Friday, April 03, 2009

Kentucky Speedballs

I can't remember a time when more buzz was generated from a Beyer Speed Figure revision. For those of you that missed it the Beyer Speed Figure number crunchers just decided that they got a slew of figures wrong including nearly every race at Gulfstream and Rachel Alexandra's prep races.

One of the biggest swings as a result of the revision is that Quality Road's Florida Derby figure went from 103 to 111.

Many people will scoff at the accuracy of numbers that vary so dramatically but just for the sake of argument and for those that do pay attention to the numbers I thought it would be interesting to note that Quality Road is now the answer to the following question: Who is the fastest horse to have competed in the Kentucky Derby?

A should add a few qualifiers to that statement. I'm measuring only the average of the route prep races from 1996 to the present but I'm quite sure that from 1992, when Beyers were first published, to 1996 (which is the first year I have complete data for) that no horse was faster. I'm sure because I do have some figures for many of the major players and they didn't quite measure up.

Here is a list of the top 10 horses by Average Beyer earned in prep races 8f or more.

Quality Road - 112.0
Indian Charlie - 111.50
Serena's Song - 109.3
Bellamy Road - 108.0
Point Given - 107.5
Lion Heart - 107.0
Fusaichi Pegasus - 106.7
Pine Bluff - 106.3
Big Brown - 106.0
Brother Derek - 106.0
Silver Charm - 106.0

If you measure the total earned from a horses final two prep races then Quality Road comes out as the second fastest behind the mighty Holy Bull.

Holy Bull - 228
Quality Road - 224
Indian Charlie - 223
Balto Star - 221
Serena's Song - 220

With or without the revision anyone can see that Quality Road is a fast horse but I thought it was worth noting that the revision does give him a unique place in history. I'm sure his connections are far more concerned with winning the race than appearing to be the fastest on paper because great numbers don't guarantee success. But they may also derive a small amount of pride knowing that they stack up so well against many fine horses from past Derbies.

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