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By Fractional Times Spots
SILVER01HDW
7/10/2016
8:05:19 PM
I was wondering if the time points on a track were fixed at each quarter mile marker.

For example, since the final time is taken at the end of the race and each race ends at exactly the same spot on the track; That would indicate at least one is fixed.

Are the other 3 time spots at equidistant spots around the track?

Or are there more than 4 timers located on the track and only the ones which are relevant to the particular race actually used.
Also, where is the extra distance added in for races between 8 and 10 furlongs? All those distances list the time points as 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and Mile. Is the extra distance added in between the Mile time and the Finish Time?
Or is this what the Run-up indicates to account for the extra distance and the time doesn't start until they get to the "start the clock point" whereby the first quarter is not truly the same for all race distances.

I hope my question is not too confusing. I have never considered fractional times too much since I never wanted to bother with the calculations, but now I want to start.

Reply
jeff
7/11/2016
11:02:35 AM
I pulled the following from an HDW PDF document:




Fractional Times

All fractional times are in seconds in the format sss.hh; i.e. 1 min 10 sec = 70.00. All fractional times default to 0.0 if unavailable or not applicable.

IMPORTANT: Fractional times for races longer than 12 furlongs are reported inconsistently by tracks; thus not all of these fractions may be available for all races. We sometimes have the 7 furlong time for 7.5 and 8 furlong races. When available, it is put in the Fraction #4 slot.

Screenshot from the PDF showing points of call where fractional times are generated by Equibase at various distances:

Fractional Times Chart




Points of Call

Points of call and beaten lengths/leader margins default to 0 if not applicable or unavailable. In heavy fog, for instance, or for foreign races, some or all of this data will be unavailable and will be identifiable by zeros. The stretch call (Call 5) is always 1 furlong from the finish. The following values are used for beaten length/leader margins: nose = .05; neck = .10; head = .20.

Screenshot from the PDF showing points of call generated by Equibase at various distances:

Points of Call Chart



-jp

.


Reply
SILVER01HDW
7/11/2016
12:29:50 PM
I have seen those charts which is what lead me to the question really. For instance, the time points for all the races between 8 and 10 are the same points. Are those points measured from the beginning of the race?

It would seem that the timers are moved for each race or that there are multiple timers set around the track at fixed points and the timers which correspond to the distance from the start of the race are used.

Still, there is some extra distance which is not accounted for or it isn't clearly indicated where in the race it fits in.

For example, if the times are taken from the start of the race then the times for the 8 furlong race at the points indicated (if from the start of the race) would be the same exact distance in all the race distances from 8 through 10. And I would then guess that the extra distance from a 8 furlong race to a 8½ furlong race is at the end after the 4th time point?

And the call points are the same except for the STR call which is measured backward 1 furlong from the race finish line. The extra distance for the points of call would then be between the 3rd call and the STR call if I am understanding this correctly.

~Edited by: SILVER01HDW  on:  7/11/2016  at:  12:29:05 PM~

~Edited by: SILVER01HDW  on:  7/11/2016  at:  12:29:50 PM~

Reply
jeff
8/12/2016
11:44:45 AM

--quote:
"I have seen those charts which is what lead me to the question really. For instance, the time points for all the races between 8 and 10 are the same points. Are those points measured from the beginning of the race?"
--end quote


Depends what you mean by beginning of the race.

If you think the beginning of the race is at the starting gate - think again.

In North American thoroughbred racing - there's something called the runup.

The runup - for lack of a better description - is extra distance that the horses run - that isn't (officially) part of the race - and isn't (officially) timed.

I'll take this a step further. The runup is extra race distance that Equibase and Trakus are perfectly capable of timing (and actually have timed in some cases.)

But so far to date: Track management and horsemen's alphabet groups have refused to allow Equibase and Trakus to disseminate runup times to us bettors.

To illustrate, I did a Google search and came up with the following satellite image of Saratoga Race Course:

Satellite image - Saratoga Race Course - hand drawn points of call added.


--Note that for illustration purposes I've used a colored mouse pen to add hand drawn points of call to the above image.

--Note that the hand drawn points added to the image are located in a rough approximation of where they actually belong - and that the distance between them is a rough approximation as well.

Let's follow the horses through a hypothetical one turn 6 furlong race:

The red line on the backstretch represents the starting gate.

The gate opens and the horses begin running around the track in a counter clockwise direction.

The horses reach the blue line in front of the starting gate.

This blue line in front of the starting gate is where the race officially starts.

This blue line in front of the starting gate is also where timing of the race officially starts.

The distance between the red line and the blue line is called the runup distance - which is not officially part of the race - and is not officially timed.

The horses next reach the first green line.

This first green line is located 2 furlongs from the blue line. This is the point in the race where the time of the race leader is taken. The time of the race leader at this point in the race is recorded by Equibase as the time for Fraction #1.

In a six furlong race this is also where running position and beaten lengths are recorded for the 1st call per the points of call chart posted above.

The horses next reach the second green line.

This second green line is located 2 furlongs from the previous green line. This is the point in the race where the time of the race leader is taken once again. The time of the race leader at this point in the race is recorded by Equibase as the time for Fraction #2.

In a six furlong race this is also where running position and beaten lengths are recorded for the 2nd call per the points of call chart posted above.

The horses then reach the purple line located in the stretch. This purple line represents the position of the eighth pole. The actual pole is called the eighth pole because it is located one eighth of a mile from the finish line.

At this point in the race the time of the race leader is taken once again. The time of the race leader at this point in a six furlong race is recorded by Equibase as the time for Fraction #3.

In a six furlong race this is also where running position and beaten lengths are recorded for the 5th call - or stretch call - per the points of call chart posted above.

The horses then reach the white line - which represents the finish line.

Note that at every North American track I am aware of there is no actual finish line.

The actual race finish line is a theoretical point in space located out on the track at a 90 degree angle from the mid point of a six to eight inch wide mirror that is part of the photo finish equipment.

It is at this point in the race where the time of the race leader (or race winner) is taken and recorded by Equibase as final time for the race.




For better or worse the above describes the system used for timing and recording of positional calls and beaten lengths for North American thoroughbred six furlong races on the dirt.

Under this system:

Does anyone besides me find it odd that the distance between the starting gate and the finish line is NOT the official (or even actual) distance of the race?

Instead, the distance between the blue line and the finish line is the official distance of the race.

Believe it or not, according to the Equibase charts, a runup of 180 feet was frequently in use for six furlong races on the dirt at Churchill during their spring 2015 meet.

Even though six furlongs was listed as the official distance in the track program and charts: The actual distance that the horses ran in those races wasn't six furlongs. It was six furlongs and 180 feet. (Or six furlongs and sixty yards.)

I also find it odd that the horses themselves are not timed individually.

The only accurate time is that of the race leader at each point of call.

Beaten lengths for all other horses in a race at each point of call are arrived at by estimate made by the chart caller. (And sometimes those estimates have been flat wrong.)

Which has some pretty scary implications if you think about it. (Especially if you are betting anything resembling serious money.)

I won't even get into mistimed races. There's a current thread on Paceadvantage about mistimed turf races at Woodbine. Plenty of older threads too... one in particular about an entire season of mistimed races at Arlington comes to mind.




An interesting side project on my wish list would be to pick a meet - record the video for every race run during that meet, time the horses from gate open to finish line, and make my own speed and pace figs based on time for the actual distance traveled.

For example - If runup for a 6f race happens to be 110 feet - simply add the runup to the 6f distance and make the distance for that race 6f and 110 feet.

If runup for another 6f race happens to be 87 feet - simply add the runup to the 6f distance and make the distance for that race 6f and 87 feet.

I suspect developing speed and pace figs using actual distance traveled as the info model might prove to be interesting.


-jp

.












~Edited by: jeff  on:  8/12/2016  at:  11:44:45 AM~

Reply
SILVER01HDW
7/11/2016
10:12:07 PM
Thanks. That really helps a lot and it would seem less important to get actual fractional times for velocity feet per second since the times are inconsistent at best. The only really comparable time would be the Stretch run and of course Final Time if I am understanding this correctly.

Makes me wonder how exactly some handicapping programs can estimate the velocity.

Reply
rmarti2
8/10/2016
11:36:54 AM
Jeff, can you draw a line of where the Stretch call is on the race track picture for us to see?

Reply
jeff
8/11/2016
9:53:08 PM
The stretch call is at the eighth pole - which is represented by the purple line on the image.


-jp

.



Reply
dartman51
8/15/2016
11:22:18 PM
I'm assuming that the xrd file does not have these run up distances.

~Edited by: dartman51  on:  8/15/2016  at:  11:22:18 PM~

Reply
jeff
8/16/2016
3:50:51 PM
No runup in the .xrd file.

But runup distance absolutely is included in field #35 of the HDW Text Chart Results File.

Link to field mapping doc here:
http://www.jcapper.com/messageboard/reports/Comma_Delimited_Charts_Spec.pdf



-jp

.

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