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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Thoroughbred Speed

Speed is one of the three elements of Class and that makes the two inseparable.  Speed can be a decisive factor in dirt sprints and uncontested Speed can be a decisive factor at any distance over any surface.  Mind you, Speed is one component of Class, the other two being stamina and will.

After all, they're thoroughbreds so we know they can run fast, but for how long?  Handicappers want to know which horses can run fast (speed) while demonstrating an ability to sustain the pace required to subdue the competition (stamina).

Moreover the best horses, those able to effectively calibrate the three elements of Class will be the exemplars with the ability to run fast (speed), sustain the pace (stamina), and respond when challenged by another competitor of equal ability, by exhibiting the required degree of perseverance in the stretch and the stronger will to prevail (determination).

To make things more interesting, since Pace is nothing more than sustained speed, Speed shares an interdependency with Pace as well.

Thus in order to effectively evaluate the Speed factor in a thoroughbred horse race, the distinction must be made between Early Speed as measured to the first call, and adjusted final time for the distance as measured by the speed figure; while remaining cognizant of the influence Early Speed exerts over the final time.

In further analysis, since Early Speed is measured at the first call which occurs at two furlongs in sprints, and since pretty much any thoroughbred horse can go all out for such short distance; then what's important is not how fast a horse can run to the first call but rather, is the horse likely to secure a lead by the first call?

Since this has more to do with running style than actual Speed, a vast array of new questions arise carrying the handicapper straight into analysis of the Pace factor - hence the interdependency.



Thoroughbred Horse Race Handicapping Commentary

Recent Company

"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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