What is ‘Group One’?
Group One is a horse racing term which refers to the highest tier of racing stakes for thoroughbred horses and membership in that group by horses which are consistently high achievers and able to compete at this level. The group is also known as ‘Grade I‘ in some jurisdictions, though the levels are equivalent in most senses. Group One races are the most prestigious and have the biggest prize funds.
‘Group One’ Explained
In the world of horse racing, horses are rated according to their performance in previous races, and assessed based on a number of factors such as their handicap (a disadvantage against weaker opponents, if they are above average), their form (race results in recent and distant past) and their standing. The races they compete in are also graded, in a system known as ‘group races’. Race stakes in the groups category are levelled based on the rating of their recent finishers, and this group subsequently plays a big part in determining the value and price of the world’s best horses. Prizes in these Group One events are never less than six figures and the group includes racing’s biggest prizes.
Typically, horses who race at the Group One level have achieved 115 or higher in their recent history and the race itself has had consistent top four finishers who all rate above this level. The Group One category represents the world’s finest thoroughbreds and standardbreds, and they are never restricted by home nation but instead balanced on age, gender and other direct factors. Some of the world’s most prestigious horse races fall into the Group One category, including the Epsom Derby and the Kentucky Derby. They attract seasoned bettors and give the racing world a chance to see some of the finest racing animals in action.