After months of testing and refining, we’re pleased to introduce TimeformUS pedigree ratings. They appear on the “Fast PPs” page for every horse on TimeformUS.com. Here’s what we’re delivering in this “phase 1” introduction of this feature:
1) Pedigree ratings for every horse in every race, based on the surface/distance of today’s race. Example: If a horse is running in a 6 furlong race on the main track at Del Mar, the rating you’ll see in his PPs will measure his pedigree for synthetic sprint races.
2) These ratings are displayed as a single rating on a 100 pt scale for today’s distance and surface, allowing you to easily compare the pedigrees of all the runners in a given race.
3) These ratings are based on the TimeformUS speed figures assigned to the horses in the family of today’s runners, numbers earned as far back as 10 years ago and as recently as one week ago, and they’re specific to today’s distance and surface.
Later this spring we’ll kick off “Phase 2” of our pedigree ratings introduction, which will include access to a comprehensive set of ratings for each horse. This will give you an even better sense of a horse’s surface and distance preferences—is he running in a race today that better suits his pedigree than his previous races did? Also, since our figures are constantly being harmonized with the global Timeform scale, in phase 2 we’ll add Timeform speed figures for races overseas to our pedigree ratings. So if today’s entrant has a ½ sister who was a world-beater in Ireland, her speed figures will inform the pedigree ratings of today’s entrant.
How to use our Pedigree Ratings
- First things first: Like any other attempt to quantify pedigree, these numbers are helpful primarily when a horse is trying a surface or distance for the first few times. After a horse has established form in various situations, your personal assessment of this form deserves to take precedence over pedigree ratings, since pedigree ratings are necessarily speculative.
Here is an example of the pedigree ratings in action, taken from a recent Gulfstream maiden turf route race:
Stadion was recently entered in a turf route race for his 2nd lifetime start. His solid 87 pedigree rating for turf routes shared the highest rating of any horse competing in this Gulfstream Park maiden race. The rest of the field comprised a horse with an 84 rating and several entries with a rating of 80 or lower. Stadion’s first race was not inspiring, a 6th place finish, beaten more than 7 lengths in a dirt sprint. He figured to improve on the turf with the strong rating from his sire Lemon Drop Kid. His dam has also produced 3 winners in turf routes and a 4th runner who recently placed in his first try at a turf route. Although the dam was unraced, four progeny from her give us enough information to give a confident pedigree rating. This is why the box is shaded in yellow.Here’s a recent Saratoga maiden turf sprint race where the pedigree rating is in a white box:Aireofdistinction has a strong rating both from his sire (Songandaprayer) and broodmare sire (Storm Cat) but his female family has no immediate history of talent on turf–his dam was unsuccessful in her one turf try, and his lone sibling to race never tried turf. So, despite the broader influence of his sire and broodmare sire, his 93 is in a white box, meaning that while there is good reason to view his pedigree favorably, the evidence is not overwhelming.Aireofdistinction finished third at 5-1.
The thinking behind our Pedigree Ratings
- Our pedigree ratings are an expression of a horse’s potential on a distance or surface, based on the TimeformUS speed figure data associated with his family. By using speed figures instead of win/loss records, we avoid situations in which horses drop in class and win races with inferior performances, and instead focus on a stronger measure of surface preference—the speed of a horse’s efforts on various surfaces.
- By normalizing these efforts on a 100 pt scale, we make it much easier to compare horses. For example, if two horses are making their turf debuts today, handicappers will be able to tell at a glance that the horse rated 95 is licensed, by his pedigree, to be better than the horse rated 73.
- TimeformUS pedigree ratings incorporate both the male and female family into a single number to assess the horse—no more looking up ½ sisters and brothers (unless you insist)! Our belief is that pedigree ratings are simply not that actionable unless the data that populates them is robust—it must include solid data sets from both the sire’s side of the family and the dam’s side.
- Similarly, any runner who is from a female family that has had a lot of success on the racetrack at today’s surface and distance should be strongly upgraded—and that’s reflected in our ratings.
How We Create Them
TimeformUS Pedigree ratings assess the following elements of a horse’s pedigree:
1) Sire: We evaluate today’s runner based on the success of his sire’s other runners on today’s surface/distance. Sires are evaluated based on the top performances of their offspring (again, at today’s surface and distance), and they are also bonused if they have a history of siring horses who ran figures in the top 1% of our speed figure results over the last decade. If the data on the sire is limited, such as when a sire is new or youthful, we rely on his father (the grandsire) as a proxy, but we proceed with caution here, slowly ramping up the influence of the sire as it becomes more apparent what the new sire’s true stature is. In these situations, we’ll put a white box around the pedigree rating to let you know the data is limited.
2) Female Family: We evaluate today’s runner via the lens of how his dam (mother) and any brothers and sisters have done at today’s surface and distance. If his dam has produced a series of runners who have tried today’s surface and distance, we weigh these siblings’ results heavily. If no such data exists, we rely more on the dam’s results. If neither exist, we simply rely on the results of the sire and broodmare sire, but ONCE AGAIN employ a white box to let you know: the data’s limited here.
3) Broodmare sire: The smallest factor in our pedigree ratings, we consider the sire of today’s runner’s mother, to see if he has a history of contributing to successful bloodlines as a grandparent.