Winning at the track

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About Winning at the Track
The Race Card

Handicapping with Winning at the Track begins at the Race Card.  The user simply uploads a Bloodstock DRF file to the program’s Home Page.  After that, everything becomes automatic.  At the Race Card, WATT users have several options that make navigating this Performance Method (PM) software very easy.

From this point there are five auxiliary sections:  1) Three Graphics screens; 2) The Pace Analyst; 3) The Best-4 Summary screen; 4) The Key Horse Statistics screen, and 5)The Conditions screen, located in the lower left corner.

The WATT internal screens can be accessed using the drop-down located on the right.  The five internal screens include the History Worksheet, the Ability Factor, the Early Speed, the Pure Speed, and the Late Speed screens.

The drop-down also features the ability to note the Win/Place/Show horses once the race is complete.

The Race Card header identifies two Pacesetters and two Contenders, calculated by formulas that have been reasonably successful for WATT users over the years. However, they are merely suggestions.  Users are still encouraged to do independent handicapping.

History Worksheet

Each horse’s past performance (pp) lines are displayed on the History Worksheet.  There are as many as ten pp lines for each horse.  In the early days of WATT, these were the numbers typed manually into the program.  Today, everything is automatically transferred from Bloodstock’s single DRF data file.  The Speed Rating shown is the horse’s performance relative to that track’s record, before any adjustments

On the History Worksheet users can delete (or include) individual pp lines as well as scratch (or return) any horse at any time.  By simply checking the appropriate line box, then clicking "Update," or using the "Scratch" (or "Unscratch") button, horses can be removed from, or returned to the race.  As always, WATT handicappers are in total control of the numbers being read by the program.  However, modifications are not needed frequently.

For transparency, the WATT program offers a separate screen for each of handicapping factor.  Users can page up or down between the races or individual screens with great ease.  Also, convenient shortcuts are available.

Whenever a horse’s most recent race is 45 days ago, or longer, the last date appears in red.

Ability Factor

The Ability Factor measures the horse's speed from the gate the the wire in its three most recent races, adjusted by weather conditions and, to a lesser degree, by the quality of horses at those racetracks.  In effect, the Ability Factor is a good measure of recent "form."

Of the four primary ratings, the Ability Factor is the only one restricted to the last three outings.  Every once in a while the user is faced with a misleading pp line.  Perhaps the horse fell in one of its last three races, or maybe the distance is totally inappropriate for the current race, or perhaps the surface might produce a misleading number.  In such cases, the handicapper can go to the History Worksheet and remove that line.

Pure Speed

The Pure Speed rating measures the horse’s fastest race and it is greatly influenced by the weather and racing surface.  A horse’s best performance almost always occurs under ideal conditions, which typically happens once or twice within its past ten races.

Early Speed

Early Speed measures the horse’s ability to run the early portions of the race.  Of all the factors, this is the least accurate and it has the lowest weighting within the overall PM Rating, but when it is combined with the other factors, WATT users have a very powerful handicapping tool.  The best Early Speed performances usually occur under ideal weather conditions.

Late Speed
Each race can be divided into sections (“calls”) and the talents of each horse are given ratings at the various points.  At the second call point, for example, a typical race is almost 70% complete.  The Late Speed calculation measures the horse’s ability to run to the second call point as well as the last portion of that race.
The Late Speed factor was created in the early 1970s and first introduced in the original program in 1985.  Of all the WATT factors, it is the most accurate and the most useful.  It is also the largest contributor to the overall PM Rating.  The Pole Speed and the Last Quarter calculations are the principal components of this unique and proprietary formula.
The Pole Speed is defined as the rating for that horse’s performance up to the second call point.  The Last Quarter is the horse’s rating for the final portion of that particular race – i.e., between the second call point and the finish line.  The Pole Speed of any horse leading at the second call is referred to as the pace of the race.

The Best-4 Summary

The four major factors found on the Race Card together comprise the PM Rating.  The highest PM Ratings in each contest appear on the Best-4 Summary screen.   Once in a while a “+” sign denotes a talent gap of 60 points or more, which is also visible on the first Graphics chart.

As most WATT handicappers have known for years, a "key horse" (one likely to finish in the exacta) will be found most of the time among the top three listed for that race.

The Pace Analyst

Each horse’s best and 2nd best Late Speed ratings are ranked and displayed in the right columns of The Pace Analyst, along with their relevant Pole Speed and Last Quarter numbers.   Also, depending on the distance of today’s race, the best sprints (or routes) are ranked in the lower right column.  As most knowledgeable racing fans know, at higher quality tracks, a mile race can be regarded as either a sprint or a route.
The Pole Speeds from the horses’ best and 2nd best Late Speed numbers are ranked and listed in the columns on the left.
The column in the lower left corner displays the Form calculations for the top PM-rated horses in the contest.  In this case, the term "form" defines the horse’s performance during the last portion of its most recent race.
In the lower right corner, there is a convenient shortcut between The Pace Analyst and the first Graphic screen.

In this section there are three graphics bar charts.  Screen one displays each horse’s current PM Rating as well as the 2nd Best PM Rating (recalculated with the best race removed).  The second bar chart presents the three highest Late Speed ratings averaged.  Finally, the third graphic displays the three most recent Late Speed races, left to right, for each horse.  A comparison of the second and third charts could be another indication of current form.
When handicapping with the Graphics screens, users are advised to take full advantage of the direct link to the Pace Analyst.
The Risk Profile gauge located on the first chart typically indicates the difficulty of the handicap and the likelihood of finding a reliable key horse.  Also, too many horses with similar PM Ratings suggest a more contentious contest and perhaps a greater betting risk.  The gauge offers a broad perspective and should be regarded as merely a supplement to thoughtful handicapping.

Key Horse Statistics

This screen, still under construction, features various, interesting “class” statistics for each horse.  However, these calculations are never included in the PM Rating, which only measures the relative speed/pace capabilities of all the horses in the contest.


Located in the lower left corner of the Race Card is basic information from the Trainers’ Condition Book.


Immediately after the name of each horse is a special note - two numbers separated by a slash.  The first number is the horse's best-recorded Pole Speed (distance-adjusted).  The second is a measure of the horse's "Up Close" performance during its two most recent races.