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Old 07-17-2017, 09:00 AM   #31
classhandicapper
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Originally Posted by thaskalos View Post
I don't understand. Let's say that we are handicapping a field of horses...and we are trying to do what you suggest here. Unless the horses in the field have raced against identical competition in their prior races...how is this "who-beat-whom" comparison supposed to work out? We expect a certain PRECISION in our work...NO?

That's why I often say that comments such as yours here should come equipped with some sort of "live example".
If one horse won an average Grade 3 event with an honest trip and the other won a 10K claimer with a really tough trip (and was probably 5 lengths the best) would you be able to figure out which horse was better without any pace or speed figures?

I'll assume you'd know the Grade 3 horse was better.

You'd know the pecking order of horses well enough to know that the gap between those classes is much larger than 5 lengths worth of tough trip.

If you build a table that represents all the classes at your track and you know statistically how a win, 2nd, 3rd... at one class relates to win, 2nd, 3rd... at another class you have the basis for comparing horses without pace and speed figures.

Then you can take that to a higher level by identifying weak/strong races at a specific class designation by determining how deep and strong the race was compared to average.

Then you can start taking it to a higher level by comparing those horses based on trips they had within those races.

This is a lot tougher than looking at a number on a piece of paper that someone else calculated. However, it has the benefit of being non public information that's not hampered by things like changing track speeds, wind, run up, rail settings, sprint/route differences, figure maker error etc...

All the things that can impact time and lead to figure errors become irrelevant when you are comparing horses based on the race conditions and their trips relative to each other. (of course you introduce other problems, but that's another story)
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:48 AM   #32
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The difference between "Theory" and "Practice"...

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Originally Posted by classhandicapper View Post
If one horse won an average Grade 3 event with an honest trip and the other won a 10K claimer with a really tough trip (and was probably 5 lengths the best) would you be able to figure out which horse was better without any pace or speed figures?

I'll assume you'd know the Grade 3 horse was better.

You'd know the pecking order of horses well enough to know that the gap between those classes is much larger than 5 lengths worth of tough trip.

If you build a table that represents all the classes at your track and you know statistically how a win, 2nd, 3rd... at one class relates to win, 2nd, 3rd... at another class you have the basis for comparing horses without pace and speed figures.

Then you can take that to a higher level by identifying weak/strong races at a specific class designation by determining how deep and strong the race was compared to average.

Then you can start taking it to a higher level by comparing those horses based on trips they had within those races.

This is a lot tougher than looking at a number on a piece of paper that someone else calculated. However, it has the benefit of being non public information that's not hampered by things like changing track speeds, wind, run up, rail settings, sprint/route differences, figure maker error etc...

All the things that can impact time and lead to figure errors become irrelevant when you are comparing horses based on the race conditions and their trips relative to each other. (of course you introduce other problems, but that's another story)
I would...but that's not the sort of problem that the horseplayer is ever asked to grapple with. Usually...we are asked to handicap fields where the horses are racing in similar "class" circles...with only their level of "form" being the main separating point between them. And, it occurs to me that the speed/pace figures come in handy when determining the level of a horse's current "form". I was intrigued when Dahoss said that he doesn't use figures of any kind, and I asked him the question that I did because I know that he is a competent handicapper...who has demonstrated his handicapping ability on this board on several occasions in the past. When a handicapper like Dahoss says that he uses no figures in his handicapping, I want to know more...and I ask further questions.

Now...I've also read several intriguing postings from YOU, such as the one that you've posted here...where you ALSO present the opinion that the races could be handicapped effectively without using speed and pace figures. You've expressed this opinion here before, and I've always found it intriguing, but...since you don't ever present any tangible proof of your class-method's "real-time" application...I don't know what to make of this opinion of yours. Every time that I've asked you to handicap a live race using your "who-beat-whom" method...you've always politely refused.

I like "theory"...but I can't embrace it unless I actually see it being put into PRACTICE.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:01 AM   #33
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Originally Posted by thaskalos View Post
Now...I've also read several intriguing postings from YOU, such as the one that you've posted here...where you ALSO present the opinion that the races could be handicapped effectively without using speed and pace figures. You've expressed this opinion here before, and I've always found it intriguing, but...since you don't ever present any tangible proof of your class-method's "real-time" application...I don't know what to make of this opinion of yours. Every time that I've asked you to handicap a live race using your "who-beat-whom" method...you've always politely refused.

I like "theory"...but I can't embrace it unless I actually see it being put into PRACTICE.
If I were to handicap a few races here (and I have from time to time. you may have missed them) it would prove nothing regardless of the direction of the results. If I were to handicap 500 races here it would prove little. Maybe if we got near 1000 races we might have some meaningful information to ponder, but I'm not going to handicap 1000 races publicly to prove something to others I already know to be true.

I'm more than willing to post data from a very basic automated system that compares classing to speed figures if you'd like to see that (no trips or pace included).
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:14 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by classhandicapper View Post
If I were to handicap a few races here (and I have from time to time. you may have missed them) it would prove nothing regardless of the direction of the results. If I were to handicap 500 races here it would prove little. Maybe if we got near 1000 races we might have some meaningful information to ponder, but I'm not going to handicap 1000 races publicly to prove something to others I already know to be true.

I'm more than willing to post data from a very basic automated system that compares classing to speed figures if you'd like to see that (no trips or pace included).
One live race is all it takes...and the eventual result of this race doesn't matter in the least. ONE LIVE RACE...so we could see how this "who-beat-whom" method could reach a logical handicapping conclusion.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:39 AM   #35
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One live race is all it takes...and the eventual result of this race doesn't matter in the least. ONE LIVE RACE...so we could see how this "who-beat-whom" method could reach a logical handicapping conclusion.
Pick a stakes race and I'll express my thoughts, but I don't see the point.

As I've said, when I analyze performances after the fact (as I just did with Songbird in another thread) I'm giving you the same exact information I would use to form my opinion in the next start.

The Delaware Hcp was a very weak Grade 1 race, not because of the time, but because the horses behind Songbird were not even accomplished minor stakes horses, let alone competitive at the Grade 1 level. That she struggled with them given her relatively easy trip (after a good but not special effort in her 4yo debut against better, but not superstar fillies) leads me to believe she's not the same horse that ran Beholder to a nose last year on a track that was fine for outside runners, let alone gone forward at 4.

IMO, unless she steps up in training or I get some other indication she's moving forward, imo she has no shot against a horse like Stellar Wind.

At no point do the times of the races come into that analysis. It's who beat who (their accomplishments at what level) by how much with what trip given how the track was playing etc... I'm not even sure which one of them has been faster so far this year. I just know Stellar Wind has been better.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:46 AM   #36
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Originally Posted by classhandicapper View Post
Pick a stakes race and I'll express my thoughts, but I don't see the point.

As I've said, when I analyze performances after the fact (as I just did with Songbird in another thread) I'm giving you the same exact information I would use to form my opinion in the next start.

The Delaware Hcp was a very weak Grade 1 race, not because of the time, but because the horses behind Songbird were not even accomplished minor stakes horses, let alone competitive at the Grade 1 level. That she struggled with them given her relatively easy trip (after a similar struggle in her 4yo debut against better, but not superstar fillies) leads me to believe that so far she's not the same horse that ran Beholder to a nose last year, let alone gone forward at 4.

IMO, unless she steps up in training or I get some other indication she's moving forward, imo she has no shot against a horse like Stellar Wind.

At no point do the times of the races come into that analysis. It's who beat who (their accomplishments at what level) by how much with what trip.
I am assuming that we are both serious bettors...who play this game with the expectation of profit on a regular basis...am I wrong? If I am right, then...we need a handicapping method by which we could find plays on a regular basis...NO? Having a negative opinion about a horse like Songbird ain't likely to take us very far...IMO.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:09 AM   #37
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A big part of it is looking at the races whatever horse I am interested in has been running in. And then looking at whatever horses they have been running against and seeing how they have come back to run. Obviously that's a little harder if they are coming from different circuits. But I also have made it a point to be very familiar with the circuits I play and the conditions of the races.

is it a perfect system? No way, far from it. But it works for me and has for some time now. I've tried a little bit of everything, including trying to use figures and they have not helped. I understand how they can be useful, but for me, it just muddies up the picture.

I look at races probably very similar to figure players. I try and envision how I think a race will be run. I don't only play trip horses. I play horses that I feel have a good shot of winning that also offer what I perceive to be value based on their odds. Some of it is based on an instinctual guess but I think figure players operate the same way. For me it's probably more instinct, or trusting my eyes.
I agree.

Although mainly a "figure player"...I too am highly "instinctive". My figures lay the groundwork...but I often allow my instinct -- and my eyes -- to take over...when the figures seem to me to be leading me astray. Things often aren't what they appear to be in this game...and even the "figure player" has to develop a "sixth sense"...IMO.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:15 AM   #38
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A sincere question:

Without any sort of speed and pace figures...how do you determine if Lucky Town's "best race" is capable of beating today's field?
This is a great question.

Comes as no surprise that Thaskalos would ask such a question, but I emphasize this comment, for the benefit of those following along, and thinking along with the thread.


First, this illustrates a powerful way to use speed and pace figures; Determining if a horse's good race is ('fast enough') capable of beating today's field.

Second, it provides a good framework for other handicapping methods to attempt to measure up.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:19 AM   #39
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I am assuming that we are both serious bettors...who play this game with the expectation of profit on a regular basis...am I wrong? If I am right, then...we need a handicapping method by which we could find plays on a regular basis...NO? Having a negative opinion about a horse like Songbird ain't likely to take us very far...IMO.
The idea was to present the thought process that allows you determine which of 2 horses that both won a grade 1 race was better without looking at the clock. The same process applies to all races. It's just a lot easier to make the point with horses and classes we are all familiar with.

Whether that leads to a bet or not is usually a function of whether it agrees with the clock because most people are looking at prepackaged figures based on times. If my analysis disagrees, it can be fertile ground.

By the way, I think if those were to meet next out, Songbird would probably be the favorite off her reputation. So the race might actually offer a bet. I wouldn't bet Songbird against Stellar Wind as the favorite in a race where she was lone speed, let alone figured to be pressed. It would take some combination of lone speed, a speed favoring track, and vastly improved workouts.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:15 PM   #40
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how do you determine if a horse's "best race" is capable of beating today's field

My own method involves a few basic levels/steps of what I would call 'major models'. Then I will look at some pertinent 'minor models' as well.

Major:
1. Form = I look at the recent running lines. In no order: class level, distance, fractions, pace figure, speed figure, point-of-call, field size, company line, field size, odds, etc...
Here I'm looking for a general picture of whether the horse may have ran well. Sometimes it is blatantly obvious, sometimes it doesn't tell you much at all.
If there's anything that I do here, that may be unusual, it would be emphasis on 'odds' in the form. While the market is not completely efficient (unless we are all mad hatters!), the market is often times efficient. A horse that was 8/5 vs. a full field of this company, was at least expected, right or wrong, to contend for the win.

*I do use speed figures, but without heavy emphasis. I could 'cover them up', and be fine, but why would I want to? Using a good speed figure like a Beyer or a Timeform or a sheets, with more emphasis is probably a weakness that I could improve upon.

2. Charts = I go over the charts for horses whose form indicated that they may have run well.

3. Replay = "..."


minor models:
Trainer angles, distance/turn/surface preference, footwork, proven-vs-unproven, etc...
Here, I look for any extreme minor models that could be significant enough to be considered a contribution or a trade-off to the major models.
/e.g. If some 30% trainer just claimed the horse, it changes the picture.
If the horse raced wide into a hot pace and quit in his first lifetime start, that's a different situation than a horse who has 10 lifetime starts without running well.


Hopefully, after this process I can determine a general probability of whether the horse is good enough to win, before the trip(s). Then I still need a price.
Thankfully, the whole process is not as tedious as my writing.
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