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.
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.
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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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Wednesday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Riken deserves another chance on turf

Belmont | Race 6 | Post Time 5:37 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Crack Shot (#4) has to be considered the horse to beat. The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be in front early in a situation favoring the leader. He got cooked in a fast pace at Saratoga two back, but he bounced back nicely to get the maiden win last time. Call Me Harry returned to win with a 104 TimeformUS Speed Figure, and four horses that finished behind him last time have won their next start, all significantly improving their speed figures. However, Jeremiah Englehart is 2 for 28 (7%, $0.71 ROI) with last-out maiden winners on the turf over 5 years. I’m using him, but I wouldn’t want to accept a very short price.

Bourbon Mission (#8) may be the main rival after finishing third in two starts at this level at Saratoga. I wasn’t thrilled with his effort two back, but he did close decently into a slow pace last time after racing too far back in the early going. It’s unclear if he’s quite as good as Crack Shot, but he could be a late threat if Irad Ortiz is able to keep him a bit closer to the pace.


I instead want to take a shot against the favorite with RIKEN (#1). This runner makes his second start over turf after a decent debut over this surface back in April. He was actually off about two lengths slowly that day, which cost him any chance of attaining a higher placing. He did get some plenty of pace to close into, but could only mount a mild rally in the lane while finishing behind some solid rivals. Both of his siblings were turf horses, so he’s always been cut out to prefer this surface. He now makes his first start as a new gelding off the 4-month break, and improvement isn’t out of the question. Furthermore, he possesses far more tactical speed than he showed in that lone turf performance.


Win/Place: 1
Exacta Key Box: 1 with 2,4,5,8
Trifecta: 1,4 with 1,4 with 2,5,6,7,8

Posted in Race Previews | 1 Comment

Belmont Horses in Focus for Wednesday, September 18

Race 5: Klickitat (#5)

  • Jimmy Jerkens gets a 94 TimeformUS Trainer Rating when adding Lasix for the first time.
  • Ran well going this distance two back when greenly running in spots.
  • May appreciate the move to Belmont Park’s Widener course since he appeared to have trouble cornering at Saratoga.

7-2 on ML


Race 6: Riken (#1)

  • Has always been bred to excel on turf as a half-brother to 2 solid turf winners.
  • Was off slowly and too far back in the early going of his only turf start back in April.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he should sit a good trip close to the pace in a situation favoring those near the lead.

12-1 on ML

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Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Brilliant Brooks should benefit from the surface switch

Belmont | Race 5 | Post Time 3:09 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Maxwell Esquire (#10) has to be considered the horse to beat off his encouraging debut, in which he rallied well through the stretch to finish second behind a more experienced rival. He is bred to be a useful turf runner as a half-brother to multiple turf winners Memories of Peter, Image of Disco, and Image of Noon. If he builds on his debut at all, he’s going to be difficult for these to handle. However, Christophe Clement is just 5 for 33 (15%, $0.62 ROI) with second-time starting maidens in turf routes over five years. Nevertheless, he’s a deserving favorite.

I’d also use Portfolio Hedge (#9), the first time starter for Chad Brown. This stable seems to target some of their turf 2-year-olds for the Belmont fall meet and this colt has enough pedigree to handle today’s scenario. However, I generally prefer runners with experience in these races.


My top pick is BRILLIANT BROOKS (#2). He lost his debut by 18 lengths, but that was due to the misfortune of finding himself in the same race as Tiz the Law, who earned a 112 TimeformUS Speed Figure in that winning debut. He now tries turf, and he’s certainly bred for it. Candy Ride is a 10% first time turf and 13% overall turf sire, and the dam earned all three of her victories on turf with a top TimeformUS Speed Figure of 103 on that surface. Jeremiah Englehart is 4 for 19 (21%, $3.65 ROI) with second time starting maidens trying turf for the first time. I think this one is going to take a big step forward on the surface switch.


Win: 2
Exacta Key Box: 2 with 4,7,9,10
Trifecta: 2,10 with 2,10 with 1,4,7,8,9


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Belmont Horses in Focus for Sunday, September 8

Race 5: Brilliant Brooks (#2)

  • Found himself in a very difficult race in his debut, as both horses who finished ahead of him may be stakes-bound.
  • All 3 of the dam’s wins came on the turf, so he’s bred to handle the surface switch.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Jeremiah Englehart is 4 for 19 (21%, $3.65 ROI) with second time starting maidens trying turf for the first time.

4-1 on ML


Race 7: Fiftyshays Ofgreen (#2)

  • John Servis tends to send live runners to the NYRA circuit.
  • Is bred to handle longer distances, since her dam is a full-sister to multiple G1-winning router Composure.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, John Servis is 10 for 27 (37%, $3.57 ROI) going from turf to dirt routes with maidens.

10-1 on ML


Race 8: Neverland Rock (#7)

  • Comes into this race in the best form of his career, which is not the case for some of his rivals.
  • Defeated two of his main competitors when second behind the talented Archidust last time.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be stalking a pace that is expected to favor runners on or near the lead.

7-2 on ML

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Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Carlino should appreciate the stretch-out in the Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational

Belmont | Race 8 | Post Time 4:43 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Marconi (#7) rarely gets respect at the windows, but it’s hard to argue that he isn’t the horse to beat. I didn’t love his performance in the Birdstone last time, but that race may have been about a quarter-mile farther than his ideal distance, whereas Rocketry (#8) was supposed to relish that trip. I like this slight cutback, and Marconi has the tactical speed to be very dangerous. I’m not against him, but I don’t think he has any kind of massive edge over this field and there are some others to consider at more enticing prices.

I’m not a big fan of You’re to Blame, whose form seems to be declining since earlier in the year. The other horse that I want to take out of Marconi’s Brooklyn is Realm (#4), who was three wide against the rail bias that day and stayed on well for third. He was hardly disgraced against a tougher field in the Suburban last time and he may appreciate stretching back out in distance.


My top pick is CARLINO (#6), who may get somewhat lost in the wagering. I think this horse has shown subtle improvement through his three starts this year. He was way too far back early in the Pimlico Special, and the Suburban wasn’t run in a fashion that suits his strengths. He finished very well to just miss third in the Alydar last time, and I believe he’s going to appreciate stretching back out to 1 1/2 miles. He only has to run as well as he did in the 2018 Brooklyn to be considered a major threat and his form coming into this race is far stronger than it was at that time last year.


Win: 6
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,4,7,8
Trifecta: 6 with 4,7 with 1,3,4,7,8

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Saturday, September 7

Race 8: Carlino (#6)

  • Ran a race that makes him competitive here over this course and distance in the 2018 Brooklyn.
  • Is arguably in better form now that he was when he last stretched out to marathon distances.
  • His pace disadvantage may be mitigated over this distance in what is likely to be a bunched field.

10-1 on ML


Race 9: Wonderment (#6)

  • Showed that she possesses this kind of ability when taking down the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud as a 2-year-old.
  • Has had excuses in some of her disappointing 3-year-old performances.
  • Trainer Nicolas Clement sent out the 2nd and 3rd place finishers in two editions of the Belmont Gold Cup, his only North American starters over the past 5 years.

7-2 on ML


Race 10: Spanish Mission (#9)

  • Has earned Timeform Ratings in his last two starts that stack up very well against this field and might actually make him the horse to beat.
  • Encountered some traffic trouble last time in a race that he probably could have won.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, trainer David Simcock is 4 for 11 (37%, $4.47 ROI) with North American shippers.

3-1 on ML


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Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Trial and Error can benefit from a more favorable pace scenario

Belmont | Race 6 | Post Time 5:40 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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The two fillies likely to garner the most attention are Stand for the Flag (#2) and My Happy Place (#3), who both exit a seven-furlong maiden event at Saratoga. Stand for the Flag probably ran the better race that day, as she rallied strongly up the inside in a race that featured a fairly slow pace. She improved off the switch to Jason Servis, and she acts like a filly who will appreciate added ground.

Yet I also think My Happy Place could benefit from the stretch-out. This daughter of Tapit is out of My Happy Face, who placed in multiple Grade 1 stakes, ranging in distances from seven to nine furlongs. She showed a ton of promise in her debut, but was not quite as effective second time out. Shug McGaughey tends to take his time with horses like this and it could be that she just needed some experience before delivering on that early promise. However, both main contenders are closers, and I believe a lack of pace in this field could benefit one of their rivals.


TRIAL AND ERROR (#4) has yet to run as fast as the two favorites, but I don’t think we’ve yet seen the best she has to offer. A slow break cost her any chance in her debut. She took a big step forward second time out at Monmouth, finishing second behind next-out winner Bellera, who notably improved her TimeformUS Speed Figure by 12 points in a subsequent win. Trial and Error had no answer in the stretch, but she had set a very fast pace for the distance. It’s also possible that the rail was bad at Monmouth on July 6, as many riders were attempting to avoid it.


Win: 4
Exacta Key Box: 4 with 2,3,6
Trifecta: 4 with 2,3 with 2,3,6

Posted in Race Previews | 2 Comments