A key component in maintaining the quality of TimeformUS Speed Figures is focusing on their portability. What portability means: Not only should speed figures be a good comparison point for horses racing at different distances and on different days, they should also be reliable when horses ship from one track to another or one racing circuit to another. This is a tougher part of the speed figure creation process, requiring particular vigilance. Horse populations are not static and can cause the speed figures to drift up or down for some circuits as these populations change.
With that in mind, TimeformUS has recently completed a routine study of all horses that ship into and out of each North American track and how these groups perform subsequently, to make sure all the tracks are in proper alignment. The speed figures of 2016 will be adjusted to reflect the results of this extensive research. The adjustments are typically small. For example, horses that raced on dirt in Southern California (Santa Anita, Del Mar, and Los Alamitos) will have their 2016 TimeformUS Speed and Pace Figures raised by one point to reflect the strength of the dirt racing on that circuit. A few smaller circuits proved to be overrated numerically and produced adjustments in the 5 point range.
These adjustments don’t change the relationships between figures earned at the same race track. A horse that ran five points faster at Charles Town than another Charles Town horse will still show a five point difference. What will change is how horses shipping to new places will look against their rivals. A night time Los Al horse shipping to Del Mar will not look nearly as strong as in the past, for example.
Handicappers tend to dislike speed figures that change “after the fact”. Nobody wants to see the top figure 95 horse they bet changed to a 90 after a subsequent poor performance. But that isn’t what these adjustments are about. This is to give handicappers the best possible points of comparison for races they are betting today.
The strength of racing circuits changes and TimeformUS needs to keep up with those changes. Customers should anticipate ongoing efforts at track equalization to give them the best possible opportunities when wagering.