Today in Racing, Jan 31, 2014

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 12.10.24 PMIt’s been raining down in Florida, and all grass races are washed onto the main track at all three thoroughbred tracks there again today. These surface changes are one area in which we have a huge edge over the competition, which is helpless to address such late changes in their print or PDF format.

This is what our track menu for Gulfstream looked like this morning at 10:02 AM.

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 11.20.43 AM

The surface changes and scratches were posted on the Gulfstream site at 10:07. Shortly thereafter, our track menu looked like this.

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 11.30.24 AM

That’s six minutes and 58 seconds later.  Sorry for the delay, we’ll try and do better than that next time!  Also updating nearly instantly are the Pace Projector, track diagrams, and Power Picks.

 – Doug Salvatore has his Saturday stakes previews up now at our good friends at; two three-year old contests in the Withers, at the Big A, and the

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 12.13.35 PMSam F Davis at Tampa Bay.  Commenting on the quality (or lack thereof) of the Aqueduct race, Doug notes that the TimeformUS Power Picks algorithm picks the maiden Scotland second, awarding him four (out of five) checkmarks.  We’ve been having some fun with this function, which has progressed from the picks of our partners at Timeform in the UK, to an accurate distillation of our own statistics that is proving to provide some valuable context.  Now, we have always prided ourselves on our transparency, explaining the logic behind our figures and ratings, and providing detailed analytics that you won’t find anywhere else.  (As an example, this post with stats on the proficiency of our Spotlight and last-out speed figures.)

In this case though, I think we’re going to keep the exact details of our algorithms close to the vest as our little proprietary secret.  I can tell you however that the formula is based on various weightings of a horse’s last five speed figures, its odds, and its Spotlight Figure (We’ll talk more about how we handle first-time starters in another post).  That has all added up to some interesting results of late.

However, as I’ve always emphasized here, features such as the Power Picks and Spotlight Figures are fantastic as some quick context, and as an initial insight into races as one scans through the hundreds available on many racing days, in search of races that look playable.  When it comes to taking the next step and putting down one’s money, a closer look is always recommended.

In the case of the Withers, Uncle Sigh (9-5) is the top Power Pick, with five checkmarks.  That is based, to a great extent, on the 98 speed figure he earned in his last race.  Of course, the algorithm doesn’t take into account the fact that this figure was earned when he was able to attain an open lead against state-bred maidens, in a race that earned a weak race rating of 79 (the Withers is rated at 93).

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 11.56.39 AM

Then there’s the matter of Classic Giacnroll (5-1).  Despite having beaten Scotland when finishing second in the Jerome, he has only three checkmarks.

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 12.01.42 PM

He is being downgraded by the algorithm due to the mere 75 he earned two starts back. But of course, the computer doesn’t take into account the fact that the race was on a muddy track that perhaps he didn’t care for; nor that he circled 5-6 wide into the stretch.  Nor does it take into account the fact that Classic Giacnroll was also significantly wide in the Jerome; in fact, he had to cover a staggering 65 feet more than the rail-skimming Scotland.  I might also add that the Jerome was this colt’s first start around two turns; and, as a son of the Derby winner Giacomo, out of a Storm Bird mare, he surely eligible to improve as he stretches out in distance.

 – And hey, it’s Friday, so, once again, a reminder for those of you that have not yet tried our past performances can take advantage of our awesome Trial Plan – three days of unlimited access for just $2.99.  More details on this offer here.

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1 Response to Today in Racing, Jan 31, 2014

  1. Offtrack says:

    Have you ever compared the ROI of your algorithm to that of the top Spotlight speed figure?


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