The biggest question sent in about horses is…how do you read the TSP Power Ratings? Below is the explanation. TSP Power Ratings are to be used within your handicapping of the races. TSP Power Ratings ARE NOT stand-alone wager advice nor a listing of how you should bet the race. TSP Power Ratings are posted (usually to Twitter) as follows…
The first thing to understand is these horse numbers are in order of highest TSP Power Rating to lowest TSP Power Rating. So, you would read the above example as….in Race #1, the #1 horse has the highest power rating, the #5 horse has the second highest power rating, the #4 has the third highest power rating and so on. Now the part that trips everyone up is the “/” and “-” between horses.
The “/” means there is at least 4 points of TSP Power Rating separation between one horse and the next horse. So, you see a “/” between the #5 and #4 horses in the example above. What this means is there is a decent amount of power rating separation (4 points or more) between the #5 and #4 horses. Thereby, based on power rating, the #5 is decidedly better than the #4 using the ratings example listed above. We see a “-” between the #1 and #5 horse. What that means is that there are 3 or fewer power rating points of separation between the #1 and #5 horses. So, the separation between the #1 and #5 horses is much less and thereby the horses are closer in power rating to one another.
Reading the Race #1 example above altogether would result in the following understanding…the #1 horse is the highest rated, the #5 horse is the second highest rated and since there is no “/” separating #1 and #5, we know that the #5 is 1-3 power rating points, at most, behind the #1. Then the #4 is at least four points away from the #5 with the #2 being 1-3 points behind the #4 and then the #6 being 1-3 points behind the #2. Then there is at least 4 points of separation between the #6 and #7. We then have #8 being 1-3 points behind #7, #9 being 1-3 points behind #8 and finally #10 being 1-3 points behind #9. I know it can seem confusing, but it is just a way to illustrate the ranking of the horses when space is limited (like in a tweet). I hope this helps clarify the ratings and shows you where separation exists. In the past I just listed the horses in order, but I figure it helps to know where there is decent separation between the horses for your betting, so the “/” and “-” were born. I welcome feedback!
Development of the TSP Power Ratings
The first sport I ever bet on, by myself, was horse racing. Horse racing holds a special place in my heart thanks to all the memories it brings back. I sucked when I first started betting the ponies. I was only a teenager and thought betting was easy…like far too many adults today. I realized, through many failures, that it took time & effort to be successful at betting. Back when I began my horse wagering adventure, the Beyer Speed ratings were the pinnacle of horse racing analytics. If you aren’t familiar, it’s worth a Google search for “Beyer Speed Ratings” for some background. Anyway, given I was already into betting arithmetic in high school, I bought Beyer’s book and began to put together a very rough power rating calculation. I say “rough”, because it was barely grounded in any theory. It was an attempt to grasp for straws, using a little insight from Beyer’s method. The hope of my attempt was that chaos would create organization. Chaos did not, but it did set me on the path to a more evolved horse racing model. As the years went along and my education into betting analytics and modeling expanded, I began to develop an intricate calculation to assess the quality of the horses in the race and a horse’s expected finish. I don’t reveal my calculations or methods, but suffice it to say, I used the Beyer model and adjusted it. I looked at class ratings, speed calculations, pace expectations and a couple other angles (the secret sauce) to create an expected order of finish probabilities. The probabilities were then used to calculate expected payoff values for each horse. The probability and value components came together in a final power rating number…the TSP Power Ratings you see today. These ratings are going strong 20+ years now! I hope you enjoy them and they assist in your wagers!
Good luck in your wagers!