One of the helpful features that Timeform Ratings offer when assessing horses overseas is a question mark symbol whenever judging a horse’s rating to be suspect. With that as inspiration, we’ve begun to implement question mark symbols in TimeformUS Past Performances. An example can be seen above. The question mark is right next to the TimeformUS Speed Figure in the running lines. What is the thinking behind the question marks?
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, numbers are under review because the evidence that is ordinarily available to create them has somehow been compromised. Here are many of the reasons we would consider a figure to be suspect:
- Changing track conditions during a race card
- Projections for race are wildly inconsistent with results
- Only only sprint or route on card for a particular surface
- Projected variant for race is far different than those before and after
- Pace was very slow and probably affected final time
- Official timing for the race is highly questionable
- A race is loaded with lightly raced horses, particularly first time starters
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.
And so we’ve decided to take Timeform’s lead and start to display the question marks right in the PPs. 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.