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Ups & Downs: A Performance Cycle Examination

By Craig Walker - TrackMaster, An Equibase Company

The Performance Cycles handicapping report is a comprehensive tool used to analyze and predict the performance of horses in upcoming races. By providing key information regarding a horse's form cycle, the report will help you make more informed decisions. An additional feature is the Projected Performance Rating, which is the expected rating the horse will produce today. A complex algorithm is used to analyze all the factors that go into this highly effective rating.

In general, form cycles are one of the least understood handicapping factors. Many bettors just take a cursory look at form, examining the speed figures a horse has earned in the last couple of races and the finish position in those races, to determine how a horse may perform today. A horse's form cycle has an ebb and flow throughout a horse's career. The Performance Cycles report offers a visualization of the form cycle for each horse.

The Performance Ratings are calculated using an algorithm, which incorporates final time, pace and class to rate a horse's past efforts. Unlike with some other providers, weight carried and ground-loss, are non-factors in the ratings. The ratings are plotted on the twelve-month and four-year graphs to be utilized for effective analysis. The lower the rating equates to the better the performance.

Today’s example comes from the Grade 1, Beholder Mile Stakes run at Santa Anita Park, on the dirt on Saturday, March 11th. The horse with the lowest (best) Projected Performance Rating (noted as ranked 1 in parenthesis for the Projected PR: 17), A Mo Reay, comes into the race with solid form and a Performance Rating of 16 as her Best Performance Rating in a dirt route on her twelve-month graph.

(For more information regarding the format and explanation of the various symbols used in the report, please examine the help guide.)

Looking at the four-year graph, it is obvious that she has turned the corner since the July 14th, 2022 race at Saratoga. The graphical view helps to visualize a horse's performance cycle with the lowest (best) ratings near the top of the graph, while higher (worse) ratings are positioned lower on the graph. The four outings since that race are much improved and at the top of her form cycle compared to any of her previous races.

The heavy favorite in the race is Fun to Dream. She has a Projected Rating of 21 and she has earned an 18 as her Best Performance Rating in a dirt route on her twelve-month graph.

With Fun to Dream going off as an odds-on favorite and trying a route distance only once up to that point, made A Mo Reay an attractive wager of odds at nearly eight to one. A Mo Reay was able to wear down Fun To Dream in the stretch drive to get up in time in the last jump to win, paying $17.80.

The concept of form cycles displayed in this graphical manner, offers a different viewpoint from traditional past performances, giving you an impression of the ups and downs in a horse’s career. The Performance Cycles report can help you get a competitive edge at the wagering windows.

( For more examples and details of various types of form cycle patterns found in the Performance Cycles product, please review the Performance Cycles Tutorial.)

Performance Cycles can be found on our website in the Advanced Reports section. Additionally, for those who purchase F.A.S.T. Sheets or Walker Group selections at the reduced price of only $10, a link is included to obtain the Performance Cycles report for that track/date at no extra charge.