Analysis: Discernable difference in TimeformUS, Beyer figures?

April 02, 2019 08:50am
One way for an average handicapper to gain an advantage in speed figure analysis is to search for discrepancies between the Daily Racing Form and TimeformUS. While both brands fall under the same corporate umbrella, different teams create the figures, and it's inevitable that they won't always agree. 

Speed figure-making involves some art to the method, with humans needing to make handicapping-related decisions in order to arrive at the figure. Top public handicappers constantly make this point whenever a speed figure is debated.

For example, Dick Jerardi wrote for DRF in 2013, “Making Beyer Speed Figures is an art/science based on mathematics.”

Also, in 2014 the national correspondent Jay Privman shared the same idea.


The same philosophy applies to TimeformUS. Mistakes will happen on both sides, as art is not perfect. If a bettor can spot a disagreement between them, he or she could gain a slight advantage.

Remember, the scale difference is 20 points. For example, Justify earned a 131 TimeformUS Speed Figure in his career debut. Subtract 20 points, and the Beyer equivalent is 111. But, the Beyer Speed Figure team decided he earned a 104.

The difference was mild, but it showed TimeformUS rated Justify higher.

Unfortunately, the differences this year between DRF's Beyer Speed Figures and TimeformUS ratings are negligible at best when comparing the current top 3-year-olds.

A large recent discrepancy between TimeformUS and Beyer came with Owendale, who tried the Risen Star Stakes (G2) in February after earning a 96 on TimeformUS in an earlier optional claimer, which is a 76 on the Beyer scale after subtracting 20 points. 

However, Beyer officially gave Owendale a 93 in his January optional claiming win, the equivalent of a 113 on TimeformUS. Owendale ran up the track and finished eighth in the Risen Star, validating the TimeformUS rating. He has not run since. 

Owendale’s case shows it is possible to spot major differences between TimeformUS and the Beyers to gain an advantage. So far, that hasn't been the case often on the Derby trail.

Here is an overview of the 3-year-old speed figures earned in March from both brands:

 To start off, Maximum Security put the field to sleep in the Florida Derby (G1) last Saturday and earned a 116 TimeformUS ratings.

Subtract 20 from 116, and the Beyer equivalent is 96. Officially, Beyer gave Maximum Security a 101, which means DRF rates Maximum Security slightly higher on Beyers.

Considering TimeformUS factors in pace, it nullifies the discrepancy because Maximum Security would earn a 120 on TimeformUS without the slow pace penalty.   

 Rewind to last weekend and the Louisiana Derby (G2). By My Standards picked up a surprising win after stalking the pace inside and earned a 117 on TimeformUS. That's a perfect match on the 20-ppoint difference.

It is notable By My Standards' numbers beat older horses on the same card on both brands. Earlier in the card, Core Beliefs took the New Orleans Handicap (G2) with a 103 on TimeformUS, while the Beyer team disagreed and gave the race a 93 on their scale.

 As for the Sunland Derby (G3), Cutting Humor picked up the win and earned a 112 on TimeformUS along with the runner-up Anothertwistafate. Beyer awarded Cutting Humor a 95, making them roughly equal again. It is notable, though, that the raw final TimeformUS figure is 109, as both Cutting Humor and Anothertwistafate were rewarded. 

 One weekend earlier in first division of the Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn Park, Long Range Toddy mowed down the favorite Improbable after the latter suffered a wide trip. TimeformUS gave both of them a 117, as Improbable was also rewarded for moving earlier. Beyer gave Long Range Toddy a 95, making both sides about the same.

In the second division, Omaha Beach took the race with a 119 TimeformUS Speed Figure, and Beyer awarded a 96, making them roughly the same too.

 The weekend of March 9 featured three prep races. One of them was the Gotham Stakes (G3), which showcased the return of Instagrand. After an early move, he hung in the stretch and ran third, but also tied the winner Haikal with a 118 on TimeformUS.

Beyer gave Haikal a 95. Once again, the difference on both sides is negligible.

 On the same day, Tacitus posted an upset in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) with a 117 TimeformUS Speed Figure. The runner-up Outshine actually beat him with a 118.

On Beyer, Tacitus earned a 93, making the difference four points. Because Tacitus benefited from the pace, he got penalized a point on TimeformUS, which arguably makes it a five-point difference. Regardless, the difference is nothing major.

 At Turfway Park in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), Somelikeithotbrown earned a 106 TimeformUS Speed Figure and 83 Beyer Speed Figure, which look similar.

In any case, Somelikeithotbrown must prove himself on dirt. Turf and dirt speed figures are not comparable, and synthetic numbers deserve the same caution.

 As a last comparison, Code of Honor ran in mid-pack through the suicidal Fountain of Youth Stakes (G2) pace and closed for the win, earning a 118 on TimeformUS.

The unadjusted TimeformUS figure was 110, which means the pace went so fast that Code of Honor was rewarded, even though Hidden Scroll took the worst of it.

On Beyer, Code of Honor earned a 95. The difference does not appear significant.

To conclude, yes speed figures are important. But use some critical thinking when analyzing those numbers. With the exception of Brisnet Speed Ratings, figures are made by humans, and we're not perfect.

 

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