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Track Tracts Need to Lead/Ability to
Lead If you�re not familiar with William Quirin�s speed points method, you should take the time to learn it. I�ve done a study of that method that reconfirms the importance of early speed and the quality of speed points as a way to measure it. First, here�s a refresher on how to calculate speed points: Each horse will end up with a speed point total from 0 to 8 points. Look for three ratable races, starting with the horse�s last race and moving backwards, but never go more than five races back. Calculating Speed Points in Sprint Races: Each horse starts with one point. Look at a horse�s last race. It can get from 0 to 2 points for each ratable race. If it was a route, the horse gets 0 points (Exception: If the horse was within one length at the first call of the route, pass that race and move onto the race before it). If it was a sprint in which the horse was third or better at the first call, the horse gets a point. If it was within two lengths of the leader at the first call, it gets another point (Exception: for 7 furlong ratable races, the horse must have been leading at the first call). If neither of these applies, the horse gets 0 points for that ratable race. You then move onto the race before that, until you�ve rated three races. After rating three races for each horse, you have from 1 to 7 points for each horse. You now either add one point or subtract one point from the total. If the horse has 7 points and was within a neck of the leader at the first call of all of its ratable races, it gets a bonus point for a grand total of 8. If the horse has 1 point and was in the rear half of the field in all of its ratable races, or if all its last 5 races were routes, and it was not within one length of the leader in any of them, it loses a point for a grand total of 0. Calculating Speed Points in Route Races: Each horse starts with one point. Look at a horse�s last race. It can get from 0 to 2 points for each ratable race. If the ratable race was a route in which the horse was third or better at the first call, the horse gets a point. If the horse was also within three lengths at the first call, it gets a second point. Now, if the ratable race was a sprint in which the horse was within six lengths at the first call, it gets a point. If the horse was also either third or better at the first call or within three lengths of the leader at the first call, it gets a second point. After rating three races for each horse, you have from 1 to 7 points for each horse. You now either add one point or subtract one point from the total. If the horse has 7 points and was within a one length of the leader at the first call of each of its ratable routes and/or within three lengths of the leader in each of its ratable sprints, it gets a bonus point for a grand total of 8. If the horse has 1 point and was in the rear half of the field in all of its ratable routes, it loses a point for a grand total of 0. You must make adjustments for horses who had less than three ratable races. If a horse only had one ratable race and earned 1 point in that race, add 2 more points to its grand total; if it earned 2 points in that race, add 3 more points to its grand total. If a horse had only two ratable races and earned 2 or more total points in those races, add 1 more point to its grand total. Calculating speed points may seem a little complicated at first. But if you do if for a few races, the rules become second nature, and you can breeze through the horses, giving them speed point totals as fast as you can jot them down. My study looked at the horse with the highest speed points in 10,302 races. (I required that there be no tie for the highest speed points and that there be at least five horses in the race that could be rated � firsttimestarters and foreign horses are unratable.) Overall, these horses won 1930 of 10,302 bets, for a 9% win rate, a .84 ROI and a 1.03 True Impact. In other words, they won 3% more than they should have given their odds, and while they did better than the .78 ROI that random betting will get you, they were far from profitable. Speed points are concerned with the first call of each horse�s last few races. Horses that compulsively take the lead do so because they (or their jockey) want the lead. It says more about their personality than their ability, though. Just about any horse can take the lead at the first call if it wants it bad enough � the hard part is keeping the lead all the way to the finish line. Needtolead like this is one thing, and speed points are a good measurement of it. But ability to lead is a completely different quality. By ability to lead, I mean a horse�s capacity to be out front at the first call in the normal course of things, without an undue effort to get and stay out front. So, what if needtolead is combined with ability to lead? "When I added the requirement that the top speed point horse also had to have the best projected time to the first call (in other words, the horse had the ability to lead), the stats improved significantly." When I added the requirement that the top speed point horse also had to have the best projected time to the first call (in other words, the horse had the ability to lead), the stats improved significantly. I used The Capper to project the first call times, but other methods of pace handicapping would probably be similar. About 30% of the top speed point horses also were the top projected first call horses in their race. The stats for this group were: won 706 of 3004 bets, for a 24% win rate, a .97 ROI and a 1.18 True Impact. These horses won 18% more than they should have given their odds and were just a shade away from breakeven. If you�ve done any handicapping research, you know how difficult it is to get a large sample with that high an ROI. My next study will take these horses and look for profitable subcategories. Sure, it�s data mining. But if you can extract a large sample, longterm nugget from a study like this and then do another successful forwardtest on it, you can then play it with some confidence. It looks like if you take a horse with both the need to lead and the ability to lead, he may stay in front often enough to be a worthwhile bet. NC Copyright �2004 NetCapper Inc. All rights reserved. 