2000, Number 19
Handicapping with Brohamer Figures
- % Early Energy Distribution
The 2000 Breeder’s Cup at Churchill Downs
Software Development Update
developed specifically for the Breeder’s Cup races to be run on November 4,
2000 at Churchill Downs have been posted in the User’s Corner of Frandsen
Publishing’s Web site (Frandsen.com). Also, whether you are an ALL-Ways
software user or not, you will want to visit the What’s New page on our Web
site where we have posted articles that will help you handicap and wager on
the Breeder’s cup races at Churchill. If you do not have access to the
Internet, call us at 952.937.9180 and we will mail the articles to you.
The “Five Free Files” promotion run by BRIS and Frandsen Publishing
this past June was incredibly well received. We want to welcome the hundreds
of BRIS subscribers that have become new ALL-Ways software handicappers over
the past several months. And, we would particularly like to express our
appreciation to the dozens of people who sent e-mails and letters to us with
words of high praise for ALL-Ways software. Thank you for your compliments.
This is the third part of our on-going series on Brohamer pace figures. If you
have not already done so, we suggest you read the first two parts of the
series as they will help you get even more out of this article. You can obtain
back issues of our newsletters from our Web site or you can call us and we
will mail them to you. Part one of the series covered Brohamer velocity
figures for the three fractions of a race. It also covered Brohamer pace
ratings for Early Pace (EP), Average Pace (AP), Sustained Pace (SP) and Factor
X (FX). The second part of the series covered the powerful Brohamer Track
Decision Model. This third part of the series covers the concept of energy
distribution that was developed as part of the Sartin Methodology and
described in Tom Brohamer’s outstanding book, “Modern Pace Handicapping”.
In his book, Tom Brohammer commented: “Measuring the level of exertion of a
horse is original to the Sartin Methodology and represents some of the most
creative thinking in modern handicapping”.
Knowing how a horse’s
preferred energy distribution pattern matches up with the energy distribution
demands of the specific track can help solve some of horse racing’s most
perplexing handicapping riddles. For example, in contentious races, which of
the contenders are most likely to be real candidates to win the race?
How will a horse take to a track when it is trying the track for the
first time? How well is a horse likely to do when stretching out from a sprint
to a route or shortening up from a route to a sprint? When is a maiden going
to “wake up” and win its first race. The concept of energy distribution
will help you answer these and other very tough handicapping questions.
So, let’s get started.
It is pretty much universally accepted now that every horse has a preferred
running style that is Early (E), Early Presser (EP), Presser (P) or Sustainer
(S). Well, it is also true that every horse has a preferred energy
distribution pattern as well. To measure a horse’s distribution of energy,
we want to know how much of the total energy the horse expends in a race is
expended, or used up, racing from the gate to the Second Call (4 furlongs in
sprints and 6 furlongs in routes). We can express this as a percentage. Tom
Brohamer refers to this as Percent Early. In ALL-Ways software, we refer to
this as %Early.
Let’s look at how
%Early is calculated. You do not need to make these calculations yourself
because ALL-Ways software automatically makes them for you. But, it is always
a good idea to know what is behind the handicapping factors you use.
Energy = EP + Third Fraction
%Early = EP /
These formulas indicate
that the total amount of energy expended by a horse in a race can be
represented by the sum of the horse’s Brohamer Early Pace rating (EP), which
is the average feet-per-second velocity of the horse from the gate to the
Second Call, and the feet-per-second velocity of the horse in the third
fraction of the race. The horse’s
%Early figure is the horse’s Brohamer EP rating divided by the Total Energy
expended. Let’s look at an example. This is based on the same six furlong
dirt sprint example used in the first two parts of this series of articles.
Feet 1320 1320 1320
Horse’s Time 22.2 23.1 25.2
Velocity (FPS) 59.46 57.14 52.38
58.28 56.33 55.33 55.92
Total Energy = 58.28 + 52.38 = 110.66
The horse in this
example has a %Early figure of 52.67% for this specific race. Another way to
describe this figure is that the horse expended 52.67% of its total energy by
the Second Call leaving 47.33% for running the final fraction.
Here is a table that
shows typical %Early figures and ranges for the four different Preferred
Running Style designations.
Style %Early Range
52.00% - 54.00%
“EP” 52.50% 51.50% - 53.50%
“P” 52.00% 51.00% - 52.50%
“S” 51.00% 49.50% - 51.50%
There obviously is quite
a bit of overlap between running styles.
This fact makes %Early even more important as a handicapping tool
because it goes even deeper to quantify “How much early?” and “How much
In ALL-Ways software,
you will find the Preferred %Early figure for a horse on the Contender
Summary, Paceline, All Factors and other reports. %Early is also one of
ALL-Ways software’s 71 key handicapping factors that are available to
include in Handicapping Profiles.
Let’s pause a minute. We now know that ALL-Ways software calculates a
%Early energy distribution figure for each race in a horse’s past
performance lines. We know that ALL-Ways software then assigns an overall
Preferred %Early figure for the horse. But, there is still something missing.
Earlier we said that it is important to know how a horse’s preferred energy
distribution pattern matches up with the energy distribution demands of the
It is known that each
track has its own unique set of bias statistics, generally shown in a track
profile. Indeed, ALL-Ways software shows you very detailed running style, call
position and post position statistics on the Track Bias/Jockey-Trainer Report.
There is also a summary of these statistics on the Paceline Report. In Part
Two of this series on Brohamer pace figures, we presented the Brohamer Track
Decision Model that shows you, among other things, whether a track favors the
highest Brohamer EP horses or the highest Brohamer SP horses or if it has a
neutral bias. For example, we saw that the Fairgrounds actually favor Brohamer
SP horses. This explains why horses that had success at an early speed
favoring track tend to not fair as well at the Fairgrounds.
So, we know that the
Fairgrounds favors Sustained Pace. But, just how much Sustained Pace is
optimum for the track? Well, just as we can arrive at a Preferred %Early
figure for a horse, we can also arrive at an Optimum %Early figure for each
individual track. This figure is an important element of the overall track
profile. Again, you do not need to calculate these figures because ALL-Ways
software does it automatically for you. Here are some example Optimum %Early
figures for a few different tracks.
Code Sprints Routes Routes
SAR 52.45% 51.59% 50.35%*
LAD 52.34% 51.53% 50.41%
CBY 52.58% 52.20% 50.80%
LSX 52.85% 52.01% 51.06%
FGX 51.98% 51.34% 49.84%
Inner Turf track.
Note the low Optimum
%Early figure for The Fairgrounds. This is consistent with the fact that early
speed is not so important at FGX than at most other tracks in North America.
We now know the
Preferred %Early figure for horses and the Optimum %Early figure for race
tracks. It is time to see how we can use this information in our handicapping.
The Preferred %Early of
a horse should always be considered in relation to the Optimum %Early for the
track. We examined literally thousands of races at a dozen different tracks in
North America and found that almost 65% of the winning horses had a %Early
figure that was within +/- 0.5% of the optimum %Early for the track. A
whopping 87% were within +/- 1.0%. We also found that if there was a surprise
winner, the tendency was for the horse to have a %Early figure slightly more
than 1.0% on the high side, meaning a little more early speed. All in all, we
peg the most effective area around the Optimum %Early for the track to be
between minus 0.5% to plus 1.0%. We call this “The Zone”. For example, if
the Optimum %Early for dirt sprints at a track were 52.8%, then The Zone would
be 52.3% to 53.8%. For sprints at 7 furlongs and longer and routes at 1 1/8
mile and longer, you can move the entire Zone down about 0.2% to 0.3%.
%Early is not a
standalone handicapping factor. %Early is most effective as a supplemental
factor in your handicapping. The concept is most powerful when separating
contenders. It will seldom isolate whom to play, but it can be deadly accurate
in eliminating false contenders including false favorites. Keeping this in
mind, let’s look now at specific ways to incorporate %Early into your
These kinds of races are
often quite hard to handicap because it is difficult to isolate which
contenders are actually the best candidates to win the race. %Early can be a
big help here. Horses that are outside The Zone on the low side (i.e., more
than 0.5% below the Optimum %Early for the track) can generally be eliminated
from consideration as the winner. Do not, however, eliminate them on this
basis as possible place or show horses. Mind you, these horses will indeed win
a few races, but the demands of the track are working against them.
Figuring out when an
experienced maiden, such as an 0 for 4 or 0 for 8 horse will wake up and win
its first race is a pretty tough handicapping challenge. A horse with a poor
record such as this but that is “in The Zone” and that is not totally in
over its head, is a legitimate candidate to succeed today. If it is the only
horse in The Zone, it may be an excellent play.
Another maiden situation
%Early helps us with is when there are first timers in the race. If a first
time starter has a decent pedigree and has acceptable workouts, it has an
excellent chance to score a win against experienced horses that have %Early
figures outside The Zone or even at the far extremes of The Zone.
One note of caution here
is to not use %Early in races carded for 2-year olds. Frequently in such races
all horses have very high %Early figures that are way out of The Zone on the
high side. These young horses tend to run as fast as they can early on in the
race and have not yet established a reliable Preferred %Early figure.
An absolute key to
playing the races profitably is to be able to identify false favorites. %Early
can be a powerful tool to help us accomplish this. If the %Early of the
favorite is outside The Zone on the low side, it will have a “strike against
it” in terms of its chances of winning the race. Our analysis shows us that
such favorite horses win less than 14% of the time in non-maiden races, about
half of what you would expect. This
drops to 8% or less in maiden races making it a deadly accurate way of
eliminating false maiden favorites.
Be careful here,
however. If a horse appears to be a solid legitimate favorite based on other
handicapping information, then you do not want to eliminate it based solely on
its %Early figure. A Golden Rule of handicapping is to never bet against a
In ALL-Ways software,
Slow Pace Shape races (See ALL-Ways software Newsletter #3) have no “E” or
“EP” horses. None of the horses in this kind of race wants the lead. Such
races are often won by a horse that gets the lead by default and then goes on
to wire the field. The winner is often the horse with the highest %Early
figure. This is a case when you can use %Early to identify a win candidate.
At the other extreme are
Fast Pace Shape races. These are races with two or more “E” horses.
The more “E” horses, the stronger the play. These races tend to expand the low end of The Zone to a full
percentage point below the Optimum %Early for the track.
Instead of The Zone being -0.5% to + 1.0%, it is now more like +/-
1.0%. Very often horses at the low end of the expanded Zone have an excellent
chance to win the race because they have a lot on energy “left in the tank”
to mount a strong stretch run against the tiring front runners. And, often
these horses go off at longer odds.
We will define long
routes as 1 1/8 miles and longer. You can generally safely discount horses in
long routes that are above the high side of The Zone. These horses just run
too fast too early and do not have much “left in the tank” to finish the
Routers tend to have a difficult time when shortening up to a sprint. Those
that make the switch successfully often have a %Early figure that is close to
the Optimum %Early for sprints run at the track. Most routers, however, fall
outside the low end of The Zone for sprints making them poor candidates to
In the case of the sprinter stretching out to a route, if the sprinter has a
%Early figure that is outside The Zone for a route on the high side, the horse
will probably not win the race unless the race is completely devoid of other
early speed. If any kind of early speed pressure is put on such a horse, the
horse will likely have nothing left coming down the stretch. On the other
hand, a sprinter with a %Early figure that is within The Zone for a route at
the track is a real threat to score.
If the track bias is
clearly against deep closers as indicated by a low Impact Value for horses
with a “S” running style, then it is wise to avoid horses that are outside
The Zone on the low side. We consider an Impact Value at or below 0.6 to be a
strong negative indication. The running style Impact Values can be seen in
ALL-Ways software on the Track Bias Report and the Paceline Report.
Time on the Track
This isn’t the only
reason that explains the horses-for-courses phenomenon, but it is certainly
part of the answer. A difficult handicapping situation occurs when a horse is
racing on a track for the very first time. Will the horse take well to the
track or not? Part of the answer is to require that the horse’s %Early be
within The Zone for the track. If it is not, we suggest you withhold support
for the horse until it proves it can handle the track.
Here are some important
final points regarding the use of %Early figures.
- Very high class horses
almost always have low %Early figures. This is because they tend to run fast
both early and late. Energy distribution is not particularly effective for the
high end races.
- In Orderly races with
one or two clearly superior horses, the %Early figures of the other horses are
not particularly helpful in finding the winner. These superior horses are
going to beat the lower horses regardless of how they distribute their energy.
And, we repeat, never bet against a legitimate favorite.
Armed with an
understanding of a horse’s Preferred %Early figure and a track’s Optimum
%Early Zone, you have a powerful supplemental handicapping tool. And, this is
a tool that the public never sees and would have difficulty getting to on
their own. Use it wisely and you will benefit. It is just one more way that
ALL-Ways software providesyou with the all important edge over the crowd at
The 2000 Breeder’s Cup
will be run on November 4 at Churchill Downs.
The Breeder’s Cup was last held at Churchill Downs only two years ago
in 1998. Our October 1998 Newsletter includes a very extensive analysis of
Churchill Downs and the seven races that made up the Breeder’s Cup at that
time. The Fillies and Mare Turf was added in 1999 bringing the number of BC
races to eight.
We also mentioned in the
Announcements on page 1 of this newsletter that we posted a complete set of
Handicapping Profiles on our Web site that are aimed directly at the Breeder’s
Cup races, as well as the two undercard races that will start the day. We also
included a set of profiles that will look for long shots. We did this because
long shots reigned in 1999. The average win payoff for the eight Breeder’s
Cup races run at Gulfstream Park in 1999 was $27.40. If you exclude the
victory by Arcangues in the BC Classic in 1993, (a $269.20 win payoff), the
1999 average payoff was the third largest in the sixteen runnings of the
Breeder’s Cup. Only 1991 ($32.71) and 1984 ($33.97) were higher.
Churchill Downs will be
starting the day with two graded stakes races. The eight Breeder’s Cup races
follow. All the Breeder’s Cup races are, of course, Grade 1 Stakes. Here is
what the card looks like.
2 yr olds
1 mile dirt
Race 2 $200,000 CD Distaff G2 3 yr F&M 1 mile dirt
Race 3 $2 million BC Distaff G1 3 yr F&M 1 1/8 dirt
Race 4 $1 million BC Juvenile Fillies G1 2 yr olds 1 1/16 dirt
Race 5 $1 million BC Mile G1 3 yr up 1 mile turf
Race 6 $1 million BC Sprint G1 3 yr up 6 furlongs dirt
Race 7 $1 million BC F & M Turf G1 3 yr 1 3/8 turf
Race 8 $1 million BC Juvenile G1 2 yr C&G 1 1/16 dirt
Race 9 $2 million BC Turf G1 3 yr up 1 1/2 turf
Race 10 $4 million BC Classic G1 3 yr up 1 1/4 dirt
Churchill Downs will be
offering the rolling Pick 3 format for the entire card. This gives you a
possible eight Pick 3 plays for the day. Again, we suggest you go to the What’s
New page of our Web site. One of the special articles for the Breeder’s Cup
covers how to play the Pick 3.
Churchill Downs is also
offering the Ultra Pick 6 starting with the BC Mile. There is a $2 minimum
bet. There is also a guaranteed minimum total payout of $5 million! The pool
last year at Gulfstream Park for the Ultra Pick 6 was $5.4 million. There was
a single winning ticket that paid over $3 million, an all-time pari-mutuel
payout record. The Ultra Pick 6 at Churchill Downs in 1998 had a pool of $6.5
million. This is a very hard bet to win. And, the big syndicates will no doubt
be all over this again in 2000. The
suggestion we can offer is advice attributed to Barry Meadow which goes
something like this: “It is better to have 10% of a $700 Pick 6 ticket than
100% of a $70 ticket.” So, we suggest you play the Pick 6 at the Breeder’s
Cup with some fellow handicappers. You need to examine each race closely of
course, but if history is any indication, look for major upsets in the BC
Sprint and the BC Turf and do not expect any major surprises in the BC
Juvenile, which may be a candidate for a single in your Pick Six.
By the way, the BC Distaff and BC Juvenile Fillies races generally do
not have major surprises either.
Remember to visit the
What’s New page of our Web site at www.frandsen.com to read the special
articles posted specifically for the Breeder’s Cup. And, ALL-Ways software
users may want to download the special Breeders Cup Handicapping Profiles from
the User’s Corner.
The development of the 32 bit version of ALL-Ways software is taking a bit longer than expected. It will be released prior to the end of 2000. The next major set of feature upgrades is already well along in development and will be available in the summer of 2001. Please feel free to ask any questions you may have by sending an e-mail to us or by calling us.
NEXT: ALL-Ways Newsletters
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