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 Horses in Focus for Sunday, May 16

RACE 3: LANDBISCUIT (#2)

Chad Brown has a pair of contenders in this intriguing maiden event. St. Joe Louis is likely to attract more support as he makes his second start following an encouraging debut at Tampa. It took this 4-year-old a long time to get to the races after being purchased for about $687k as a yearling at the 2018 Tattersalls sale. He got bet down to 9-5 in his debut, but was pretty unprofessional for a firster from this barn. He looked like he had the race won at the top of the stretch, but got to lugging in badly through the lane, ultimately allowing a deep closer to run by him late. Chad Brown now puts the blinkers on in an attempt to get him to run straight. I’m using him, but I actually prefer Brown’s other second time starter at a better price. Value Creation was strongly supported in his debut back in February, getting bet down to 9-5 in the face of experienced stablemate Secret Potion. He showed brief speed that day but threw in the towel on the far turn. Perhaps dirt just wasn’t for him, even though he’s got pedigree for that surface. This guy has been an all-star in the morning, and his turf workouts at Palm Meadows were impressive. I expect him to be dangerous if using front-running tactics under Irad Ortiz. Yet there are a couple horses from the Bill Mott barn to consider as alternatives. The more obvious of the two is Spotters Hill, who ran well to finish second in both starts at Gulfstream. However, he got a great trip setting a moderate pace in his debut when simply second best. And last time I would have liked to see him produce more of a late punch. I actually prefer Mott’s other runner out of that race. The cleverly named Landbiscuit was privately purchase out of that affair after putting in a wide run to get up for third. He has clearly outperformed his modest yearling purchase price, as he also ran the best race when nailed on the wire in his debut after making a wide move on the far turn. Bill Mott doesn’t have the best statistics off trainer switches on the turf, but I nevertheless think this horse has upside for the new barn. He may ultimately want more ground as the dam is a half-sister to Grade 1 Epsom Derby winner Kris Kin and Aintree Grand National runner-up Cause of Causes. This lumbering colt has a big stride on him and should appreciate the move to Belmont Park.

RACE 6: JASMINESQUE (#10)

Translate is a deserving favorite in this spot as she returns to New York from California. This filly has run well in all six of her starts, just missing in a series of races at Belmont last year before heading west. She finally broke her maiden in her Santa Anita debut, easily winning a 6-furlong maiden event as the heavy favorite. The problem with her is that she was also heavily supported in two subsequent starts and against winners and failed to get the job done each time. She was beaten by a talented filly in Bruja Escalarta two back, but her last race was particularly disappointing. It’s fair to say that Umberto Rispoli may have committed a tactical error in taking her off the pace early, but she still had her chance to quicken in the lane and couldn’t get up over some inferior rivals. She’s not catching the toughest field for her return to Belmont, but she does figure to bet overbet once again with Irad Ortiz aboard. There are a number of viable alternatives to consider if looking beyond the favorite, including Gulfstream shipper Rising Bella and last-out claiming winners Corey Scores and Bay Jewel. However, I’m most interested in a rival who has actually handled Translate in the past. Jasminesque may be tough for some to take with her 1-for-29 career record. However, just 12 of those races have come on turf and fewer still in turf sprints, which is her specialty. I don’t care about her winter form on dirt at Aqueduct, which will only obscure her solid turf form and increase her price. The last time we saw her in a turf sprint she nailed Translate on the wire with a strong run from far back. And it’s not as if that effort came out of nowhere, as she has run competitively in some decent turf maiden races in the past. This will be her first turf start against winners, but she seems like a good fit from a class perspective. Obviously some pace needs to materialize for her to have her best shot, but I do think she’ll offer value at anything close to her morning-line price.

RACE 8: SHIRAZ (#6)

Big Package makes a certain amount of sense as he makes his second start off the layoff. He was well-backed in his 4-year-old debut and ran a decent race to get up for third. However, he never delivered the sort of late kick that we saw out of him last year as he was passed from behind by winner Sanctuary City. That might have seemed like more of a negative before Sanctuary City returned to defeat a much better open company field last week. This horse can obviously take a step forward, but he could be overbet once again with Irad Ortiz named to ride. He was defeated by Discretionary Marq in that spot, and that horse is a contender again. However, Discretionary Marq had a pretty good trip last time (despite the fact that Javier Castellano appeared to lose his iron in the opening strides) and it’s been a long time since he’s won a race. That horse also has to deal with a more competitive pace scenario, as Steam Engine figures to be on the lead early, even if he doesn’t turn out to be a turf horse. Valmont will also be forwardly placed and we could even get some speed from Call Me Harry. I’m hoping that Shiraz can fall into the right trip as he returns from the layoff for Mike Maker. I know Shiraz has a bit of a reputation as a hanger, but he’s figured out how to win races recently and has put in nothing but game efforts over the past year or so. I thought he ran deceptively well two back going 7 furlongs when hanging on for fourth in a race that was dominated by closers. And last time Shiraz had no chance against open company but was also compromised by a very wide trip while racing out of position throughout. Luis Saez rides this runner well since he gets him into the race early and that kind of stalking trip will give him his best chance against this field.  

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