A Handicap race is a horse race where horses carry different weights. A better horse will carry a heavier weight in order to make the race more fair. This allows for more skill in betting. Although most handicap races are not for the very best horses, this is not true in all cases, and some of the biggest races in the world are handicaps, such as the Grand National and the Melbourne Cup. In the United States, over 30 handicap races are classified as Grade I, the top level of the North American grading system.
Handicap races are also common in clubs which encourage all levels of participants such as a swimming club or in cycling races as well. All the participants are clocked in a time trial before the races, known as the handicap. In the race itself, the participants don't start at go, but the starts are staggered based on the handicaps. The slowest swimmer/cyclist starts the earliest and the fastest starts the latest, making the end of the race really close. An ideal handicap race is one in which all participants finish at the same time. The one to win is the person that beats his/her own time.