Calumet farm burials be damned! A swift look at sabermetric use in the racing game.
But things have changed in racing, just as they have changed in other sports. The sabermetrics movement, defined by objective analysis, especially statistics, shunned the insider perspective in baseball and has altered the way the sport is run. In professional basketball, “stat geeks” use mathematical formulas in an attempt to assess a player’s contribution in more meaningful ways than a scoring average or a scout’s eye-test. Many teams have bought in, and most have advanced stats experts on payroll.
Over the years, a similar shift has occurred in racing. Class still counts, and horsemen still train horses, but speed figures have wormed their way into every nook of the racing world.
“I am shocked, delighted, and gratified at how they’ve expanded,” said Andy Beyer, whose Beyer Speed Figures, as much as anything, triggered racing’s figure revolution. “I think younger racing fans would scarcely believe how the importance of time – forget even the concept of speed figures ? is missed for such a long time in racing and by such a large segment of the racing population. When I started out in racing, if you look at any literature from the time, the orthodoxy in racing was that time did not matter.”