In the mid 1980’s the Sartin methodology began to gather a lot of attention across the pond with both punters and journalists. The method revolves around essentially finding meaning within the rich source of sectional data available within US racing. Here in the UK we are only just starting to scratch the surface with Turftrax and Total Performance Data more recently starting to cover tracks.
The Sartin method initially has a focus on the four data items.

1st fraction
2nd fraction
final fraction
X factor

X factor is a calculation based on 1st fraction and final fraction but let’s not worry about that for now.

This article is not going to be pure Sartin but rather a quick look at sectional calls and how predictive they might be, having said that I will take a look at the X factor number although it is worth bearing in mind that Sartin does all his calculations using horse speed in feet per second. I would need to be a bit more confident about the measurements in the data before doing conversions but using actual times might still be informative.

I decided to look at a subset of data namely Wolverhampton 7f races. The approach centred around compiling averages or pars for first fraction, second fraction and final fraction calls. The Wolves 7f data alas starts at 4f which meant i decided to make the first call 4f, the second call 2f and the final call time obviously 2f to the finish. So just to recap we have a first section of 3f a mid section of 2f and a final section of 2f. These averages were based on horses winning races or getting beaten a head or less.

Now the first check I made was how did these winners do next time out if they were above par on the first section and above par on the final section. I am focusing on these sections as Sartin’s factor X revolves around them. Now I would expect them to do pretty badly being above par in both sections. By the way there is no allowance for class or conditions here yet, its very rough and ready.

Bets 16 PL +14.95 to BFSP

Now let’s consider those that ran below par for the first section and above par for the last.

Bets 50 PL +3.58 to BFSP

How about above par for the first section but below par for the last.

Bets 46 PL -9.77 to BFSP

Finally below par in both sections.

Bets 21 PL -18.05

Finally Sartin’s X factor is calculate by the simple formula

(1st fraction + final fraction) / 2

Calculating Pars for factor X and then a ratio for each winning horse via

ratio = horse X factor / Par X factor

We have for a ratio below 1

71 bets PL -14.47 to BFSP

For a ratio above 1

62 bets PL +5.18

The message, if there is one to be had, from the above figures, is that horses that have had tough races on the clock do worse next time out whereas winners who have had easy races on the clock fair better. This is just a hypothesis and would need testing on larger data.

But wait a minute, maybe we are just looking at the wrong fractions. I mean Tom Brohamer states that when a horse is top on the mid fraction and top on the final fraction it is time to loosen the betting belt. So how do those horses that win and beat par on these last two sections actually do next time out.

Bets 24 PL +11.14 to BFSP

None of this is pure Sartin or Brohamer but it does perhaps demonstrate that there is plenty of new rich veins of data coming online and those that ignore it need to be sectioned.