• Speed figures discussion

    POSTED Oct 24, 2011
    As an unabashed speed handicapper, I am very excited to be participating in this evening's Night School class using speed figures to handicap horse races.

    I'm excited not only to exchange ideas with some of the top minds in figuremaking but also to share my enthusiasm with other handicappers.

    Representatives of the top publicly available figures will be in on the discussion, and my sense from the preliminary instructions regarding the chat is that the tenor of the class is more about the strength of figures in general than which figure is strongest.

    The main idea I bring to handicapping with speed figures is not to look for who will win but who can win. Horseplayers place far too much emphasis on picking winners rather than handicapping a race. There certainly is something satisfying about tabbing the winner, and sometimes zeroing in on one horse is the correct play, but few is the race that features a horse who "can't lose", and those horses are usually overbet, anyway.

    Even if you're not into handicapping using speed figures, they're an important tool to understand because so much of your competition (including me!) does use them. Getting a feel for not only the race but also how people will be the race is an important part of the handicapping process.
    Not all figures are created equally, but I do think they apply equally to all types of races. Many argue that figures don't translate well on turf, and it is because of that misconception that I actually prefer using figures for turf routes than any other configuration of race.

    The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Stakes on October 15 at Keeneland is a perfect example considering Winter Memories--who was one of the SLOWEST fillies in the race--went off as an overwhelming favorite in the win pool and finished a distant, nonthreatening fourth. Anyone who handicapped that race using BRISnet Speed Figures wouldn't have so much as bet Winter Memories to show, let alone win the race.

    And that's the beauty of handicapping--even with something as ubiquitous as speed figures. There is still a lot of room for interpretation and different ways to think about the same information.

    Enroll in tonight's class and join in the discussion!
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