Thoroughbred Class

The ability to defeat rival competitors in any circumstance, to overcome disadvantage and setback.

Poor start, pace duel, wide trip, shuffled, bumped, forced to steady, a wall of horses, whatever; any horse that holds a meaningful Class advantage, true Thoroughbred Class, will do whatever is asked.

The challenge then for horse players in terms of Class, would be to ascertain how a race horse compares against each of its competitors; but this can be blurred by the varied levels, conditions and restrictions in horse racing, and further complicated by any number of different trainer maneuvers which are unfolding at every racetrack on race day.

Elements of Class

While every thoroughbred horse race presents a unique set of challenges to the entrants, the winning horse will combine the three elements of class more effectively than its competitors.

Demonstrating the required mix of Speed, Determination and Stamina to "outclass" the field and prevail on this day.

Moreover, we view Class as sharing an interdependent relationship with every other [handicapping] factor; forming a dynamically changing interweave which will become the horse's ultimate expression of its Class on race day.

Discerning Thoroughbred Class

We approach the difficult task of discerning Thoroughbred Class by understanding first, that it's the most important Primary Handicapping Factor, since by nature true Class will possess inherent talent to overcome Speed or Pace advantage, a troubled trip, or whatever.

True Class Today

Postulate: A thoroughbred's "True Class Today" (the mix of speed, determination and stamina the horse will demonstrate today) will be a combined function of its Breeding, Speed, ability to sustain a Pace and Current Form; as influenced by Secondary and Unknown Handicapping Factors.

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Winning Form

"Horses are the same as human beings where condition is the test of superiority.  Winners repeat frequently while the defeated are apt to be defeated almost continuously.  Condition has more to do with a horse winning or losing a race than the weight it carries.  A horse in poor condition cannot beat one of his own class.  A high class horse could not win a race with a feather on his back if he is not in condition.  It is as well to play horses that are in winning form.  A horse in winning condition generally repeats or runs into the money.  Different tracks cause decided changes in form frequently.  Study horses' whims and fancies for certain tracks and you will see a good lay; but a high class horse will do his best on any track."

(Pittsburgh Phil)

No matter any existing advantage whether Class or otherwise, a horse which is not in top Current Form today, will be vulnerable of losing to another horse; if the other horse will be running at peak form.

Here we point to one of the greatest "Class" horses ever, and possibly the greatest we will ever see in our lifetimes, Zenyatta, the queen; who did everything EVER asked of her with a smile - true Thoroughbred Class.

There is no possible way Blame could have beaten Zenyatta, unless as was the case, he had been pointing towards the race, was cranked to the utmost, perfectly timed to reach the peak of his form cycle in that Breeder's Cup race.

Aside from the fact that Blame benefitted from having the best rider in the universe Garret Gomez who pulled all the right strings, at all the right moments, executing a perfect race while Blame basically held on for dear life.

It is therefore imperative for handicappers to be informed regarding the Current Form of each horse in a race.  What is the trainer's intent? Has the horse been pointed to this race? Is this race a tune up?  The best horse does not always win every race, in fact, it will not win if not sound, unfit, out-of-form or just doesn't feel well today.

The algorithm which calculates Current Form is based upon our own proprietary method, which has not ever been published anywhere.  Among other things, this algorithm looks at a horse's workout tab and finish position in its last five races.

Moreover, the algorithm has been programmed to assign greater value to a good workout which occured since last race, as opposed to earlier on the tab; and, assigns greater value to a horse that was in the lead or within striking position at the stretch call in its last race, with extra credit if the horse won the race or managed to close ground on the leader.

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Thoroughbred Horse Race Handicapping Commentary

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"There is no law by which you determine class or classify horses.  An intimate knowledge of a horse alone tells what he has done and how he has done it, places him, and nothing else."

(Pittsburgh Phil)

From a handicapper's perspective, the competition a horse has defeated, the recency and the strength of those victories, as measured by running time, margin of victory, and perseverance in the stretch; can be a good starting point when evaluating Class.

Further, Speed figures, Pace ratings, Current Form, and performances in Grade 1 and Grade 2 stakes; can be additional indicators of Class.

Class barriers are more rigid on turf than dirt.  In the late stages of turf races, the winning horses will need to combine the three elements of Class; Speed, Stamina, and Determination.

Moreover, we view Thoroughbred Class as sharing an interdependent relationship with every handicapping factor; thus forming a delicate interweave which will become the horse's ultimate expression of its Class on race day.

Consequently, we attempt to quantify Thoroughbred Class by evaluating each Primary Factor independently (rating), and in relationship to all factors (weighting); insofar as they contribute to the horse's Class (estimating).

The resulting numerical value attributed to each horse represents our best attempt to estimate its probabilty of winning, based upon its Class, Breeding, Speed, ability to sustain a Pace and Current Form; as influenced by the Secondary and Unknown Handicapping Factors.

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