10/25/2007 12:00AM

Who rates in Racing Post Ratings?

EmailAn analysis of the best Racing Post Ratings of the European-trained horses in the four Breeders' Cup races on turf with those of their American rivals reveals some intriguing comparisons.

When analyzing the data in the accompanying chart, remember that the RPR is a handicap rating designed to determine what weight a horse would carry in a handicap. So if the Turf were a handicap, Dylan Thomas at 131 would be giving six pounds to Red Rocks at 125. That they will be carrying equal weights on Saturday gives Dylan Thomas a big edge over all of his rivals, in theory at least.

Note that RPRs are adjusted for weights carried in the race for which they were assigned. Thus English Channel gets a 122 for his three-length second in the Sword Dancer Handicap to Grand Couturier, who earned a 120 that day in victory. The reason for the discrepancy is that English Channel was giving Grand Couturier six pounds. The Beyer Figures of Grand Couturier (105) and English Channel (104) tell a much different story. Note as well that English Channel also received a 122 RPR for winning the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth, an exact duplication of his 2006 victory in the same race, but that he earned just a 117 RPR for his Turf Classic victory at Belmont.

Like all figures, Racing Post Ratings should not be taken at face value. For example, Simply Perfect's best RPR of 116 was awarded for her victory the one-mile Falmouth Stakes. Given that she flopped in her lone try beyond a mile when sixth in the 1 1/2-mile English Oaks, it would be risky to rate her as second best in the 1 3/8-mile Filly and Turf, which is where her raw RPR places her. Also be wary of the 112 RPR best of Juvenile Turf entrant Strike the Deal. That was awarded for his close second in the six-furlong Middle Park Stakes, but in the Juvenile Turf he will be going two furlongs farther than he ever has before. If, on the other hand, you think that Strike the Deal can stay a mile, he must be your selection based on his best Racing Post Rating.