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Randy Moss
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The last true live TV interview granted by George Steinbrenner might have been about his horses, not his beloved Yankees. Continue reading
Posted Jul 13, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Jeff Z says, "I was wondering what the adjustments are for the differing distances that tracks (and even different distances at the same track) have for the "phantom" ground between the gate and the beginning of the electronic timing. I know that it varies from several yards to almost 50 yards." Answer: pace figures at all tracks are modified by adjustments that bring them into line with national averages. Suppose the national par at 6 furlongs for a particular class level is 85-87-88, with Belmont Park averaging 80-84-88 and Calder averaging 92-90-88. Assuming the other class levels fell into line accordingly, the Belmont 6-furlong pacefigs would be adjusted by +5 for the quarter and +3 for the half, while Calder's would be -7 and -3. This takes into account runup distances (although, yes, runups can fluctuate at times at certain tracks) and also the important effect surface depth has on pace figures. Because my pace figures use the Beyer Speed Figure final-time variant, a slow and sandy surface such as Calder's needs such an adjustment, since the deceleration effects of the deeper surface are more pronounced at the finish line than after a quarter-mile.
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Thanks for all the comments. I completely agree that ground loss is vitally important. When I was in the newspaper biz and had the luxury of focusing intently on one track at a time (OP, LaD or LS), I was an obsessive trip handicapper and modified final and pace figures for paths taken. Nowadays I do pacefigs for dozens of tracks - plus I'm blessed with a couple of day jobs - so I unfortunately don't have time to provide trip info, but I strongly encourage the incorporation of ground loss into your various methodologies. For the record, one length at a half-mile equals 1.28 points on the Moss Pace Figure scale. And in studying Trakus results, I've come to the conclusion that each extra path around a turn actually costs closer to 1 1/2 lengths than the widely-accepted one path=one length standard. I also concur that in the big picture, the effect of turns on pace figures isn't earth-shattering. The margin of error in chartcalling (even the best trackmen occasionally struggle with the awkward vantage point at the top-of-the-stretch half-mile call in sprints) can sometimes be measured in lengths and makes minor adjustments like this seem like a meaningless exercise. Having said that, I do try to fine-tune the pace figures in the areas I can control, and I've spent enough time on this specific area that I thought I'd bring in the masses for assistance. Mark....your idea is *exactly* what I've done this week. Unless I'm overlooking something, Churchill Downs is the only one-mile oval that runs a true one-turn dirt mile. The runups at one mile and 1 1-16 miles are identical, and although the one-mile chute is slightly angled, I don't consider that an issue. So I took data from Jan. 1, 2000, to present and compared average running times at each classification. For example, during that time frame Churchill carded 62 races for older male $10,000 claimers - 31 at one mile and 31 at 1 1-16 miles. The average 1 1-16 mile time was 1:45.85, for a Beyer figure of 80, and the average mile time was 1:37.32, for a 98 Beyer. Looking at 846 older male races and weighing the results for sample size, the average raw-figure difference between the two distances was 16.5 Beyer points. So that's my "new" best guess at the impact of a turn... I had been using 20 points slowdown for a mile-oval turn, but I'll probably adjust that downward a bit. Imagine if we focused all this energy on health care solutions or alternative energy sources.
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Back in the mid 70s, an old friend gave me a signed copy of "Gordon Jones to Win," which along with "Picking Winners" and Tom Ainslie was quickly worn to a frazzle. Jones was the first one I read that did pace figures and adjusted half-mile fractions based on how much of the turn was negotiated. I used his adjustments for a while, then switched to my own that I've been using ever since, which differ slightly based on circumference of the oval. However, sometimes I think I'm "over-adjusting," and it's challenging to pinpoint exactly how to gauge the effect of a turn. That's why I threw the topic open for ideas.
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Interesting thought. Maybe a rating based on the Beyers of the second- through fourth-place finishers in a race? Or something like that? Of course, class is supposed to tell us the quality level, but as we all know, the field strength can vary greatly within any class, especially with all the short fields we see today.
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I've been spending my time with spreadsheets, and I have a pace-handicapping question for the truly dedicated horseplayers among you. Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
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Handicapping the Belmont Stakes - to me, at least - involves answering two questions. Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Trouble in Arkansas. Trouble in California. Trouble in Kentucky. Is this just an unfortunate coincidence for the conversely-named Lookin at Lucky? Probably not. Continue reading
Posted May 13, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Afleet Again's 1:34.05 clocking in the April 24 Withers Stakes was a real eye-opener. The problem is, that time - and the posted fractions that preceded it - turns out to be wildly inaccurate. Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Historical Derby pacefigs for your perusal, plus thoughts on Super Saver. Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Who ran the faster opening six furlongs of his final Derby prep, Sidney's Candy or Ice Box? Wrong. Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Line of David might be a 30-to-1 shot when the field leaves the gate for the Derby, but judging from his Arkansas Derby performance, he should have a strong impact on how the race is run. Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Ever noticed that no matter how fast horses run, they always have something left to prove? So it is with Eskendereya. Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
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Was the Florida Derby pace too hot for Rule? Do the pacefigs endorse Endorsement? And what can we make of the Louisiana Derby and Lanes End Stakes? Continue reading
Posted Mar 30, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Here are random thoughts on pace scenarios of the four recent Kentucky Derby preps, and how the horses involved were affected. Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Randy Moss is now following The Typepad Team
Mar 15, 2010
Reflections on a slow pace, a moderate pace, and a slightly-above-average pace. Continue reading
Posted Feb 24, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
The so-called Derby rules have been falling by the wayside in recent years. But this might be a Rule you can believe in. Continue reading
Posted Feb 16, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
We know Eightyfiveinafifty will need some homework on his left turns, but what about the Whirlaway horses that actually made it all the way around? Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Number crunching the Jan. 23 preps plus an update on Holy Bull fractional times. Are they correct? Continue reading
Posted Jan 27, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
Much can change between now and the first Saturday in May, but at this point, Bob Baffert is lookin' at lucky. Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
A couple of the more noteworthy 2-year-olds (now 3-year-olds....Happy New Year) from the Churchill Downs meeting. Next week: Lookin at Lucky by the pace numbers. Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2010 at Randy Moss Blog
While getting into the Christmas blogging spirit, I recently reviewed some of the best performances of the Churchill Downs meet by male 2-year-olds on dirt, horses who could possibly surface in Triple Crown preps. Continue reading
Posted Dec 18, 2009 at Randy Moss Blog
In handicapping, speed figures are indeed the way, the truth and the light. But sometimes you need to know when to pull another club out of the bag. Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2009 at Randy Moss Blog
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Here 's a look at each of the main-track Breeders' Cup races from a pace figure perspective. Lookin At Lucky had more working against him than a wide trip. Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2009 at Randy Moss Blog