New Dataset: Brisnet Speed and Class Ratings 1990-2014
By Dana Byerly

Brisnet, a sponsor of our sister site, Hello Race Fans, has been sharing its speed and class ratings for stakes races for several years now. Three years ago, we started publishing Brisnet Speed Ratings at Hello Race Fans weekly as a part of our sponsorship deal, and last year, Brisnet moved the weekly publishing to their site.

Knowing Brisnet’s commitment to helping players reach their full handicapping potential, it was a no-brainer to see if we could add Brisnet Speed and Class rating data to Horse Racing Datasets. Not only was the answer a game “Great idea, we’re in!” but the amount of data Brisnet sent us was astounding.

Brisnet’s Director of Marketing Ed DeRosa had this to say:

“In marketing both Brisnet and TwinSpires I have seen first hand the value free data has to handicappers. In addition to helping horseplayers bet stakes races, this historical data can be useful to fans, media, and numbers gurus alike.”

And so behold: Now available for download at Horse Racing Datasets is the Winning Brisnet Class and Speed Ratings 1990-2014 dataset covering every stakes race run in the North America (graded and listed for both flat and steeplechase). We originally intended to offer it as a Google Doc but the large size made it unusable in a browser (at best taking over two minutes to load and at worst freezing the browser).

The dataset is available in the following formats:

  • An XSLX that includes tabs for the complete set, Breeders’ Cup races, Triple Crown races, all graded stakes – flat, all graded stakes – steeplechase, all non-graded stakes and claiming crown races
  • A CSV of the complete set only
  • An XSLX of the data prior to being cleaned up

Update: We found some serious issues with the graded and non-graded tabs, namely that they were missing many rows. We decided after adding the missing rows to just remove those tabs as the file more than doubled in size and became a bit unwieldy. It’s fairly easy to sort the complete set on the Grade column if you’d like see the data broken out that way.

Important: If you downloaded the tabbed XLSX file before 3pm ET you may want to download it again or you can just delete the both graded tabs (flat & steeplechase) and the non-graded tab.

The data points include:

  • Winner’s Name
  • Winner’s Sire
  • Race Date
  • Track
  • Purse
  • Race Name
  • Grade
  • Brisnet Speed Rating
  • Brisnet Class Rating

We did a fair amount of clean-up of this data. In order to maximize sortability, we standardized race names where possible, which included removing sponsor names to ensure that when you sort by race name, all instances of the race will be grouped together. For example, if you wanted to see all instances of the Spiral Stakes, you would have had to track down the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral S., the Lane’s End Spiral S., the Turfway Spiral S. and the Vinery Spiral S.– you could not have grouped them just by “Spiral.”

There are a few cases, mostly with listed stakes, where the only instances of a race name included a sponsor name or the only name for the race is the sponsor name. We left those alone. We also left instances of Stakes, Handicap, Invitational intact as well as instances where a race named for a person had some instances with Memorial and some without. And after some deliberation, we decided to change the few instances of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic to the Distaff since the original name has been restored.

A few other notes for users: It will be up to you to know when a race name has changed between 1990 and 2014. More recent fans will remember that the Hollywood Gold Cup was renamed the Gold Cup at Santa Anita or that Santa Anita recently re-named a spate of stakes races.

Here are a few examples where the race name has changed in the time period the dataset covers:

The Ramona Handicap is now John C. Mabee
The NYRA Mile is now the Cigar Mile
The Santa Catalina Stakes is now the Robert B. Lewis
The San Gorgonio H. is now the Robert J. Frankel Stakes

There are, of course, many other races whose names have changed since 1990, and if we had more time, we might be inclined to track all of them down! Remember that you can always do a graded stakes search at Equibase to help with your research.

It’s also good to keep in mind that some races have been run at multiple tracks, and that races of the same name have been run at different tracks. A few examples:

The Ruffian on the NYRA circuit has been run at Aqueduct, Belmont and Saratoga. There has also been a Ruffian run at Arapahoe Park and Fairmount Park.

A Safely Kept has been run at Laurel, Pimlico, Fairmount Park, Gulfstream Park, Hollywood Park, Aqueduct, Arlington Park, Monmouth Park and Colonial Downs. The Laurel / Pimlico / Colonial Down instances all roll up to the same race–which also used to be called the Columbia Stakes–at Equibase.

Other examples include a Lady’s Secret run at Monmouth and Santa Anita, a Round Table run at Arlington Park and Hollywood Park, and a Royal North run at Beulah and Woodbine. You get the picture.

All of the clean-up was done manually, so if you see something that doesn’t look right, please bring it to our attention and we’ll look into it. There are probably a few copy-and-paste errors and the most likely errors are where a race was both a stakes and handicap in the time period. This distinction may or may not be important to you depending on what you’re researching, but if you’re concerned, you can grab the original, uncleaned up data at Horse Racing Datasets or validate the data with the Equibase graded stakes search.

Here are a couple of things you’ll encounter if you do want to grab the data in its original form: A few rows had the race name split over several cells, this seemed to be isolated to the Girls Incorporated of Shelbyville Shelby County S. (which also had several variations of that name). The race names also have the grade as a part of the race name, so for example the Ballerina H. was “Ballerina H. – G1” within the Race Name column.

The default sorting within the tabs is as follows:

Sorted by Race Name / Track / Year:
Graded – Flat
Non-Graded – All

Sorted by Race Name / Year:
Breeders’ Cup
Triple Crown
Graded – Steeplechase
Claiming Crown

Given the data points and time period we imagine that there’s no shortage of ways that you can slice and dice this data. And we hope that you’ll let us know if you post of some of your findings so that we can add a link to listing at Horse Racing Datasets. A few ideas include looking at the Brisnet Speed and Class ratings in the Derby prep races over the past 25 years, or looking at a specific race or circuit. How, if at all, does a race losing, changing or adding a grade correlate to the Brisnet Speed and Class ratings? State breeding programs could track speed and class ratings in their local state-bred stakes, the list goes on!

Perhaps the best part of this project is that we will update this dataset annually to include the previous year. Please be sure to thank Brisnet for its willingness to share data in a useful and usable format, and happy sorting!

Head on over to Horse Racing Datasets and grab the data!

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