Bits and Pieces on Horse Racing

bits-and-piecesIn a recent commentary for ESPN, Jay Cronley asked the following question: “What is a handicapper to do with the Beyer speed figures?” In his piece, he noted “Horses with the top Beyer numbers did nothing much in the Triple Crown races. But guess what. Neither did the horses with average Beyer numbers. Using a number to identify a fraud has been more reliable than using it as a divining rod in search of winners.” (Emphasis mine.)

For my take on Beyer Speed Figures see “Raw Times Are The Best Times

Alan Horvath, in his article, “Handicapping 101: How Much Information Is Too Much?” offers good insights into why horse players should avoid being influenced by the people around them.

He wrote in part, “I recall being at Belmont Park listening in awe as a fellow player enquired about wind conditions on his cell phone for the upcoming race at an out of town track. He went on to discuss a few other “involved” factors, eyes racing vacantly, before flying off to the windows as if his entire life depended upon it.”¬†Horvath he wrote, about this same guy, “…after hearing that guy on the phone, I felt like I knew absolutely nothing about racing.” Later Horvath admitted, “It did not matter to me that minutes later he was tearing up his tickets and throwing them all over the floor.”

I recently read a post on helloracingfans.com wherein Ed DeRosa makes the following statement: “…horses typically do not exert themselves until the final stages of the race.” Hello! Has this guy ever looked at the fractional times of a horse race? With rare exceptions, all horses run the first fraction of a race faster than they run the second fraction of the race; the second fraction faster that the third, etc. Despite the visual illusion we are presented with in most races, and again, with rare exceptions, all horses are slowing down in the stretch.

A horse that appears to be drawing away from the pack to win by seven lengths is in reality slowing down less rapidly than the other horses in the race. The ‘come from behind’ closer normally is slowing down, despite the illusion it is rapidly gaining on the leaders. In reality, the leaders are backing up.Horse_50x50

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2 Responses to Bits and Pieces on Horse Racing

  1. Thanks for reading Hello Race Fans, though I’m a big miffed you took my quote out of context.” The ellipses you use to lead into my statement, “[H]orses typically do not exert themselves…” noted that I was discussing synthetic and turf races in this instances.

    I absolutely agree that in most dirt races most horses (even closers) go faster early than late, but that’s not the case on turf.

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