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Author Topic: Beyer figs methodology change for synthetics  (Read 3610 times)
bjchapin1
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« on: June 01, 2009, 09:54:27 PM »


Whats everyone's take on this? Seems to me the figs are starting to get fairly arbitrary (though I know some will say that they already were).

I'm curious if anyone who uses the high-end sheets can chime in on how those figs have held up in the synthetic era.


http://www.drf.com/news/article/104272.html


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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #1 on: June 01, 2009, 10:09:14 PM »

Whats everyone's take on this? Seems to me the figs are starting to get fairly arbitrary (though I know some will say that they already were).

I'm curious if anyone who uses the high-end sheets can chime in on how those figs have held up in the synthetic era.


http://www.drf.com/news/article/104272.html


It's very interesting. Just recently I had an email exchange with a sheets guru who said there was somewhat of a crisis brewing for all the fig makers, as on poly top class horses were getting numbers too low, and bottom class horses too high. A new way of making figs would be required, with different methodologies for "good horses" and "bad horses". He despaired that any of the aging figure makers would take the initiative to do anything about it. Looks like Andy did.   
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NYRA 792
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« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2009, 05:54:33 AM »

who woke Andy up from his slumber  Grin
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« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2009, 07:47:17 AM »

who woke Andy up from his slumber  Grin

Well, at least he woke up. The same problem exists, as I understand it, for Ragozin and t'graph numbers as well.
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NYRA 792
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« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2009, 08:17:08 AM »

I'm sure we can count on his changes and revisions to be as accurate as his original numbers  Grin
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bjchapin1
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« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2009, 08:25:08 AM »

I guess I'm confused on how the AW/poly figures can be too low for top horses but too high for bottom level horses. Beyer really doesn't explain this well in the article. I can see how the lack of early pace often on some AW surfaces can lead to lower final times that need adjustment...but how does this translate to the figures being overstated for lower-level horses?

Beyer's article also seems to generalize that all AW surfaces are playing the same. Look at AP the first couple of weeks this meet...the surface seemed to be pavement and speed was good regardless of distance. It seemed late pace figs would have been worthless. By comparision, it seems like KEE's poly often swallows up speed, maybe not as bad as a couple years ago, but still.

Maybe its time to go back to old-school handicapping techinques, which for me was the name of the horse I liked best.
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« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2009, 08:27:01 AM »

I'm sure we can count on his changes and revisions to be as accurate as his original numbers  Grin

And I'm sure even if Ragozin and t'graph don't make a single revision, their users will continue to publicly denigrate and sneer at any other numbers, in their usual attempt to justify to others the $25 or $35 a card they spend. But hey - no one cares. If they were really all that accurate, sheets players would have all the money and never be wrong. Use defensively in exotics.
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NYRA 792
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« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2009, 08:33:47 AM »

And I'm sure even if Ragozin and t'graph don't make a single revision, their users will continue to publicly denigrate and sneer at any other numbers, in their usual attempt to justify to others the $25 or $35 a card they spend. But hey - no one cares. If they were really all that accurate, sheets players would have all the money and never be wrong. Use defensively in exotics.

I don't care what TG and Rags users say or what they feel the need to justify. I use TG on an race by race as-needed basis for some grass races.
It's nice after all of this time Beyer figured out that his #s were "off"  Grin
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« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2009, 08:35:16 AM »

I guess I'm confused on how the AW/poly figures can be too low for top horses but too high for bottom level horses. Beyer really doesn't explain this well in the article. I can see how the lack of early pace often on some AW surfaces can lead to lower final times that need adjustment...but how does this translate to the figures being overstated for lower-level horses?

Based on his explanation of stretching his par chart, both ways, down and up, it sounds like the final numbers were bunching up at both ends due to what he describes as a new riding style on poly that bunches up the finishes. Not a real phenomenon, but a numbers phenomenon, due to the charts they were using. At least, that's the best I can figure it. Maybe NYRA can offer some real insight on this, or one of our other sheets users like Horse Voice.

Interestingly, although people decry the death of speed on poly, what I noticed the three days I was at Santa Anita was very predictable speed. If there was a horse with a definite early speed advantage, it won. Not by 7 or 8 like at Hawthorne, but still won.
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« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2009, 08:40:55 AM »

I don't care what TG and Rags users say or what they feel the need to justify. I use TG on an race by race as-needed basis for some grass races.
It's nice after all of this time Beyer figured out that his #s were "off"  Grin

Of course, no specifics were ever forthcoming from the usual critics.  doh

"Now there is enough data about synthetic tracks to suggest that a revision of these figures is warranted."

It takes time to build up a new history database. One guy I knew years ago who made his own figs for Chicago had years and years of charts backing up his pars.

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NYRA 792
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« Reply #10 on: June 02, 2009, 08:43:35 AM »

Of course, no specifics were ever forthcoming from the usual critics.  doh

"Now there is enough data about synthetic tracks to suggest that a revision of these figures is warranted."

It takes time to build up a new history database. One guy I knew years ago who made his own figs for Chicago had years and years of charts backing up his pars.




If you like Beyer numbers I hope you bet into the same pools as me. Good luck to you  Grin
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ChitownSteve75
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« Reply #11 on: June 02, 2009, 08:44:22 AM »

I don't like this because personally, it gave me an edge. I always adjusted 5 points on the beyer figs from sythetics to dirt anyway. Oh well.
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ZENYATTA THE GREAT! NOT RA!
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« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2009, 08:47:38 AM »


If you like Beyer numbers I hope you bet into the same pools as me. Good luck to you  Grin

That's some real keen and instructional insight into figs and fig making. Roll Eyes
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NYRA 792
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« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2009, 08:51:50 AM »

That's some real keen and instructional insight into figs and fig making. Roll Eyes


If you're looking for keen and instructional insight, why not just pick up one of Beyer's books  Grin
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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2009, 09:03:06 AM »

If you're looking for keen and instructional insight, why not just pick up one of Beyer's books  Grin

That's your answer to bjchapin's about the issues raised by the DRF story, then? Or was "Who woke Andy up" your answer?

Thank you NYRA.
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NYRA 792
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« Reply #15 on: June 02, 2009, 09:13:49 AM »

That's your answer to bjchapin's about the issues raised by the DRF story, then? Or was "Who woke Andy up" your answer?

Thank you NYRA.

I could never be as glib as you. Nor would I ever try to be Grin
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Horse Voice
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« Reply #16 on: June 02, 2009, 10:20:14 AM »

Based on his explanation of stretching his par chart, both ways, down and up, it sounds like the final numbers were bunching up at both ends due to what he describes as a new riding style on poly that bunches up the finishes. Not a real phenomenon, but a numbers phenomenon, due to the charts they were using. At least, that's the best I can figure it. Maybe NYRA can offer some real insight on this, or one of our other sheets users like Horse Voice.

In one of Andy's earliest books, he intones that one must examine the context in which a Beyer number is earned: a horse that earns a big fig from a loose-on-the-lead effort will be unlikely to duplicate that number next out if he gets pace pressure.
 
Andy must have forgotten that piece of advice, because what he is doing now is attempting to resolve pace aberrations (typically, the slow early pace found in many phony surface races) by "normalizing" the final number. Seems to me even ol' Andy has lost faith in his own figure-making methodology -- his earlier advice to consider the context in which the numbers are earned should have sufficed here, with no tweaking of the final product.

I don't know about Ragozin, but Thoro-Graph has not adjusted their figure-making methodology for polycrap -- the numbers "is what they is", and if a horse gets slower TG numbers on poly due to slow-paced races, the handicapper has to take that into account.

You don't have to be a Ph.D. in Pure Mathematics to understand what a bad idea Beyer's latest methodology change is. Consider the following math puzzle:

A man wants to test the acceleration capabilities of his new car, and wants to do so while covering exactly 2 miles in exactly 2 minutes (an average of 60 mph over the length of the test).

He covers the 1st mile at an average speed of 30 mph. How fast does he need to go over the course of the second mile to complete the test in the alotted time?

Easy puzzle, right?

In an abstract sense, Beyer thinks he can "solve" the same sort of puzzle he faces with his poly figures by making arbitrary tweaks to final times that have no real mathematical basis. Applying Beyer's new methodology to the above acceleration puzzle, you just ignore the fact that 1st half of the test went so slow that it consumed all of the alloted time, and adjust the final time so that you can back into a plausible 2nd half number.

I mean, that's what you are doing with any sort of projection method -- where you say that the winner "should" have run at least a 92, or "would have" run a 92, if the doggone early pace wasn't so slow, even though he really only ran an 86. So you give him a 92 -- never mind if it jibes with the actual final time or adequately reflects the race shape -- then you back into the rest of the numbers for the horses that finished behind the winner.

Sure. And you think I'm being snobby when I say "free" is the right price for Beyer numbers. Jesus.
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« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2009, 10:56:25 AM »

Andy must have forgotten that piece of advice, because what he is doing now is attempting to resolve pace aberrations (typically, the slow early pace found in many phony surface races) by "normalizing" the final number. Seems to me even ol' Andy has lost faith in his own figure-making methodology -- his earlier advice to consider the context in which the numbers are earned should have sufficed here, with no tweaking of the final product.

If it works accurately, to help a handicapper compare a 94 on the synthetic with a 94 on the dirt, or to better quantify the difference between horses at the top and bottom, it works. IF, which is yet to be seen. They are only numbers assigned arbitrarily to a time scale. There's nothing written to say the old scales, based on the universal speed bias of dirt, are correct, either.

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I don't know about Ragozin, but Thoro-Graph has not adjusted their figure-making methodology for polycrap -- the numbers "is what they is", and if a horse gets slower TG numbers on poly due to slow-paced races, the handicapper has to take that into account.

If it was only isolated races with obvious slow early fractions, we wouldn't be here. Nor would bad horses be getting numbers "too high". It's a phenomenon of all poly races. 

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In an abstract sense, Beyer thinks he can "solve" the same sort of puzzle he faces with his poly figures by making arbitrary tweaks to final times that have no real mathematical basis.

I doubt they are arbitrary tweaks with no basis. I'm sure the Beyer corp. spent a lot of time and effort correlating the history of dirt races and poly races.

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Applying Beyer's new methodology to the above acceleration puzzle, you just ignore the fact that 1st half of the test went so slow that it consumed all of the alloted time, and adjust the final time so that you can back into a plausible 2nd half number.

Well, so what? All the speed services are providing one, single, final time number. If a handicapper wants to take pace into account, he does so separately of final speed fig, just like he always has.

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I mean, that's what you are doing with any sort of projection method -- where you say that the winner "should" have run at least a 92, or "would have" run a 92, if the doggone early pace wasn't so slow, even though he really only ran an 86. So you give him a 92 -- never mind if it jibes with the actual final time or adequately reflects the race shape -- then you back into the rest of the numbers for the horses that finished behind the winner.

I don't think that's entirely what projection is quite all about, and besides, all the fig makers project the race, massage, and then "back in" to the numbers for following horses. Consider the "projection" for ground loss! If you want simple time based numbers that are never maniuplated, you have to stick to quarterhorses and the SI. (And hopefully, somewhere, you have a chart to compare SI at different tracks.)
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Horse Voice
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« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2009, 11:43:52 AM »

I don't think that's entirely what projection is quite all about, and besides, all the fig makers project the race, massage, and then "back in" to the numbers for following horses. Consider the "projection" for ground loss!

Not quite, or at least, not with Thoro-Graph -- there are many races where the winner didn't receive the best figure for the race, usually because of ground loss. In a race where a short field bunches up at the wire in a blanket finish, it's conceivable that a last-place horse could earn the best TG figure; this simply isn't possible under the Beyer scale, because he is measuring speed...or so he claims.  Wink Who the hell knows what he's measuring now?

It might be a minor distinction, but TG's numbers are considered to be "performance figures", of which speed is the primary component, but certainly not the only one -- aforementioned ground loss, track variant, wind speed, and weight carried are also included in the computation. More subjective things, like a "dead rail", poor start (how many lengths?), and questions about whether a horse was fully extended are NOT part of the computation, but are noted to the side of the performance figure.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2009, 01:00:43 PM »

Not quite, or at least, not with Thoro-Graph -- there are many races where the winner didn't receive the best figure for the race, usually because of ground loss. In a race where a short field bunches up at the wire in a blanket finish, it's conceivable that a last-place horse could earn the best TG figure; this simply isn't possible under the Beyer scale, because he is measuring speed...or so he claims.  Wink

He doesn't believe in trying to account for ground loss. The two sheets makers even do it differently from each other. Someone is always wrong. It's a projection the sheet makers calculate. Beyer doesn't. It's up to handicappers to consider that for themselves.

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Who the hell knows what he's measuring now?

A speed number on poly that can be compared to a speed number on dirt, or so he says.

Quote
It might be a minor distinction, but TG's numbers are considered to be "performance figures", of which speed is the primary component, but certainly not the only one -- aforementioned ground loss, track variant, wind speed, and weight carried are also included in the computation. More subjective things, like a "dead rail", poor start (how many lengths?), and questions about whether a horse was fully extended are NOT part of the computation, but are noted to the side of the performance figure.

There's another one, wind ... the trackman looks at the flags before the race, and after the race, and assigns some wind speed, totally ignoring the 50 mph gust that came through during the race, and then the two sheet makers account for that differently, too. Someone is always wrong again. Once again, a benefit of Beyer numbers - letting the handicapper decide personally about the context in which the number was earned, and not trying to tweak it with subjective corrections.

NONE of them try to quantify the biggest factor of all, trouble. A simple little check on the backstretch can cost a horse two lengths. A major check on the turn, 8 or 9, not to mention losing all momentum. 
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Horse Voice
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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2009, 01:29:44 PM »

He doesn't believe in trying to account for ground loss. The two sheets makers even do it differently from each other. Someone is always wrong. It's a projection the sheet makers calculate. Beyer doesn't. It's up to handicappers to consider that for themselves.

TG users get the ground loss information, and are free to make their own adjustments to match their "beliefs". Beyer numbers, as you say, don't account for ground loss, and users of Beyer numbers have no access to ground loss info unless they take on the time-consuming task of watching every race replay for every horse. Fun!

There's another one, wind ... the trackman looks at the flags before the race, and after the race, and assigns some wind speed, totally ignoring the 50 mph gust that came through during the race

Fact, or supposition? Whose "trackman" does this?

Once again, a benefit of Beyer numbers - letting the handicapper decide personally about the context in which the number was earned, and not trying to tweak it with subjective corrections.

LOL! Quite the Libertarian you're making Beyer out to be, what with him "letting the handicaper decide" about the effects wind had on the race -- by providing ZERO information about same.

NONE of them try to quantify the biggest factor of all, trouble. A simple little check on the backstretch can cost a horse two lengths. A major check on the turn, 8 or 9, not to mention losing all momentum.

TG doesn't quantify trouble in the sense that it is incorporated into the fig, true -- much too subjective -- but it does attempt to quantify bad starts as costing either "less than 2 lengths", "about 2 lengths", or "4 or more", and notes this next to the performance fig; Beyer, in contrast, provides noth...er, how do you say this? Beyer "lets the handicapper decide". Hilarious spin.   
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2009, 01:32:41 PM »

Fact, or supposition? Whose "trackman" does this?

Fact as I was told it by my sheets guru, and I believe that's for TG. The trackman is supposed to be watching the race the rest of the time. How do you imagine it's done? Highly sophisticated weather stations every 50 yards along the track to measure the actual wind at an actual time at an actual point on the track?

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LOL! Quite the Libertarian you're making Beyer out to be, what with him "letting the handicaper decide" about the effects wind had on the race -- by providing ZERO information about same.

I kind of figured it was anomalous to the sheets making no adjustments based on dirt vs. poly, and letting the handicapper decide. If it's good to present raw, unadorned, unadjusted numbers, it's good.
 
Quote
TG doesn't quantify trouble in the sense that it is incorporated into the fig, true -- much too subjective -- but it does attempt to quantify bad starts as costing either "less than 2 lengths", "about 2 lengths", or "4 or more", and notes this next to the performance fig; Beyer, in contrast, provides noth...er, how do you say this? Beyer "lets the handicapper decide". Hilarious spin.   

Once again, let the handicapper decide what's important. I can read pp's and trouble comments and charts comments and times and distances behind at the start without any help at all from the sheets, and remember, Beyers come with a full set of pp's surrounding them, unlike sheets.
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Horse Voice
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« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2009, 01:42:31 PM »

Once again, let the handicapper decide what's important. I can read pp's and trouble comments and charts comments and times and distances behind at the start without any help at all from the sheets, and remember, Beyers come with a full set of pp's surrounding them, unlike sheets.

I find it amazing that someone has been to the "other side", using Rags or TG, and then decided to go back to Beyer numbers. Never heard of anyone doing that before.

Which one did you use, Terry -- and for how long, before going back to the plain ol' DRF and the Beyers?
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Edwarren
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« Reply #23 on: June 02, 2009, 01:56:21 PM »

So the new figs correlate old poly numbers with dirt numbers.  Adjusting a skewed distribution isn't difficult. That's all he's done and that's all the article says he did.  No claims made other than to say they're a better comparison.  Use em if you like em.  I use BRIS pps.
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CLOCKERTERRY
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« Reply #24 on: June 02, 2009, 02:12:05 PM »

I find it amazing that someone has been to the "other side", using Rags or TG, and then decided to go back to Beyer numbers. Never heard of anyone doing that before.

Which one did you use, Terry -- and for how long, before going back to the plain ol' DRF and the Beyers?

I was using Ragozin sheets for about a year, learning from an expert and his buddies. This was some years ago, probably late 90's. It all came to a head one day in Trackside, regarding a race at Fair Grounds in which a horse of mine was running. I heard the most outlandish (not to mention flat wrong) claims about what must have happened in this race or that about my horse, according to the various "reads" these guys were giving the sheets. And all of them read the race different! That pretty much destroyed my faith in "sheets reading" right there, and I walked out just shaking my head. It's all about "the read", and if it's not a science after all, but just who guesses right today, what's the point, really? I kept buying them for awhile, but the promised solid gold doubloons never really materialized, and I did as well or better with just the DRF.

I've never had much complaint about the numbers themselves. They're good enough as speed figs. It's actually easier for me to deal with the smaller numbers. I just don't happen to rely all that heavily on speed numbers in the first place, because if it's obvious, the winner is going to pay $3.40. The good money is elsewhere, in trouble lines, lightly raced horses, changes today from last race, different pace matchups, or trip notes from replays. If I'm not relying that heavily on speed numbers in the first place, Beyers are good enough and accurate enough to rough out the contenders. I don't need to spend $25 per card for that, particularly when the "read" emperor has no clothes.

And, finally, I've yet to see the heads up comparison charts that matches all the various numbers against God's Own Speed Figs to finally determine once and for all just which one is the more "accurate". The only thing that makes one better than another as it stands now is the belief or prejudice of the user.
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