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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
Updated 2:50 p.m. ET (Mark Valeski deleted)

In 53 of the last 57 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 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. 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 during that brief 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

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

Horse 3YO 9F Race Placement Win Time Bris E1, E2, LP Bris Beyer Spd-TV Tomlinson
Alpha Wood Memorial Second by nk 1:50.96  95, 101, 97  101  98  90-14  373
Bodemeister Arkansas Derby First by 9 1/2 1:48.71  96, 100, 105  105  108  101-06  440
Creative Cause Santa Anita Derby Second by nose 1:47.88  73, 79, 112  97  94  93-08  387
Daddy Long Legs UAE Derby First by 1 1/4 1:58.35  NA  NA  NA  NA  370
Daddy Nose Best El Camino Real First by no 1:50.46  80, 85, 90  92  93  96-09  349
Daddy Nose Best Sunland Derby First by 3/4 1:48.59  78, 91, 103  101  100  100-12  349
Done Talking Illinois Derby First by 3/4 1:53.88  74, 73, 106  92  85  80-27  411
Dullahan Blue Grass First by 1 1/4 1:47.94  102, 106, 93  102  98  96-14  369
El Padrino Florida Derby Fourth by 3 1:48.79  80, 90, 107  100  90  91-02  409
Gemologist Wood Memorial First by nk 1:50.96  97, 102, 96  102  98  90-14  421
Hansen Blue Grass Second by 1 1/4 1:47.94  114, 118, 79  100  96  95-14  422
I'll Have Another Santa Anita Derby First by nose 1:47.88  77, 82, 109  98  94  93-08   369
Liaison Santa Anita Derby Sixth by 9 1/4 1:47.88  71, 76, 97  87  78  84-08  392
Optimizer Arkansas Derby Ninth by 20 1/2  1:48.71  84, 85, 80  82  74  80-06  391*
Prospecitve Blue Grass Sixth by 6 1/2 1:47.94  105, 108, 78  95  87  89-14  408
Rousing Sermon Louisiana Derby Third by 2 1:50.13  80, 88, 94  93  87  93-02  391*
Sabercat Arkansas Derby Third by 9 3/4 1:48.71  76, 84, 102  94  92  91-06  355
Take Charge Indy Florida Derby First by 1 1:48.79  85, 93, 110  104  95  94-02  441
Trinniberg NA NA NA  NA  NA  NA  NA  335*
Union Rags Florida Derby Third by 1 1/4 1:48.79  78, 87, 113  102  93  93-02  400
Went the Day Well Spiral Stakes First by 3 1/2 1:51.33  83, 94, 101  103  92  86-15   406

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. As you can see from the chart, these figures might not help much this year.

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:

Done Talking finished tenth, beaten 20 3/4 lengths, on a track rated good in the Grade III Gotham and got an 81 Brisnet and a 59 Beyer.

El Padrino won a 1 1/16-mile allowance at Gulfstream Park on a track rated good/sealed and got a 111 Brisnet and a 100 Beyer. El Padrino broke his maiden going a mile on a sloppysealed track at Belmont Park on Oct. 29. He got a 95 Brisnet and a 75 Beyer.

Gemologist won a one-mile allowance at Gulfstream Park on a good track and got a 98 Brisnet and a 95 Beyer.

Hansen won on a track rated good in the Grade III Gotham and got a 105 Brisnet and a 95 Beyer. He finished second, beaten five, in the Grade III Holy Bull run on a sloppy/sealed track and got a 99 Brisnet and a 96 Beyer.

I'll Have Another ran on a sloppy/sealed track in the Grade I Hopeful and finished sixth, beaten 19 lengths. He got a 40 Beyer.

Sabercat won by six on a good track at Monmouth in the Garden State Stakes last year and got an 89 Brisnet and a 75 Beyer. He was fourth by four in his debut on a sloppy/sealed track at Churchill Downs on May 26, 2011 and got a 77 Brisnet and a 45 Beyer.

Take Charge Indy was beaten two lengths by El Padrino in that good/sealed allowance at GP and got a 109 Brisnet and a 96 Beyer.

Trinniberg ran on sloppy/sealed tracks in his second and third starts, the Saratoga Special and the Hopeful. He was fitth by 26 in the Special and got a 60 Brisnet and a 35 Beyer. In the Hopeful, he was second by 3/4 to Currency Swap and got an 84 Brisnet and a 78 Beyer.

Union Rags won the Saratoga Special on a sloppy/sealed track by 7 1/4 lengths and got a 100 Brisnet and a 95 Beyer.

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