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Old 11-30-2023, 07:00 AM   #1
AutumnLotus
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How would you rate and or compare each track?

Yes I'm back again with yet more questions vying for those opinions of Yours!! Lol I thought I'd ask how each of you would rate each track and how would you compare them to each other... meaning for instance, list the tracks that you feel are top tier tracks and go right down to what you feel is the bottom tier tracks Starting with aqueduct Belmont Churchill Delmar Delta Downs Tampa Woodbine parx Penn National Mahoning Valley Fairgrounds Gulfstream Churchill Laurel Finger Lakes Mountaineer Remington Etcetera


And to be clear I'm actually asking this because I really don't know. I mean of course I could see that Penn National is certainly no Belmont or Mountaineer is definitely no Churchill and so on but if you want to laugh I've been out of the game for quite a while and when I came back recently in the last couple of months which was just you know talking and just kind of getting into the swing of things not even really looking at the tracks or anything yet and then when I decided I was going to get back into playing the game itself I have done Equibase and went straight to get past performances on my track what I considered to always be my track which was Calder race course LOL so I called up my friend and I said hey bud this is Calder just not racing right now ready goes hey brother I wouldn't mention that to anyone cuz right there anyone who knows anything about this sport immediately can peg how long you've been out of it

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Old 11-30-2023, 07:23 AM   #2
lamboguy
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as far as the racing goes these days, Kentucky seems to be the top of the heap.they have 2 yo maiden races that have 16 horse fields and that is for the full cards some days.

Saratoga brings you the best mix of racing anywhere. both Churchill and Saratoga do a lot of things right. personally, I am a big Belmont fan though. its the major league of all racing. i love the mile and a half and the surface is second to none, but not an easy one.
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Old 11-30-2023, 08:05 AM   #3
Bustin Stones
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I like to use median purse. This site will show you that.

https://www.ownerview.com/race-tracks/purses
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Old 11-30-2023, 08:28 AM   #4
rastajenk
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That's what I was going to say: Follow the money.
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Old 11-30-2023, 02:14 PM   #5
Dave Schwartz
 
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I'd like to help in answering this question.

But first, a comment about using purse values.
The issue with using purse values is that it is a function of more than the quality of horses.

It is mostly a function of ATTRACTING HORSES within the scope of those available in the surrounding area at a given time of year.

To make this point easily, just look at CBY on a map that is to scale.

CBY is literally WAY OUT THERE.

In order to attract horses, the purse values are unnaturally high considering the level of races and horses.
_______________
My belief is that what matters most is the degree of reliability in the handicapping.

That is, how often does handicapping lead to the winner?

At the bottom of this post you will find a link to download the entire report that will be described here.

____________
I am the builder of The HorseStreet Par Times.

Included with those pars is a document known as The Speed Reliability Index.
This metric is based upon how well horses run back to their speed ratings in today's race.
The scale looks like this:


90-109 is considered average, with 100 being dead center average. That would represent 62% of all winners ranking in the top 3.
For those who are statistically minded, originally, this represented one standard deviation from average, and each of the upward or downward steps represented 2 and 3 Std Devs, respectively.

Over time, as most tracks have improved, I did not change the StdDev. Instead, I kept the same rating system.
Here's a quick look at the best SRIs.


This began as a project back around 2012 to improve my par times. This document just highlights the two best groups.
There are extenuating conditions to these, with the biggest one being TRAINER. This is why the EXCELLENT group is mostly small tracks: At those tracks a tiny handful of trainers tend to dominate.

BTW, a logical conclusion would be that this is a function of field size. Surprisingly, that does not hold up.

IOW, the top 3 win almost exactly the same percentage in a 6-horse field as opposed to a 10-horse field.

I have theories about that (and statistics to support), but that's for another day.
_____________

The Alphabetical List shows a quick lookup of the the tracks over the years.

I've only shown 3 years of the last 7 but I do have all the years.

Generally, tracks show improvement year over year because the Pars have been in a significant state of improvement for over a decade.

When tracks turn for the worse there is generally a reason.
Here's the link to download the full PDF.
HorseStreet Par Times 2023 Speed Reliability Index.




.

Last edited by Dave Schwartz; 11-30-2023 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 11-30-2023, 03:24 PM   #6
Bustin Stones
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They should only allow horses to enter Grade 1 Stakes if their times are repeatable and predictable. And if their speed ratings for all 3 legs of the Triple Crown are identical, they should be declared the winner. Winning expensive races is over rated.
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Old 12-01-2023, 03:18 PM   #7
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Dave, thanks for the link. With the old books I have, it was always assumed that turf favored off pace clearly more than dirt and in that regard, it still is the case, isn't it? Quinn and that era always said that but now it seems in the US to have more speed in turf than the bygone era. Did you run statistics on that that tell a story.
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Old 12-01-2023, 03:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paulbenny View Post
Dave, thanks for the link. With the old books I have, it was always assumed that turf favored off pace clearly more than dirt and in that regard, it still is the case, isn't it? Quinn and that era always said that but now it seems in the US to have more speed in turf than the bygone era. Did you run statistics on that that tell a story.
Turf Sprints run early but (loosely speaking) like a race a furlong longer. (i.e. 5.5f turf runs like 6.5f dirt).

But routes are so slow as to negate speed and, therefore, speed ratings, too.
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Old 12-01-2023, 05:00 PM   #9
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Dave,

Interesting idea on the Reliability Index.

On purses, another factor is training costs. It sometimes makes sense to run at a track with slightly lower purses if the cost to train is lower by a greater amount. I once tried to build an adjusted purse table to help me with shippers, but it was very difficult to find "average daily training" rates for many tracks.
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Old 12-01-2023, 05:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bustin Stones View Post
They should only allow horses to enter Grade 1 Stakes if their times are repeatable and predictable. And if their speed ratings for all 3 legs of the Triple Crown are identical, they should be declared the winner. Winning expensive races is over rated.
Winning is over-rated?
Sounds like you don't catch many winners!
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Old 12-01-2023, 05:25 PM   #11
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I reconsidered my position in light of your reply and you are right.
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Old 12-01-2023, 05:39 PM   #12
Dave Schwartz
 
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Originally Posted by classhandicapper View Post
Dave,

Interesting idea on the Reliability Index.

On purses, another factor is training costs. It sometimes makes sense to run at a track with slightly lower purses if the cost to train is lower by a greater amount. I once tried to build an adjusted purse table to help me with shippers, but it was very difficult to find "average daily training" rates for many tracks.
Not sure how this functions into the trainers at smaller tracks.

Wouldn't HIGHER "training costs" mean that they get to charge more?

My statistical experience says that many smaller tracks are dominated by trainers that live locally. The smaller the track, the more likely that is.

BTW, an interesting statistic is that PEDIGREE STATS are most useful at... wait for it...
  • very small tracks
  • not FTS
  • non-maiden
  • OLDER CLAIMERS!

Yes, I know this sounds nuts, but the final requirement explains it all.
  • TOP TRAINER AT THE TRACK

My theory is that the best (or maybe top 2), have got friends at bigger tracks.

I envision their friend at (say) SA or GP has a horse that just cannot cut it. Has been a maiden for a long time or simply needs to run at like $5k.

The SA trainer calls his old buddy and says, "I've got a 4-yr old for you."
Open to suggestions on a better explanation but the data is solid.



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Old 12-03-2023, 05:32 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Dave Schwartz View Post
Not sure how this functions into the trainers at smaller tracks.

Wouldn't HIGHER "training costs" mean that they get to charge more?


.
Imagine a theoretical track "A" where the median purse is 50K and it costs you an average of 30K a year for training expenses and another where the median purse is 55K but it costs you an average of 45K a year for training expenses. If I was an owner I'd send my horse to track "A". In a scenario like that, track "A" might be the classier track even though the purses are a little lower.

There's probably a pretty good relationship between purse sizes and how much trainers charge, but I don't think it's perfect. I'd like to look at that data, but I can't find good data on how much trainers charge on each circuit or at each track.
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Old 12-03-2023, 06:40 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by classhandicapper View Post
Imagine a theoretical track "A" where the median purse is 50K and it costs you an average of 30K a year for training expenses and another where the median purse is 55K but it costs you an average of 45K a year for training expenses. If I was an owner I'd send my horse to track "A". In a scenario like that, track "A" might be the classier track even though the purses are a little lower.

There's probably a pretty good relationship between purse sizes and how much trainers charge, but I don't think it's perfect. I'd like to look at that data, but I can't find good data on how much trainers charge on each circuit or at each track.
I must disagree with your assessment.

Owners like to be at the track when their horses race - and especially when they win.

True, that owners of expensive horses have the luxury of making those decisions. After all, if you own a $100,000 horse you probably can fly to wherever your horse races.

But life is different for owners of lower grade horses (which make up the majority of races).

Lower grade Claiming owners stable near where they live and simply pay the local charges. Or, they stop owning horses.

Having never owned a race horse, I could certainly be wrong. Would you own a $6k claimer and stable it (say) 1,500 miles away because the day rate was less?
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Old 12-03-2023, 08:39 PM   #15
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my question is why anyone would want to own a horse with the exception of the very wealthy or insiders in the game all your getting is a big bill every month
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