Andrew Beyer comments on
Frankel and the Bounce Theory
excerpted from Beyer's article
in the Daily Racing Form, May 2nd, 2003
Louisville, KY -
Frankel began to sense that a horse who delivers a peak physical effort will regress the next time he runs -- what modern-day horseplayers call a "bounce." That term was coined by Len Ragozin, the New Yorker who calculates speed figures and plots all the figures of a horse's career on a small sheet of paper; the arrangement highlights the fact that a horse's form runs in cycles, with often-predictable peaks and valleys. Many horseplayers have become disciples of the Ragozin "Sheets," and Frankel found them illuminating, too.
Frankel understood that he couldn't judge how well one of his horses had performed by simply watching a race and employing common sense. With the Ragozin numbers as a point of reference, he knew when his horses had delivered peak efforts. He could then give them a substantial rest to avoid a bounce.
He discovered a corollary to the bounce theory: If he wanted a horse to deliver a peak performance, the way to do it was to give him plenty of rest between races.