Pace Information

If you bet the highest speed figure horse to win in every race, you will probably achieve 30 to 35 percent winners and a flat bet loss. The loss means that the public is very much in tune with speed handicapping which, of course, drives mutuel payoffs down. The percentage means that roughly two thirds of the races are won by horses that are not the top speed figure horses. Some of this can be explained by the top speed horses not being suited to the distance or surface, going off form or being out classed. By far the main reason for this phenomenon, however, is that the top speed figure horse is not suited to the pace match-up of the race. It has been said: “It is not how fast the horse runs that is important, but how the horse runs fast.”

Effective pace handicapping requires that you know at least 3 things: 1) the running styles of the horses; 2) the pace figures of the horses; 3) the probable pace shape of the race.

It’s also important to remember that Fraction Times, Running Styles, Turn Times, Track Variants and Final Times are all interrelated, and not independent factors when it comes to pace handicapping. Today’s Racing Digest race sheets simplifies pace handicapping by giving you the information you need to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

Running Styles (PER)

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Most horses have one particular running style early in the race.  The speed at which the race is run (pace scenario) tend to favor one horse’s running style over another.  How the race is run early often dictates which horse will prevail at the finish line. The projected times for each race are analyzed as are the running styles of each horse to determine in which part of the field the horse will be running during the early part of the race.  Each horse is then assigned a running style which can be found in the header section of the race sheets under column 7 titled PER.

You can now get a better picture of how the race may unfold and then compare the running styles of each horse with the Track Profile to help determine which horse’s running style typically does well in today’s race condition.

The following are the designations for each of the running styles:

F = Frontrunner, a horse who is generally 1st or 2nd at the first call of the race

P = Early speed, a horse who races close to the pace but does not need the lead

M = Mid-pack runner

R = Late-runner

“x” or “?” = running style is unknown or unavailable


Track Profile

Often times one particular running style will do better in one type of race versus another. 

Do you ever wonder what type of running style wins each race?  Today’s Racing Digest race sheets tell you.  You can then compare this information with the Digest’s exclusive Performance Early in the Race (PER) Designation to isolate contenders.

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Found in the Race Sheet Header, this feature gives you an idea of what kind of running styles (e.g. frontrunners, pressers, etc.) have been winning at the race’s distance.  We list the number of races included in our study (32 in this case) then list the type of running style and the win-percentage.  For example, Frontrunners “F” have won 6% of the 32 races at this distance while Pressers (“P”) have won 31%.  (F=frontrunner, P=pressers, M=midpackers, R=late runners)


Fractional Chart Order of Finish and Average Times

Through the use of sophisticated algorithms and a powerful database utilizing proprietary track pars, track variants and class levels Today’s Racing Digest has done the number crunching for you.  Many of Today’s Racing Digest data lines, statistics and figures are projections of how we expect the horse will perform in today’s race.

Fractional Chart Order of Finish

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At the bottom of the race header lists the top finishers according to the Digest’s popular Fractional Charting (a projected race using representative performances from each participant in today’s race).  This can be helpful in double checking your pace scenario conclusions.




Average Times

Average Times
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The times listed on the ET (Expected Times) row are those expected from today’s field based on previous performances (these are the best times at each call in the Fractional Charting).  The AT (Average Times) are based on the times for mid-level horses run at the distance/surface.  The AFTL (Average For the Level) times are the “Par times” for today’s class of runners.  In other words, they are the average times run by horses at today’s particular class level.


Pace Rating (PAC RAT)

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Relying on performance and/or speed figures that are solely based on a final time can be helpful but it is only one piece of the puzzle and you may be missing out on important information that can cost you.  Many times final time ratings are influenced by what goes on early in the race (the pace).

In the horse data lines in the race sheets under the column titled PAC RAT is the Pace Rating which takes into account the speed the horse displayed through the first two calls in a sprint and the second two calls (half and six-furlong) in a route. It’s an assessment of a horse’s early speed or pace.  The Pace Rating listed is the figure the horse would earn in today’s race if he/she had a similar performance in today’s race as it did in the past performance it is listed next to.  The higher the Pace Rating, the faster the horse ran in the early part of the race.  Using the PAC RAT in combination with a final time rating can give you a much clearer picture in determining which horses are in good form, may have a pace advantage, or can “go long” when moving from a sprint to a route.  Learn how to use the Pace Rating (PAC RAT) with the Final Time Rating (FNL RAT) below.


The Final Time Rating (FNL RAT)

This measures a horse’s final time against our track pars, with the daily track variant factored in. A horse equaling the track par (Average Time (AT) listed in Race Sheet) for the distance would earn a 150 Final Time Rating. Three points are deduced for each length slower than par.  The Final Time Rating considers only the final time earned by the horse.  In theory, the higher the Final Time Rating, the faster the horse.  Of course, Final Time Ratings are often influenced by what goes on early in the race (the pace).  By using the FNL RAT with the Pace Rating (PAC RAT) you will get a good picture of how the race will be run and who will be out in front at each point in the race.

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The Final Time Rating for up to the horse’s last 6 starts are listed on all Digest racing sheets in the horse’s data lines under the FNL RAT heading.  The Final Time Rating is a valuable speed figure that makes it easy to compare a horse’s past performance to see if the horse is improving and how they compare to other horse’s running in today’s race.  Understanding how to use the Digest’s Final Time Rating can also help give you an advantage in determining which horses are in form and might run well in their next start and which may be in need of additional works and races before they can compete in today’s race.

How to Use the Final Time Rating (FNL RAT) with the Pace Rating (PAC RAT)

There are various ways to use Final Time Ratings we recommend using them with the Pace Rating (PAC RAT).  Here are a few examples of how to use both Pace Rating and Final Time Rating:

Finding the Quickest Frontrunner – If one speed horse can outrun the other speed horses in a race, it usually means curtains for the other frontrunners.  If one of the frontrunners consistently earns higher Pace Ratings than his adversaries, he may boast a “pace advantage” in today’s race.

Sprint to Route – If a horse has never routed before, Pace and Final Time Ratings can help determine whether he’ll “go long”.  Horses who tend to do better going from a sprint to a route for the first time have Pace and Final Time Ratings either in balance (i.e., relatively the same) or show higher Final Time Ratings than Pace Ratings.  This is usually an indication that the horse is finishing and might not mind a route.

A Strong Final Time Rating Last Race – Horses in good form usually earn strong Final Time Ratings in their last start.  While the pace often can influence a horse’s Final time Rating (e.g., an easy lead, speed duel, etc.) horses with strong Final Time Ratings compared to their competition often run well right back.

Use the FNL RAT to Determine If A Horse Is a Viable Threat

A horse can be determined to be a viable threat by comparing the Final Time Rating (FNL RAT) with a Final Time Rating for this class level.  There is a little math that needs to be done to get the Final Time Rating for this class level but we’ll show you how below.

All of our Average Times (AT) are the equivalent of a 150 Final Time Rating.  In other words any horse that had a Final Time Rating of 150 would have a final time the same as the Average Time listed for that race.  The Average Time (AT) and Average For This Level (AFTL) listed in the top of the race sheets.

To determine the Final Time Rating for this class level find the Average Final Time at this Level (AFTL).  Take the final time of the AFTL and subtract the final time of the Average Time (AT).  The difference in seconds should then be divided by 2 to give you the number of lengths. (1 second = 5 lengths)  Then multiply that number of lengths by 3 (3 points = 1 length).  Then subtract that number from 150.  Any horse with a FNL RAT at or within 9 points below that number should be considered a viable threat.

Example of how to do the calculation:

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In the example race on the left the AT is the average time which is 1:02.3.  A horse with a projected 1:02.3 final time would earn a 150 FTR.  However, this race is rated at 125 (Race Level) and the AFTL is 1:03.9.  That’s a different of 1.6 seconds or eight lengths (1 second = 5 lengths).  Multiply the difference in the number of lengths by 3 (3 points equals a length) and the class par would be 126 or 150 – (8 * 3).  Horses in this race should be earning in the 126 to 117 range to be considered viable threats.



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In this race, neg dropper W. Giles shows four races in this 126 to 117 range and he won the race despite the drop from $20,000 to $8,000.