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.


>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 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


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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 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, or see below for even MORE ways in which TimeformUS is different:

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Saratoga Horses in Focus for Sunday, July 25


The fillies with experience could go favored in this seemingly weaker division of the split Sunday maiden events. Trade Secret has shown speed in both starts. She set the pace before fading behind subsequent Debutante winner Behave Virginia two back. Then last time she won the battle with her favored Asmussen stablemate, but lost the war as both were run down late. The Asmussen barn has come out firing at this Saratoga meet, but I wonder if we’ve already seen the best of this filly. Tap N Glo got a good trip in her debut, a race marred by an incident at the top of the stretch. All things considered she stayed on well, but she needs to do better to win here. Brad Cox tends to get somewhat overbet with these types. Some may go to the Chad Brown first time starter as an alternative, but I’m most interested in a different debut runner. Openthegate is by Arrogate, who has yet to sire a debut winner from 3 foals to start. The dam was a two-time dirt route winner, and her only foal to race is minor dirt route winner Smoking Gun. However, she is a half-sister to multiple dirt stakes winner Theskyhasnolimit. Bill Mott is 7 for 30 (23%, $2.65 ROI) with 2-year-old firsters in dirt sprints over the past year, a major improvement from his numbers in that category in prior seasons. This filly broke much better than a stablemate in that recent gate drill, and traveled well before opening up a big margin on the gallop-out. I get the sense she can run a little.


I’m not particularly fond of the likely short prices in this New York-bred maiden special weight event. Marvelous Maude figures to attract support as she makes her second start for Chad Brown with Irad Ortiz taking over the mount. However, she was just picking up pieces in her debut and may not get as much pace here. Dancing Firefly was second in a cheaper spot in her first start, but I think she’d have to improve significantly to factor against tougher company this time. I’m most interested in some bigger prices. Caumsett seems dangerous as she stretches back out around two turns. She’s the clear speed in a race that doesn’t exactly feature a ton of early pace. Some may question her ability to go the distance, but note that she’s encountered fast paces in most of her prior turf starts. Acushla is also a horse that I think has a right to move forward. She ran deceptively well in her debut, making a mid-race move into contention after a poor start. She ran a similar race in her return last time, again flattening out late after a poor start. I think she’s capable of better, and Jorge Abreu and Jose Lezcano have been a potent team at the Spa. My top pick is the returning Pop the Bubby. This filly only managed one turf start last year, and I thought she put in a pretty strong effort for the level. That race was dominated by runners who rode the rail, and this filly was 3-wide around both turns after breaking a step slowly. She has a big turf pedigree, so it’s probably a good sign that she continued to move forward on dirt after that. Michelle Nevin’s runners sometimes need a start off layoffs, but this one figures to be a square price.


I believe this Shuvee will be decided by the Chad Brown runners, as I’ve never been the biggest fan of Antoinette, and Crystall Ball has been defeating weaker company. That said, I’m most skeptical of the entrant of his who could be the shortest price. Dunbar Road reportedly came out of the La Troinne with a minor excuse, so perhaps there’s a reason why she didn’t show up with her top effort that day. However, that’s not the only time she’s disappointed recently, as she also lost the Beldame last fall with an inexplicably dull effort. She may bounce back again, as she did in the Breeders’ Cup, but I don’t need her at a short price. I prefer Chad’s two other runners. Royal Flag is very logical as she makes her second start of the year. She ran well in the Doubledogdare, and has since been flattered by how well Bonny South and Graceful Princess have won out of that race. She also should appreciate the stretch-out to 1 1/8 miles, at which she’s run some of her best races. Yet I’m most interested in Chad Brown’s new face, Gold Spirit. This Chilean import really came to hand late last year in her native country, improving markedly once she was stretched out in distance beyond a mile. She easily took over from a pacesetter to win that Group 2 in October, and then she made a sweeping move from mid-pack to win the Group 1 Aberto Solari Magnasco. That’s the one of the races that Chad Brown’s Breeders’ Cup runner-up Wow Cat won before embarking on U.S. campaign. Wow Cat also won the St. Leger, a race that Gold Spirit lost last time, but Gold Spirit didn’t get the best ride that day, making a premature move into a quick pace. She’s been training well and may have this kind of ability.

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