USA Working towards IFAHR Pattern Race Grading

 October 15, 2012, Delaware ~ Kathy Smoke, American Jockey Club Racing Committee Chair, shared news from the October Paris IFAHR committee meeting on the progress to integrate the USA into the European PA Grading system.

According to Smoke, the International Pattern Race Committee is now working to devise an accurate method to give an International Handicap Rating to the USA Graded Stakes runners. Once this is accomplished, and Smoke admits it may take  a few years, the USA Graded Stakes races can become part of the International Pattern Races (Group races) around the world. An International Handicap Rating system is currently in place for the Arabians races running in Europe and the Middle East. The USA is already in play with the International Handicap Rating in the Thoroughbred world and eager to be part of the global Arabian racing picture.

Photo by NRosenkjaer

“The advantage is that our Graded Stakes races will be placed on the International Pattern Race Calendar so that all trainers/owners outside of the USA will see the information on our Graded races run here in the USA,” said Smoke. “This may help to attract runners from outside the USA to come race here.”

Founded in 2000

Since its founding in 2000, one of the main objectives of  IFAHR as an International Federation was the harmonisation of ratings for runners on a global platform.

 The international ranking of Purebred Arabian Racehorses

Developed in 2009 by Izeta Selimanjin, the project of an internet website for handicappers became a reality in 2011 with the first publication of the official international ranking of the Purebred Arabian racehorse. The task was handed to six handicappers (France, UAE, Qatar, Germany, Scandinavia and Great Britain) who watched and analyzed all of the Pattern races and their runners.

The website was constructed in the same way as the one for the handicappers of English Thoroughbreds and every member of the Supervisory Committee has a personal access code to get on the site where he then sees all the group races of every country in order to analyze and rate the horses. This analysis is based on how the race is run and takes into account the distance of the race, the weight the horses carry, the winning margin and the way the race developed (if the horse runs well, if he is hindered by another runner, if he wins well, etc….). From this data, a handicapping scale (in English pounds) is established, where horses are classed and which corresponds to the rating of the race.

This rating system allows to judge the evolution of the horses, race after race, but also to determine the quality of the race by the ratings that were made concerning their runners. At the end of every racing season in Europe, a meeting of the Supervisory Committee is held during several days for harmonizing the ratings established by the handicappers. They come up with a final classification which allows the Committee to publish the international ranking for 3yos as well as for 4yo and upwards.

Every horse that runs in a Group PA race, no matter if it is run in Abu Dhabi, Doha, Casablanca, Istanbul or Chantilly, is rated via the same system, by the same people and according to the same handicapping scale.

For 2012, the total of Pattern Race Committee recognised Group PA races:
24 Group 1 PA
18 Group 2 PA
17 Group 3 PA

A Goal to Include the USA

It has been a goal since the beginning to integrate American races into the Pattern Race system. Knowing the difficulty of this, as the Purebred Arabian races in America are not centrally organized but entirely the responsibility of  the racecourse where they are  run, it has been expected that this process will take some time to evolve.

Questions/Answers  -Contact Kathy Smoke –




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