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, September 20

RACE 5: LITTLE RED BUTTON (#10)

Two Cent Tootsie is clearly the horse to beat as she finally drops in class following 14 prior attempts at the maiden special weight level. Her form is solid and consistent and most of her recent speed figures are significantly superior to those of her competitors. The only issue is that she’s just not a winning type. She’s previously been in position to win races and has failed to get the job done. While those failures came against tougher company, I’d rather not assume that she’ll develop a will to win now that she’s likely to go off at a short price. The problem with this race is that many of the logical alternatives are not particularly appealing. Lucky Latkes and Courted figure to attract some support, but both got good trips in their recent losses at this level. I want to go in a different direction, so my top pick is Little Red Button. This filly needs to improve a bit, but she’s not yet fully exposed, having only made three prior starts on the turf. Two of those were sprints in which she made solid late rallies. Her lone start going this distance two back was the best of her career, as she stayed on well to be third after stalking in the two- to three-path in a race dominated by horses who rode the rail. Even her last race is an encouraging sign, as she stayed on well going 9 furlongs on the dirt, which is hardly the right spot for her. I think she’ll like the surface switch and slight turnback to a one-turn mile.

RACE 7: TRANSLATE (#8)

This maiden turf sprint is wide open, lacking a clear favorite. Bastet figures to take some money once again, but I’m getting a little tired of this filly. Perhaps she’ll appreciate getting back to Belmont where she achieved her career-best speed figure, but I’m skeptical. I still prefer her to the other horses with recent turf maiden special weight form. Zaccapa was awful in that July 29 race, and she could take money again. The horse that’s arguably most interesting out of that race is Venus Oyzo, who closed well to be fourth that day and validated that form with a good dirt performance last time. The problem with Venus Oyzo is that you just can’t trust runners from this barn. My top pick is Translate. She debuted against a maiden claiming field last time, but she actually met a pretty tough rival in that race in the winner Miss You Blues. That filly was dropping out of maiden special weight company and was heavily favored. Yet Translate gave her a serious challenge, sticking with her every step of the way through the lane while drawing well clear of the rest. That has been a reasonably strong race for the level, as third-place finisher Yellen returned to win. Yet what makes her particularly intriguing is the claim. Rob Falcone has done very well first off the claim overall, and he’s 5 for 10 (50%, $5.76 ROI) first off the claim in turf sprints over the past 5 years.

RACE 8: CHILLY IN CHARGE (#5)

French Reef is the horse to beat off his dazzling Saratoga maiden win in which he destroyed a solid field after setting a legitimate pace. Based on that effort he might be bound for stakes eventually. However, he first has to prove that he can reproduce that kind of effort while facing a tougher field of winners, and he’s meeting a pretty salty group in this N1X allowance event. His main rival is Laurel shipper Fiya, who makes his first start for new connections after being purchased for $400,000 at a horses of racing age sale this summer. Despite not possessing any apparent turf pedigree, he has relished the switch to this surface, easily winning both starts on the grass. Last time he embarrassed a field of allowance runners while earning a field-best 118 TimeformUS Speed Figure, 1 point higher than the number French Reef received for his maiden win. The problem with these two horses facing off is that they both do their best running from the front end. Throw the very fast Yes and Yes into the mix and it seems almost assured that this race is going to feature a fast pace. As talented as the two favorites appear to be, they could help to set things up for a closer. The logical option is Wild Medagliad’Oro, who ran well in his only prior turf sprint attempt. He’s earned his best speed figures on the turf going longer, but he should be able to handle this shorter distance as long as he gets some pace. I’m using him prominently, but my top pick is Chilly in Charge. This colt has never won on the turf, but he’s run well over this surface. He closed strongly to be second at a big price in his turf debut behind Uncle Benny last year. And then in his return to Belmont last October he ran deceptively well to be fourth in a very tough edition of the English Channel. He launched a wide, premature move on the far turn that day and had a right to flatten out late behind talented runners like Front Run the Fed and Halladay. If he’s ready to fire off the layoff I think he’s going to have a say in this outcome at a price.

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