Sep 5 2014

TimeformUS Trainer Ratings – Explained and Verified

TimeformUS Logo

In a prior article we introduced TimeformUS as “the new racing form in town!”  Click here to read our overview of TimeformUS and our list of top ten features.  In this article we will explore their Trainer Ratings and spot check a few specific examples in an attempt to verify their rating numbers.  Before we do that, let’s explain the TimeformUS ratings system when it comes to trainers.

Below is an sample of a TimeformUS display for North American trainer, George Weaver.

George Weaver TFUS Stats2

The “Ratings” column contains the ratings (in yellow boxes) for four categories.  The first line, with a rating of [74], is the overall rating for George Weaver, including ALL of his starters.  The second line, with a rating of [95], is his rating for the horses he started at the specific racetrack for the race you’re reviewing.  In this example we used a horse running in a race at Saratoga race course.

The third line is George Weaver’s rating [74] for horses returning to the races after a certain number of days off, 15-25 days in this example.  TimeformUS determines this range by adding and subtracting 25% from the number of days this specific horse has been away from the races.  So, the last race for this horse must have been 20 days ago.  If the horse had been off for 100 days, the range would have been from 75-125 days.

The fourth and final line is the rating [81] for the combination of the trainer of this horse and the jockey listed to ride today.  For this horse, it’s George Weaver and Joe Rocco, Jr.

These four categories are the standard ones displayed for all horses regardless of any other factors (e.g. age, class, distance, etc.) .  Of course the third and fourth lines will vary from horse to horse, based upon the number of days off and the jockey named to ride.

So, what scale are these ratings based upon, what criteria is used to calculate them, and how often are the ratings updated?  We did some reading on the TimeformUS website and found out the following:

  1. The ratings are on a scale of 1-100 (the higher the better).
  2. Five years of results are included in the computations.
  3. Results from the past year are weighted more heavily than the prior years.
  4. Win percentage and In-The-Money percentages are major factors.
  5. Win and Show ROI are factors, but not weighted as heavily as Win and ITM percentages.
  6. Field sizes are factored in, wins against larger fields are rewarded more than wins against small fields.
  7. Trainer ratings are updated real-time throughout the day, usually within 30 minutes of a race.

Click here to read an article on TimeformUS with a complete description of the trainer ratings and how they are computed on the TimeformUS website.


Notice just above George Weaver’s name there is a green link that says “More Ratings.”  If you click on this link, you will see a detailed box of trainer ratings, with specific categories matching today’s race.  The race we were reviewing is a 2-year old maiden race.  So, let’s focus on the categories listed to the far right under the column heading of “2YO Maiden.”

George Weaver TFUS Stats1

We drew a small blue box around a specific category of interest, 2-year old maidens at Saratoga.  You will notice that George Weaver has a rating of [100] and the box is shaded in white rather than yellow.  The white shading indicates that the data sample has less than twenty races for the past two years.  This is just a clue to the reader that the rating might be based more on data 3-5 years old than in the recent two years.

In an attempt to validate these ratings, we used another source of Trainer Statistics as a comparison.  We found the following information for George Weaver’s results in 2-year old maiden races over the past five years.

George Weaver 2yr Maidens

As TimeformUS had suggested, George Weaver’s results in 2-Year old Maiden races run at Saratoga is considerably better than the other two tracks where he runs the majority of his 2-year old horses.  We would expect that when he returns to Belmont in the Fall,where he has won only 5% of the time with 2-Year old maidens, his trainer rating will drop significantly as it will reflect Belmont results rather than Saratoga.


Continuing with our effort to spot check some of the ratings, we chose a race where trainer Steve Asmussen is starting a 2-year old horse in a Maiden Turf Sprint race.  Below are the TimeformUS ratings for this horse.

Steve Asmussen TFUS Stats1

You will notice that most of Asmussen’s ratings are quite high, except for the categories we circled in red.  And, it just so happens that all three of these categories match the circumstances of the horse in the race we’re handicapping.

  • Turf Sprints [65].
  • 2-Year Old Turf Sprints [67].
  • First Time on Turf [62].

Again, using another source of information, we confirmed what TimeformUS was indicating with it’s low ratings.

Steve Asmussen 2yr Maidens on Turf

It’s pretty clear from these statistics that Steve Asmussen is not strong in the category of 2-year old horses running on the turf, and in particular over the last year he has an extremely low win percentage of only 9%. Remember, results from the past year are weighted more heavily than the prior years.  The TimeformUS ratings suggest that while Steve Asmussen horses are a solid play in many categories, they are questionable when placed on the turf, especially for their first attempt (Low Rating of [62]).

To conclude our review we spot checked several other trainers, including ratings for the following trainers in categories described below:

  1. Chad Brown, Rating [70], in 2-Year Old Maidens on the dirt.  Considering that Chad’s overall 2-Year Old Maiden rating is high [98] on TFUS, we double checked his dirt races with an article we recently published about Chad Brown.  Sure enough, his win percentage and ROI were low for 2-Year Old Maidens on the dirt.  Click here to see the article that provides all the statistics for Chad’s 2-Year Old Maidens.
  2. Todd Pletcher, Rating [60], in 3-Year Old and Up Maidens.  We double checked this with an article we did that contrasts Pletcher’s high percentages for 2-Year Old maidens (ROI of $2.26) vs. older (3+) maidens (ROI of only $1.10).  Click here to see the complete article on Todd Pletcher.
  3. Rusty Arnold, Rating [56], in Route to Sprint races.  The low rating was confirmed when we found that Rusty wins only 10% and has a very low ROI of $1.35 when cutting a horse back from a route distance to a sprint.

In the end, we found that the TimeformUS ratings were consistently backed up by the raw statistics.  This was very encouraging and suggests that TimeformUS has written reliable algorithms to create these ratings.  As a handicapper, this gives me some confidence when relying on their ratings.

For more information about TimeformUS, click here to transfer to their website.


Kentucky Downs

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Saturday, September 13, 2014 will have four Stakes Races, including the Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup worth $600,000.

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By Neal Benoit

2 comments on “TimeformUS Trainer Ratings – Explained and Verified

  1. First off I used TimeFormUS all summer at Saratoga and really like the product. It’s to the point now where I feel lost without it. Unfortunately, I’m still tied to elements of the Daily Racing Form Formulator product that TimeFormUS doesn’t have, so I’m using both but that’s ok for now. I suggest for people to at least try out TimeFormUS because it’s worth a look. I guess the question I have is the rating scale of 100. In the last example of Rusty Arnold at 15% going Route to Sprint the rating is 56. On a 100 scale (like a test in school) 56 seems like a pretty bad rating to me. Along the lines of 5% not 15%. I think 15% win percentage is pretty acceptable if this number is correct. I know the ROI is a little low so maybe the recent Route to Sprint numbers over the past year are really low on this angle for Rusty Arnold? Just curious if there is a scale for the numbers/ratings. Maybe 50-60 range is considered “average” for TimeFormUS when I’m equating it to below average or really bad.

    • So, I went back and checked my numbers and found that I had a typo … Rusty Arnold’s win percentage in Routes to Sprints is only 10% for the past 5 years. Also, in the past year he won only 7% of these cutbacks with an ROI of just $0.45. This further confirms the low rating of [56] by TimeformUS. Nice catch Vince! BTW, I corrected the article to reflect the 10%. Thanks.

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