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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Aqueduct Horses in Focus for Saturday, November 26

RACE 4: LUNI SIMA (#1)

Up to the Mark (#4) figures to go favored here as he turns back to a sprint distance after Pletcher had tried to gradually stretch him out. He obviously possesses plenty of talent, as he showed in his first couple of one-turn starts this summer. However, he just wanted no part of 9 furlongs last time, and he also didn’t get the right trip, as he was rated farther off the pace than he had been in any of his prior starts. Perhaps it’s as simple as getting back to basics with this horse, but I’m hesitant to trust this horse at a short price – and he will be pretty short with Irad Ortiz named to ride. Pletcher is an uninspiring 29 for 156 (19%, $1.32 ROI) with 3YO+ non-maidens going from routes to sprints on dirt over 5 years. The two most obvious alternatives are Life Changer (#2) and Reggae Music Man (#3), who faced off in a race at this level earlier this month. I wasn’t particularly impressed with either one’s performance, though I would give slight preference to Life Changer given his positive experience at 7 furlongs. My top pick is a runner exiting a different race at this level. Luni Sima (#1) was facing a tougher field last time when he finished behind the promising Winit going a mile. I didn’t think he got the best trip that day, as he was shuffled back on the far turn and his apprentice rider seemed to have some trouble finding a clear path for his mount until the race had gotten away from them. He was beaten by Life Changer three back at this distance, but it seems that he’s improved a bit since then and now he’s getting a rider upgrade to Javier Castellano.

RACE 5: DANDY HANDYMAN (#7)

General Jim (#10) figures to vie for favoritism in this race as he seeks to stay undefeated on turf in his third attempt on this surface. He was a workmanlike maiden winner at Saratoga two back before impressively winning an allowance race last time at Keeneland. That was a slightly weaker spot than this one, and he also worked out an absolutely perfect trip, saving ground on the turns before tipping out into the clear at the head of the lane. Now he’s stuck in the far outside post position with a pretty quick run to the clubhouse turn. He has the talent to win here, but I wanted to look elsewhere at a short price. Another runner who I wanted to avoid is Bat Flip (#2). He won a fairly strong maiden event last month, but he is another who got a great trip in victory. He was setting a moderate pace while riding an advantageous rail path in a race where those racing outside were compromised. I instead want to focus on a couple of runners coming out of the Awad Stakes. Let’s Go Big Blue (#9) is the one who had the obvious trip in that race, as his rider Eric Cancel didn’t do the best job of putting him in the right spots. He was wide every step of the way, and Cancel was unable to secure a clear path for him at the top of the stretch. Another rival was blamed for fouling him by the stewards, but this horse caused a lot of his own problems before finishing up with good interest late. He has the ability to win a race like this, and perhaps the addition of blinkers will help him focus. My top pick is Dandy Handyman (#7), who finished second in the Awad. While he stayed clear of all that trouble, he did have a hand in producing problems for those in behind him as he drifted out through the stretch. That said, he had done plenty of hard work prior to that, setting a fast pace that set it up for the closers. The TimeformUS Pace Figures for the early fractions are color-coded in red and the race was dominated by closers, with the exception of this gelding. I like the versatility that he’s displayed in his first couple of starts and he figures to be a better price than the aforementioned runners.

RACE 9: DYNADRIVE (#11)

Likely favorite Soldier Rising (#9) just missed in this race last year when he was a 3-year-old facing older rivals. He arguably got left with a bit too much ground to make up, as he came with a late rush for third despite being well behind with a quarter mile to go. Since returning this year, it took him a few starts to reach his peak at the start of the season, but he has run well twice in a row against Grade 1 company in recent starts. He closed well two back in the Sword Dancer, and then last time was unlucky in the Turf Classic, as he got buried in traffic in deep stretch. He finished just behind today’s rival Astronaut (#4), but Soldier Rising surely ran the better race, all things considered. He’s the horse to beat. Chad Brown has entered a couple of runners. Highest Honors (#1) finished ahead of stablemate Balthus (#3) in the Sycamore last time at Keeneland, but I much prefer the latter runner. Highest Honors drew a wide post position last time, but he actually got a great trip, as Tyler Gaffalione guided him over to the rail and he just followed the winner. Balthus had a more difficult trip, as he was never inside and encountered traffic when set down for his best in deep stretch. He appeared to finish with something left in the tank and still has upside. I’m going in a different direction with Dynadrive (#11) at what figures to be a better price. It looked like his career was heading down the wrong path earlier this year, but he completely turned things around off the trainer switch to Tom Morley this summer. He worked out great trips in his first two starts for the barn, but he also showed up with some of the best efforts of his career, culminating with a win in the Lure. He’s been off the board twice since then, but has had excuses. He didn’t like give in the ground two back in a race dominated by a front-running winner. Then last time he never had a chance, going wide against a rail bias while also compromised by a slow pace. He has to prove he can handle this marathon distance, but he figures to fly under the radar and fits here with his best effort.

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