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Author Topic: THE ENIGMA OF THE FINAL TIMES IN HARNESS RACING  (Read 915 times)
Sea Biscuit
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« on: January 04, 2007, 02:02:17 PM »



Why do harness horses  have different final times when they race. A horse may go 156.0 on one day and 7 days later he may go 156.3 and on yet another race he may go only 158.2. Why is that? Is it the variant at play?, are horses tired when they go slow miles? or is it something else which is unexplainable. I believe, and it is only my opinion  so please don’t get riled up any of you, that final times are the product of what really happens at the half mile call and the three quarter mile call. Faster pace begets faster final times and vice versa.

Next time when you look up a horse’s   final time you will notice that all those races where he showed a faster final time those races will probably have a faster half mile and a faster three qtr time. Just check it out.

About a year ago I wrote a letter to Bob Pandolfo  of the Pandy group  on the same subject  and I am reproducing the letter in its entirety and also his reply.

The question to  this board today is am I right or wrong.The over whelming evidence says I am right. What in your own opinion is the reason for the different final times on different dates.


Dear Bob:
 
I would definitely like to be included in your email group. Thanks for asking.
 
With regard to final times here is my perspective of the game called harness racing.
 
I play only one track and one track alone which is Windsor Raceway in Ontario.  I believe that final times in harness racing is basically the product of half mile times and three quarter times.  To prove my point  lets take a hypothetical race at Windsor.
 
We will take a horse from a cheap 5000 claimers at Windsor  and name him Slopoke  and we will take un open invitational horse and name him Super Test.  Super test normally throws races in  1:52 and change  where as Slopoke races  in 1:58 and change.
 
We shall put these two horses in a race.  However we will instruct the driver of Slopoke to take the lead and instruct the driver of Super Test to follow him until the three quarter post. We shall also instruct the driver of Slopoke to cut the mile in the following fractions.  28, 1:00.1,  1:31.0. or there abouts.  After the three quarter mile the driver of Super Test is allowed to come out and he will probably win the race  by something like 10 lengths. The big question is what will be the final time of this hypothetical race. If Super Test throws a last quarter of 27 seconds ( which I have yet to see an Open Invitational horse run such a last quarter in an actual race at Windsor )  his final time would be only 1:58.0. Almost five seconds short of his normal times. Get it.  This is an extreme example but on a more subtle level this is what happens in every race at every track very night.  Final times are dependant on half mile and three quarter times.
 
Thing about it and I hope to hear from you soon.
 
Sea Biscuit

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That could happen, but normally Super Test would be racing against horses of his own class, the pace would be indicative of an open invitational quality race, and the final time would therefore be 1:52. Yes, the pace does affect the pace, I agree, but, the final time is still a good indication of class. No matter how you look at it, very few horses can go in 1:52, therefore final time does matter.
 
My harness system (The Diamond System) is not based solely on final time. It takes the early speed and late speed, plus the final time, and balances all 3 to come up with a "pace balanced" rating. So, if a horse goes too fast early, and loses by 8 lengths, the Diamond Rating could still be one of the best in the race because of the early speed allotment.
 
A lot also depends on the type of racing. At Windsor, they don't make as many moves as they do at The Meadowlands. Therefore, at the Meadowlands, the pace is usually fast in most races.
 
Still, if you simply take the horse that went the fastest final time in one of its last 2 races you'll pick the winner over 30% of the time.
 
Thanks for the note, I'll add you to the group.
 
Bob

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Jean MacDonell
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2007, 02:23:52 PM »

obviously the pace setter can control the times... like here at Cal Expo...if the lead horse gets down to the 1st and 2nd quarters at a crawl...then he had better have a good jump on them...if not, and they are bunched up, then shame on the drivers for not pulling the right line... the horses from the back have no chance at catching the slug on top... on the other hand... if the pace goes like hell, which is more often than not...your horses from the back have a better opportunity to hit the board...The last quarter is what means the most to me as a trainer... not so much the final time.  You have to look at the whole picture... what kind of trip, ie:2 hole suck along, parked out,,,etc. etc... And as always condition and classification are the main key to keeping a horse consistant.  Remember, a piece of shit is a piece of shit no matter how fast or slow they get to the half! And as any good horsemen will tell you,, time means nothing, it's not on the check. Wink
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edwardwilliam
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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2007, 02:26:50 PM »

I completely agree.  It's why I break every mile into quarters.  However, I would state that -- if classified correctly -- a horse will trend to a "normal" time.  However, given the distinct importance of pace in handicapping, it's really not that important.

Your theory has become all the more correct as tactical speed has become more and more important.

Best,
EW
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the DailyDaley
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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2007, 02:33:37 PM »

While Mr. Pandolfo might use final time as a handicapping factor for him, it is more important to me as to how that final time is accomplished.

Pace will give you an approximate final time, but time will NEVER give you the PACE in the race.

Example - And it happens all the time. In your preferred and open races, more THAN LIKELY, the 1 and 2 posts are assigned. Usually by race fills because the race secretary couldn't fill the race by itself. So he asks for race FILLS to make the race go.

Some of the race fills come from the $12,500 and $15,000 claimers at smaller tracks. So the claimers will go a little quicker in final time. Why because the PACE was quicker. The horse goes back to the claiming ranks, paces 2 seconds faster the prior week and gets beat today 2 seconds slower. And people go, how is this.

Horses only CLOSE, when 1 of 2 things happen in a race. The speed was counterfeit and collapsed on its own or there were numerous horses taking a shot at the front early forcing the back to close (more so on big tracks).

When I handicap a race, I look at the following in this order.

1. Date is current.
2. Class of the horse.
3. Conditions of the race.
4. How much speed in the race. Can the BIG CLOSER outrun a slow pace coming home.
5. Trainer / driver changes. What trainer is facing "ISSUES".
6. Claim or recent purchase.
7. YOU MUST WATCH the way the money is bet. False BETTING takes place all the time.
8. Have a price in mind that you will accept before you wager.
9. I like to feel that the HORSE is live today. More than likely, if the driver or trainer isn't cashing, you aren't either. Good example of this is George Brennan and Banca. When George sits with one of Bancas, it was like Luc sitting with one of Chanskys. YOU GOT NO SHOT.

10. And in my opinion, FINAL TIME WILL GET YOU nothing more but BEAT. Time is the LEAST IMPORTANT FACTOR in my handicapping. How that time is achieved is MOST IMPORTANT.
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burton
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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2007, 02:44:42 PM »

While Mr. Pandolfo might use final time as a handicapping factor for him, it is more important to me as to how that final time is accomplished.

Pace will give you an approximate final time, but time will NEVER give you the PACE in the race.

Example - And it happens all the time. In your preferred and open races, more THAN LIKELY, the 1 and 2 posts are assigned. Usually by race fills because the race secretary couldn't fill the race by itself. So he asks for race FILLS to make the race go.

Some of the race fills come from the $12,500 and $15,000 claimers at smaller tracks. So the claimers will go a little quicker in final time. Why because the PACE was quicker. The horse goes back to the claiming ranks, paces 2 seconds faster the prior week and gets beat today 2 seconds slower. And people go, how is this.

Horses only CLOSE, when 1 of 2 things happen in a race. The speed was counterfeit and collapsed on its own or there were numerous horses taking a shot at the front early forcing the back to close (more so on big tracks).

When I handicap a race, I look at the following in this order.

1. Date is current.
2. Class of the horse.
3. Conditions of the race.
4. How much speed in the race. Can the BIG CLOSER outrun a slow pace coming home.
5. Trainer / driver changes. What trainer is facing "ISSUES".
6. Claim or recent purchase.
7. YOU MUST WATCH the way the money is bet. False BETTING takes place all the time.
8. Have a price in mind that you will accept before you wager.
9. I like to feel that the HORSE is live today. More than likely, if the driver or trainer isn't cashing, you aren't either. Good example of this is George Brennan and Banca. When George sits with one of Bancas, it was like Luc sitting with one of Chanskys. YOU GOT NO SHOT.

10. And in my opinion, FINAL TIME WILL GET YOU nothing more but BEAT. Time is the LEAST IMPORTANT FACTOR in my handicapping. How that time is achieved is MOST IMPORTANT.
Watching the money is overrated.
Many times 3-4 barns may think they have a good shot and play the race.
Not all 3-4 can win.
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« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2007, 05:17:47 PM »

One thing you can tell by "watching the money" is when a horse is overlooked.  You are correct that at times 3-4 interests may think their horse is going to win and be pouring it in. When I see this I look for that 5-2 horse that is now at 12-1 and pour it on that one.  If you use the morning line or make up your own like I do it works pretty much the same.  I only put stock in final times when the horse was responsable for setting that time Pacing on or near the lead and setting a fast time is more significant then finishing 6th after trailing most of the race.  The race could go 2 seconds slower and that horse will still finish back.
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race track phil
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« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2007, 05:29:58 PM »

                 
                    There is'nt any sense adding to these post 's they are all correct ! Nice to see posters talking racing with great knowledge of the game .

                                               geezer   RTP
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edwardwilliam
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« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2007, 05:46:07 PM »

One thing you can tell by "watching the money" is when a horse is overlooked.  You are correct that at times 3-4 interests may think their horse is going to win and be pouring it in. When I see this I look for that 5-2 horse that is now at 12-1 and pour it on that one.  If you use the morning line or make up your own like I do it works pretty much the same.  I only put stock in final times when the horse was responsable for setting that time Pacing on or near the lead and setting a fast time is more significant then finishing 6th after trailing most of the race.  The race could go 2 seconds slower and that horse will still finish back.

I assume that DD had a little bit different definition of "watching the money," but I'll let him clarify.

Best,
EW
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kixnbux
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« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2007, 06:06:48 PM »

just referring to the title of the thread, do you think it is an enigma in harness racing as opposed to thoroughbred racing?

it seems to me that there is an over expectation by some of consistency to the fifth of a second in harness racing

The observation that the first poster made about pace is a good one, but it is only a part of the whole picture.

I am actually amazed when some horses do run back to the same time week to week; there are so many variables changing all the time that that kind of consistency seems like it would be unlikely.

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