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.
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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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Friday, November 22

Race 2: Family Biz (#5)

  • Did well to close into a slow pace last time going today’s distance, suggesting he’s rounding back into form.
  • Has generally faced tougher company than most of his rivals in this race and gets some class relief here.
  • Had run his best dirt races at Aqueduct previously and now gets back to this track.

6-1 on ML

———

Race 4: Speedy Vanessa (#2)

  • Showed potential in her debut, closing strongly through the lane going a distance that may be too short for her
  • American Pharoah wins with 24% of his progeny trying turf for the first time.
  • Is a half-sister to graded stakes-winning turf horse Rocket Legs and Grade 1 winner on synthetic Karlovy Vary.

5-1 on ML

———

Race 6: North Dakota (#9)

  • Is a half-brother to international sire War Front, but much of this family is best routing on turf.
  • Comes back on short rest, which is unusual for this barn, but he had been off for 2 months prior to that.
  • Ran deceptively well two back when closing into an extremely slow pace.

9-2 on ML

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Thursday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Jake Rocks deserves a chance to sprint on turf

Aqueduct | Race 4 | Post Time 2:17 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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This is an unusual maiden special weight event in that a filly is likely to go off as a significant favorite in a race for open company. Tan and Tight (#2) lost as the favorite against her own gender last time but she nevertheless has earned a series of speed figures that suggest she is clearly the horse to beat against this field of males. That’s primarily due to the fact that many of her counterparts have recently competed at the maiden-claiming level and are thus ceding a class edge to the Chad Brown filly. I don’t have a major knock against Tan and Tight, but I also wouldn’t want to take too short a price on a horse who has gotten close without sealing the deal in all four career starts.

Hard Count (#4) and Bye Bye Nicky (#5), also a filly, make some sense as alternatives, but the former has done his best work in route races and the latter has a history of quitting in the late stages of her races.

Jake-Rocks.png

I want to get a bit more creative so I’m taking a shot with first-time turfer JAKE ROCKS (#6). On the surface of things, it might not seem like this runner has a ton of turf pedigree. His dam has produced one turf winner who appeared to be equally talented on dirt. However, there are some additional signs that this runner may appreciate a surface switch. It might surprise some to learn that New Year’s Day’s progeny win 18% of their turf starts, a remarkably high win rate for a relatively low-profile sire. Furthermore, this colt sold for a hefty sum as a 2-year-old after working an impressive 20 4/5 seconds over the synthetic track at OBS, sometimes indicative of turf ability. This colt has subtly improved following recent barn switches, and he’s not landing in the toughest spot as he tries a new surface.

THE PLAY

Win: 6
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 2,4,5,7
Trifecta: 2,6 with 2,6 with 3,4,5,7

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Thursday, November 21

Race 3: Five Alarm Robin (#4)

  • Earned a series of competitive speed figures when facing tough fields at the maiden special weight level.
  • Had trouble two back when initially dropped in for a tag and ran better than it appears.
  • It’s a good sign that she’s confidently stepped back up in class into a protected spot.

7-2 on ML

———

Race 4: Jake Rocks (#6)

  • Appears to have improved since returning this summer as a 3-year-old.
  • Has pedigree to handle turf, being by 18% turf sire New Year’s Day out of a dam who has produced a turf winner.
  • Worked an impressive quarter mile in 20 4/5 seconds over the synthetic track at OBS as a 2-year-old, sometimes an indicator of turf ability.

10-1 on ML

———

Race 6: Saratoga Colonel (#3)

  • Comes out of a race that may be stronger than it appears, as both the second and third-place finishers have returned to run well.
  • His last start was his first turf effort with the blinkers, and he ran the best race of his career.
  • George Weaver is being realistic in starting him for a tag, given that it’s the end of the turf season.

8-1 on ML

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Wednesday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Return to dirt shouldn’t hinder Kumar’s progression

Aqueduct | Race 7 | Post Time 3:17 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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The two main players in this race exit a similar race at this level at Belmont on October 20. Other Things Equal (#3) figures to be the favorite after finishing second in that spot and he’s clearly a player once again. However, he was no match for winner Allured that day and I don’t believe that he actually ran a better race than the third-place finisher Super Silver (#6).

That Bruce Levine trainee is one who interests me in this affair. He hasn’t gotten ideal trips in either of his last two starts. On September 21, he got pushed in at the start and was forced to rate towards the back of the pack. While he never launched a rally, he also never really had a chance to make an impact while buried in traffic for much of the latter half of the race. Then, again last time, he had trouble at the start, getting squeezed out of position and putting him at the back of the pack. However, in that outing, he actually launched a fairly effective outside rally, challenging for the lead at the quarter pole after racing extremely wide around the far turn. A repeat of that performance would make him a serious threat here, but he needs to break cleanly this time.

Kumar.png

My top selection is KUMAR (#5). This colt is an interesting prospect to consider. At first glance, he looks like a turf horse, since he earned vastly improved speed figures in his last two starts, his only ones on that surface. However, those were also his two starts following a long layoff, during which time he probably matured a great deal. His prior dirt efforts weren’t bad, and he actually earned a respectable 91 TimeformUS Speed Figure going this distance on dirt in March of this year, when he had only just turned 3 years-old. He doesn’t strike me as being a one-dimensional turf runner and his pedigree suggests that dirt is still a perfectly viable option. The fact that Rudy Rodriguez is moving him back to this surface while rising in class is a sign of confidence, and this barn’s runners have been firing lately. Furthermore, his tactical speed should play well in this field, especially considering the way the dirt surface has been playing.

THE PLAY

Win: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 3,6,8
Trifecta: 5,6 with 5,6 with 2,3,7,8

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Wednesday, November 20

Race 2: Honey Won’t (#5)

  • The Pace Projector is predicting a fast pace and his TimeformUS Late Pace Rating of 87 is the highest in the field.
  • Never had a chance when he competed 9 days ago, as he was off slowly and in trouble for much of the race.
  • Drops in class and won in his only prior start against claiming company.

6-1 on ML

———

Race 4: Amos (#2)

  • Was squeezed back at the start last time, putting her out of position for the entire race.
  • Was similarly compromised by a slow start two back.
  • Should work out a better trip today given her inside post position and the tactical speed she had shown in prior starts on dirt.

3-1 on ML

———

Race 7: Kumar (#5)

  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be stalking the pace in a scenario likely to favor those on or near the lead.
  • Has shown significantly improved form since returning from the layoff and arriving in the barn of Rudy Rodriguez.
  • Shouldn’t have a major issue transitioning back to dirt given his prior form on this surface and his dirt-oriented pedigree.

5-1 on ML

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Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Pipes’ tactical speed makes him dangerous off the claim

Aqueduct | Race 6 | Post Time 2:20 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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The two runners likely to vie for favoritism in this NY-bred N1X allowance are Financialstability (#2) and Turbulence (#4). The former is stretching out in distance for the first time after losing his initial try against winners, as the 1-2 favorite, last month at Belmont. He’s not going to be quite that short a price this time, but he figures to be strongly supported again and I still have some questions about this runner’s overall quality. He earned a respectable speed figure when he broke his maiden two back at Saratoga, but it’s not as if his pedigree is strongly suggesting that he’s supposed to get better with added distance.

Turbulence is perhaps more untrustworthy as he returns from an 8-month layoff. He was brilliant in his most recent appearance, destroying a group of maidens by over 10 lengths. However, he’s needed long breaks between each start and now he’s switching into the barn of Linda Rice. I’ll use him defensively, but it’s hard to know exactly what we’re going to get from him.

Pipes.png

I believe this race is more wide open than it might appear at first glance, so I’m taking a shot against the short prices with PIPES (#6). His recent form is slower and cheaper than many of his rivals, but I think he’s run better than it seems in some of his dirt performances. I like this slight turnback to a one-turn mile and he ran well over this course and distance last winter. Yet, what really makes him appealing is the claim by Rudy Rodriguez, who is 30 for 70 (43%, $2.71 ROI) first off the claim in dirt routes at Aqueduct over the past 5 years. Furthermore, Pipes has the speed to be forwardly placed, which is the running style you want at Aqueduct, and he’s drawn well outside.

THE PLAY

Win: 6
Exacta Key Box: 6 with 1,2,3,4,8
Trifecta: 6 with 1,2,4 with 1,2,3,4,8

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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Sunday, November 17

Race 1: Scoreswhenhewants (#3)

  • Has far more tactical speed than he showed last time, and should be more forwardly placed in this spot.
  • Though not noted in the chart comments, he was steadied in the final sixteenth last time, costing him a few positions.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Brad Cox is 17 for 38 (45%, $3.11 ROI) first off the claim in turf routes.

7-2 on ML

———

Race 6: Pipes (#6)

  • Had previously run some of his best races going this one-mile distance on the main track at Aqueduct.
  • Is drawn well outside of his main pace rivals in a field that doesn’t feature much early speed.
  • DRF Formulator Fact: Over the past 5 years, Rudy Rodriguez is 30 for 70 (43%, $2.71 ROI) first off the claim in dirt routes at Aqueduct.

10-1 on ML

———

Race 7: Candy Tycoon (#4)

  • Has been highly touted in both career starts due to his impressive workouts, but perhaps he’s been on the wrong surface.
  • Is bred for turf, by 16% turf sire Twirling Candy out of a dam who has produced a stakes-placed turf winner.
  • Has the tactical speed to work out a favorable trip in this field of inexperienced runners.

9-2 on ML

———

Race 9: Moonachie (#4)

  • Was compromised by a slow start last time and then wasn’t pleased to be rated just off a slow pace.
  • Won impressively in his debut, earning a respectable 98 TimeformUS Speed Figure.
  • May be able to get the lead from the favorite with a clean start, and that would make him dangerous.

7-2 on ML

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