I'm on an American Turf Monthly kick. As I said in the last post I'm re-reading past issues. Today I want to briefly address track profiling. Doc Sartin's August '96 article Profiling for Profit is today's topic. Some years ago a friend told me that so far in the meet 78% of all races were being won by early and early pressers. The message, I guess, was if I'm smart I'll make sure I bet early pace horses. I was intrigued. So when I got home I pulled out the racing forms and went through all the races and recorded the running styles of all the horses entered in the meet to that date. Get this, 78% of all the horses entered so far in the meet were early and early pressers. The impact value was 1.00 -no advantage. Voodoo statistics.
Back to the ATM article. So Sartin was promoting profiling. He gave a few examples to demonstrate that the profiles came out in favor of off pace types - those horses were winning. Can we trust it? As much respect as I have for Doc Sartin, I don't think so. Without an impact value how could we trust it? What if there were more off pace running styles than early pace? What if the pace of the races were unusually fast? Here are the examples from the article:
Sprint A - 22 1/5 - 45 2/5 - 1:11 3/5
Route B - 46 4/5 -1:11 - 1:49
Route C -45 4/5 -1:10 4/5 - 1:35 4/5
Route D -47 1/5 -1:10 4/5 - 1:40 2/5
Sprint A earned a pace of the race velocity figure of Fast 5
Route B earned a pace of the race velocity figure of Fast 5
Route C earned a pace of the race velocity figure of Par
Route D earned a pace of the race velocity figure of Fast 2
What does this tell me? In my pace world it tells me that the Pace Shapes were Fast/Slow except for one which was average/Average. That's a profile that predominately favors off pace running styles because of those pace velocity figures.Track profiles tell us what happened yesterday but not necessarily today; every race is different; a different dynamic is at work every time. What to do? My solution is this: Don't do the tedious Sartin approach. Why not "profile" every race in terms of pace match-up and pace of the race velocity. If you must then run an impact value on the running styles of the meet. Every race is different so profiles by definition are yesterday's news. In my humble opinion, only running style impact values and pace velocity shapes can expose track aberrations and advantages.