New Format, Detail for our “Question Mark” Speed Figures gives you an edge (updated with a new code)

Our customers bet off of TimeformUS Speed Figures, and we do not want them unknowingly placing faith in the occasional number that we are not yet confident in. From time to time, our figures are under review because the evidence that is ordinarily available to create them has somehow been compromised. What’s the best way to handle this challenge to help our customers?

The Origin of Question Mark Figures

One of the helpful features that Timeform Ratings (from the mothership in England) offer when assessing horses overseas is a question mark symbol when a horse’s rating is considered suspect. With that as inspiration, we implemented question mark symbols in TimeformUS Past Performances in the spring of 2015. An example of how Question Mark Figures were initially displayed in TimeformUS  is below:

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 12.49.56 PM

Beginning today, Question Mark Figures are being displayed in a new format, with a new level of detail to give TimeformUS Customers an advantage when betting.

Moving to The Left

Question Mark Figures are now shifting to the Race Rating field, to reflect that they apply to the entire race, not just the Speed Figure for one horse. Additionally, instead of the general question mark symbol, you will see  a specific one-letter code that indicates the main reason for the question mark designation. Here’s how these races will look for question mark figures assigned for races beginning January 25th or later:

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 5.26.52 PM

Understanding The Codes

Most of the time a tough race to evaluate with a speed figure is marked as such for more than one reason.  The code identifies the main one. Here are the seven possible codes that you will see:

f – First Timers/Lightly Raced – The race was loaded with horses racing for the first time or with very few starts. If a turf or synthetic track race, there could be little to no form on the surface. This is never reason alone to mark a race as questionable. It is usually combined with other factors. For example, a 2yo maiden special weight race with first time starters only and it is the only dirt sprint on the card.

o – Only Turf / Sprint / Route – This one is exactly as described…only one race on the card was run under similar conditions. Much like the f code, this is never a sole reason for marking the race. Most times this is used the race was an “only” and comparing the performance of the horses in the race to the projections varied quite a bit from horse to horse.

p – Pace – There will be some races run with the pace so aberrantly fast or slow that it will cause the horses to all run unreasonably slow final times. Since TimeformUS Speed Figures combine pace and final time figures into one overall number, we’re typically able to capture these nuances, but sometimes the situation is so extreme that we don’t feel we’re able to properly measure it. These races are already flagged via color coding for the fractions/pace figures, but we will go a step further and apply this coding.  It is probably a good idea to ignore races coded “p” from a speed figure point of view.

t – Timer – Unfortunately this is becoming more common in the sport of horse racing. Timer malfunctions are way more prevalent than they should be and races where there was an issue are marked as such. In many cases these races are missing one or more fractional times. We do not attempt to make pace figures for points of call that are missing fractions. Also, there will be no final time figures for races that are not timed at the finish.

b – Breakout – The race appears unusually fast or unusually slow compared to others on the card, including those that come before and after it. Using the same variant as the other races would cause all the top finishers in a race to have aberrant numbers that don’t seem realistic.

n – Possible BreakoutThe race was strongly considered as a “breakout,” code b above, but in the end was left as is with reservations. This is the preferred choice between the two.

c – Track Conditions – Track conditions can change drastically during a card, usually due to weather, and the figures for the race are primarily based on only the horses in this one race.

There are now 2 new types of codes:

  • i – Insufficient data – There simply isn’t enough data to generate a speed figure with confidence. These races will be almost exclusively races for two-year-olds from days when there were no similar races on the card and the two-year-old race was hard to compare to the other races due to things like timing problems, changes in weather, or rarely run distances. As the horses run again, these races will be re-visited to see if enough data has come in to allow us to go back and make a figure with confidence.
  • z – No baseline for pace figures – The race was run on a track configuration that hasn’t been used before or has been used sparingly. The configuration consists of the distance and surface of the race, any temporary rail setting that may be in place, the run up for the race, and the “about” designation used at some locations.

Question Mark Figures: Why We Include This Data in Our Product

To review these suspect figures, we will typically wait for additional evidence to come in, in the form of horses from that race returning to race again. But even that has its limitations. Some figures are questionable when made and remain questionable months later or in perpetuity–because the runbacks do little to clarify the situation. This is rare but it does happen, and we believe it to be true for all Speed Figure makers. When a figure is under review, you deserve to know it.

As a player, you can then incorporate our lack of confidence in the available evidence into your own handicapping and assess additional elements of a horse’s form before placing your bets.

Additionally, if you refer to other speed figures when handicapping, the TimeformUS Question Marks will alert you to difficult conditions that likely affected other figure makers as well. They may not tell you, but we will. And now we’ll tell you why, too.


>How To Use TimeformUS Race Ratings

>Color-Coded Bias Indicators in TimeformUS Race Ratings

>How To Use TimeformUS Speed Figures

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Welcome to the TimeformUS Blog

Hello and welcome to the TimeformUS blog!

The purpose of this blog is to explain features of TimeformUS Past Performances, a new horse racing product which is optimized for tablets and the web. Currently, you can purchase TimeformUS Past Performances at or in the the TVG Handicapping Store.

This blog is also a great place to ask questions and provide feedback about our new product. Use the links below to get started, and if you have questions, email us at


More TimeformUS How-To Videos

How to use TimeformUS Past Performances
TimeformUS Help Legend (PDF)
The Fast PPs
• Result Charts
• The Race Finder Tool

How TimeformUS is Different
TimeformUS Speed Figures
TimeformUS Spotlight Speed Figures
TimeformUS Pace Projector
• TimeformUS Running Lines
TimeformUS Pace Figures
• TimeformUS Bias Indicators
Full Result Charts
Trainer Ratings
• Pedigree Ratings
• Race Ratings
Enhanced Foreign Running Lines
• Running Style and Early/Late Ratings



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How TimeformUS is Different

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 is a new kind of horse racing Past Performances, optimized for tablets and PCs. At TimeformUS, we’re focused on helping you understand races faster. We’re perpetually refining the site and PPs: New features will be introduced regularly.  To start: here’s a top 10 list on how we’re making it easier to play the game; click the links next to each item for a deeper description or a video on how it works.

First thing’s first: if you’re looking for a PDF legend labeling all of our features, click here

1) How we make our Speed Figures
Our state-of-the-art, single-number measure of all-around performance.
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2) Our Pace Projector
The breakthrough timesaver that tells you where they’re gonna be early in a race, and more.
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3) Race Ratings
The TimeformUS Race Ratings help you quickly understand the quality of any race.
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4) TimeformUS Pace Figures
Based on the fractional times run by each horse at each point of call in a race, TimeformUS Pace Figures give you a clear sense of the pace scenarios that a horse has faced in prior races.
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5) TimeformUS Color-Coded Bias Indicators
When we see a surface that favored frontrunners or closers in a horse’s previous race, we flag that running line with red or blue coloring.
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6) Timeform Foreign Running Lines for shippers
TimeformUS PPs offer unparalleled info on horses who previously ran overseas.
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7) TimeformUS Result Charts
One-click access from the 1-2-3 section of every running line,  TimeformUS Result Charts are color-coded  and fully customizable.
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8)  Simplified but smart TimeformUS Trainer Ratings
Our Trainer Ratings show you instantly how a trainer performs overall and in specific situations.
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9) TimeformUS Race Finder
Use our Race Finder to quickly and easily find the types of races you like to play.
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10) TimeformUS Pedigree Ratings based on today’s surface/distance
On a 100-point scale and based on the surface/distance of today’s race, factoring in the TimeformUS speed figures assigned to the horses in the family of today’s runner.
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Visit, or see below for even MORE ways in which TimeformUS is different:

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Thursday, May 13


Square Shooter has to be considered the horse to beat off a couple of quality runner-up finishes in his last two starts, one of which was earned at this level. He was no match for the talented war horse Always Sunshine last time, as that one got to walk along on the front end, but he stayed on well for second. This gelding has the versatility to stalk or close from well of the pace, which he may have to do here with so much speed signed on. Others possess more overall class, but he’s the in-form horse in a race where so many rivals appear to be heading in the wrong direction. Among those whose form appears to be falling apart are Happy Farm and Copper Town. The former is perhaps more likely to rebound as he makes his first start off a trainer switch to Rob Atras, but this horse is still difficult to trust as an ex-Jason Servis trainee. Copper Town once would have dominated a field like this, but he’s been on a downward trajectory ever since that excellent runner-up performance to C Z Rocket last year. I prefer others. A logical alternative is T Loves a Fight. It’s been a long time since this likable 7-year-old gelding has tasted victory, having lost 17 straight races dating back to Oct. 2019. However, most of those starts have come against tougher company, and he’s finally getting some realistic class relief. He probably didn’t have his best chance last time when he was one of three horses to break open the starting gate prior to the start. His form has been pretty spotty over the past few months. However this barn has really been heating up lately, going 8 for 18 (44%, $3.68 ROI) in dirt races over the past 30 days. He also should finally get some pace to close into. I’m using him, but my top pick is Home Run Maker at what should be a generous price. Like some others, this horse needs quite the form reversal to have a say in the outcome here, as he faded badly when last seen in February. Yet that performance was too bad to be true, so something had to have gone wrong that day. He had some excuses for his prior starts, and now he makes his first start off the claim for Natalia Lynch, a former assistant to Jeremiah Englehart. That’s significant since Jeremiah Englehart had this horse for much of his career. The new connections are showing a great deal of confidence by moving up in class off the claim, and this horse is reportedly training well for his return.


There are some things to like about possible favorite Fort Worth, who is cutting back in distance as he returns from the layoff. Even though he broke his maiden going a mile, this horse is probably better off sprinting, so I won’t hold that loss going a mile last time against him. He was game to win two back after racing in tight quarters. He figures to be dangerous from a stalking position under Irad Ortiz. Scilly Cay is another New York-bred to consider in this open N1X allowance after he graduated out of his last state-bred condition last time. He ran well to win against a salty field, but he also got a great trip, stalking a very slow pace in a race that essentially turned into a quarter-mile sprint to the wire. I’m using him, but I prefer another. Stage Left makes his return from a layoff for Wesley Ward, who has decent statistics with this move among his older horses. He consistently ran well last year, winning a couple of starts on this circuit. While he lost both of his attempts at this N1X level, he got a very wide trip at Saratoga on Aug. 1 and then again found himself taking the overland route at Keeneland in the fall while no match for the talented Silver State. I think he’s capable of breaking through at this level with the right trip, and this time he figures to be forwardly placed from the rail under John Velazquez. He appears to be working forwardly for his return, and he’s run well off layoffs in the past.


I suppose Good Old Boy could go favored as he returns to New York-bred company after facing open rivals during the winter at Gulfstream. However, this is not the kind of horse that I would recommend betting at any kind of short price. He’s already a candidate to be overbet with Irad Ortiz aboard, and I felt that he was facing some weaker fields when he competed in New York last year. I didn’t see him do much running against starter allowance foes last time, and I’m just not convinced he’s good enough to win at this N2X level. I strongly prefer his main rival Klickitat, who returns from a layoff and gets back to his preferred surface. They took a shot on dirt last time to see what he might do over the winter, and the experiment failed. However, his prior tur form was pretty strong. He improved a great deal through the fall, defeating Good Old Boy on Sep. 5 before running a career-best race to just miss in a photo with the talented Graded On a Curve in October. He lost at the open N1X level thereafter when skipping a condition, but he even ran better than it looks in that spot. He was much too close to a fast pace and actually did best of the horses involved in that pace despite his rider overcommitting to the rail path. As long as he returns in decent fitness, I think he’s going to be tough for this field to handle. I could also use a runner like Step Dancer, but I think it remains to be seen how good this 3-year-old actually is. He clearly relished the boggy going when he won the Awad last year and his surrounding performances aren’t nearly as good. At a big price, I’m actually somewhat intrigued by El Hermano getting back on turf. His recent form since returning from a layoff is abysmal, but he was eased last time and might appreciate getting back on the surface over which he once broke his maiden. There isn’t much speed signed on here and he figures to be leading them early under dangerous front-running rider Jose Lezcano.

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