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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Derby by the Speed Numbers

Or, Who'll Get to the Eighth Pole First; Who Can Run on An Off Track?


By Dick Downey


In 54 of the last 58 runnings of the Kentucky Derby, the winner was either on the lead with an eighth of a mile to go in the race, within a length of the lead, or running second although more than a length off the leader. In all, 42 of the last 57 winners, or 74%, were on the lead at the eighth pole.

In 2012, I'll Have Another was second, three lengths off the lead with a furlong left in the Derby. In 2011, Animal Kingdom didn't make this stat, but he was about as close as you can get -- third by by 1 1/2 length at the eighth pole. In 2010, Super Saver was two lengths the best at the final furlong marker. Mine That Bird was one length ahead at the eighth pole in 2009. Big Brown, the 2008 Derby winner, was 2 1/2 lengths ahead. In 2007, Street Sense was up by a length, and in 2006, Barbaro was four lengths in front at the eighth pole. The 2005 winner, Giacomo, was an exception to the rule. He was in sixth place at the eighth pole--and almost three lengths off the lead held by Closing Argument at that moment.

Nine Furlong Speed Figures Side-By-Side & Wet-Track Ability

Only 1 1/8-mile races run on dirt or synthetic at age 3 are presented*

*UAE Derby is 1 3/16 mile. See Lines of Battle.

Red = 4 Highest Figs per column
(E1, E2 are combined figs)
(Speed-TV (Speed-Track Variant) are combined figs)

Horse 3YO 9F Race Placement Win Time Bris E1, E2, LP Bris Beyer Speed-TV Wet Track
Black Onyx  Spiral Stakes  First by 1 1/2  1:51.98  86-93-94  96  90  110 (93-17)  297
Charming Kitten  Blue Grass Stakes  Third by 1/2  1:50.27  82-84-104  96  88  98 (81-17)  357
Falling Sky  Arkansas Derby  Fourth by 5  1:51.94  97-102-76  91  80  97 (79-18)  402
Fear the Kitten (AE)   Blue Grass Stakes  Fifth by 4  1:50.27  78-84-97  92  82  95 (78-17)  342
Frac Daddy  Arkanasas Derby  Second by 4 1/4  1:51.94  94-99-81  92  81  98 (80-18)  291
Giant Finish  Spiral Stakes  Third by 2 1/4  1:51.98  90-94-88  93  86  107 (90-17)  332
Golden Soul  Louisiana Derby  Fourth by 4 3/4  1:50.28  83-96-100  100  85  92 (82-10)  315
Goldencents  Santa Anita Derby  First by 1 1/4  1:48.76  101-110-97  106  105  101 (89-12)  335*
Itsmyluckyday  Florida Derby  Second 2 3/4    1:50.87  80-88-96  94  93  93 (80-13)  354
Java's War  Blue Grass Stakes  First by nk  1:50.27  73-79-110  96  89  99 (82-17)  365*
Lines of Battle  U.A.E. Derby*  First by 1 1/2  2:02.05  N/A  N/A  N/A  N/A  393
Mylute  Louisiana Derby  Second by nk  1:50.28  97-109-96  105  93  97 (87-10)  331*
Normandy Invasion  Wood Memorial  Second by 3/4  1:50.27  71-80-114  99  94  107 (94-13)  415
Orb  Florida Derby  First by 2 3/4  1:50.87  76-87-103  97  97  96 (83-13)  405
Overanalyze  Arkansas Derby  First by 4 1/4  1:51.94  90-97-92  96  88  102 (84-18)  376
Oxbow  Arkansas Derby  Fifth 5 1/4  1:51.94  84-94-85  90  80  97 (79-18)  424
Palace Malice  Blue Grass Stakes    Second by nk  1:50.27  86-92-96  96  89  99 (82-17)  328
Revolutionary  Louisiana Derby  First by nk  1:50.28  95-112-94  105  93  97 (87-10)  415*
Verrazano  Wood Memorial  First by 3/4  1:50.27  73-87-108  100  95  108 (95-13)  374
Vyjack  Wood Memorial  Third by 1  1:50.27  70-84-109  99  93  107 (94-13)  353*
Will Take Charge  None  N/A  N/A N/A N/A  N/A  N/A  413

Brisnet Figures

Brisnet uses pace numbers to evaluate horses' speed in the early and late stages of the game, called E1, E2 and LP.

E1 is the pace rating of the horse from the start to the first call, and E2 is the pace rating of the horse from the start to the second call.

LP is the pace rating of the horse from the second call to the finish of the race.

Beyer Figures, Speed and Track Variant

The Beyer Speed Figures, a well-known staple at Daily Racing Form, are complemented by the publication's pure speed rating and track variant figures, explained succinctly as follows.

The speed rating is a comparison of a horse's final time with the best time at the distance at that track in the last three years. The best time is given a rating of 100. One point is deducted for each fifth of a second by which a horse fails to equal that time.

To compute the track variant, the speed ratings of all winners in each type of race on a card are added together and an average is computed, which is deducted from 100. The lower the track variant, the faster the track, or the better the overall quality of competition that day, according to the Form. Conversely, a higher track variant almost always means a slow track.

Wet Track Figures

Wet track numbers rate a horse's off-track potential based on progeny of the sire and maternal grandsire. The higher the number, the better. A rating of 320+ means the horse merits further consideration as one that could run particularly well over a wet track.

The rating is to be used with horses trying mud or slop for the first, second or third time. Runners whose sire and/or damsire have relatively small samples (fewer than 80 runners), are listed with an asterisk (*), and the rating is not necessarily reliable. These figures are published by Daily Racing Form as a "wet" rating.

The following runners have wet dirt track racing experience:

Falling Sky won a 6 1/2 furlong allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 15 on a track rated GOOD.

Fear the Kitten (AE) finished second, beaten 11 1/4 lengths by Super Ninety Nine, on a SLOPPY/SEALED track in the Southwest Stakes.

Frac Daddy finished second in his debut going one mile at Belmont Park on Oct. 4 on a track rated MUDDY/SEALED.

Giant Finish has run twice on off tracks. He finished fifth, beaten 13 3/4 lengths in the restricted Damon Runyon Stakes on a SLOPPY/SEALED main track at Aqueduct, and he won a restricted $75K optional claimer on a GOOD inner dirt track at Aqueduct on Jan. 17.

Itsmyluckyday won his fourth start, a five-furlong minor stakes race at Calder on Aug. 25 on a track rated SLOPPY/SEALED.

Palace Malice finished second to Majestic Hussar in a seven-furlong allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 19 on a track rated SLOPPY/SEALED. Palace Malice was coming
off a 5 1/2-month layoff.

Revolutionary broke his maiden going a mile at Aqueduct on Dec. 28 on the inner dirt track rated GOOD.

Vyjack won a seven-furlong minor stakes race in his second start at Aqueduct on Dec. 9 on the main track rated SLOPPY/SEALED.

Will Take Charge finished sixth on a SLOPPY/SEALED track in the Southwest Stakes, beaten 18 lengths.


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