Thursday, September 01, 2016

Speed-Stamina Fingerprints

In 1981, Peter Riegel formulated an equation for the relationship between distance and time of athletics world-records. In 1982, Steve Roman adapted Riegel's equation to try and resolve the Secretariat Preakness controversy.
In a similar vein, we can generate unique speed-stamina, power-law fingerprints for racecourses (and horses) based on the best times for various distances. The simplest interpretation of these racecourse fingerprints is to confirm our expectations of the demands imposed by similar distances for different course configurations (Epsom is faster than either Ascot or Newmarket (lower y-intercept); Ascot and Newmarket have similar stamina profiles (same slopes)). Another possible insight might be how these course fingerprints reflect the potential impact on horses with different pace profiles (early speed at Epsom). A further analysis might be on how to better baseline and equate speed figures at different racecourses (use standard course with own speed-stamina equation). Finally, more controversially, using speed-stamina fingerprints for classic-generation (3yos) horses to match with course fingerprints in the lead-up to Group 1 contests (Epsom Derby) or for comparing performances from different classic generations (Frankel vs Sea The Stars).

Note the graph only shows best times and power-law equations for five, six, and seven-furlong races at Ascot, Epsom, and Newmarket and are for illustrative purposes only.