• Pay Heed to Speed

    POSTED Nov 16, 2013
    Earlier this week, my colleague Ed DeRosa, noted that, like the death of Samuel L. Clemens, the demise of speed figures as a meaningful handicapping factor has been “greatly exaggerated.”

    Ed pointed out that, during the Keeneland meet in 2013, six of 11 non-maiden main-track sprints were captured by horses that had the highest last-out Brisnet speed figure by at least seven points.

    “Yes, that's a small sample, but opening it up to my whole database shows 228 main track (dirt or synthetic) non-maiden sprints in which there was at least a 7-point … advantage with 40 percent winners and a +2 percent ROI,” DeRosa wrote.

    Of course, anytime I see the words “stats” and “database” my reaction is akin to one of Pavlov’s dogs — I’m so anxious to do my own testing, I practically salivate at the thought of it.

    So, with drool dripping from my chin (isn’t that a nice image?), I delved into my database of more than 12,000 races to see what other interesting facts I could dig up on Brisnet speed figures. Of course, before I did that, I first checked to see if Ed’s findings held up on a bigger sample.

    Sadly, they did not.

    * Non-maiden races on a dirt or synthetic surface.
    * Top last-race Brisnet speed figure by seven points or more.
    * Sprints (races less than a mile) only.

    Number: 920
    Winners (rate): 355 (38.6%)
    Return: $1,652.50
    ROI: -10.19%

    But hang not your head Tom Dooley, all is not lost. If we insist that the horse finished in the money (third or better) last time, the picture improves dramatically:

    Number: 720
    Winners (rate): 295 (41.0%)
    Return: $1,365.90
    ROI: -5.15%

    I know, I know — better, yes, but still not profitable. Well, check out the results when we heed the advice of the “bounce” advocates and require that the horse’s most recent speed figure not represent a recent top. Horses that met all the criteria above and recorded a higher Brisnet speed rating in at least one of their previous nine outings produced the following numbers:

    Number: 195
    Winners (rate): 91 (46.7%)
    Return: $411.60
    ROI: +5.54%

    Now, I know from painful experience that back-testing like this can lead to misleading results and I’ll be the first to admit that I have little confidence that the positive ROI obtained above will hold.

    But that’s not really the point.

    The point is that speed is still a potent handicapping factor when viewed in the proper light. No, it is not the be-all and end-all that many believed it to be after reading about Andy Beyer’s exploits 30 years ago, but it’s not totally worthless — as some believe — either.

    By the way, I looked for qualifying plays (above) on Saturday, Nov. 16, and found one:

    TUP5: 7-Mon Couer (7/5 morning line odds).

    FREE Spot Plays

    A couple of months ago, on my Web site SimonSpeedRations.com, I offered my personal spot plays to those who purchased a one-month Win Factor Report or Pace Profile Report subscription.

    From Sept. 16-30, there were 56 qualifying plays — an average of four per day — and they produced 23 winners (41.1 percent) and a positive net return of $2.44, or 21.96 percent, per $2 bet. (Click HERE to see a summary of all the September selections.)

    Well, I've decided to do it again — and this time it's even better.

    Starting today (Saturday, Nov. 16), I will be offering my spot plays to ANYONE who buys one or more of my report packages. This includes both the daily packages.

    Visit the Products page at SimonSpeedRations.com to get your reports and free spot plays today!
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