Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Are Fast Juveniles Good?

Virtually every year we see precocious 2yo's who step up and run massive figures and two camps automatically form. The one camp assumes they've seen the second coming while the other takes a contrary position and starts predicting the date of their regression.

It may be useful to take a peek at how these big figure juveniles fare in the Derby. It has to be noted that generally a small number of those big figure juveniles actually make it to the Derby but for the ones that do the results may be interesting. One may assume that horse with such figures would automatically be well regarded but that is not always the case. There are occasionally prices to be had.

The cumulative record of Derby starters who recorded a 100+ Beyer Speed Figure as a juvenile is 27-5-2-2 with a further 6 qualifiers finishing in the top 5. A flat $2 win bet on all of them you have yielded a gross return of $82.60 so you'd have made $28.60 profit (52.96% ROI)

It certainly looks like a useful stat on the face of it. The numbers actually get stronger if you just look at the last 5 years. During that time Derby starters who achieved the 100+ BSF have gone 13-4-1-2. There is a consensus that 2yo's are being brought along slower than they once were. In terms of the number starts that would certainly be true but it would seem as though 2yo's are still very much being asked for speed early on. More speed with less races may not actually be as easy physically on the 2yo's as we think the trainers are being.

The numbers seem to suggest that many horses who are fast early on are still fast in may. Assuming of course they last long enough to make it into the Derby starting gate. I think there is little credence to the notion that juveniles who run big early on cannot continue to improve.

This statistic, and especially it's recent success, certainly says good things about the chances of War Pass and Pyro. I'm not aware of too many other Derby contenders this year who achieved a 100+ BSF as a 2yo. At this stage it may be pointing out the obvious but on the Derby Trail things change so quickly that if a horse even has one sub par performance they drop down the pecking order considerably. It is possible that War Pass or Pyro could become forgotten horses, this little stat may help to keep them fresh in your mind.

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