What is it?
The Conditioned Racing System is part of the New Business Model for Harness, designed to retain participation levels and increase competitive racing opportunities which in turn drives wagering turnover and profitability. It is based on horses’ stake earnings rather than allocating an assessment based on the class of the race won (ie. dollars won by a horse).
Where are we now?
We are now 14 weeks (at the time of print) in to the new system and encourage the industry to be patient and open to the significant changes that have occurred. It is anticipated that it will take between 6 and 12 months for the true value and benefits of the system to be realised.
How does it work?
There are two parts to the new conditioned racing system.
The first part relates to the grouping together of horses based on the stakes they have earned for WINNING races with allowances made for races won as a 2 or 3 year old and limits placed on higher staked races for all ages. This part of the system is referred to as Handicap Win Only Earnings (HWOE) Racing and is explained in detail in point 2 below.
The second part of the system relates to the grouping of horses based on the TOTAL stakes they have earned in their last 5 starts. This part of the system is known as L5$ Conditioned Racing as is expanded upon in point 3 below.
1. Race circuits, scheduling and philosophy
The new system is a conditioned racing system which reflects the following philosophy in regards to race scheduling;
2. Race Handicapping – HWOE
Part 1 of the new conditioned racing system groups horses together for the purpose of handicapping, based on the stakes they have earned for WINNING races. Put simply each time you WIN a race the dollar value paid for first is accumulated as your WOE (Win Only Earnings). Place money and payments back to last do NOT get counted in this calculation and Westbred and other Bonuses are also not included.
It is acknowledged however that two and three years should be treated differently to ensure that when they progress into open company that they are not overly penalised for having successful juvenile careers. That said, we do not believe that horses that win a considerable number of races, particularly group races, should enter the open class system as a maiden. Accordingly, the grouping of horses is based on Handicap Win Only Earnings or HWOE.
This calculation is similar to the WOE EXCEPT the dollar value paid for winning is normalised back to a Win Value using a formula to take into account various situations such as 2YO/3YO earnings and also Feature Stakes Wins.
This is explained as follows:
The discounts for two and three year old races are:
2yo wins in races less than $100,000 then 25% of win stake to be considered towards the handicap win only earnings to a maximum of $3,750 per race
By placing these maximum limits on the races we ensure that successful horses are not overly penalised for winning Group races with large stakes and at the same time protect genuine maidens form having to meet these more successful horses as they progress.
The collection of these stakes against a horse are known as the horses HANDICAP WIN ONLY EARNINGS or HWOE.
To ensure that horses were not overly penalised in the transition to the new system two calculations were made. The first was to calculate a horse’s actual HWOE based on the formula above. It was acknowledged however that many horses had risen and dropped in class, sometimes numerous times, over the years with the previous “drop back” rule, and while they may have been lowly assessed at the time of transition they may have in fact won a number of races through a range of classes over the years. To use ALL their win dollars would have seen these horses unfairly transition at a much higher level than they were.
To ensure that this did not happen, a second calculation was made to simply take a horse’s assessment at transition and assign it an arbitrary HWOE figure based on that classification as per the table below .
A horse’s HWOE was then based on the LOWER of those two amounts.
3. L5$ Conditioned Racing
The basic concept behind L5$ races is to give horses who may be struggling at their HWOE Level a chance to drop into a race where they might be able to earn again and establish some form. Horses are grouped together for these races by way of their TOTAL Earnings in their past 5 starts. Winning form within these conditioned races will allow those horses to then go back into the established HWOE Grouping or UP to the next level of L5$ Conditioned race. Consistent placings will allow horses to keep racing at the same level and importantly keep earning money. Horses unable to earn at a level are eligible to race at the next lower level. To stop horses dropping down to a lower level too quickly within this stream restrictions are enforced by way of the inclusion of Not Eligible Conditions.
This stream of racing is also a valuable tool to place horses which are progressing UP the HWOE stream.
Example of a L5$ Race
Race would appear in program as:
L5$ LT $25,000 (Level 12)
(CONCESSIONS L5$ < $27,500)
NE Winners of Level 12+ Last 5 starts
Starters Level 15+ Last 5 starts
In this example the race is for Horses that have earned less than $25,000 in their last five starts. This is total stakes not just win stakes.
This race also allows mares or horses utilising a novice concession that have earned $27,500 in their last 5 starts to enter. The NE clause protects eligible horses by not allowing winners of this level race or higher within their last five starts. This condition ensures a winner in this class of race in their past 5 starts goes back to the standard HWOE races for their class OR rises to the next level (L5$ LT $30,000) in this stream for a minimum of 5 starts.
The NE clause also prevents a horse which has raced in OPEN/FFA's (Level 15) without winning in their past 5 starts from dropping into this race even if that horse’s Total earnings in their past 5 starts is less than the threshold for this race($25,000 or $27,500 with a Concession).
4. Standing Starts
Levels are assigned from the Front Mark as a Base and then to each Handicap Mark until the top Level is reached at which stage all further marks will be the same level. Standing Starts Handicaps are formulated on a Conditioned basis, grouping horses in similar fashion to the mobile groups in 10 metre increments. As is the case in mobiles, the lower marks are protected from dropdowns by excluding concessions and Also Eligible Letups.
The higher marks however, allow for both concession and Also Eligible letups on their natural handicap mark. A variety of front mark standing start races are available to be programmed to allow a natural progression via a front mark handicap. In the higher front mark races it is possible to use a concession or an Also Eligible Letup to gain a front line handicap.
Nominating into a higher class in order to get a front line handicap mark is allowed but a Preference in field selection will be to horses on their true handicap mark to ensure these horses are not excluded from racing in their proper handicap group by lower assessed horses with better form points.
Not Eligible Clauses will be in place at Community, Country and Provincial 2 Circuits to restrict higher classified horses dropping back into a stand on a relatively easy handicap mark.
Not Eligible Clauses will be in place at Metro Prime to restrict lower classified horses gaining the opportunity to win off a front mark excessively. Preferences will be used in higher front mark races to ensure horses in their legitimate class aren’t denied a start by a horse nominating higher than its legitimate class.
5. Steps for Harness Web
The new system is a conditioned handicapping system which groups horses together for the purpose of handicapping based on the stakes they have earned for WINNING races. The team at Racing and Wagering WA have already allocated your horse a tier based on previous earnings, there are however a number of conditions and concessions available to you which may mean you are eligible to nominate for more races than you initially realise.
When nominating for a race via the Harness Web there are icons next to the races which indicate the following;
We understand that significant change to any racing system can cause confusion, challenge and frustration.. If you have any concerns or queries or are having trouble navigating your way through Harness Web please ring the Harness Office on 9445 5283 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endeavour to assist you.