July 2000, Number 18
Inside This Newsletter
- The Brohamer Track Decision Model
Arlington Park re-opened on May 14th after being "dark" for a couple of years. It should also be noted that the main track has been completely reworked for this year’s 103 day meet which runs through September 30th. Frandsen Publishing has posted Handicapping Profiles on its Web site that can be downloaded by ALL-Ways software users to handicap Arlington Park races. These profiles were created using an Arlington Park Race Database of approximately 350 races. Only races run in year 2000 were included, so the profiles accurately reflect what is winning on the new surface. You can download the profiles from the User’s Corner of our Web site atwww.frandsen.com.
With Brohamer Figures
In ALL-Ways Newsletter #17 (April 2000), we began a four part series on the powerful Brohamer pace figures that are included in ALL-Ways software. If you have not already done so, we suggest you read the first article. It sets the foundation for the material in this second part of the series. You can obtain the newsletter from our Web site or you can call us at 952-937-9180 and we will send the newsletter to you (along with all back issues if you request them).
Here is a quick review of the fundamentals explained in Part One.
First, races are divided into three fractions. These fractions in sprints are from the gate to 2 furlongs, from 2 furlongs to 4 furlongs and from 4 furlongs to the finish. In routes they are from the gate to 4 furlongs, from 4 furlongs to 6 furlongs and from 6 furlongs to the finish.
ALL-Ways software determines each horse’s actual running time for each fraction of the race. The actual time is adjusted by the daily track variant and, if required, by a track-to-track adjustment. ALL-Ways software then calculates the feet-per-second velocity for each fraction. These velocity based pace figures are then used to calculate the four key Brohamer Pace ratings described below.
1) EP: Early Pace is the horse’s average velocity from the gate to the Second Call (4 furlongs in sprints and 6 furlongs in routes). Thus, EP encompasses both fraction #1 and fraction #2 of the race.
2) SP: Sustained Pace is the average of the horse’s EP velocity and third fraction velocity. It relates a horse’s potential Second Call performance with its finishing ability.
3) AP: Average Pace, in sprints, is the average velocity of all three race fractions. In routes, it is the average of the horse’s EP and SP figures.
4) FX: Factor X is used only in sprints and is the average of the horse’s 1st fraction and 3rd fraction velocities. It relates a horse’s potential First Call performance to its finishing ability.
Here is the array of information for the performance of a horse in a typical 6 furlong dirt sprint.
Part One of this series went on to explain how to use these figures in your handicapping and wagering decisions. Now, we turn our attention to the powerful Brohamer Track Decision Model.
Brohamer Track Decision Model
The first thing to understand is the simple concept of ranking horses by their Brohamer figures. We are going to use a dirt route as an example and we will include only the top six contenders in our sample race. Here are the Brohamer ratings followed by the rankings based on the ratings. Remember that we do not use Factor X (FX) for route races.
Brohamer Pace Ratings
Brohamer Pace Rankings
ALL-Ways software shows the Brohamer Pace ratings on the All Factors Report and the rankings on the Paceline Report.
In the example above, Horse A is ranked second in Early Pace, first in Average Pace and third in Sustained Pace. Horse A’s total ranking score is 6, which is the best of all the horses. Horse A is a pretty balanced horse but a better early runner than closer within the context of this field of contenders. Contrast this to Horse B who is the best EP horse but the lowest SP horse. At the other extreme is Horse E who is the lowest EP horse but the best SP horse.
Here is a very useful point: Using the Average Pace ranking and/or the Total Ranking Score is an effective way to isolate the top contenders in a field of horses. In a field of, say, 9 horses you will generally see a few horses with rankings something like those shown below. You can generally toss such horses out as being non-competitive.
Brohamer Pace Rankings
The Track Decision Model
Fact: It is necessary to have accurate figures. It is even more necessary to have knowledge of which figures are the most important in which situations. You must know the bias’ that are in play at your track. And, the bias’ will generally be different for sprints and routes and for dirt and turf races. ALL-Ways software includes detailed pace and post position bias statistics for both the current meet and the current week at each individual track you handicap.
ALL-Ways software also looks at pace bias in another way, namely the Brohamer Track Decision Model. This report shows you the average Brohamer EP, AP, SP and FX rankings and Total Ranking score for winning horses at each track you handicap. Separate models are maintained for dirt sprints, dirt routes, turf sprints, turf routes, off-track dirt sprints and off-track dirt routes. A separate model is also maintained for place horses as well. All of this important data is on a single page. You need print only one page for an entire race card. To print the Brohamer Track Decision Model, from the ALL-Ways Main Menu select PRINT, select MODEL and enter the track code. It’s very easy and fast.
Let’s look at some sample data from the Track Decision Models for a number of different tracks in North America. Note: ds = dirt sprint, dr = dirt route, ts = turf sprint and tr = turf route. The tracks are FGX = Fairgrounds, BEL = Belmont, CDX = Churchill Downs, HOL = Hollywood Park and CBY = Canterbury Park. Remember, you are looking at the average ranking of winning horses for each Brohamer Pace figure.
Track Decision Models
In dirt sprints, FGX favors Sustained Pace runners. BEL favors Early Pace runners. CDX is pretty forgiving and seems to like even runners. Plus, at CDX, you can go a bit deeper in the contender list for the winner.
Track Decision Models
In dirt routes, FGX has shifted to a balance of Early and Sustained pace and has a very "tight" 2 for Average Pace. Belmont has shifted completely to favoring Sustained Pace. CDX remains favoring even runners.
Track Decision Models
Perhaps contrary to conventional wisdom, in turf sprints, all three tracks favor Sustained Pace. Note how "tight" HOL and CBY are with the 2 rankings for both Average and Sustained Pace.
Track Decision Models
In turf routes, a large bias exists at FGX for Sustained Pace versus Early Pace. HOL displays a more moderate bias towards Sustained Pace. CBY shows no bias at all but, again, is very demanding with a Total Ranking score of only 9.
Now we will come full circle and see how to use the Brohamer Track Decision Model to actually help us handicap a race. Specifically, we will look at the six horses shown in the ranking chart on page two of this newsletter. This example race loosely follows one of the examples used by Tom Brohamer in his book Modern Pace Handicapping. We are using this particular race for two reasons. First, because it is not a clear cut, easy handicapping situation. In fact, the actual race results were only partly what we expected. In other words, it is a dose of reality. Second, it allows us to make points similar to those made by Tom Brohamer.
The example race is a dirt route. The dirt route Decision Model for the track looks like this:
Track Decision Model
So, what does this model tell us. First, it is a very tight model with the 2 ranking for both AP and SP. In this case, we would favor horses in the top 2 or 3 of Average Pace and the top 1 or 2 in Sustained Pace. The 3 ranking of Early Pace tells us that the horse cannot be a deep closer. It must have enough early speed to stay in touch with the field at the Second Call. Given all of this, let’s look at each horse in the ranking chart on page 2. The numbers in parenthesis are the ranking numbers for Early Pace, Average Pace and Sustained Pace respectively.
Horse B (1-2-6) is an automatic throw out. He is all early speed (EP = 1) with poor closing ability (SP = 6). This just won’t work with the track favoring Sustained Pace.
Horse F (4-6-5) falls short in Average Pace (AP = 6) and his Early/Sustained ratio is in the wrong direction as it favors Early Pace.
Horse D (3-4-4) is close in Average Pace but is also out of balance favoring Early Pace.
Horse E (6-5-1) is clearly a Sustained Pace runner, which is what we are looking for. However, his 5 ranking for Average Pace is just not good enough for this tight model.
This leaves us with horses "A" and "C" from which we believe we will find the winning horse. Horse A (2-1-3) is clearly a standout with very good ranking figures in all categories. The negative on this horse is its balance towards Early Pace as opposed to Sustained Pace. Horse C (5-3-2) has an acceptable Average Pace ranking and fits the model in that it favors Sustained Pace. We would prefer, however, to see a better ranking number for Early Pace than a 5.
If our analysis is correct, horses "A" and "C" are the ones to beat. If the odds permit, we would be inclined to make a two horse win bet. If it comes down to just one horse, we would go with Horse "C" because it is in tune with the Sustained Pace demands of the Brohamer Track Decision Model.
Here is how the race actually turned out:
|Horse||Finish||Odds to One|
ALL-Ways software does all the work for you by automatically updating the Brohamer Track Decision Model every time you handicap a race card. All you have to do is print out the simple report which will cover the entire race card. Then, print out the Paceline Report and you have everything you need at your fingertips to start using Brohamer Pace figures very effectively.
Best Early/Best Late
In our January 1998 Newsletter (#8), we published an article on how to handicap Honest Pace Shaped races. This involves finding the best early running and late running horses. In other articles we have published about wagering on Exactas and Trifectas, we have also mentioned the need to find the best early and best late running horses. One of the most frequently asked question we get is "How do you tell if a horse is the best early or the best late running horse?". We have found the Brohamer Pace rankings to be a great tool for helping to identify these horses.
The key word here is "best". The best early pace horse may not be the one with the highest EP Rating and the best late running horse may not be the one with the highest SP figure. Here is the key: Demand that the early running and late running horses also have good Average Pace rankings in order to be considered for the "best" label. This insures that the horse can run a complete race and is not a single fraction specialist. You must also demand that the horse be in good form and that it can be competitive at today’s class level.
This is another great use of the Paceline Report in ALL-Ways software. Simply circle the best EP and AP ranking combination horse(s) and the best AP and SP ranking combination horse(s). Then look at other information on the Paceline Report to verify these are the "best" horses. This other information includes days since last race, last race finish, rise or drop in Race Rating, three different BRIS class ratings, speed ratings and the BRIS Prime Power and ALL-Ways Comprehensive Ratings.
Here is an example:
Brohamer Pace Rankings
This example uses an actual race. The Brohamer Track Decision Model for the track revealed support for even runners, a good situation in which to use the "best early/best late" approach. Here are the model figures.
Track Decision Model
We pegged Horse FF (EP = 1, AP = 2) and Horse AA (EP = 2, AP = 3) as the best early runners. We selected Horse EE (AP = 2, SP = 1) and Horse FF (AP = 2, SP = 2) as the best late runners. In this case Horse FF qualified for both best early and best late. This happen frequently and points to some very strong horses. Our three selected horses all had decent class, speed and comprehensive ratings. Horse FF won this race. paying $6.80 to win. Horse EE was second paying 3.80 to place. Horse BB was third paying $5.40 to show.
Give this approach a try. You will be amazed at how the best early and best late horses "jump off the page" at you. Don’t get too mechanical here though. You do indeed need to factor in things like form, class and speed. Fortunately, all of this information is on the Paceline Report as well.
Here is a spot play that seems to generate a nice win, Exacta or Trifecta opportunity about once every two or three race cards. That is a pretty high frequency for a spot play. We call this the "Going Back" play which is short for "Going back to where I belong."
When examining a horse’s past performance races, the public looks mainly at the horse’s last race. The 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th races back do not influence the casual fan as much as the last race. And, the further back, the less influence. ALL-Ways software gives you good tools to exploit this and makes it easy to spot the opportunity. Here is how.
On the Paceline Report, ALL-Ways software shows you each horse’s Hall and BRIS pace and speed figures as well as the horse’s Brohamer Pace rankings (See the previous article). There is one printed line per horse. ALL-Ways software finds the top three pace and speed figures and Brohamer Pace Rankings and bold prints these figures so the top horses readily stand out.
ALL-Ways software also shows you how far back it went into the horse’s past performance races to find the paceline race that it selected. The paceline for each horse is designated with a T1, T2, T3, T4, T5 or L1. The "T" stands for "True" and "True" means the paceline race was the same distance and surface category as today’s race (sprint vs. route, dirt vs. turf) and that the race was run on a dry track. The number tells you if the race was 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 races back. The "L1" designation means the horse did not have a "True" race in its last five races, so ALL-Ways software used the horse’s most recent race by default.
The Going Back spot play is easy to, well, spot. You are looking for a horse with a bold printed paceline and a paceline designation of T2, T3, T4 or T5, generally, the farther back the better. When you see this, you want to look at the paceline race itself on the ALL-Ways software or BRIS Past Performance Report. If the horse finished in-the-money or was up close at the finish AND if the BRIS Race Rating for the race was within a couple points of today’s race (or higher), then you have a "live" horse. If the horse is going off at high odds, you have a solid spot play. And, you will be amazed how often the public overlooks such horses.
Here is a real example that happened in the seventh race at Hollywood Park on March 6, 2000 (Kentucky Derby day).
BRIS Paceline Figures
|Song of Summer||T5||83||96||87||179|
|Ready & Willing||T1||93||71||73||164|
P\L = Paceline Designation
EP = Early Pace Rating
FF = Final Fraction Rating
SPD = Speed Rating
CMB = Combined Pace Rating (EP plus FF)
Because of space limitations, we are only showing the BRIS paceline figures. The Hall figures and Brohamer rankings were consistent with the BRIS paceline figures. Here is how to read the chart above. The horses in bold print are the potential contenders selected by ALL-Ways software based on the Lone Early Pace Handicapping Profile for non-maiden dirt sprints at Hollywood Park which was used to handicap the race. The lone early runner was Ready and Willing. By the way, this race was a 6 1/2 furlong dirt sprint Allowance race for 3 and up female horses with a Race Rating of 113.7.
The horse of primary interest to us was Song of Summer because she was going off at 20 to 1. A look at her last five races showed the following:
Past Performance Races
|38||SAX||6 1/2 turf||Firm||114.5||12th by 10.3|
|59||SAX||6 fur dirt||Sloppy||114.2||4th by 5.0|
|94||SAX||1mile dirt||Fast||115.6||3rd by 6.5|
|129||SAX||1 mile dirt||Fast||114.2||6th by 5.5|
|164||HOL||7 fur dirt||Fast||113.8||3rd by 3.8|
The race in bold print is the horse’s T5 paceline race automatically selected by ALL-Ways software. In the horse’s previous four races, she ran dismally in a turf sprint, and just so-so in a dirt sprint on a sloppy track and in two dirt routes. She finished well in her paceline race (3rd by a shortening 3.8 lengths) which was a 7 furlong dirt sprint at Hollywood with a 113.8 Race Rating. She is returning to a dirt sprint today at Hollywood on a dry surface and at virtually the same Race Rating.
This is truly a "live" horse for a possible in-the-money finish today. We thought, as most everyone did, that the probable winner would be Favorite Funtime. But, we learned a long time ago to never leave a Going Back spot play horse, such as Song of Summer, out of any position in our wagers. We played Song of Summer across the board and keyed the horse over and under in an Exacta and in all three positions in a Trifecta. We collected on all our tickets and were fortunate that the favorite finished off the board.
Here is how the race turned out:
|Song of Summer||$42.20||$11.80||$7.40|
|Ready and Willing||$ 6.40||$4.40|
The Going Back spot play really is terrific. And, ALL-Ways software makes it easy to spot and evaluate.
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