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Old 01-13-2019, 03:27 PM   #1
rdiam
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Lies lies and racing statistics (a brain teaser)

from Mike Stephens of Colts Neck Data:

LIES LIES AND RACING STATISTICS (A BRAIN TEASER) -----------------------------------------------
Q1: Over the long run, horses starting from outside post posititions win less often than those starting from inside posts. Why is this?
A1: The most common explanation is that there are fewer starters from outside posts and, thus, fewer winners. Easy softball, right?
Not so fast. It’s a bit more complex. Let’s rephrase the question...
Q2: Horses starting from outside posts should statistically win at a lesser percentage than those starting from inside posts. Why?
A2: Ok, now we’ve brought it down to percentages. Horses starting from outside posts tend to lose more ground because they can be stuck running wide around the turns and may need to run farther than those breaking from the inside. Therefore, outside posts are usually at a disadvantage. Surely, this must be the reason. Right?
Well, sort of, but it still doesn’t fully explain the statistics. Let’s break things down further and simplify the question...
Q3: Over the course of a racing season, even if all races were run on a straightaway with no turns, inside posts are expected to exhibit a higher win percentage than outside posts. In fact, even if all post positions were randomly re-assigned before the start of each race, the originally-drawn inside posts would still be expected to win at a higher rate than the originally-drawn outside posts. Why is this?
HINT: What is the most ignored factor that skews racing stats?


************************ ANSWER ******************************** ================================================================ Let’s simplify with a specific question. Why can’t the winning percentage of the 4 post be directly compared to that of the 12, even with no ground loss involved? Well, it all comes down to FIELD SIZE or, more specifically, the fact that FIELD SIZES VARY. Horses breaking from post 12 are always guaranteed to be facing at least 11 others, while horses breaking from post 4 could, quite possibly, be facing as few as 3 but never more than horses with higher post positions. Not so puzzling now, is it?
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Old 01-13-2019, 05:33 PM   #2
Mitch44
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While fewer horses start to the outside it must be quantified with full fields. A post # 12 can't be used if the race only has 6 horses in it which distorts the facts. Only like scenario's can be used.

Even with that I still believe post position is irrelevant and I've have never considered it a factor or deserved my consideration because all post positions studies fail to consider the horse in that position / gate stall. In other words its class or if it is a top 3 contender. The best horse wins and overcomes or does what it has to in order to win.
Here's another that blows PP studies, horses on the inside feel inferior to an outside horse. It has to do with birth and always following the mother around on the left side. It's much more pronounced in fillies & mares than colts & male horses.

Ditto for weight considerations. Weight has more effect on horses in form and once in racing condition is nullified and also nullified by class. The best horses carry more weight and still win. In NY once a year in the fall they have a high-weight race (135lb.) and the best horse still wins.


I agree that many racing stats are flawed and can not be accepted at face value. To get true value one must do their own research. Even the old favorites winning 33% is flawed as fields are smaller and Grade 1 horses win much higher while NW2L teardown the average. Averages are deceptive as are most stats.


Mitch44

Last edited by Mitch44; 01-13-2019 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 01-13-2019, 10:37 PM   #3
MikeB
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I don't find aggregate statistics on things like post positions to be useful. Just to use this example, an outside post position in a 6.5f or 7f sprint out of a chute would seem to be much less of a factor than in a 4.5f or 5f sprint. But stats on sprints would not differentiate the two.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:41 AM   #4
AbqVic
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"Figures don't lie, but liars can figure." - Mark Twain

I've been looking for an opportunity to use this quote.
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"The race may not always be to the swift, nor the victory to the strong, but that's how you bet." - Damon Runyon

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Old 01-14-2019, 12:44 AM   #5
AbqVic
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"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." - Mark Twain
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"The race may not always be to the swift, nor the victory to the strong, but that's how you bet." - Damon Runyon

"I don't like money actually, but it quiets my nerves." - Joe Louis

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