Slow Pace & You’ll Be Sorry

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If you’ve been reading this blog for long you know there’s a lot of talk about fast pace races, key pace races, etc. But it’s just as important to know if the pace was unusually slow. In his book Figure Handicapping, James Quinn wrote, “Thus, whenever the pace of the race has been unusually fast or unusually slow, the resulting speed figures can be outrageously false.” In Off the Charts Nick Borg stated, “In essence, however, it is not the final time that’s most important, but how the final time was achieved.” And Andy Beyer wrote in Beyer on Speed, “If you know what a reasonable pace for a given time on a given track, then you can relate horses’ performances to it.”

But best of all, Ray Taulbot stated for posterity (paraphrased), “The superior horse is one that can set or overcome the speed of the pace against which it ran.” In a 1995 American Turf Monthly article, Doc Howard Sartin elaborated on Taulbot’s pace philosophy: “Taulbot’s premise was that the pace of the race itself matters at least as much as the actual pace of the horse – how well a horse handled the pace of the race it ran against. He placed particular emphasis on horses that could overcome the fastest second call and secondary importance on those leading at the second call”……..”In this era of so many short prices from obvious choices, it behooves us to gain the ability to find longshots. I know of no better source than the “pace of the race – pace of the horse” relationship as postulated by the late Ray Taulbot.” That’s what Sartin said. Starting with Ray Taulbot these simple yet profound statements have been imprinted in my brain.

Which brings me back to the second sentence in this post about slow pace races. Here’s an example: My Good Thang, horse #2, is a Presser/Closer. He came out of a Slow 6 pace of the race and finished fourth by 7 lengths, which ranked his speed figure in the bottom half of today’s field. He’s back in at the same “class” level today. Naturally the betting public disregards My Good Thang for You’ll Be Sorry, the #7 horse, who has the top speed figure and finished second last race all the while sporting an Early/Presser running style. But there’s something “hidden” in today’s race, the pace picture. Let’s say it looks like this:

E8
E7
E8
—-E/P7 (You’ll Be Sorry)
—-E/P5
—-E/P4
——————-P/C (My Good Thang)

My Good Thang has arrived for a perfect situation – the right running style for today’s pace match-up. And remember he finished 4th in his last race for added value. Brilliant! The Slow 6 coupled with My Good Thang’s running style tipped us off to a high probability success rate wager.

These kinds of situations are not atypical. When it’s all said and done it’s not so much how fast your horse ran that matters but rather how your horse ran fast. Pace Pictures along with knowing what a “reasonable” pace is for a particular time helps us uncover these “hidden” situations where you won’t be sorry you bet You’ll Be Sorry.

February 11, 2010 • Posted in: Articles

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