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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Sunday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Simply Breathless has a class edge in the Athenia

Belmont | Race 9 | Post Time 5:13 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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I’m not trying to beat the likely favorite SIMPLY BREATHLESS (#1), who just appears to have found the right spot as she makes her New York debut for California trainer Neil Drysdale. West coast shippers are often overmatched when they ship east for major stakes, but this filly is catching an unusually weak field for a graded stakes event.

Simply-Breathless.png

She got a great trip to win the Wilshire at Santa Anita during the summer and she was just placed in some tougher spots after that. She couldn’t quite get the longer distance of the Modesty two back, but it turns out that losing to Juliet Foxtrot is no disgrace, considering that rival’s subsequent Grade 1 placings. Last time out at Kentucky Downs, Simply Breathless was racing over a course that had gotten very speed-favoring, and she was unable to reel in a couple of classy rivals. She didn’t get the smoothest trip through the stretch that day, as Geroux had to wait in traffic and tried to find room inside. I like this rider switch to Joel Rosario, who should be a perfect fit for this filly, and Drysdale’s runners tend to show up in these situations.

Two of her main rivals are exiting an optional claiming race at Belmont on September 22. Sweet Bye and Bye (#3) was impressive in victory that day, but she got a very soft trip on the front end, setting very slow fractions before sprinting home. Victorine (#2) actually ran deceptively well in that spot, since she advanced outside and just couldn’t make up ground late into those sprint-like closing splits. I’d use both defensively, but I’m just not sure that either one possesses the quality to overtake a horse like Simply Breathless.

THE PLAY

Win: 1
Exacta: 1 with 2,3,4,9
Trifecta: 1 with 2,3 with 2,3,4,5,9

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Sunday, October 20

Race 4: Bacchanalia (#6)

  • Ran well in her debut behind the subsequently Grade 1-placed Princesa Carolina.
  • Was green in her last start, refusing to settle early before ducking out under pressure in the lane.
  • Can turn the tables on Coilean Bawn if she runs a more professional race this time.

7-2 on ML

———

Race 5: Super Silver (#5)

  • Was unwisely rated last time and then shuffled to the back of the pack on the turn.
  • Has run his better races when up close to the pace and should be more aggressively ridden here.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting a situation favoring runners on or near the lead.

12-1 on ML

———

Race 9: Simply Breathless (#1)

  • Was compromised by a speed-favoring course and an uncomfortable trip last time.
  • Has been keeping stronger company than the rivals she meets in this relatively weak Grade 3 event.
  • Joel Rosario should be a perfect fit for this late runner who needs to get covered up early.

5-2 on ML

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Saturday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: Satisfy should step forward second off the layoff in the Iroquois

Belmont | Race 7 | Post Time 3:40 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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I’m not completely against horses like Holiday Disguise (#1) and Carrera Cat (#9), but I also haven’t been thrilled with their recent efforts. You have to admire Holiday Disguise’s longevity, as she’s still competing at this level after three seasons, but it’s been a while since she’s run one of her better races. She was fairly dull last time out when losing the Union Avenue as the 8-5 favorite and I believe she could be up against it here unless she produces a better performance.

Carrera Cat seems like a logical alternative, especially after she defeated Holiday Disguise in that aforementioned stakes. However, the name of the game with her is speed, and I’m somewhat concerned that she might hook up with the very swift Filibustin in the opening furlongs. Filibustin isn’t really a threat to be around at the end, but she could spell trouble for this otherwise logical contender. It’s also not as if Carrera Cat’s top speed figures make her that formidable at this level, and this race came up tougher than the Union Avenue.

Satisfy.png

Given my reservations with those two, I’m going with SATISFY (#7) to get back on track here. This mare was obviously in excellent form last year when she finished second in this race, earning an impressive 116 TimeformUS Speed Figure. She obviously had a setback earlier this year to be off for so long, but I thought her return race at Monmouth wasn’t nearly as bad as it seems. She was in behind some longshots in a bunched field coming around the far turn and Joe Bravo had to tap on the brakes a few times while trying to find a clear path. She ultimately got free in the stretch, but it was too late to mount a rally in a race that held together up front. She’s better than that and I believe her performance isn’t as poor as the speed figures indicate. I expect her to bounce back with a good effort this time.

The other horse that I would use somewhere underneath is More Mischief (#8). This 3-year-old filly hasn’t yet run fast enough to be competitive with this group, but she’s always shown talent and might be heading in the right direction. I like the aggressive placement by a trainer who spots his horses where they can win.

THE PLAY

Win: 7
Exacta Key Box: 7 with 1,2,3,8,9
Trifecta: 7 with 3,8,9 with 1,2,3,8,9

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Saturday, October 19

Race 4: Gucci Factor (#6)

  • Blew the start last time when spotting the field by about 6 lengths, yet actually ran well after that.
  • Should appreciate the slight cutback in distance to 1 1/16 miles.
  • Has the tactical speed to get the jump on the closers in what could be a paceless race.

7-2 on ML

———

Race 6: Build to Suit (#1)

  • Ran extremely well in the Morrissey two back when he was probably best after a less-than-ideal trip.
  • Was visually impressive when easily beating a solid open company field last time.
  • Should get a head start on main rival Celtic Chaos this time, provided he breaks cleanly.

2-1 on ML

———

Race 7: Satisfy (#7)

  • Earned a 116 TimeformUS Speed Figure in this race last year, and a repeat of that number would make her tough to beat.
  • Never really had a chance to rally in her return at Monmouth as she got held up in traffic on the turn.
  • Should be fitter for her second start off the layoff.

3-1 on ML

———

Race 10: Midnight Disguise (#9)

  • There is a fair amount of speed in this race, so she should get an honest pace to close into.
  • A one-turn mile is arguably her best distance, and she earned a competitive speed figure going this trip two back.
  • Joel Rosario should be a good fit for this late-running filly.

7-2 on ML

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Friday TimeformUS Highlight Horse: London House looks to pick up right where he left off in return

Belmont | Race 7 | Post Time 4:40 p.m. (ET) | Go to the TimeformUS PPs 
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The entry is likely to attract support merely due to the fact that both horses are contenders, but I’m not too fond of either one. Amundson (#1) will attempt to step up in class after winning at the N1X level last time, but he wasn’t beating the strongest field. His speed will make him dangerous, but I believe that some others have shown more talent. His entrymate Singapore Trader (#1A) is a difficult runner to read. It would appear that 6 1/2 furlongs is a bit short of his best distance, so this might just be a prep off the lengthy layoff. Furthermore, aside from a deceptive 10-length romp in an off-the-turf race, he’s never put forth a performance that makes him that formidable against this field.

The Caretaker (#6) seems like a more reliable option. He won at this level for Ray Handal last time and now makes his first start off the claim for Rob Atras. This is essentially a lateral move and he’s been in solid form for a few months now. My only reservation is that he seems to have lost much of the early speed that he once possessed so he may need some help up front if he’s to pull off the repeat victory.

London-House.png

I want to go in a different direction, so I’m taking a shot with the returning LONDON HOUSE (#5). I was a fan of this horse when he was running last winter, and he got quite good at Aqueduct, winning his last two starts by a combined 20 lengths. That 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he recorded back in February remains the best number in this field, and one would assume that he’s improved with natural maturity since then. The layoff is a concern, but the Pace Projector is predicting that he’ll get a great stalking trip in a situation favoring runners on or near the lead.

THE PLAY

Win: 5
Exacta Key Box: 5 with 1,4,6
Trifecta: 5 with 6 with ALL
Trifecta: 5 with 1,2,4 with 6

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Friday, October 18

Race 1: Knockout Punch (#5)

  • Is bred to appreciate more ground than he got to work with in his only other turf start.
  • Actually showed some speed in that turf debut before racing greenly and dropping back.
  • Low-profile connections will ensure that he’s a square price, but trainer Bob Dunham has sent out live runners at this meet.

15-1 on ML

————

Race 7: London House (#5)

  • The 113 TimeformUS Speed Figure that he earned back in February would be good enough to beat this field.
  • Has a right to run faster now with natural maturity, assuming he’s ready off the layoff.
  • The Pace Projector is predicting that he will be stalking the pace in a situation favoring runners on or near the lead.

7-2 on ML

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Belmont Horses in Focus for Thursday, October 17

Race 1: Curlin Road (#3)

  • Probably doesn’t need to improve much on his winning effort last time.
  • With the exception of the marathon experiment two back, he’s been in good form for Rudy Rodriguez.
  • Has the tactical speed to not be compromised by a potential slow pace.

9-5 on ML

———

Race 6: Super Silver (#6)

  • The Pace Projector is predicting a No Speed scenario, and this horse should be on the lead.
  • Showed that he can handle a wet track at Saratoga two back.
  • Didn’t get the right trip last time when he was unable to make the lead and shuffled back on the turn.

9-2 on ML

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