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.

Level of Competition

Since every competent handicapping process must begin here, it will be imperative for horse players to be able differentiate among the various types of races, racing levels, conditions and restrictions; as well as the complexities involved with why a horse has been entered in a specific race.

The handicapper's task is precisely to determine how the Primary, Secondary and Unknown Handicapping Factors will relate under the varying conditions of each race on the card; which will either be a Maiden Claiming, Maiden Special Weight, Claiming, Optional Claiming, Starter, Allowance, Stakes or Graded Stakes race.

Moreover, within the above mentioned race-type classifications, there will be specific conditions for each race; sex, age, surface, distance and impost (weight to be carried by each entry), and in certain races there will be further eligibility conditions as set forth by the racing secretary (e.g. n1x, n2x, n3x, n1y, n1$, etc.).

In addition to establishing the racing conditions for every race, the racing secretary may impose restrictions in certain races based upon sex, age, lifetime wins, or some other criteria deemed relevant to racetrack operations (e.g. fillies, 2 year olds, 3 year old fillies, fillies and mares 4 years old and up, N2L - non winners of two lifetime races, etc.).

CU@the$Window!

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.

CU@the$Window!

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We are grateful for the efforts of the riders, trainers, owners, clockers, stall muckers, racetrack personnel and all who work every day in Thoroughbred Horse Racing; but most of all we are grateful to those graceful, majestic, beautiful animals. God Bless the Horses!