said "dueled" or something like that we could see how well that horse did under those conditions (speed rating or something else). On the other hand, we could look at how well a horse responded under adverse conditions like "blocked" or "bumped" or something like that. I'm not just talking about the last race here, but all of the races in your database (at least 10 probably). Maybe that would tell us something about a horse's "class".