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Using Ultimate PP's to Your Advantage

by Les Instone

Let me open by saying . . . there is no short-cut to good handicapping! To become a good handicapper or to be good at anything, you need to learn everything you can and continue to learn from your experience.

The Ultimate Past Performances from Bloodstock Research gives you more information than the average bettor at the racetrack has available. That information gives you an advantage - IF and only if, you use the information effectively. Using this exclusive information will make quite a bit of difference in your bottom line.

One of the many mistakes made by novice handicappers is not learning from your previous experience. Go back through the Ultimate PPís for the last week and highlight stats that could have pointed toward, not only the winner, but horses that were close (within 3 lengths) at the finish.

ANALYZING ULTIMATE PPís

Starting at the top of a horseís past performance, letís first look at "the human factors" . . the jockey and trainer. Look for riders with at least a 12% win rate for the current year and for the current meet. I like a rider who has a higher win percentage for this meet compared to his overall percentage for the year. I also like to see a higher win percentage for the jockey when he or she rides for this particular trainer. Also, look at the riderís win percent with horses of this running style. Some jockeys are better suited to a particular running style, and the statistics found in the Ultimate PPís will show if this is the case.

Look at the trainerís stats in the same manner. Pay particularly close attention to the trainer stats pertinent to this race. Trainers have strengths and weaknesses. For example, some professional handicappers recommend staying away from all horses laid off for 90 days or more, but this rule is too general. With BRIS Ultimate PPís, you will find trainers that excel with horses off the long lay-off. This is just one of the many advantages you will have over the general betting public who would never bet such a runner. Watch for trainers that excel with specific trainer moves like "dirt - turf - dirt", "route to sprint", "2nd grass start", etc.

Next, letís go to the Prime Power rating and ranking (located next to the career record). This is one rating per horse, and it is Bloodstock Researchís most predictive number. Prime Power employs a sophisticated algorithm to combine many factors -- pace, class, speed, form, etc. -- into one rating. While the number does pinpoint a high percentage of winners, it does not separate dirt and turf nor sprints and routes. It only points out how well this runner has been running recently regardless of surface and distance.

If a horse ranks high on the Prime Power rating but his last three races have been dirt sprints, it doesnít mean very much if todayís race is nine furlongs on the grass. The same is true if the horse bled, had trouble in a race or caught a track he didnít like (sloppy or muddy track, poor post, etc.). Be forgiving for a low ranking if the runner has not been competing at his correct distance and surface.

Letís look at the career stats box. Two stats you must consider are the "distance" stats and this runnerís stats for this track. Some horses excel at certain distances, i.e., a horse may have a record of 3 - 3 - 0 - 0 at 7 furlongs but has been running and losing at 1 1/16 miles lately. If todayís race is 7 furlongs, you may have uncovered important data. Some horse love certain tracks and canít earn a check on other tracks. If a horse has a record of 6 - 0 - 0 - 0 over this track, you can usually eliminate that runner.

Below the career stats, the BRIS Ultimate PPís will show sire and dam statistics and sales information in all maiden and turf races. These stats can give you a big edge over other bettors. The sire statistics include the "AWD" - average winning distance - of all of the sireís foals. An AWD of around 6.0 furlongs indicates a sprinter, whereas something near 6.7 to 6.8 f is a miler and 7.0 f or higher is a route horse. Be careful if the sire has only one or two crops to the races. These foals have not yet proven themselves, especially at longer distances.

Mud% indicates the success of the sireís foals on muddy or sloppy tracks. Ten-percent is about average while 18% or higher is outstanding. The Mud% stat is more reliable if there are at least 30 mud starts shown.

If this is a turf race, you will also find the winning percentage for all of the sireís foals on the turf and first time on the turf. 14% turf and 8% lstT (lst time turf) are average for a good turf sire. The higher the percentage, the better. Next is the sireís "SPI" or Sire Production Index. This compares the average earnings of this sireís foals to the national average which is an SPI of 1.00. If a sire has an SPI of 2.00, his foals have earned twice the national average.

BRIS has now added stats for the dam's sire (broodmare sire). These statistics can again help you with turf and mud stats, average winning distance and the SPI (Sire Production Index) of the dam's sire.

Now, lets look at the dam's statistics. BRIS has now added information as to the racing success of the dam. It will spell out if she was a stakes winner, winner, placed, unplaced or unraced. This information is only on maiden and turf races. If this is a turf race, see how many turf winners she has produced. All dam statistics are shown by number of winners rather than percentages because a mare usually produces only one foal a year while stallions may sire 40 or more foals per year. Check how many starters ("str") she has produced, number of winners ("w") and number of stakes winners ("sw"). The Damís Production Index ("dpi") is similar to the SPI with 1.00 being the national average.

BRIS Ultimate Past Performance lines include more information than other bettors will have available. The exclusive Race Rating ("RR") refers to how tough a field actually was for that race. Not all races for $25,000 claimers are equal. The BRIS Race Rating will show you which races were stronger (the higher the number - the tougher the race). The BRIS Class Rating ("CR") measures this horseís performance in each individual race. Concentrate on races at or near todayís distance, preferably over this race track. These two figures will help separate contenders from pretenders.

The exclusive BRIS Pace Ratings is the best tool for finding the real speed in each race. Those not using these pace figs presume only horses that go right to the lead have speed. But BRIS Pace Ratings will be much more reliable. By looking at the BRIS Pace figures, you can easily determine a horseís preferred running style and how fast they move early or late. "E1" is the first call BRIS Pace figure; "E2" is the second call figure; and "LP" is the late pace rating from the second call to the finish. One length equals two points in all BRIS Pace figures.

Take a step backward and notice the letter and number in parenthesis next to this horseís name. The letter indicates the horseís running style (E=Early; P=Presser; S=Sustained/Closer). The numeral is the Early Speed Points with a range of 0 to 8, with 8 being the highest or fastest early speed. Obviously, if there is a lone "E8" runner, he could go to the front and never look back. If there are three or four runners are in the E6 to E8 range, then the race may set up for a come-from-behind runner.

The bold number just to the right is the BRIS Speed figure. The BRIS Speed Rating already includes a track variant for that race as part of the number. So a horse that wins one 6 furlong race in 1:12 flat, can have a higher speed figure than another horse that wins in 1:11 3/5, despite the latter being a faster raw time. A 95 at Philadelphia Park is equal to a 95 at Saratoga. BRIS Speed Ratings have a progressive scale compared to beaten lengths. At 6 furlongs, one length equals 1.66 points; at 7 furlongs = 1.42 points; at 8 furlongs = 1.26 points; 9 furlongs = 1.12 points; and at 10 furlongs one length = 1 point.

USING TRACK BIAS STATS & RACE SUMMARY

Some tracks and turf courses have a consistent track bias but any track bias can change - depending on many factors . . . especially weather. The BRIS Track Bias Stats will point out the Running Style and Post Position bias for the meet (left side) and for the last week (right side). If there have been 5 or less races in the last week at the distance, more emphasis should be placed on the full meet stats to the left. What should jump off the page are the "+" (which indicates this stat is higher than average) or a "++" (which indicates this stat is extremely successful). Check the "% Wire" which indicates the percentage of wire to wire winners at this distance. Then check the success rate of the running styles and post positions.

The Race Summary section is good to glance at to see which horses have been doing well lately. Horses with the speed figure surrounded by asterisks indicate this runner has two or more races within the last 90 days at todayís distance and surface. This is the most reliable information. Horses with parenthesis around the figure (which indicates no races within the last 90 days and/or this distance) and horses with no asterisks or parentheses (which indicate only one race within the last 90 days at this distance) need to be researched further to determine if they are a contender in todayís race.

The columns below are also good references to determine contenders vs. pretenders. Glance at the columns "Speed Last Race", "Early Pace Last Race", and "Late Pace Last Race" which are for the most recent race regardless of surface and distance. If that race was at a different distance or surface, a high figure here can indicate a horse that could continue to improve. A high ranking under "Current Class", "Average Class Last 3", and "Prime Power" can also point you to the contenders.


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