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Pace Picture Techniques

Posted By Randy Giles On February 8, 2010 @ 3:23 pm In Articles | Comments Disabled

[1]Today I want to go into some ways that you can use the pace picture that will help you organize and do your work as efficiently as possible. But first let me talk a bit about the pace picture and how powerful it can be. That simple little doodle of a pace picture up there in the right hand corner of the PA PPs gives us a lot of information even though it seems so simple. Here’s how I use it.

The first thing to know is you should think about clicking through the PPs 4 times at least so that you pick up on the different advantages that we’re looking for. I take the extra time to click through 4 times because it’s just easier for me not to miss anything. I’ve found that if I focus on each advantage separately then I do a much better job of it. I’ll list them and then we’ll talk about them.

1. Low priced overlays (The 2 Bold Type Horses)
2. Extreme pace advantages
3. Lone pace advantages
4. Early pace advantages

All of the above must be pace comfort zone qualifiers. I’ll go into that in a few minutes and then list the factors that will help you make those important paceline selection decisions. But first let’s go back over the Pace Comfort Zone article I sent out a few weeks ago…

Pace Comfort Zones

One of the tools we use with the PaceAppraiser PPs is the Pace Comfort Zone. This rating tells us the number of lengths from off the pace at the second call (one dimensional early pace types always have a zero rating) a horse can be successful. A horse that does not get into its pace comfort zone, even though it appears to be in its running style, will usually run poorly. You could call it a depth of talent rating for the various running styles. For example, an Early Presser with a PCZ rating of 2 is more talented than one with a 0 rating. So I’m going to step you through an easy way that will bring the full power of the Pace Comfort Zone rating into play. It’s very simple and can be done quickly. I’ve received numerous questions about its use and so I hope this little tutorial answers them.

The first thing we want to do is check for the top PA pace figure in the race. We use only the last paceline. Let’s says it’s 103. The top pace figure in the field does not necessarily signify the pace setter, although that could very well be the case. It could say the top figure represents pace ability in reserve. That’s important.

Next we want to check each horse’s last pace figure and subtract it from the top figure, which is 103 in our example. We’ll use a figure of 100 for our second horse in our example. The result is 3. We only need to check the horses that fit the competitive speed figure range since these are the horses that qualify on final time competitive ability. The PA PPs have these horses listed in bold type.

Now we simply check the PCZ rating, which is listed next to the horse’s running style and speed points. If the PCZ rating is equal to or greater than the results of our pace figure subtraction then we have a horse that qualifies on pace ability for today’s race. Let’s say the horse with the 3 total difference has a PCZ of 4 – that qualifies. Now if the horse has a PCZ of 2 then the horse would not qualify. More than likely it would find itself farther back at the second call than it can handle.

There are a three exceptions we’ll need to be on the lookout for (go back to 2nd or 3rd races): Distance changes, blinkers on, and dropping in class to lowest level. Horses that are stretching out can outrun their pace figures early, horses that have blinkers on move up closers to the pace, and horses with big class advantages will sometimes move up in the early going. No surprises here and easy enough to deal with.

The PCZ rating is designed to bring a horse’s running style into sharper focus in terms of length requirements. While running styles tell us where horses like to be positioned in the herd, the PCZ ratings tell us the optimum placement of the position for best performances.

I think we have to remember always that some races are so bad in terms current form that the winner ends up being the horse that can stagger home first. Pace advantages don’t mean much or anything at all in these types of events. It’s our job, of course, to invest in races where pace advantages mean something.

Let’s continue:

After I load the PPs it’s time to start the first click through. As I come upon a pace picture advantage I click the print button for the race. I check all printed PPs later for PCZ qualifiers that fit the pace match-up I’m looking for. I find it much easier to do this part of the work off a printed sheet rather than my computer screen. This first time through I’m looking for “Two Bold” races. This simply means that there are only two horses in the race that qualify for, or actually create, the competitive speed figure range. The Two Bold pace picture only comes up about once per day, that’s all. But your win percent will be over 50% with this one. Since the middle of September I have won 65% of these bets! Amazing. Here’s the down side: average payoff is 2.1 to 1, and there’s the reason I call them low priced overlays.

In the second click through we’re looking for extreme pace aberrations. You’ll see the PPG (Pace Pressure Gauge) in the upper right hand corner of the pace picture for this information. As you know, we want to start looking for late pace horses as the gauge moves beyond the 21 mark. The higher the better for those late pace types. If the reading is, say, 21 X 1 I feel stronger about the chances of my late pace runner. The “1″ tells us we “could” have a fast pace, too. Once I find a P/C that fits this kind of pressure and/or velocity, all I have to do now if qualify it for the Pace Comfort Zone fit for this particular pace picture.

Now we’re ready for our third click through and the lone presser advantage. This one will be in bold type and all alone in the presser spot of the pace picture. Easy. If one shows up, qualify it for PCZ and you’re done.

The fourth and final click through is all about early pace horses. I save this one for last because it’s the one that can take the longest to deal with because we’re looking for running styles in bold type with a 2 speed point advantage and/or a 2D Pace Box advantage. Remember, early pace advantaged horses are below the 21 PPG benchmark. You can read on the 2D Early Pace Box horses in the PA forum or here: http://www.paceappraiser.com/forum/

Now, let’s go over the factors that will take us back to those 2nd and 3rd pacelines for our PCZ qualifiers. The “+” sign tells me how often the factor showed up in a research period. I left it in so you get a feels for the most powerful of the factors. It’s not surprising that form (F) and class (CD/CP) are the most represented factors. You might find it a bit surprising that a last race win (W) did so well during this time.

LF/pa1 ++++
F/pa1 +++++++++
J+/pa1 ++
J+/pa2 ++
J+/pa2/as +
J+/L2/pa2 +
CP/pa1 +++++++++++
CP/pa2 +++
CP/pa3 ++++
CP/pa2/as +
CP/pm +
CD/pa2 +++++
CD/pa1 ++++++++++++++
W/pa1 +++++++++++++++
W/pa2 +
BW/pa1 ++++++
T(j+)/pa2 +
T/pa1 +
PM/L2/pa1 +
OX/pa2 +

Before I explain the factors listed above let’s talk a bit about form, the steady and improving types. Back in the 80s William Scott wrote a book called “How Will Your Horse Run Today”. We’re all familiar with his up close definition. The one form factor that has really made a difference for me, though, was and is a stretch loss. This will save you money over time. If a horse is dropping in class and/or changing distances by a furlong or more we can ignore the stretch loss. Like all factors this one helps with odds assessment. I’ve seen this simple factor point to low priced losers time and again. It works. Now let’s go back to the factors that give a good reason to go back to the second or third paceline. You’ve probably noticed I don’t recommend going back more than 3 pacelines to grab the pace figure that qualifies or disqualifies a horse from our contender list. Once you’ve checked the PCZ and the stretch loss factor and find those to be a problem, you can feel confident that those horses can be eliminated from further consideration. So now let’s get to the definitions from the list above:

LF – the only horse in the race that finished in the money but did not lose ground by a length or more in the stretch.
F – a horse that finished in the money but did not lose ground by a length or more in the stretch.
J+ – Jockey change
CP – dropping to the lowest class level from the last three races
CD – class drop
W – won last race
BW – won the last race by three or more lengths while not leading at the first or second call
T – trouble in last race
PM – pace match-up advantage.
OX – layoff/good race/bad race (good race = in the money – bad = out of money)

Let’s go back to the “Two Bold Horses” concept for a few minutes because I believe this one is the most important one in terms of win percent and return on investment. We could call this one the “2 CSFR” as well because the bold type horses in the pace picture are the two competitive speed figure qualifiers. This play is definitely for simulcast players. If you have the unlimited file download option with TSN you’re really ready to go. I use the $59.95 unlimited plan for my single data files. I can click through 15 tracks looking for the 2 bold type horses in just a few minutes. I print them and then qualify them. Today I have 2 of the 2 bold type plays. I expect to average 30 of these plays for per month. Remember to qualify the bold type horses for the correct pace comfort zone rating along with one of the factors listed above.


As an added benefit you’ll find that the 2 Bold Type horses in the pace picture will run 1st and 2nd enough times to turn a nice profit with an exacta play; I recommend boxing them. Since these are low priced overlays, the exactas will not be huge, but they will produce a profit over time.

As you can see, there’s a lot information to be had in the simple pace picture. For example, if the all the horses are in bold type then you know that you have a race that’s potentially very competitive, so you’ll need to keep that in mind as you assess the odds of the horses on your contender list. Conversely, if there are only a two or three bold type horses then the race is not that competitive so your work load will be lighter. You’ll also see those important horses that are the recipients of a positive pace aberration. And, too, you won’t miss those light early pace pressure races that give the early pace types the advantage and the late pace types the trouble.

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