10/22/2014 4:44PM

Pandolfo: Harness Par Times


It's been a few years since I've released updated track par times. These have been recently modified. I'm going to list the most popular tracks and the ones that I follow. You can use these times to adjust final times for shippers. If you use the DRF Harness Eye past performances, the published Speed Figures are already adjusted for track speed, and I recommend that you use those figures. But it's always good to have a general idea of track speed.

All of my par times are based on a $10,000 claiming condition. When I create these times, I start off with the general premise that there's a standard difference between two, three, and four turn tracks. It used to be that a two turn track was about three seconds faster than a four turn track. But that doesn't seem to hold up anymore. My current base formula is one second for each turn, so a two turn track is one second faster than a three turn track, and two seconds faster than a four turn track. I start with that base, then I adjust each track individually. The criteria I use is a combination of comparing the fastest (track record) time over the track, and comparing the final times of shippers.

[DRF HARNESS: Five major stakes including the International Trot Preview - LIVE from Yonkers Raceway on DRF!]

For instance, I have Pocono Downs rated at 1:55 2/5, and the Meadowlands at 1:55. That's unusual. Since Pocono is three turns and the Meadowlands is two, Pocono should be at least a second slower. But, many horses have raced at both tracks, and some horses  go as fast at Pocono as they do at the Meadowlands. So personal observation plays a big part in my calculations.

It's not very scientific. I don't think there's a foolproof way to create these comparison times. Years ago a computer programmer I know ran thousands of races through a computer and tried to create automatic par times for each class level. For instance, he averaged all of the 10,000 claimer times at each track. It seemed reasonable that you could just compare the averages and it would automatically make the correct adjustment. But it isn't that simple. The class levels at each track are not identical. For instance, a horse that's able to win a $10K claiming race at Cal Expo may be competitive in a $15,000 claiming race at the Meadowlands. How can that be? It depends on the class structure at the track. At some tracks, a $10K claimer may be the slowest horse on the grounds. At another track that has lower purses, there could be three or four claiming levels below a $10K claimer.

When comparing times from track to track, there are four main reasons why the speeds can be different.

1) The size of the track and amount of turns.

2) Track surface speed.

3) The class of the horses that race at the track.

4) The run-up to the start (the distance from the start to the turn). Generally speaking, when a track has a longer run to the first turn, it creates faster first quarters, which usually results in faster final times.

Some track surfaces, such as Pocono, are glib. Others, such as Monticello, seem slower than normal. But, the quality of the horses at each track makes these comparisons tricky. Is Monticello a slow track or are the horses slow? The answer may lie somewhere in between. Personally, I believe that there are only a few tracks that vary significantly from the norm. For instance, with the exception of Pocono, there is not a big difference between the rest of the five-eighth tracks. I have Tioga Downs at 1:56 3/5. I have Dover Downs at 1:56 2/5. Some people may think that's wrong. Generally speaking, the final times at Dover seem faster. But Dover has higher purses and faster horses. Again, this is why creating par times is tricky. No one can unequivocally state that they have the correct time comparisons. But, we try.

[DRF HARNESS: Check out our Harness Eye PPs and see our discount packages]

Keep in mind, when evaluating shippers, it's not just time that counts. Some horses prefer two turns over three and four, or vice versa. It's good to look over the record of the horse to see if it has such a preference. This can make a big difference. There are horses that will struggle around a half mile track, and then go much faster when shipped to a two turn track. And there are many horses that don't have the stamina for a one mile track, but have the tactical speed to win on a half mile track.

Pandy's Harness Track Par Times

Cal Expo (CX1) 1:55
Dover (DD) 1:56 2/5
Freehold (FHD)  1:57
Harrington (HAR) 1:57 3/5
Hoosier (HOP) 1:56 3/5
The Red Mile (LX1) 1:54
Maywood (MAY) 1:56 3/5
Meadowlands (M1) 1:55
The Meadows (MW) 1:56 3/5
Mohawk (MHK) 1:55 2/5
Monticello (MR) 1:58 2/5
Northfield (NFD) 1:57
Pocono (PCD) 1:55 2/5
Philadelphia (PHL) 1:56
Pompano (PPK) 1:56
Saratoga (STG) 1:57
Tioga (TGD) 1:56 3/5
Vernon (VD) 1:55 3/5
Woodbine (WBN) 1:55 3/5
Yonkers (YR) 1:57 2/5



















To find out more about Pandy’s handicapping theories check out his www.trotpicks.com or www.handicappingwinners.com websites, his free picks at handicapping.ustrotting.com/pandycapping.cfm or write to Bob Pandolfo, 3386 Creek Road, Northampton, PA 18067.