Fast Track Selections

How To Read Our Selections and Speed Ratings


Contenders and Selections:

We provide our calculations and contender selections solely for the entertainment, and enjoyment of our members. They are not intended as wagering suggestions, nor do we wish to encourage you to wager. From a wagering perspective most races should be passed while you wait for the right situation, and where the odds offered represent a good value for the wager. Just because we have provided a list of contenders for a race is not an indication that we suggest the race is playable since we provide this information for every race. Determining when to play and when to pass is what separates successful handicappers from the losers at the track. Allthough we hope that our figures and calculations are helpful we can not make these decisions for you. Most experts would agree that you should be looking at playing an average of two or three races per day per track, although they would likely disagree about which races.

There can be many reasons to pass a race. Often the race involves horses who as a group are inconsistent or inexperienced. Generally races for two year olds, and inexperienced three year olds fall into this category, and should avoided. All maiden races should be approached with caution. They are usually filled with unreliable and inconsistnet horses, none of which has demonstrated the ability to win.

In other cases many horses may be of such very close ability that it becomes very difficult to decide clearly who is the stronger horse with the best chance to win. In these races it is often wise to pass, unless a horse or horses of ability are being overlooked in the betting. That can only be determined at the track before the race with knowledge of the odds offered. As we are providing our calculations and contender selections beforehand, we can not take this into accout in presenting our material.

Selection Methods

We provide three different Selector algorithms for analyzing the data given. They come at the race from slightly different angles and emphasis. What the selections represent are lists of contenders who are deemed by the selector to have the best chances to win the race. This does not necessarily mean the top "selection" is a good bet.

Speed Selector

Speed is a contender identification system that concentrates on the Fast Track Speed (FTS) and prior best speed ratings (B2) with consideration given to a horse's current form, ability to get the distance and run on today's surface -- dirt or grass.

Pace Selector

Pace determines contenders relying primarily on which pace factors appear to be currently infulential at each surface and distance.

Class Selector

Class uses consistency, average earnings, and other ratings in determining its preferences. The average earnings calculation includes the current year, the previous year and races at the same distance as today's race. Our studies have shown that the top AER (100) horse tends to be found in about 25% of the winners, but at underlay odds because they tend to stand out.

LongShot Selector

When a contender is considered to have a chance to be within striking distance of the top rated contenders, but the morning line indicates it may go off at 6 to 1 or better, our selector gives the data a closer look as a potential Long Shot win or place horse. Where a second long shot contender has a very close score the program will list that second choice as an alternate.

Consensus

We no longer provide a weighted consensus. However, it is a simple matter to look at the top preference for each of the Selectors and where two or three Selectors agree, then that is a consensus as to which horse should be looked at first. Where there is agreement between the LongShot Selector and another Selector, the LongShot choice usually deserves a further look.

Fast Track Speed and Pace Ratings

Our approach to handicapping relies heavily on the calculation of pace and speed ratings. We do not rely on trying to deciper trainer intentions or jockey switches, although we do not deny the validity of that approach. It is simply not how we approach the handicapping challenge. If that is your bag, then perhaps our figures can assist you by looking at it from another angle.

Speed and pace ratings represent a calculation of a horse's race performance as a number. The time taken by the horse to run a portion of a race or the entire race is taken into account, together with daily variants and track variants. Each number may be compared to an imaginary par performance of 100 as well as to the numbers of the other horses in the race with each point of difference (for instance 100 vs 99), representing approximately one fifth of a second, and where six beaten lengths is estimated to be about five points.

What do the different columns represent?

Name: The first column is simply the name of the horse.

Performance Rating (or RTG) This is our rating of the horse's past performance in relation to its ability to achieve the race par generally and at the distance or on the surface of today's race. A qualified contender will generally receive a +. A contender with a a distance or turf rating better than par will receive a ++ or a +++. Horse earn a negative minus indicator if there may be a concern about their fitness. This is intended as a warning flag and not necessarily a reason to throw the horse out. Essentially it points out horses that have not raced recently (within 3 weeks) and fewer furlongs worked in the interim than we would prefer. However, the indicator is just a warning to take a look. It may be that the horse has worked just a furlong or so less than the computer looks for, and you may wish to take other factors into account in selecting the horse. These ratings are intended to summarize a horse's chances or ablitity at a glance, and can be viewed as a separate selector.

P#: This is the program number of the horse. Remember these are unofficial and you should confirm the number before making any wager.

ML: This is the morning line odds given by the track as anticipated odds for each horse by the race track. They may are may not be accurate at post time, and from time to time may not be available to us when the ratings are calculated.

Tr: This is the winning percentage of the horse's trainer for the current year.

Jk: This is the winning percentage of the horse's jockey for the current year. If preceded by an "*", this indicates the jockey has been changed for this race.

DLR: This represents the number of days since the horse last ran a race. It can be used to give some idea of the fitness of a horse or whether it may be coming back after a long layoff.

AER: The Average Earnings Ratio compares the horse's average earnings score as a percentage of the horse with the top average earnings score.

QS: Quirin Speed Points were designed by Bill Quirin in the 1970's to determine a horse's likely running style numerically using the position at the first call over the last few races. The range is from 0, representing a horse who tends to start at the back, to 8 which indicates a horse that will almost always be on the early lead. This has been a useful handicapping tool for decades.

FW: The Total Furlongs score is simply the number of complete furlongs worked by a horse within the last twenty-one days. This gives an idea of how fit the horse may be, or whether it is only lightly raced following a layoff.

LR: The Last Race rating is the calculated speed rating for the horse's most recent race.

B2: The Best Two rating is the average speed rating for the horse's highest rated races in its current past performance. It is not a lifetime record, but is limited to the past 10 races.

DR: The Distance Rating calculates ability at the specific distance being raced today. If the horse has not raced at this distance it will score a "0".

TR: The Turf Rating is similar to the DR in that it calculates the horse's difference specifically on grass races.

Pace Ratings (Race Pace, Early Pace and Late Pace)

  • RP: The Race Pace calculates the average pace of the race (not of the horse) in the races that are used to calculate the FTS (see below). The purpose is to rate the competition it has been facing to earn its ratings. In theory, a horse with an FTS of 101 coming from races with an RP rating of 105 will have worked harder for it than another with the same FTS but an RP of 102 for example.
  • EP: This is the Early Pace projected pace rating to the second call. It shows the horse's ability to run fast early.
  • LP: This is the Late Pace projected speed or pace rating from the second call to the finish of the race, Use it to assess the staying power of known or lone front runners.

    FTS: This is the Fast Track Speed or Final Time or projected ability speed rating of each horse calculated from two selected pacelines. The FTS rating attempts to approximate the speed rating ability as a measure of a horse's ability or its potential ability for the current race. Other factors such as form must be considered. FTS is not intended as a stand-alone measure to predict the outcome of the race, but is our strongest single indicator.

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