THE ratings-based handicapping has been implemented for some months now, and many have raised the questions “what is it?”, and “why are we using it now?”
Ratings-based handicapping “is a flexible numeric-based domestic ratings system allowing horses to move up and down the ratings bands, which enables horses to remain competitive for longer periods, and allows out-of-form horses to move down the rating bands (New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing).”
The move to the ratings-based system is in line with the Philippine Racing Commission’s efforts for the country to implement compliance with international racing guidelines in line with its International Federation of Horseracing Authorities membership.
This alignment of Philippine racing systems with international standards is a priority initiative of Philracom Chairman Andrew Sanchez, with the support and cooperation of the local Thoroughbred industry.
Philracom Executive Director Andrew Rovie Buencamino explains: “It is the system used in almost all progressive racing authorities and is adopted by IFHA for handicapping horses in international invitational races.”
Our existing (or previous) handicapping, said IFHA consultant for handicapping Ciaran Kelly, cannot qualify as a handicapping system; the handicap race and class divisions are merely merit-demerit systems.
Among the ratings system’s objectives are to “equalize the field and give every horse a chance to win….it will make the handicapping process transparent to the public…and racehorses in the Philippines will be eligible to participate abroad.”
Said Buencamino, “The system [we are now using] was developed with the help of consultant Michael Wanklin, who was the Senior Handicapper of the Jockey Club of South Africa, Vice-Chairman for Racing of the Singapore Turf Club (STC), and the Chief of the Handicapping Division of the STC, where he was instrumental in guiding the club into the rating system. He was recommended to us by IFHA consultant for handicapping Ciaran Kenelly, who also visited us this year.”
Think of it as a points system for 3YO and older horses (the “points” are the “ratings”): Grade/group races winners/placers imported horses, minimum 100 points; G1 winners local (P2.5M and up total guaranteed prize or TGP), min. 90 pts.; G2 winners (P500K to P1.499M)/G1 placers (2nd and 3rd) local, min. 80 pts.; G3 winners (P500K to P1.499M)/G2 placers (2nd and 3rd) local TGP, min. 70 pts.; and so on down the line to non-placers, min. 15 pts.
For the “ratings bands,” the guidelines state that “a maximum 16 points or 8 kgs. weight spread shall be used in ratings-based handicap races.”
For “ratings-based groupings,” a table of ratings corresponding to classes on one hand and class-division on the other shall be followed.
With reference to this table, “7 shall be the lowest rating and the horses within this group shall race against each other with a set weight of 54 kgs. Adjustment shall be as follows: a) ratings points shall be added to the winner based on the adjustment of winners in the guidelines; b) 2nd placers plus 1 kilo; c) 3rd placers plus .5 kilo; 4th placers to last a deduction of 1 kilo.”
The basic guidelines are: “for winners, an adjustment of not less than 5 ratings pts. and a maximum of 10 ratings pts. and to be based on the margin and manner of victory, [and] quality of opposition. For Class 1, minimum rule does not apply.”
Further, for 2nd and 3rd placers, a maximum adjustment of 2 ratings pts.; for non-placers who have shown uncompetitive effort, for ratings 81 and above, a maximum decrease of 5 ratings pts., and for ratings 80 and below, a maximum decrease of 3 ratings pts.”
There are also guidelines when no reduction in points shall be made depending on certain circumstances and conditions.
The full set of guidelines may be requested from Philracom; visit their website at philracom.gov.ph for their contact information.
These are the bare bones but I hope this gives you some insight. Post questions about this and other racing matters on my Facebook page, “Gogirl Racing”.
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Dr. Ortuoste is a California-based writer and researcher. Facebook: Gogirl Racing and Jenny Ortuoste, Twitter: @gogirlracing and @jennyortuoste