Comparing Figures of Kentucky Derby Contenders

Note: A summary of all 2011 Triple Crown prep races, graded earnings, speed figures, and raw times for races at a mile or longer, can be found in the 2011 Triple Crown  excel file.

As we move closer and closer towards the 2011 Kentucky Derby, there will be considerable time spent attempting to determine which prep races produced the best horses and the best performances.  Some races will look great visually and have poor speed figures and ratings.  While others will appear to be slow and of poor quality but produce decent ratings.  There are a multitude of different systems for evaluating the speed or performance of a specific race, but three of the more popular figures come from Beyer, Brisnet and Ragozin. 

While Beyer Speed Figures, Brisnet Speed Ratings, and Ragoin's "The Sheets" are each calculated differently and take into consideration different factors, they all attempt to illuminate the same thing: which horse performed the best/ran the fastest when compared to other horses from other races at other tracks?  But while they seek to attain the same goal, they frequently come up with different conclusions.

In the chart below, I've summarized the Beyer, Bris and Ragozin figures for the top two-turn Derby preps this spring.  These ratings only include two-turn races (no Holy Bull or Timely Writer) and they don't include any juvenile races from last winter or fall. 

The Beyer numbers can be found a DRF.com's Stakes Results page; the Brisnet figures come from their Handicapper's Edge page; and the Ragozin numbers can be found at The Thoroughbred Times (which didn't have Rag numbers for the El Camino Real, Tampa Bay Derby or Robert Lewis). 

The chart below summarizes the figure earned by each horse in each race and where that ranks among the other preps when compared to other figures earned.  For Ragozin figures, lower is better.

Horse Race Beyer Rank
Brisnet Rank
Ragozin Rank
Animal Kingdom Spiral Stakes 92 8 97 5 9 9
Anthony's Cross Robert Lewis 90 9 93 t-12 n/a n/a
Archarcharch Southwest Stakes 89 t-10 93 t-12 9.25 10
Brethren Sam F. Davis 83 t-13 94 11 11 11
Dialed In Florida Derby 93 t-6 101 3 7 t-4
Mucho Macho Man Risen Star 94 t-4 97 t-5 8 t-7
Pants on Fire Louisiana Derby 94 t-4 97 t-5 7 t-4
Premier Pegasus
San Felipe
96
2

100
4

3
1
Silver Medallion
El Camino Real
93
t-6

91
14

n/a

Soldat
Fountain of Youth
96
2

108
1

7
t-4
Stay Thirsty
Gotham Stakes
89
t-10

95
t-8

7
t-4
The Factor
Rebel Stakes
103
1

106
2

5
3
Twice the Appeal
Sunland Derby
89
t-10

95
t-8

8
t-7
Watch Me Go Tampa Bay Derby 83 t-13 95 t-8 n/a

 

Some thoughts on these figures:

  • Dialed In's win in the Florida Derby earned the 2nd best Ragozin figure of any two-turn prep this spring (4), trailing only the performance by Premier Pegasus in the San Felipe.  Brisnet also rated the Florida Derby highly, assigning it the 3rd highest figures this spring.  Beyer, however, takes a different stance with a 93, a figure that ranks the Florida Derby right in the middle of the pack, tied for 6th.
  • The top Beyer race is, not surprisingly, The Factor's win in the Rebel Stakes.  If you've followed Beyer figures long enough you know that the highest figs seem to always come from an unchallenged front-runner that can take the field gate-to-wire.  That is certainly the case with The Factor - his 103 is easily the highest of any two-turn Beyer this spring with the next closest being Soldat's 96 in the Fountain of Youth.

    Brisnet also liked The Factor's Rebel, but not as much as they like Soldat's Fountain of Youth.  Ragozin has the Rebel as the 3rd best prep behind the aforementioned Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby.
  • Stay Thirsty's win in the Gotham didn't fare too well under Beyer (89, T-10th) but was considered a middle-of-the-pace race by Ragozin (7, T-4th).  Brisnet essentially splits the difference between the two - the race isn't the lowest rated of their figures, but it's in the bottom half.
  • The two races at Tampa Bay Downs scored poorly on every system; Brethren's Sam F. Davis and Watch Me Go's Tampa Bay Derby ranked at or near the bottom of all three systems.  The win by Archarcharch in the Southwest also rated poorly across the board.
  • The Louisiana Derby and the Risen Star rated almost exactly the same on all three system; the Beyer and Bris figures for the winners of each race were identical and the Rag figure was a difference of one point.
  • For comparisons sake, if you were to include Uncle Mo's Breeders' Cup Juvenile win with the rest of the races in the table above, he would rank first under Beyer (108), Brisnet (110) and Ragozin (1.25). 
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