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 Friday, May 27


Morning line favorite #6 Bali Belle was supposed to have broken her maiden already. Christophe Clement has given her every chance, finding a soft spot at Delaware where she was odds-on, before she lost twice at relatively short prices in Florida this winter. She just lacks some late punch in her route races, which is probably why Clement is trying a sprint experiment now. Her pedigree isn’t exactly screaming shorter, but Clement is 10 for 26 (38%, $2.55 ROI) with maidens going from routes to sprints on turf at Belmont over 5 years. I slightly prefer her to the other runner from this barn. However, there are a couple of more intriguing runners coming off layoffs. #5 Frosted Oats took money in all three starts last year, which isn’t a big surprise considering her MyRacehorse ownership. She ran her best race second time out on grass, making the first move into a pretty honest pace before getting run down by a pair of talented Chad Brown runners. She proved that she could indeed sprint in her 2-year-old finale, which begs the natural question: Would she in fact be best as a turf sprinter? However, she has to be ready to fire off the bench, and Bill Mott is just 1 for 18 (5%, $0.18 ROI) off 180+ day layoffs in turf sprints over 5 years. My top pick is #3 Dream Fly, who also returns from a layoff. However, her trainer Wesley Ward is 24 for 84 (29%, $2.15 ROI) with the exact same set of parameters mentioned above for Mott. Dream Fly was heavily backed and disappointing in both starts early in her 2-year-old season. She obviously has to do better with the switch to grass, but this filly does have turf pedigree. She’s by 12% turf sprint sire American Pharoah out of a dam who is a half-sister to G2-winning turf sprinter Bound for Nowhere (8 for 18, $1.1 million). If she’s gotten over the gate issues she displayed as a youngster, we should see an improved performance here.


#3 Cousin Andrew is arguably the horse to beat as he wheels back in just 8 days and switches back to turf. However, this horse was once an effective dirt performer and his lack of effort here last week has to be of some concern. He did show minor improvement switching to turf at the end of last season, but he benefited from fast paces in both of those races. It’s unclear how the pace of this affair will play out, but I didn’t feel particularly drawn to this gelding at a short price. Wesley Ward is always dangerous in turf sprints, and his #6 Blame the Booze has to be considered a player. He started out his career on dirt, but he proved he could handle grass last August at Ellis Park. The turnback should work for him, and Ward has great stats off layoffs. #2 Ginnsu Warrior is also mildly intriguing on the turnback after trying a tougher field routing on turf last time. He’s a stout, robustly built gelding who may appreciate this shorter trip. Yet my top pick is #5 Giramonte. It took this gelding a while to break his maiden last year, but he ran well in most of his turf sprint efforts since getting claimed by Leah Gyarmati over the summer. He actually finished ahead of King Moonracer on Aug. 14 just prior to getting his diploma. He only made one start against winners on grass last fall and it was a total disaster. He broke a step slowly and was in trouble right from the start, as he got very rank racing in traffic, fighting his rider severely for the first three furlongs before calling it quits. He’s obviously better than that, and I think he can rebound coming off the layoff.


This N2X allowance optional claimer features the East Coast debut of Grade 1 placed #5 Forest Caraway. This well-bred daughter of Bodemeister is a half-sister to popular NY-breds Holiday Disguise and Midnight Disguise. She began her career in California with Peter Miller, finishing second to the once highly regarded Princess Noor in the Del Mar Debutante. She looked like she had really taken a step forward when she returned from a layoff last August. However, she wasn’t able to back up that impressive return, losing her next two starts at short prices. Now she returns for Todd Pletcher with Miller on hiatus from training. Pletcher is 12 for 44 (27%, $1.43 ROI) first off a trainer switch in dirt sprints over 5 years. However, the barn is off to a slow start at this meet and she figures to take plenty of money. They all could have #3 Fouette to catch. It’s interesting to see this filly transferred to Linda Rice, who once had great success with Lady Sheila Stable, campaigning champion La Verdad among others. Yet she hasn’t sent out a runner for this owner in over a year. Fouette began her career with Steve Asmussen and showed some precocity. She’s always had trouble sustaining her speed, but looks pretty loose on the front end here, which makes her dangerous. I’m trying to beat both of these fillies with #7 Rossa Veloce. She already won at this level two back when racing for the $62,500 tag, so she’s still eligible to compete for the allowance condition. This NY-bred filly wasn’t beating much that day, but she did run better than it appears last time, chasing wide against a rail bias. She’s produced a string of solid efforts despite being ridden by low-profile riders for the better part of the last year. Now she’s getting a significant upgrade to Kendrick Carmouche while also making her first start off the claim for William Morey. The barn doesn’t have great stats with that move, but has sent out two live runners so far at this meet.

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