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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Pace Analysis

"Pace Makes the Race" (Doc Sartin).

Pace can be a decisive factor anytime a contender controls at least two segments of a race.

Further, Early Speed as measured to the first call is not the same as Early Pace which is measured at the second call; in sprints, the former occurs at two furlongs and the later occurs at four furlongs.

They are two segments of a race, the first fraction and the second fraction; with the third segment being, the final fraction.

Accurate Pace figures based upon adjusted fractional times will answer important questions about how the race sets up.

For instance, whether front runners will be able to sustain the pace required to subdue all competitors, or if any horse will be in position to stalk the front runners and gain control during the late stages.

Pace study will also shed light on how interaction among front runners competing for the early lead is likely to affect the shape and outcome of the race, enabling handicappers to safely eliminate horses that do not meet the early pace requirements of a race, as well as, those that will not be in position to finish well based on running style.

Early Pace is best evaluated through the prism of the quality of the overall effort, in terms of finish position, margin of victory or defeat, lengths gained or lost in the stretch, and final time for the distance as adjusted by track variant (the speed figure).

Therefore, what's important is not how fast a horse can run to the second call but rather, handicappers want to know its comfort zone; how fast a horse can run to the second call, while turning in a winning effort.

Since more often than not, the faster a horse runs during the early stages of a race (the more energy expended); and the slower it will be running in the late stages (lacking energy for the stretch run); thus when challenged by another contender, a horse that is forced to run outside of its comfort zone during the early stages, will likely be fading in the stretch.



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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