Thursday, January 17, 2008

World Rankings Reworked

I'm quite intrigued with rankings. Even before I got into creating my own point system I spent a lot of time perusing over all types of different rankings like the Timeform Rankings, Globeform, Racing Post Ratings, the Experimental Free Handicap and of course the IFHA World Thoroughbred Rankings. They are likely the most respected rankings anywhere in the world. Although America in general treats any world ranking system with skepticism bordering on derision this is definitely the one ranking that is best accepted.

America does not officially recognize a "Horse of the World" in any given year but unofficially the IFHA top ranked horse claims the title the world over.

All of these rankings are based on the Experimental Free Weight Handicap concept that you rate a horse according to the weight differential necessary to make two horses equal. So if your horse was rated 124 and mine 120 it means that in the opinion of the rankings my horse would have to carry 4 lbs less than yours in a race in order for it to be a fair contest.

The problem with this type of ranking is A) they're based solely on the opinions of an expert panel and B) they represent only what the handicappers assume to be the horses top effort. Accomplishments are never brought into the picture. It is simply an attempt to identify which horse is the best at their best. That is why you'll see a horse like Any Given Saturday listed below. He was by no means one of the 10 most accomplished horses in the World in 2007, but in the panels opinion his Haskell was one of the 10 best races of the year.

IFHA World Thoroughbred Ranking
1. Manduro (GER) 131 FR
2. Authorized (IRE) 129 GB
2. Curlin (USA) 129 USA
2. Dylan Thomas (IRE) 129 IRE
2. Invasor (ARG) 129 USA
6. Street Sense (USA) 126 USA
7. Admire Moon (JPN) 125 JPN
7. English Channel (USA) 125 USA
7. Soldier Of Fortune (IRE) 125 IRE
10. Any Given Saturday (USA) 124 USA
10. Lawyer Ron (USA) 124 USA
10. Youmzain (IRE) 124 GB

I personally believe that accomplishments are more worthy of laud so I put my own TCR point system into use and tried to get a picture of who the top 10 most accomplished horses in the world were.

TCR World Overall Top 10
1. Dylan Thomas - 491.90 IRE
2. Curlin - 460.20 USA
3. English Channel - 334.60 USA
4. Miss Andretti - 315.80 AUS
5. Street Sense - 311.08 USA
6. Admire Moon - 309.00 JPN
7. Hard Spun - 292.08 USA
8. Ginger Punch - 288.38 USA
9. Manduro - 286.60 FR
10. Ramonti - 264.50 GB

Viva Pataca (256.96) and El Segundo (253.80) narrowly missed the top 10 representing Hong Kong and Australia respectively. A few will likely react to Dylan Thomas's name at the head of the list but this is based on accomplishments only and he did have quite the year. Manduro is ranked just 9th but injury halted his campaign. A win in the Arc (a race he would have been favored for) would have seen him climb to the top.

Just something to think about if you happen to have the same fascination with rankings as I.

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