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.
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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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Belmont at the Big A Horses in Focus for Thursday, October 6

RACE 4: COMMAND POINT (#3)

If this race stays on turf, Chad Brown will hold the keys to this affair, as he sends out the favorite in the main body of the field, Princess Blakely (#10), as well as Control Function (#13), who would be a stronger favorite if able to draw in off the also eligible list. The latter filly ran respectably against a much tougher open N1X field last time and will be tough for this group to handle with a repeat of that performance. However, she did get a perfect trip that day, and she’d be mired in an outside post position even if she did get in here. I still prefer her to Princess Blakely, who just stayed on at one pace in her lone turf start back in July. I question her overall ability, but she does seem good enough to compete at this level. However, I do see one viable alternative to this Brown pair. Command Point (#3) was running races last year for George Weaver that would put her on par with Control Function. It appears that she’s regressed since returning from a layoff for Rob Atras this year, but I think she’s run better than it appears in both recent outings. She was compromised by a slow pace in her return two back, and last time she got a poor trip through the final three furlongs, as she encountered significant traffic while attempting to launch a rally, shuffled back and shut off at multiple points. She’s better than that and can rebound here if some pace develops. 

RACE 6: UNCLE GEORGE (#4)

This starter allowance affair is not just the most competitive race on the card – it’s one of the most wide open races that I’ve handicapped all year in New York. There’s no clear favorite signed on, and you can make a case for each of the runners in the main body of the field. Ultimately I wanted to shy away from the likely shorter prices like Digital Future (#5), Napa Spirit (#7), and Mister Chairman (#10). They all have the credentials to be competitive here, but you’re supposed to do some price shopping in a race like this. Note that Sheriff Bianco will scratch, which allows King Moonracer (#13) to draw in off the AE list. While the wide post position is not ideal for this George Weaver trainee, I like the slight stretch-out in distance for him, since he’s had more success over these longer sprint distances at Belmont and Aqueduct. He was compromised by a poor start and traffic last time in a race dominated up front, and I think he’s capable of better here. Fast N Fearious (#2) has the speed to get in front of this field early, but the switch back to turf does seem a little curious. He showed such marked improvement on dirt last time and was entered back on that surface two weeks ago before scratching. I don’t mind turf for him, but I’m curious to see if he can maintain his form. My top pick is Uncle George (#4). This horse was a bit of a disappointment when racing for the Christophe Clement barn, but he did have to endure his fair share of bad luck, some of which was of his own making. He tends to break slowly, so he needs some paces to develop up front. I thought he closed pretty well last time going a distance that is too short for him. The slight stretch-out figures to help, and there does appear to be plenty of speed in this field. Furthermore, William Morey is 4 for 11 (36%, $3.73 ROI) first off the claim on turf over 5 years, with 9 of this 11 hitting the board.

RACE 7: BATTLE SCARS (#3)

I’m not particularly interested in either favorite in this New York-bred N1X allowance. Citizen K (#6) has improved on the stretch-out in distance lately, but his form is exposed at this point. He got a good trip last time stalking a moderate pace and just couldn’t fend off the late challenge of the superior Catch That Party. Now he’s picking up Irad Ortiz and figures to be a much shorter price than he’s been in recent starts. Marinara Sauced (#12) also seems likely to take money for the Chad Brown barn. This runner got pretty lucky to win his debut in a race that collapsed, and I haven’t been thrilled with any of his subsequent starts. He did make up some ground in a stakes last time, but he saved ground early in the race at a time when you wanted to be inside, and there wasn’t much of quality behind him. I want to go in a different direction with Battle Scars (#3). I thought this 4-year-old ran a winning race when he returned from the layoff last time despite finish fourth. He was 3-wide early and forced to rally widest of all on the far turn and through the stretch during a time when the rail was the place to be on the inner turf course. He figures to improve with that effort under his belt, and now he’s drawn a much better post position. He ran pretty well over this course last year, and his return race suggests he may have improved since then. The other horse that I want to use is first time turfer Street Tsar (#1), who appears to be the controlling speed from the rail. Distance is a question mark, but he’s supposed to appreciate turf, by Street Boss out of a dam who has produced a turf winner. I can forgive his last race where he engaged in a 4-way duel before fading, especially since he should be able to shake loose up front this time.

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