In order to get a better look I have split all the Derby entrants into 6 separate Beyer Speed Figure patterns. "A" represents the highest speed figure in the horses last three races while "C" the lowest. I won't insult your intelligence by explaining what "B" indicates. The patterns are listed with the most recent race first so an A/B/C pattern is a horse with 3 improving Beyer figures going into the Derby. Here is how the patterns have performed in the Derby since 1996.
Beyer Pattern A/B/C: 80-4-7-5
Beyer Pattern A/C/B: 40-3-3-4
Beyer Pattern B/A/C: 41-4-2-3
Beyer Pattern B/C/A: 18-1-0-0
Beyer Pattern C/A/B: 27-0-1-1
Beyer Pattern C/B/A: 19-1-0-0
As you can see the majority of the winners came into the Derby with one of the first three patterns. The classic "three improving figures" pattern was easily the most common producing 34% of the Derby starters and yet it is not necessarily the pattern with the strongest results. Clearly A/C/B and B/A/C are strong patterns as well.
On the downside it seems clear from these pattern breakdowns that the two things you don't want to see from your horse is their best figure (A) coming 3 starts back. You also don't want to see their worst figure being earned in their final race. Horses with either factor working against them went 64-2-1-1. It clearly looks like the worst pattern subset to me. If you exclude two year old races for those with just two starts as a three year old the record of horses whose final Beyer was worse than their last two you get a cumulative record of 39-0-1-1. Not a real positive.
Beyer Pattern A/B/C: Dunkirk, Chocolate Candy, Friesan Fire, Giant Oak
Beyer Pattern A/C/B: Pioneerof the Nile, Musket Man, Papa Clem, West Side Bernie, Just a Coincidence
Beyer Pattern B/A/C: Quality Road, I Want Revenge, Win Willy, Hold Me Back, Flying Private
Beyer Pattern B/C/A: General Quarters, Mr. Hot Stuff
Beyer Pattern C/A/B:
Beyer Pattern C/B/A:
It seems like the majority of the Derby hopefuls this year have a positive pattern going for them. General Quarters and Mr. Hot Stuff are the only two with a negative pattern but no one is coming into the race with the dreaded C/A/B.