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.

Related:

>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 TimeformUS.com 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  Support@TimeformUS.com

Visit TimeformUS.com

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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TimeformUS
 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 TimeformUS.com, or see below for even MORE ways in which TimeformUS is different:

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Saratoga Horses in Focus for Friday, August 14

RACE 5: COLLOQUIST (#2)

The two favorites in this spot figure to be Its a Wrap and Ahead of Plan, and both of them come in with some questions to answer. Its a Wrap is arguably the more trustworthy of this duo as he drops in for a tag for the first time. While he ran fairly well in his turf debut on June 5, he wasn’t able to get up to win despite getting a good trip and was legitimately disqualified for a bumping incident late. Yet his last effort cutting back to this 5 1/2 furlong distance concerns me a bit. He was obviously facing a better horse in French Reef, who looks bound for stakes, but he never really picked up his feet in the lane. Perhaps he wins this race with a similar effort, but I wasn’t thrilled about accepting a short price on him. Ahead of Plan is even more difficult to trust, as he put in an abysmal effort in his first start off the layoff earlier at this meet. That was on the dirt, but dirt seemed like it might have been his preferred surface. The fact that Chad Brown is putting him back on turf and dropping in for a tag implies desperation. I want to look elsewhere as there are a few interesting prices in this race. My top pick is longshot Colloquist. I know this horse looks improbable based on his turf results, but he’s had some subtle trips in his races. He didn’t run that badly first time out behind subsequent stakes winners Jack and Noah and Turned Aside. Then he got a poor ride on October 20 when sent to make a premature wide move on the turn. He didn’t get back to turf until last time, and he was asked to go two turns. While he faded late, I actually thought he ran pretty well in that July 26 affair, as he got steadied into the first turn and then chased an honest pace. I like the turnback for him, and he’s clearly run his best races for trainer Phil Gleaves.

RACE 6: LIFE IN SHAMBLES (#6)

Eye Luv Lulu may win this race if he’s half the horse he once was for Jason Servis. Yet as well as the Rob Atras barn seems to be doing, this is a very hard horse to trust as he drops in for a tag off the trainer switch. Eye Luv Lulu has actually been entered for Atras three times prior to this since early June and has been scratched on each of those occasions – first for $40,000, then for $32,000, and finally for $25,000. Now he’s in for a $20,000 tag. I’m even less thrilled with his stablemate Clench, another former Jason Servis runner. I’ve never been a fan of this colt and I don’t think he’s run particularly well in either start for Brad Cox. I think the right horse to take in this spot is Life in Shambles. While he is yet another ex-Jason Servis runner, at least he’s run well since leaving that barn for two different trainers. These connections claimed him in March at Aqueduct, but were forced to send him down to Gulfstream to race with the pandemic forcing racing to go on hiatus in New York. Life in Shambles put in an excellent effort to win an optional claiming race two back, defeating three next-out winners going this same 6 1/2-furlong distance. While he lost at the same level last time, he had a legitimate excuse, as the early pace was extremely slow and he was unable to catch the leaders. He figures to get more pace to close into this time, and he’s realistically placed off the trainer switch to Linda Rice.

RACE 10: UNICORN SALLY (#10)

Lucky Latkes could be the slight favorite in this spot after hitting the board in each of her two starts to date. Furthermore, she goes out for the dangerous Christophe Clement barn, which will only add to her appeal in the eyes of the general public. Yet I haven’t been too impressed with either of her efforts. She gradually made up ground in her debut but that was primarily a function of the fast pace that developed ahead of her. Then last time she against got a fast pace ahead of her and just couldn’t capitalize while one-paced through the stretch. She did get bumped in upper stretch, but that hardly affected her eventual finish. At a similar price, I strongly prefer Unicorn Sally. This filly is dropping down in class out of some tougher maiden special weight events. She could only manage to finish eighth last time, but she ran much better than that result would indicate. She stumbled at the start, placing her at the back of the pace in the early going. She was then forced to launch a wide run on the far turn and was spun out further when the field straightened away for the stretch. All things considered, I thought she put in a decent effort and would be dangerous if merely running back to the improved race that she ran two back. In my eyes she’s the horse to beat. I’d also include Courted, who was involved in those fast paces that benefited Lucky Latkes in her last two starts. It’s unwise to ignore anything from the Jorge Abreu barn right now.

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