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 is now an eighth type of code–for races we can’t give a figure for at all:

  • 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.

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.
Watch The Video>>
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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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Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Added distance and switch back to turf should aid Two Graces

Belmont | Race 4 | Post Time 3:08 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Amarone (#3) is arguably the horse to beat as she moves back down into New York-bred company. She slowly but surely has been coming around after a dull start to her career. She outran her odds in that Monmouth race last time, but the event was dominated by longshots, and she worked out a perfect trip. Nevertheless, she’s going to be a handful if she repeats that performance.

I would also use Petalite (#1), who was ambitiously spotted in her turf debut against open company and now drops back into the New York-bred ranks. She will have more to offer on turf now that she’s back at the right class level. The lone first-time starter Pecatonica (#7) may also attract some support, since she has plenty of pedigree to handle this surface. She is a half-sister to three turf winners, including stakes-placed Dreaming of Cara. However, Chistophe Clement has not had much success with first-time starters in turf routes at NYRA over the past five years (4 for 66, 6 percent, $0.68 ROI).

Two-Graces.png

I’m taking a shot against these runners with TWO GRACES (#8). This filly dropped down to the maiden-claiming ranks for her turf debut two back, and she ran on well after waiting in traffic in upper stretch. The speed figures for that race were slow, but we have seen some also-rans return to do well out of that spot. She then took another step forward when switched back to dirt last time, suggesting that we haven’t yet seen her best. While she does not possess overwhelming turf pedigree, it seems that added distance has been the key to her improvement. She should relish this nine-furlong trip and meets a relatively weak field for the level. It’s encouraging that leading rider Jose Lezcano keeps the mount, and she figures to be a square price.

THE PLAY

Win: 8
Exacta Key Box: 8 with 1,3,5,7
Trifecta: 8 with 3,7 with 1,2,3,5,7

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Sunday, May 26

Race 4: Two Graces (#8)

  • Has been steadily improving her speed figures in recent starts.
  • Ran well on turf two back in a race that is stronger than the speed figures indicate.
  • Should appreciate the 9-furlong distance of this race given her stamina-oriented pedigree.

9-2 on ML

———

Race 6: Uncle Sigh (#8)

  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be stalking the pace in a situation favoring runners on or near the lead.
  • Is claimed back by Chris Englehart, for whom he ran some of his best races during 2018.
  • Looked like he was getting back into form when beating a weaker field last time.

5-1 on ML

———

Race 9: Seven Is Heaven (#9)

  • Got a nightmare trip in his debut, shuffled back on the turn before getting blocked in traffic in the stretch.
  • Worked well at the OBS sale last year and appears to have more ability than she displayed first time out.
  • Linda Rice gets a 100 TimeformUS Trainer Rating with second time starters.

5-1 on ML

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Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Pole Setter is an upset threat on the switch to turf in the Paradise Creek

Belmont | Race 9 | Post Time 5:51 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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Fog of War (#2) is clearly the horse to beat as he makes his greatly anticipated return for Chad Brown. He was unblemished in two starts as a juvenile, coming with a late rush to take down a salty maiden race at Saratoga before beating a good field in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. Fog of War is returning at the right distance, and Brown figures to have him fit off the layoff. It’s going to take a strong effort to beat him, and I’m not convinced that any of the runners with recent turf form are up to the challenge. Therefore, I want to focus on horses switching surfaces.

Paradise-Creek-Pace-Projector.png

The horse going from dirt to turf who figures to take the most money is Mucho (#7). This colt is obviously talented enough to win a race like this if he transfers his form to grass, but I’m not quite convinced he will be able to do that. He certainly has turf pedigree as a son of the solid turf sire Blame out of a dam who has produced a couple of decent turf winners. However, this colt has not come back as the same runner as a 3-year-old, and this turf experiment is a bit of an afterthought. He’s going to take money, and I prefer others.

Pole-Setter

My top pick is POLE SETTER (#4). Unlike Mucho, this colt has run on the turf before, winning his debut over that surface before fading late in a tough stakes at Kentucky Downs. He’s run on dirt in all of his starts since then and notably improved last time out when turned back to sprint for the first time in his career. That 117 TimeformUS Speed Figure is easily the highest number in this field, and he would be a serious upset threat if he replicates that figure on turf. This gray colt has plenty of sprint pedigree on the bottom side of his pedigree and is also bred for turf as a half-brother to the good turf horse Ice Cutter. Brad Cox is 18 for 49 (37 percent, $2.88 ROI) with last-out winners switching from dirt to turf, and his runners have been running very well in recent weeks at NYRA. Furthermore, the Pace Projector is predicting he will be on the lead in a situation favoring the front-runner.

Since I’m not thrilled with Mucho’s chances, I’ll upgrade horses like Strike Silver (#1) and Uncapped (#8) in the exotics. The former is better than his return effort at Keeneland when he got a wide trip and the latter has dramatically improved since his connections focused on turf sprints.

THE PLAY

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

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Saturday, May 25

Race 6: Mentality (#2)

  • Has earned the fastest TimeformUS Speed Figures in the field.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that she will be contesting the pace in a situation favoring runners on or near the lead.
  • Put forth one of her best efforts off the layoff last year and could be ready to fire fresh once again.

6-1 on ML

———

Race 8: Tossup (#2)

  • The 91 TimeformUS Speed Figure that she earned in her last start as a 2-year-old is still the highest number in the field.
  • Ran deceptively well in her debut when she broke slowly and made a wide, premature move.
  • Will beat this field if she has improved at all on her juvenile form.

5-2 on ML

———

Race 9: Pole Setter (#4)

  • Showed that he could handle turf in the first two starts of his career.
  • Put forth the best effort of his career last time when they turned him back to a sprint distance.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Brad Cox is 18 for 49 (37 percent, $2.88 ROI) with last-out winners switching from dirt to turf.

9-2 on ML

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Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Clyde’s Runner deserves another chance sprinting on turf

Belmont | Race 1 | Post Time 1:30 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs
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Blacktop Legend (#7) may go off as the favorite as he drops in for a tag for the first time. He’s shown an affinity for turf in his two starts, but both of those efforts came in route races. His debut was an oddly run affair in which a run-off leader opened up nearly 15 lengths on the backstretch. The entire field came together at the wire, so Blacktop Legend was not actually finishing as strongly as his running line indicates. He was overmatched against a tougher field at Gulfstream last time and now drops. Thomas has solid numbers with these trainer moves, so I’m definitely using him, but I prefer his main rival.

Clydes-Runner

CLYDE’S RUNNER (#5) makes his 4-year-old debut after a series of frustrating efforts as a 3-year-old. He showed real promise when he made his debut over this course last year, closing well to be second behind the capable Be Gone Daddy. However, his connections then stretched him out against tougher company, and he did not respond well to the changes. As a half-brother to turf sprinter End Play, he’s just not suited to going two turns. Following those missed opportunities at Saratoga, he got one more chance to sprint in the fall at Belmont but worked out an impossible, wide trip over a rail-biased turf course. This horse has a lot more ability than his form indicates, and I like that he’s getting back to six furlongs on turf. He’s making his first start as a gelding, and he has the services of leading rider Jose Lezcano. All signs point to a top effort.

The other two horses to consider are Thenorthremembers (#2) and Tenure (#4). The former was an expensive yearling who does not have a strong turf pedigree and is dropping down second off the claim for Linda Rice. A turnback in distance should help, but I’m just not convinced that this is the right surface. Tenure is definitely bred for turf as a half-brother to 7 turf winners, but that is also the problem. His pedigree is far too classy for him to be debuting for just a $40,000 tag, suggesting that he may not possess much ability.

THE PLAY

Win: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 2,4,7
Trifecta: 5 with 2,7 with 2,3,4,7

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Friday, May 24

Race 1: Clyde’s Runner (#5)

  • Ran well fresh when making his debut in a similar spot last June.
  • Was compromised by a wide trip against a rail bias in his only other start sprinting on turf.
  • Returns as a new gelding with leading rider Jose Lezcano in the irons.

2-1 on ML

———

Race 6: China Rider (#3)

  • Has earned competitive speed figures sprinting on turf in the past.
  • Will appreciate any residual moisture in the surface after Thursday’s rain.
  • Is recording much faster workout times ahead of this start than she ever has before in her career.

12-1 on ML

———

Race 7: Passporttovictory (#12)

  • Ran better than it seems in her last start over a fast track on April 5, closing resolutely after getting shuffled back on the turn.
  • Has run some of her fastest prior speed figures on the turf, so the surface switch helps.
  • Gets a positive rider switch to Jose Ortiz.

12-1 on ML

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Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Switch to turf can wake up Yamano Maker

Belmont | Race 4 | Post Time 4:38 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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The Chad Brown entry of Financial System (#1) and Unleveraged (#1A) is likely to go off as a prohibitive favorite since both runners would be viable contenders as separate betting interests. I prefer Unleveraged, who won his maiden off a lengthy layoff at Aqueduct last time while beating a decent field. He earned a respectable 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure, and he would be a win candidate here if he merely repeats that effort. Financial System disappointed in his return last time, but he may not have appreciate the 10-furlong distance. The cutback in trip will help, but he may be a cut below these from a class perspective.

The logical alternative to the entry is Il Primo Sole (#9), who makes his first start in the U.S. while returning from a 10-month layoff for new trainer David Duggan. This runner showed promise in Europe last year, losing the Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) by just five lengths and finishing a close fifth in a competitive 30-horse handicap during the Royal Ascot meet. His top Timeform Rating of 114 puts him in the mix, but there are some hurdles. Something clearly went badly awry in his final start of 2018, and now he’s returning as a new gelding with Lasix. He does appear to be working forwardly.

HH-Pace-Projector.png

I’m using him, but my top pick is first-time turfer YAMANO MAKER (#7). The Pace Projector is predicting that this race may favor runners on or near the lead, and Yamano Maker is predicted to be in front early. This colt showed promise at the start of his career but has since disappointed in two starts against winners. I’m hoping the switch to turf may wake him up since he certainly has some pedigree to handle it. Empire Maker is a 13 percent turf sire, and his dam was a winner sprinting on turf in Japan. She has produced Japanese Group 3 turf winner Meisho Naruto as well as dirt performer Epicharis. Yamano Maker drilled four furlongs over the Belmont turf course Sunday and appeared to take to it very well.

THE PLAY

Win: 7
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,5,9
Trifecta: 1,7 with 1,7 with ALL

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