Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Claiming Races

While the premise behind Thoroughmetrics is that the thoroughbred industry is short on really good statistical analysis and statistically valid research, that's not entirely true. The problem is that the vast majority of the quality research has focused on what handicappers need to know, not what owners and breeders need to know. A perfect example that occurred to me is what kind of research into trainer or trainer/owner performance in claiming races would be most useful. Handicappers are most interested in what happens while a horse is under the care of a trainer. What patterns does the trainer have success with? Do the horses the trainer claims improve while under his care? Owners on the other hand, should be more interested in what happens AFTER horses get claimed from a trainer or owner. Were they trained especially hard, causing ongoing health problems? Is a drop in class from that trainer (or owner) a warning sign that something is wrong and the stable is trying to unload the horse? If I can get my hands the right data (which, it appears, is going to be a recurring theme for me) I'd like to study whether there are stables whose horses should never be claimed, or should be avoided in certain situations (for example, a sharp drop in class coming off an ok performance).

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