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, July 9


The horse to beat is probably C C Rider, who has simply faced tougher company in most of his turf starts. He earned a series of speed figures last summer that would make him pretty tough to beat were he to repeat any of them here. The problem is that he’s never won on turf, and he failed to get involved in either of his starts on the NYRA circuit last year. I haven’t been that impressed by this horse’s finishing ability, and I’d rather go elsewhere if he’s a short price. I prefer Another – Another, the horse, that is. At first glance his 2019 form looks pretty spotty. He went the wrong way for Bill Mott and has struggled to break through while dropping back into claiming company for the new connections. Yet there are significant excuses to be made for him. He had no chance in that salty November 9 allowance at Aqueduct last year when chasing the pace while racing wide. He dropped down to this level to conclude his 2019 campaign, and he clearly should have won that day. Javier Castellano got him trapped in behind horses at the quarter pole and he just couldn’t extract him from that predicament until it was too late. Another then made one start over the winter at Gulfstream, and he was again the victim of a troubled trip. His journey to the top of the stretch was relatively smooth, but horses fanned out across the track for the drive to the wire and Tyler Gaffalione was forced to steady him in heavy traffic for most of the last furlong. Now he’s back in the care of Mertkan Kantarmaci and he’s realistically placed for this return to the NYRA circuit. If Jose Lezcano can work out a fair trip for him this time, he’s going to be difficult for this field to beat. I could also use a horse like War Film. He would be a real threat to win here based on his May 24 effort at Churchill, and he was compromised by a slow pace last time. I’m not particularly interested in the horses exiting the $50,000 claimer at Belmont on June 14, though I could use Riendo underneath at a big price.


At first glance, it seems like there’s a lot to like about morning line favorite Back Channel. She showed some ability in her debut for Linda Rice, earning one of the highest speed figures in this field, and runners for this barn are supposed to take a massive step forward second time out. If this filly does so, she’s simply going to beat this field. Yet it all just seems a little too obvious – and you’re not going to make money betting the races if you settle for the obvious. I think it’s necessary to take a closer look at Back Channel’s debut performance. She attracted no tote support that day, so it’s not as if much was expected of her. Let’s also remember that she was facing an awful field outside of the heavily-favored winner Primacy, so she was always going to be second by default. She did earn a solid speed figure, but unlike the winner, who closed from last, Back Channel had all the best of it setting a slow pace before failing to kick on in the stretch. She seems decent, but I don’t view her as some kind of formidable favorite in this race. I’m actually more interested in the other filly likely to attract support, Orsay. Let’s not sugarcoat this: She was a massive disappointment as a 2-year-old. The word was out about her prior to her debut at Belmont, having already been scratched as the favorite during the Saratoga meet after acting up. Yet she was dull in that initial start on dirt, unable to even hang on for second after chasing the pace. Chad Brown tried turf despite the fact that she doesn’t possess much damside turf pedigree, but that was a disaster. Now she’s back in a dirt sprint and maybe she is just a trap. Yet Chad Brown has a knack for figuring out these difficult fillies, and she does seem to be training better than ever for this return to the races. I’ll use both of these short prices, but I want to go in a different direction in what I think is a wide open race. My top pick is Pop a Choc. This filly started twice on the turf down at Gulfstream. Her first start was encouraging and then she took a step backwards last time. In both of those races she ran like a horse that doesn’t really possess the turn of foot necessary to compete on grass, so this surface switch is intriguing. After all, she is by Bernardini and her dam was a stakes-quality dirt horse. She is a half-sister to turf stakes winner Airoforce, but even that sibling won the Kentucky Jockey Club on dirt. Some may view this as a move of desperation, but Mark Casse actually has solid stats with this move. Over the past 5 years, he is 12 for 47 (25%, $2.31 ROI) with maidens switching from turf to dirt sprints, excluding off-the-turf races.


No Word is a deserving favorite. A repeat of his last performance simply makes him the horse to beat. He was facing a much tougher field of mixed-age N1X rivals last time and is now back with straight 3-year-olds. The winner of that last race, Value Engineering, seems like a 4-year-old that could potentially have stakes in his future, and No Word stayed on well to chase him home. He handled the 1 1/4 miles that day, but a slight cutback shouldn’t hinder him one bit. This colt got into some trouble in the stretch of the Pilgrim last year, or else he might have had a graded stakes placing on his résumé. The fact of the matter is that his rivals need to step up their game if they’re going to beat him. One horse who certainly has the upside to do so is On Base. After a green debut, he was far more professional with blinkers second time out at Tampa, displaying improved early speed while seamlessly working his way into contention at the quarter pole. Daniel Centeno had to get after him in upper stretch to finish the job, but this colt leveled off nicely in the last eighth once he was put to the test. He has now had an additional four months to mature as he tries winners for the first time. Distance won’t be an issue, as he’s already gone this far. He does need to get a little faster to beat these, but comes in with more upside than anyone else and should give a good account of himself. I’d consider him as an alternative if he’s a square price, but my top pick is a horse trying the turf for the first time. Will Sing for Wine won a salty maiden event at Aqueduct back in March, but disappointed in his first try against winners last time when unfortunate to land in a tough spot behind the likes of Tapit to Win and Mystic Guide. Now Bill Mott tries turf with him, and there are some reasons to be optimistic about this surface switch. While his dam was a dirt horse, and a very good one, she has produced one minor turf winner. More convincingly, Will Take Charge has blossomed into a solid turf influence, winning with 13% of his turf route starters. He would need to improve on this surface to beat a field of this quality, but he has the tactical speed to get into a good position in a race where trips will be of the utmost importance.

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