October 2000, Number 19
ALL-WaysTM Newsletter


  Inside This Newsletter  

Handicapping Tips  

              - % Early Energy Distribution

 The 2000 Breeder’s Cup at Churchill Downs

 Software Development Update


Announcements

 Breeder’s Cup Information  

Handicapping Profiles 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.  


Welcome Aboard!

 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.


Handicapping Tips  

Pace Handicapping with
Brohamer Figures
(Part 3)

Energy Distribution

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.

 Total Energy = EP + Third Fraction  

%Early = EP / Total Energy  

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.

 

                                Fraction                                1                              2                              3
                               
Feet
                                    1320                        1320                        1320
                               
Horse’s Time
                    22.2                         23.1                         25.2
                               
Velocity (FPS)
                 59.46                       57.14                       52.38
 

                                                           EP                       AP                  SP                       FX
                                                        
58.28                   56.33               55.33                   55.92

                                               Total Energy = 58.28 + 52.38 = 110.66

                                                                  %Early = 58.28/110.66 = 52.67%  

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.  

                                        Running                                 Typical                           Typical %Early
                                         
Style                                    %Early                                   Range
                                               

                                             “E”                                      53.00%                           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 sustained?”.

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.

“Preferred”

In ALL-Ways software, we refer to a horse’s running style designation of “E”, “EP”, “P” or “S” as the horse’s Preferred Running Style. We also refer to a horse’s energy distribution pattern as its Preferred %Early. To arrive at these “Preferred” figures, ALL-Ways software looks at each of the horse’s past performance lines and assigns a running style and %Early figure for each specific race. Then, using algorithms that give the most weight to the races in which the horse ran its better races, ALL-Ways software settles on a single running style designation and %Early figure for the horse. Because the horse’s better races were given the most importance, we refer to these designations and figures as “Preferred”.  The logic here is that the jockey and trainer, and indeed the horse itself, will all want the horse to run the kind of race that will produce the best results. This “Preferred” concept is used by most successful pace handicapping methodologies.

 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 specific track.  

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.                                               

                                          Track                       Dirt                        Dirt                        Turf
                                           
Code                     Sprints                   Routes                   Routes
 

                                            CDX                     52.34%                   51.37%                   50.16%
                                           
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%

                                           * Saratoga’s 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 Zone”  

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%.  

Effective Use of %Early  

%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 handicapping.  

Contentious and Chaos Races  

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.

 Maiden Races  

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.  

False Favorites  

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 legitimate favorite.  

Fast and Slow Race Pace Shapes  

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.

 Long Routes  

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 race effectively.  

Distance Switches  

Route-to-Sprint: 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 win.  

Sprint-to-Route: 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.  

Track Bias  

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.

First 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.  

Caveats  

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.  

Summary  

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 track.


The 2000 Breeder’s Cup  

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.  

Race 1    $100,000                 Iroquois                                 G3           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.


Software Development Update

 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.  


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