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

 

 

Posted in Welcome to TimeformUS | 2 Comments

How TimeformUS is Different

Sign Up New To Our Site

Add a credit card to your account

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.
Watch The Video>>
Learn More >>

2) Our Pace Projector
The breakthrough timesaver that tells you where they’re gonna be early in a race, and more.
Watch The Video>>
Learn More >>

3) Race Ratings
The TimeformUS Race Ratings help you quickly understand the quality of any race.
Watch The Video>>
Learn More >>

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.
Learn More >>

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.
Learn More >>

Sign Up New To Our Site

Add a credit card to your account

6) Timeform Foreign Running Lines for shippers
TimeformUS PPs offer unparalleled info on horses who previously ran overseas.
Learn More >>

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.
Learn More >>

8)  Simplified but smart TimeformUS Trainer Ratings
Our Trainer Ratings show you instantly how a trainer performs overall and in specific situations.
Watch The Video>>
Learn More >>

9) TimeformUS Race Finder
Use our Race Finder to quickly and easily find the types of races you like to play.
Watch The Video>>
Learn More >>

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.
Learn More >>

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

Sign Up New To Our Site

Add a credit card to your account

Posted in Product features, Welcome to TimeformUS | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Connolly’s Beads can produce a better effort off the layoff

Aqueduct | Race 1 | Post Time 12:50 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

Big Engine (#2) is going to be sent off as a heavy favorite in this race, but I have some reservations. While he apparently ran a fast race in his debut at Belmont, I have some doubts about the legitimacy of that performance. It was a 4-horse off-the-turf field, which featured only two horses with dirt form. Notably, Big Engine was entered for turf, which is not surprising given his overwhelmingly turf-oriented pedigree. He ran well during the race, leading for most of the way before succumbing to the winner late, but I think the speed figures for everyone in this field came up a bit too high. Whether you’re looking at Beyers or TimeformUS Speed Figures, winner Smokin Platinum returned to run slower in his two subsequent starts, and I also find it hard to believe that last-place finisher Light the Posse ran quite as fast as the figures suggest, given his prior form. I’m dubious about this horse’s ability to repeat that effort, and I’m against him.

Among the short prices, I strongly prefer Ready to Escape (#6). I know that he’s had his chances, but he’s run well enough to win races at this level in all of his starts, and his most recent effort was much better than it appears. Sep. 27 was a day that strongly favored horses racing on the rail, and this gelding made a 4-wide move on the far turn. My only concern with him is the series of gaps between his races, and the fact that he was a vet scratch in late October at Belmont.

I’m using him prominently, but I want to take a shot with CONNOLLY’S BEADS (#5) as my top pick.

Connollys-Beads.png

This colt figures to be a distant third choice in the wagering, but I think he has a right to upset this field. After selling for a large sum as a yearling, he made his debut late in his 2-year-old season, and clearly needed the race. He ran much better next time out in a race that may have been better than the speed figures suggest. He’s had a lot of time off since then, but Gary Gullo actually has very good numbers in this situation. Over the past 5 years, he is 4 for 9 ($3.36 ROI) off layoffs of 180 days or more with maidens in dirt sprints. I expect a solid effort as he returns and gets a chance to compete over a fast track for the first time.

THE PLAY

Win: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 2,6

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Time for a Better Back-Up System: A Horse Racing Video Replay Timing Tutorial

I’m often asked how I’m able to time horse races from video replays. It really isn’t a difficult process and there are many benefits. It isn’t perfectly accurate, but when there are problems with a timing system employed by a race track it does a much better job than the old standby, hand timing. I’ve compared hundreds of published hand times against video timing and have learned that no matter how practiced someone is with a stop watch, humans are not able to consistently provide a time that is nearly precise enough for horse races.

I’ve also found video timing is more accurate than non-traditional timing systems used at some race tracks currently, namely Trakus systems and GPS timing systems. There are racetracks that currently or have in the past used the beam system and also one of the newer models and there are often large differences between the two. I’ve found the beam system to be deadly accurate when it works properly, so the differences are almost always a lack of precision with the other system. Let’s look at the steps required to time a race from video.

The first step to time a race is to actually obtain a copy of the replay. The easiest replays to obtain are those posted on YouYube. Many racetracks post some or all races on YouYube. Most internet browsers have extensions available that allow users to download videos from the site. The New York Racing Association provides high definition replays of every race on their own site and similar to YouTube, there are extensions available to make these easy to download.

The final, and least preferred, method is to stream the replays and record them using software that records what is happening on your screen. This method is a little more time consuming and isn’t quite as accurate as timing from video that has been downloaded, but it still is adequate. One precaution is that you have to make sure the recordings are “clean”…free of any streaming glitches during playback. This was very difficult to do years ago but as technology has improved it is rarely a problem any longer. Regardless of which of the above methods you use, a video copy of the race is now available on your computer and able to be reliably timed.

The next step in the timing process is to establish a baseline for the track, distance, and surface you are trying to time. Trying to time races without a baseline can be very tricky. Angles on video can distort things fairly easily and your eyes will play tricks on you. What we are looking for is consistency using races that are timed properly. I generally use four or five races to establish the proper viewing angles for each timing segment and of course final time.

The final step is to open the downloaded video replay in video editing software or in a video player that displays time to at least the hundredth of a second. Video timing will not be accurate to the hundredth of a second. Current replay quality does not allow that type of precision. But based on timing of races known to be accurate, the accuracy is easily within a tenth of a second most times, and a fifth of a second every time.

To time a race from start to finish, we simply note the time of the video at the start of the race, then move to the finish and freeze the video. We note the time again, subtract the time at the start, and this will give us the final time. The tricky part is identifying the start of the race. Outside of North America, timing begins at the gate, which is obviously an easy spot. But in North America, we use run up so this part of the race must be removed from timing. Here’s a related article on the poisonous effect of run-up on timing.

The previous step, establishing a baseline, helps us determine how much of the race should be removed. Segments of each race can be similarly timed. Instead of using the finish line, we simply freeze the video at each fractional call and do similar calculations. Once again, this is where the baseline helps. The baseline tells us where to freeze the video visually. Experience has taught me that without using a baseline times can easily be misjudged by large amounts.

I’ll now give an example of the process step by step using a real example. Recently there were some timing errors on a big day of racing at Aqueduct, Cigar Mile day. The first three one mile dirt races had an issue with timing that was readily apparent to seasoned race watchers when the fractions and final times appeared on the screen.

Luckily, the problem was fixed before the final mile race, the Cigar Mile. I was able to use this race as the baseline for timing the others, but I also had others in my library from the same track and distance and was able to first verify the Cigar Mile was in fact timed correctly. I will show how I timed Race 6, the Go For Wand Stakes, using the Cigar Mile as a baseline. I did similar timing for Races 2 and 3 on the card as well.

Step 1: Download the replays. Being stakes races, they were available on the NYRA YouTube page for easy download. Races 2 and 3 (which I won’t time here) were not but they were available on the NYRA website.

Step 2: Establish a baseline. I used Media Player Classic for timing. It is simple to use and it is also freely available. Another free option is Windows Movie Maker, but I find MPC to be faster and easier. I opened the chart for the Cigar Mile and noted the times at each segment. The ¼ mile was recorded in 22.88, the ½ mile was 45.68, ¾ went in 1:09.68, and the final time was 1:34.98.

I moved the video to when the winner hit the finish line (the photo finish mirror) and noted the time (rounded to hundredths) as shown below, 1:40.16:

I then subtract the official final time of 1:34.98 to find the start of timing for the race and arrive at 5.18. I move the video to this point using the Go To function of the Media Player and get this:

This is where timing for the race began. You will note you cannot see the one mile pole in this frame, but it is clearly visible when the horses are still in the starting gate. This is why I have learned to use a baseline. If you try to use your eyes to align the one mile pole with the leading horse, you are likely to make an error. Angles are deceiving! For the purposes of keeping this article manageable, I won’t include other images used to establish a baseline for the start, but other races looked exactly like this one. This looks like the final time was recorded properly, one mile from the finish with run up excluded. I now add the recorded opening ¼ mile to 5.18 (5.18 + 22.88 = 28.06) and move to that point in the video to establish the baseline for that fraction.

Above, you can see the six furlong pole (six furlongs from the finish) and the leader looks very close to it. Again, remember angles can be deceiving. Other races looked the same with the leader slightly past the pole visually. I’m confident this image is a good baseline for the recording of the quarter mile time.

I did the same for the ½ mile call and ¾ mile pole and then moved on to timing the Go For Wand Stakes, one of the races that had a problem, using these baselines.

Step 3: The actual timing of the race

I use a back to front method to time races, beginning at the finish and ending at the start. This isn’t necessary but it is the method I prefer. Here is the finish line:

I rounded down to 1:41.89 as the time on video since the best I could get was the winner slightly ahead of the wire on the replay. To get the final time, I move back to the start of the race using the established baseline, note the time, and subtract. Trying to match the baseline visually isn’t perfect. While you can’t see it from the images, I use a landmark to get as accurate as possible. In this case, I used the one mile pole as a reference and went back to the Cigar Mile. Media Player Classic allows you to step through the replay frame by frame. I noted the last frame where the one mile pole was visible, then counted how many frames it took to get to the starting point. I then did the same with Go For Wand to match the Cigar and that is how the image and time above was derived. The time of the start on video is 5.26, and subtracting that from the finish time gives a race final time of 1:36.63.

The fractions are then recorded by moving forward and matching the baseline. This is how the first quarter mile looked, timed on video to 28.81 which gives us an opening quarter mile of 28.81 – 5.26 = 23.55.

I used the same method to produce times for the ½ mile (46.86) and the ¾ mile (1:11.60) for the race. For this particular day, the timing problems for races 2, 3, and 6 all occurred at the beginning of the race. The second, third, and fourth quarter miles were timed properly electronically and this method verified they were correct. The times of the second and third quarter miles from replay did not match the electronic times exactly, but both were within a few hundredths of a second.

I hope this article helps other players learn to time races from video if they are so inclined. Also, perhaps racetracks will someday soon move to video timing as a backup in place of hand timing races. While it isn’t as precise as the beam system, it is a far more reliable alternative and should be the go-to to check races that appear to have possible timing issues.

 

Posted in Data Studies, Player's Point of View, Race Previews | 2 Comments

Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Thursday, December 13

Race 1: Connolly’s Beads (#5)

  • Took a big step forward when last seen in a race that may have been faster than it seems.
  • Gets his chance to race over a fast track for the first time.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Gary Gullo is 4 for 9 (44 percent, $3.36 ROI) with maidens coming off layoffs of 180 days or more in dirt sprints.

9-2 on ML

———

Race 4: Roziere (#6)

  • Has faced tougher company in her first two starts.
  • Figures to show more speed with the addition of blinkers.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Danny Gargan is 6 for 17 (35 percent, $2.64 ROI) with horses trying a route for the first time on dirt.

8-1 on ML

——— 

Race 6: No Deal (#2)

  • Was much the best last time, winning by a huge margin under wraps.
  • That Nov. 24 maiden win was her first start over a fast dirt track since her 2-year-old season.
  • Won in wire-to-wire fashion, but is versatile enough to come from off the pace.

8-1 on ML

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Cariba should benefit from experience in her second start

Aqueduct | Race 5 | Post Time 2:47 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up

There are some very intriguing first-time starters in this maiden event. The one that is likely to attract the most support is Katama Moonlight (#1), who goes out for Chad Brown. While this filly has the pedigree to be a nice horse, as the $400,000 purchase price would suggest, it’s really more of a route pedigree. Her full brother Noble Moon was best around two turns on the dirt, winning the Grade 2 Jerome a few years ago. I’m definitely using her, but there are others that have a right to do well on first asking, and you’re not getting any value with this one.

Perhaps the most intriguing new face is Birdy Num (#8), a $1 million yearling purchase who makes her debut for Tom Albertrani. While this barn isn’t renowned for its success on debut, Albertrani has gotten firsters to win for these owners on several occasions over the past few seasons. This filly has loads of pedigree, as her dam won the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, and she is a full sister to stakes winner Believe in Royalty. She’s trained well in the morning, so I would take this one very seriously.

I could also give a look to horses like Moon and Stars (#7) or Cover Photo (#9), but the board will be my guide with the firsters.

Cariba.png

My top pick is one of the few fillies with experience. I have to bet back CARIBA (#3) off her debut effort. I had liked her quite a bit that day, but she took very little play, going off at 7-1. They paid a lot of money for this daughter of Cairo Prince, and it’s easy to see why. Her dam is a half-sister to Hello Liberty, who won the Grade 2 Nassau County and was second in the Grade 1 Acorn, as well as dirt sprint stakes winner Pious Ashley. I had watched a few of this filly’s morning workouts prior to her debut, and while they weren’t fast drills, I loved the way she moved over the ground. Her debut effort was a disappointment, but she was also very green, trying to lug in throughout the stretch run under a frustrated Junior Alvarado. She’s bred to sprint, and I think we’ll see a more professional effort this time.

THE PLAY

Win: 3
Exacta Key Box: 3 with 1,4,7,8
Trifecta: 3 with 1,8 with 1,4,7,8,9

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, December 9

Race 5: Cariba (#3)

  • Was very green in her debut, attempting to lug in throughout the stretch drive.
  • Had trained well prior to her first start, and has a right to do much better with that experience under her belt.
  • Kiaran McLaughlin gets a 94 TimeformUS Trainer Rating with second time starters, as opposed to his 57 Rating with firsters.

7-2 on ML

———

Race 6: Beachside (#1)

  • Has already handled this one mile distance, which is a question that the favorite still has to answer.
  • Ran better than it appears in his dirt sprints, and relished the stretch-out to a mile last time.
  • Was flattered when Not That Brady, whom he beat last time, returned to win impressively on Saturday.

9-5 on ML

———

Race 7: Bon Raison (#5)

  • The TimeformUS Pace Projector is predicting that he will be on the lead in a situation favoring the front-runner.
  • Handled this 9-furlong distance at Saratoga.
  • Gets needed class relief after getting placed too ambitiously against graded stakes company in his recent starts.

9-2 on ML

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Bluegrass Jamboree just keeps improving

Aqueduct | Race 8 | Post Time 3:47 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
Not already a TimeformUS member? Sign up 

Pauseforthecause (#1) is a deserving favorite off the strength of her third-place finish behind top New York-breds Highway Star and Satisfy in the Iroquois on Empire Showcase Day. This improving 3-year-old filly had hinted at having significantly stepped forward over the summer, and she confirmed that progression last time out. My only concern is that I have a few doubts about the speed figures assigned to that Iroquois, since a number of participants have returned to run slower in subsequent starts. Yet that’s only a minor critique of a filly who deserves respect in this spot.

Our Circle of Love (#7) also figures to attract some attention following her blowout maiden win over this strip. She broke her string of second place finishes in decisive fashion last time out, running a speed figure that certainly puts her in the mix against winners. However, she beat a very weak field that day and I want to see her repeat that performance against serious competition.

I also wouldn’t totally dismiss Michelle Nevin’s other horse, Byself (#5), who has worked her way through New York-bred company in workmanlike fashion. Her adaptable running style should allow her to put forth a respectable effort.

Bluegrass-Jamboree.png

I’m using these fillies, but my top pick is BLUEGRASS JAMBOREE (#2). This filly has taken a step forward with each successive start since returning from a layoff over the summer. She ran deceptively well two back when she made a wide move over a track that was favoring inside paths. Then last time, I thought she might have run the best race after making an early move to the lead in a race that was dominated by closers. I’m not convinced that she relishes a wet track, so I like that she’s getting back on fast going. For whatever reason, she’s typically dismissed at generous odds and I don’t anticipate that will change this time.

THE PLAY

Win: 2
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 1,5,7
Trifecta: 2 with 1,5 with 1,5,6,7

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment

Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Saturday, December 8

Race 3: Fight On Lucy (#3)

  • The winner of her last race registered another victory on Friday, and others that finished behind her have returned to run well.
  • Was trying to lug in during the stretch last time and still finished well despite losing focus.
  • Should appreciate the addition of blinkers after racing greenly last time.

6-1 on ML

———

Race 5: Sower (#3)

  • Ran well while facing some pretty tough company in graded stakes races during the summer.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring horses on or near the lead, and I think she’s quick enough to be in front early.
  • Should benefit from the slight cutback in distance to 6 furlongs.

3-1 on ML

———

Race 8: Bluegrass Jamboree (#2)

  • Has improved with each start since returning from a layoff in June.
  • Ran very well two back at Belmont as she made a wide move over a racetrack that was favoring horses on the rail.
  • May have been best last time after making an early move to the lead in a race that otherwise went to late runners.

4-1 on ML​

Posted in Race Previews | Leave a comment