03/03/2016 10:37AM

Pace Ace adds new tool to DRF past performances

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A firm grasp on pace handicapping is elusive to most horseplayers due to the many variables involved – tumultuous starts, the whims of jockeys, distance changes, gate placement, etc.

Pace figures are one way handicappers can address this issue. Without question, reliable pace figures – such as DRF’s Moss Pace Figures – are a valuable tool. But in many cases, a race’s fractions tell an incomplete story of how a race was run, and bettors perusing past performances have had no way to determine which horses had an edge due to the pace scenario – until now.

DRF’s new Pace Ace feature reveals just that.

If an abundance of speed improved the chances for closers, handicappers will know. If a lack of pace gave runners close to the lead an advantage, it will now be apparent.

Pace Ace will expose possible false favorites who ran top Beyer Speed Figures when taking advantage of a favorable pace situation. It also will uncover longshots whose poor recent form can be directly attributed to unfavorable pace setups.

A tumultuous trip is made apparent in the comment line and provides all handicappers with some insight into a poor performance. However, horses who were compromised by an extreme pace scenario also have a valid excuse, one that previously had been disguised as a poor effort.

Utilizing data going back to Jan. 1, 2015, Pace Ace is applied prior to every race at North American racetracks in search of clear, expected pace scenarios. After a race is run, Pace Ace applies DRF’s proprietary algorithm to determine if the race was run according to the expected scenario. When that happens, the race receives one of four labels:

Slow Pace – Race was light on pace, giving those on or close to the lead an edge while compromising the chances of closers.

Very Slow Pace – Race was very light on pace, giving those on or close to the lead a strong edge while severely compromising the chances of horses in the second half of the field early on.

Hot Pace – Race where the closers had the edge and the chances of horses on or near the lead were comprised.

Super Hot Pace – Race where the closers had a big advantage, while the chances of horses in the top flight early were severely compromised.

Horses coming out of races with these labels can now be viewed in a new light. A stone closer who ran a seemingly subpar race in his latest can be viewed very differently if the race features either of the “S” symbols since the pace dynamics give him a built-in – and previously unknown – excuse. A horse coming off a blowout front-running score may be a short price in his return, but DRF readers will know if he took advantage of a paceless field, thanks to an “S” symbol in his running line. Conversely, those horses who were off the pace can be expected to improve next time in a race with more early speed.

The effort of a horse who blew a clear early lead is often viewed in a negative way. But what if he had to outrun several other speeds to get that lead? The “H” symbol lets readers know that it might have been a better try than it appears. Another horse might show a big closing effort, but that effort can be downgraded if the “H” symbol shows up in his running line.

Handicappers who had previously done pace analysis independently will find Pace Ace to be an important time-saving tool. Those using Moss Pace Figures will find Pace Ace to be a perfect complement to the figures. Moss Figures assess pace based on fractions, while Pace Ace takes into account the makeup of the field and race development. Thus, the two products work hand in hand. Bettors previously unfamiliar with the value of pace handicapping will be astounded to see how much an extreme pace scenario can affect a horse’s form on paper.

Pace Ace is revolutionary. It will change the way handicappers look at past performances, giving DRF readers an edge.