How to Use Speed Ratings at the Races ?

speed ratings at the races
June 6, 2023

One of the most powerful tools for highlighting horses that can win is our speed ratings. Horses that finished fifth or sixth last time out but scored good speed ratings can make great value bets, especially if they race in similar conditions this time.

Most speed handicappers use a method that assigns a number based on a horse’s final running time relative to the track record for that distance. There are, however, several issues with this approach. In this article, we will discuss about speed ratings at the races.


There are a wide variety of individual flat races ranging from less than two miles (3.2 km) to four furlongs (616 m). Short races, called sprints in the United States and routes in Europe, are considered tests of speed, while longer races, such as the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe or Melbourne Cup, are considered tests of stamina.

The race distance affects the average pace and acceleration strategies of horses. The average race speed is lower in shorter races, higher in mid-race distances and then decreases as horses run out their energy reserves. The choice of pacing strategy and the effect of aerodynamic drafting are key factors in race performance.

Split times are a valuable tool for analysing the pace of races, as they show when horses accelerate and slow down. Horses that take fewer strides per minute, as they move closer to the leader, typically go faster than those who spend more time in a drafting position. However, there are also many differences in split times for different races and on a variety of track surfaces.


Speed ratings are determined by a number of factors, including how fast horses have raced at the track in the past. This information is then used to determine a horse’s average speed rating, which is then subtracted or added to a horse’s final race time to arrive at the horse’s Beyer Speed Figure. This is a very important factor when handicapping horse races and can make or break a race.

The way a horse’s final race time is determined is by calculating the three quickest winning times at that distance for that class level on that track in the past three years. These times are then averaged to give the 100 Speed Rating for that class level and distance. The Speed Rating is also adjusted for the condition of the racetrack on that day, as well as the positive or negative effect that post position has on a horse’s overall finish.

While every figure maker has a different way of doing things, they all come to the same conclusion: faster horses beat slower horses, and a higher speed rating indicates that a horse is running at a faster pace than its competitors. It’s important to keep in mind that these figures are only one piece of the puzzle, and other factors such as traffic, a wide trip or a bad ride will affect a horse’s final race time.

It’s also important to remember that track conditions can significantly alter a horse’s final run time, and this is why the figure makers will always adjust their figures for each race. It’s not uncommon for a half mile track to play five points faster than a one mile track, so the figure makers will adjust for that when determining the speed of each horse.

This allows us to compare the speed of a horse at any track, no matter what size it is or how fast it has run in the past. This is especially useful when analyzing a horse’s performance when it is making its first start at a new track or changing classes dramatically.


While speed ratings are based on the average winning time for a specific class, age group and race type, this isn’t to say that they are static or will be the same every time. A horse will perform differently on different surfaces, and these differences are taken into account. This process is why our speed figures are based on accurate, current data, so that you can see if a horse has performed to its best ability on a particular surface or over a particular distance.

This is where the ‘value’ in our speed ratings lies – horses that have performed well on all-weather surfaces (such as Dubai) or dirt will usually perform better than those who have shown poor turf form. This is taken into consideration in our Gold selections and it can often be the difference between a bet that misses and one that hits!

Another variable is the track. The Track Variant takes into account all the races that have been run on a given day under similar conditions of distance, class and track surface and an average is computed. This is then deducted from the par of 100 to give a Track Rating for that day. This helps to level the playing field between different tracks and allows you to compare performance across races.

A final adjustment is made to the resulting speed rating to take into account post position. This takes into account the positive and negative effect that post has on a horse’s performance. This is a very complex calculation and our experienced handicappers spend a lot of their time working on the finer points of this process to provide you with the most accurate and helpful information possible.

All of this goes to show that, when used correctly, speed ratings can be a very useful and powerful tool for making the right betting decisions. They can help you to identify the best bets when a horse is shipping to a new track or changing classes dramatically. They can also give you a real insight into the overall quality of the field you are betting on. By taking into account all of these variables, our speed ratings will help you to make the best decisions for each race and put your money in your pocket more often.


Many services offer speed ratings to help handicappers analyze races in granular detail. Brisnet, for instance, offers four different types of speed ratings that can be used by handicappers to analyze horses in a race. These include Pace (E1 and E2), Race and Class ratings. These ratings are based on an objective, computer-precise projection method. This enables them to be more accurate than other projection methods.

A Beyer Speed Rating is based on a comparison of the final running time of a horse to the track’s best times for that distance at the same track in the last three years. A horse whose final time equals the best time earns a Beyer speed rating of 100. A point is subtracted from 100 for each fifth of a second by which a horse misses the track’s best time. The resulting number is then converted to pounds of ground per minute by dividing it by the speed of the track. Thus, a horse with a Beyer of 80 has run slower than one with a Beyer of 90 because the horse with the lower number covered more ground in a shorter period of time.

Other services, such as Thoro-Graph and The Sheets, also create their own speed ratings. They use a similar methodology, but differ slightly from each other in how they present the information. For example, Thoro-Graph uses a condensed running line that includes trainer, jockey and breeding stats in addition to the standard speed and class figures. Its speed ratings are often a few points lower than those of Ragozin.

Horses with higher average speed ratings are more likely to win races. This is especially true if the race is on a fast track, where horses with high average speed ratings are likely to be faster than those with low average speed ratings.

Another factor that influences a horse’s average speed rating is its weight carrying capacity. The heavier the weight a horse is carrying, the slower it will be. However, this is not an absolute measure of a horse’s ability, since it may be able to carry more weight and still perform well in a race. To know more about speed ratings at the races just follow us.


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