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May 15, 2009

American turf club lead

    As the beginning of Summer approaches we are going to include a simple rating system that picks a logical contender in each race. This system should be a big help to those club members that play multiple tracks through the magic of simulcasting.

    After the long hard winter and the not-so-hot spring there is always one saving grace for the turf fans local racing returns and a visit to the track is once more possible in areas where the sport disappears for the cold season.  Many bettors are itching for action at their local track at this time of year and while we generally caution against succumbing to this type of spring fever, we also thought we'd use this week's issue to pass along a simple rating system that picks a logical contender in every race.

    To implement this system, begin by crossing off each horse in the race that was beaten by ten lengths or more in its most recent race, or fell, broke down, went lame or sore, or otherwise failed to finish.  Also eliminate any horse whose most recent race was run more then a month ago.  This reduces the field of horses that have been in action recently and have shown no recent evidence of unsound physical condition.

    Next cross off any horse that failed to finish first, second or third (or not more then 3 lengths behind the winner if lower than third) in at least one of its last two starts.  (This good race must also have been run not more than a month ago.)

    The idea is to reduce the remainder of the field to horses that have shown recent evidence of good form, and eliminate the others as non-contenders.  This of course is an arbitrary procedure that will on occasion eliminate the ultimate winner as a “non-contender.”  But it would be unlikely that a “non-contender” would rate highest, and of course it goes without saying that no selecting formula could possibly pick all the winners anyway.  Sometimes the entire field will be passed up for this reason if it is a particularly bad bunch of horses.  If so, it’s a good race not to play.

    Each contender now gets a rating based on its performances in its last three good races.  A “good race” is as defined earlier—any race in which the horse finished first, second or third, or if lower than third, not more than three length behind the winner.

    To rate a horse, find its three most recent good races.  (If the horse has run fewer than three good races in its last 8 starts, it is not related.)

    Total the finish positions of the three races.  Now total the “stretch call” positions (last call before the finish in the past performance charts)  of the same three good races.  Add the two totals and the resulting figure is the horse’s “position rating”—that is, the sum of its stretch-call and finish positions in its last three good efforts.

    The next move is to find the total number of starters in the horse’s three most recent good races.  The last figure at the extreme right in the past performance line denotes the number of starters in the race.  Find the total for the three races, and from this, subtract the horse’s “position rating.”  The remainder is the horse’s tentative rating, subject to revision when the class factor is introduced as the next step in the formula.

    To adjust the rating for class, refer back to the horse’s three most recent good races and if any of them were run BELOW the class of today’s race, DEDUCT 5 points, for each such race.  Thus, if two of its three good races had been run in cheaper company than the horse will run against today, 10 points would be deducted from its tentative rating; if one, 5 points.  If all three were run below today’s class, the horse is considered to be overmatched and is eliminated from further consideration.

    One more step now and the rating process is complete.  For each of its three good races that were run in HIGHER class than today’s race, ADD 5 points to the horse’s rating.  This credits the classier contenders at the same rate the cheaper ones were penalized, and each horse now is graded according to its final rating, the highest figure denoting the most likely winner.

    It’s quick and easy to rate a race once you are familiar with the formula, and the top-rated horse invariably gives its backers a run for their money.




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