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 Lineage

Thoroughbred race horses inherit mental and physical characteristics from their Sire (father of a race horse) and Dam (mother), each passing on to their offspring the genetic code provenant from the two ancestral lines.

Therefore in the breeding is where the destiny of a race horse is written, the impact of lineage upon both ability and Class is ever present; the pedigree will define whether a race horse ends up in the claiming ranks or moves up through the conditions and makes it to stakes level competition.

When examining pedigree for the purpose of handicapping a thoroughbred horse race (as opposed to breeding purposes), it's important to appreciate the impact breeding will have in various types of races, over different surfaces, at varying distances.

The genetic factor will be more influential in certain races and less so in others but may be decisive in turf races, maiden special weight, Grade 1 and Grade 2 races; also in races restricted to statebreds, races with two year olds and where certain horses are trying a new surface or stretching out in distance for the first time.

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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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