As most of the people who read this blog are aware I am quite an advocate of point systems. For years I've worked on and implement a point standings system know as the Thoroughbred Championship Rankings (TCR). The purpose of this system is to accurately assess the accomplishments of race horses and compile them into a single number. Fans can compare the numbers directly, it's the closest thing racing has to standings and if you look back over the historical data provided in the link you can see that the TCR does what it should. It very accurately assess' a horses accomplishments.
I have recently been working on another similar project and the first prototype is ready for release. A popular way of ranking teams in the major sports is this thing called power rankings. Essentially the idea behind power rankings is to find who the best teams currently are. Not necessarily who has the most wins or losses, although wins often accompany a high level of performance, but who is actually better. The TCR and all other point standings like it only assess the cumulative accomplishments. They tell you which has has done more, not which horse is better.
For instance many observers would say that Music Note is the best Three Year old Female in training. She has been brilliant lately and she handily defeated Proud Spell in their last meeting. However a point system like the TCR has Proud Spell (127.60) in first and Music Note in third (94.26). I don't think it's a case of inaccuracy on the part of the TCR point system. If the season ended today Proud Spell really has done more that is award worthy. I think it's just a case where it's not displaying the more brilliant horse as superior because it was never meant to do that.
Power Rankings are supposed to tell you who the best really are and I've just finished the first release of the new TC Power Rankings. The idea of this system is to identify the most brilliant, or the best horses in North America. Often brilliance and accomplishment will coincide. For instance Curlin and Big Brown are ranked #1 and #2 in both systems. But in the earlier case mentioned in the Three Year Old Female division Music Note (31.42) is first and Proud Spell (21.27) is back in second. Music Note is in fact the 9th ranked active horse in the nation. These numbers aren't just plucked out of thin air either. It's not a ranking based on my opinion or the polling of others. It's a statistically based system and I've included data going back to 1999 so you may view how the numbers look historically.
There even seems to be a correlation between TC Power Rankings and actual race results. Although it has not been fully explored it is worth noting that all eight winners of the traditional BC races in 2007 were among the top 4 TCPR ranked horses in those races. Big Brown was also ranked second at the time of the Kentucky Derby.
My plan for the TC Power Rankings for now is top keep a list of the top 10 active horses on the sidebar. Given my blogs current format I don't want to be listing all the divisional leaders like I do with the TCR but all the information in the spreadsheet will always be available via a link on the sidebar. Current divisional leaders include Curlin, Zenyatta, Big Brown, Music Note, Benny The Bull, Intangaroo, Dancing Forever and Wait A While.