Robert V. Rowe


July 15, 2000



ABOUT SPEED RATINGS: Mr. Rowe; Just how good are speed ratings? -- CURIOUS IN NJ. The following will endeavor to respond to this inquiry submitted by a New Jersey reader. We covered this subject previously but for the benefit of those who may have missed the original presentation, we offer the following.Our files indicate that the most recent research we've done relative to speed ratings is incorporated in the following stats.

Quite awhile back we too grew curious and ran a check of The Racing Formís own speed ratings. We combined the Formís much-maligned ratings with its track variant and used the resulting highest figure in each race to determine the selection. Example: Speed rating is 88. Variant is 14. The final figure equals 102. If no entry rated higher the 102 horse became the choice.

The survey was confined to 6-furlong events, and covered three major tracks. A total of 504 consecutive races were involved. The only "rule" was that the top-rated horse (to be a play) must have run within 14 calendar days. If it hadnít, the race was passed. Surprisingly this ultra-simplified approach produced an overall flat-bet profit of 12 percent.

More recently we did a study of Andy Byerís speed ratings. Our interest was to determine if top-rated Byer favorites did better overall than non-Byer favorites.Again we resorted to a simplified approach, and made few distinctions. The top-rated Byer figure in EVERY race (except turf races) was the selection if it became the post-time favorite.

We then compared the Byer-favorite performances with that of the post-time favorites that had not been pin-pointed via a Byer top rating. The results follow.

Beyer Favorites Overall
257/647 won = 40%
     X $2 Flat bet per race
   $1294 Invested
   $1129 Returned
   $ 165 loss = 13%
Average Win Price = $4.39

390/647 placed = 60%
     X $2
   $1294 Invested
   $1158 Returned
   $ 136 loss = 11%
Average Place Price = $2.97

Non-Beyer Favorites Overall
217/608 won = 32%
     X $2
   $1216 Invested
   $1109 Returned
   $ 107 loss = 9%
Average win Price $5.11

345/608 placed = 57%
     X $2
   $1216 Invested
   $1130 Returned
   $ 85 loss = 7%
Average Place Price = $3.28

Comment: Byerís ratings did best via win and place percentages, but showed losses of 13% and 11% respectively. This compares to the "arbitrary" favorites that scored only 32% to win, and 57% to place. However, both payoffs were superior to that of the Beyer favorites. Conclusion: The Beyer figures held up well percentagewise, but payoffs indicate they are overbet by the public. Non-Beyer favorites appear to represent the better bet. Caution: Win and Place returns in this survey were higher than normal for favorites overall. Possibly this was due to excluding turf races.

Look for HH #34 to appear on or about August 1st.



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