About RS-Pos(TM) Running Style-Position Report

What is RsPos TM (Running Style-Position)?

Running style-position is a complete methodology that is designed to help us understand how a race will be run. By assigning a descriptive label to each horse we can highlight similarities and differences between horses and between races. This allows us to view the handicapping process from a new and different perspective.

This method involves two major components:

1. Determining projected "Rs" (Running Style)

2. Determining projected "Pos" (Position)

The projected "Rs" is determined prior to the race and attempts to project how the horse can win the race, while the actual running style, after the fact, indicates how the horse actually ran the race. It is important to understand this distinction between what was projected and what happened. Every paceline in a horse's past performances has a projected "Rs" and an actual running style.

We have defined 7 major categories of running styles. They include: "E", "EP", "P", "PS", "S", "SS", and "U". The "rule-of-thumb" definitions for running styles are as follows:

Running Style Definitions
Running Style Description
E - Early A win where the horse goes wire to wire
EP - Early Presser A win where the horse is within 1 length of the leader at the 1/4 mile call
P - Presser A win where the horse is within 1 length of the leader at the 1/2 mile call
PS - Presser Sustained A win where the horse is within 1 length of the leader at the stretch call
S - Sustained A win where the horse does not qualify for any of the above but is never more than 7 lengths off the pace or positioned farther back than seventh
SS - Slow Sustained A win where the horse does not qualify for any of the above, in other words, a deep closer
U - Unknown (or Ugly) The horse has not demonstrated its' running style yet

Every horse's projected "Rs" is defined by the way they win races, and we consider the last three wins. For example, if a horse has won only as an "E" then he is projected as an "E", if he has won as an "E" and an "EP" then he is projeted as an "EP", if he has won as an "E", "EP", and "P" then he is projected as a "P". In each case we use the running style furthest off the pace when the horse has won with more than one running style. There are sub categories and subtleties (capital E versus small "e", versus! etc.) that we have discovered that we cannot explain here. While the actual algorithm we use to determine running style is complicated and proprietary, all you need to do is understand these definitions of running styles and a picture of how the race will be run will begin to evolve.

A typical "E" horse is going to try to win wire to wire, where a typical "PS" horse will not get involved in the early going and will not put any pressure on the early pace. In fact, to run his best race, he should not get involved in the race until the stretch. An "SS" horse will be at the back of the pack, won't put any pressure on any part of the race, and will win probably on the last stride (if he wins at all). "SS" horse typically do not win their fair share of races.

The very tight definitions described above give us an opportunity to predict a horse's chance of winning by only knowing his projected "RS." For example, an "EP" horse that is slower than an "E" horse in the race has a reduced chance of running his best race. A "PS" horse whose stretch pace ratings are inferior to all other horses in the race can not run his best race. A "P" horse that has never run a half-mile close to others in the race has a small chance of running his best race. With a little bit of experience you can scan our Rs-Pos TM reports and immediately see which horses have a good chance of winning, and which have little or no chance of winning.

The "Pos" part of RsPos TM is determined by how fast each horse can run. If all of the horses in the race broke out of the gate and ran as fast as they possibly could, what would their positions be after 1/4 mile? Wthout getting into a discussion about all of the methods we have tested to determine this, we continue to use the best 1/4 mile (first quarter mile out of the gate) that a horse has actually run in its last 10 races. The correlation between this ranking and finish position is near perfect.

We use the best 1/4 time (B1/4) for each horse in the last 10 races and rank each horse in today's race. The horse that ranks 1 will win more races than the horse that ranks 2, who will win more than the horse that ranks 3, who will win more than the horse that ranks 4, etc. The horse that ranks 7th will most likely be 7th at the first call and will most likely finish 7th. This fact gives us a powerful tool to use in our handicapping.

Another fact to keep in mind - this is raw speed to the first quarter mile - it is not adjusted in any manner. Horses that can run fast have demonstrated that they can run fast! We have found that it is best to use this number without adjustment. We know that when horses move from a very fast track to a very slow track, they slow down, they don't all slow down the same amount. Conversely, to assume that horses speed up when moving from a slow track to a fast track is incorrect. Not all of them do! Our studies show that "E" horses are more affected than "S" horses when moving from a slow surface to a fast surface, but it is very difficult to say, accurately, by how much.

Combining the two, running style and position, we have a descriptive label that uniquely identifies each horse in the race: E1, P4, PS5, S7, EP2, SS13. Once these labels are applied, the understanding of each race is greatly improved, and the reasons why certain horses win or lose become much more evident. The number of different race scenarios is large - but improving your understanding of the race by using RsPos TM will give you a significant edge. While impossible to discuss each one of these different scenarios, we will illustrate a few of the more common ones.

For example, a lone "E1" with an inside post will get the lead about 60% of the time and will win about 50% of the time that he gets the lead. If he has been in races in his recent past where he has been an E3 or E5 or not alone (not the only E), he could possibly go wire to wire today at a big price. It happens all the time!

"P" horses tend to place more than they show, and very often a morning line favorite P5 or P6 will be the place horse and not the win horse. A P1 will run his best race when he is outside, ridden by a jockey that likes to track, and is behind an E1 and E2.

An "S7" can't win on his own - the horses in front of him have to go too fast and set the race up for him, and the S7 must have final times far superior to an EP1 in the same races if he is expected to beat him.

"S" horses show more than they win and are key to playing trifectas. An E7 is more likely to run last than first, and at times are favored to win without a prayer of doing so.

After using RsPos TM you begin to notice that certain jockeys have strong preference for a particular position that they would like to obtain, and will do fine if the horse happens to be capable of getting to that position, but fail otherwise. For example, some jockeys prefer to lay second, where others are more likely to take a stronger hold. Some are almost sure to gun for the lead out of the gate. However, the horse will finish better when the jockey matches the horse's position or takes back from that position. Horses perform worse when the jockey moves them forward of their preferred position.

For example, a P4 will do much better if he runs from the 4th position rather than from 1st.  An EP6 usually doesn't fit the race since he doesn't have the early speed to get the position an EP needs to run his best race. "E" horses typically run 1st and 3rd, "P" horses run 2nd, "S" horses run 3rd more than they win, etc. Horses that are 1st, 2nd, 3rd at the 1/4 mile win about 60% of the races, and the running style-position methodology draws your attention to these horses!

We hope this has piqued your interest and given you an overview of how RsPos TM can be used to increase your chances of beating this tough game. All of us at HDW are available to answer questions and help you along in using these powerful tools. Please visit the forum for more information.