Triple Digit Beyer Speed Figures- Important Or Not?

So I ran across an amazing website at that has has links to every DRF PP for Derby runners going back to 1992. This was a dream come true and I am now up to my ears in data! A poster on the “Unlocking Winners” forum had asked some questions about the historical significance of Triple Digit Beyer numbers, specifically in regard to horses that had shown multiple 100+ Beyer figures coming into the Derby. I now am in position to answer these questions.

First, let’s take a look at the number of horses in each race to have run a 100+ Beyer in a two turn race coming into the Derby. This year, with eight, would be the highest since 2007:

2014: 6

2013: 3

2012: 4

2011: 1

2010: 2

2009: 5

2008: 6

2007: 8

2006: 10

2005: 8

2004: 14

2003: 10

2002: 6

2001: 11

2000: 14

1999: 16

1998: 12

1997: 8

1996: 16

1995: 12

1994: 12

1993: 5

1992: 7

These numbers are so spread out that I’m not even going to take the time to average them. What has happened with this? It seems that in the mid 1990s, having a 100+ Beyer was practically a prerequisite for qualification. There were more horses with 100+ Beyers in the 1999 race than in the last six years combined! Something smells off here…has the overall quality of the three year old contingent really declined this severely in just 15 years?

As noted previously, over these 23 years, 16 of them have been won by horses that had run a 100+ Beyer previously (70%). Here are the 7 that won the race without having run a 100+ Beyer, and the number of horses in their respective race that had run a 100+ Beyer:

Orb (3)

I’ll Have Another (4)

Animal Kingdom (1)

Super Saver (2)

Mine That Bird (5)

Giacomo (8)

Sea Hero (5)

Average= 4.0

So, on average, horses that have won the Kentucky Derby without having run a triple digit Beyer have had to beat just 4 other horses that did so in their respective races…the most being Giacomo who beat eight in 2005, and the least being Animal Kingdom in 2011, who had to defeat only one.

Conversely, the average amount of 100+ Beyer horses in the other 16 years, where horses meeting this criteria did win the race: 10.5.

CONCLUSION: There is strong statistical evidence to support the angle that the more horses in a given Derby to have run a 100+ plus prep Beyer, the more likely the winner is to come from that group. Over the last 23 years, 17 Derby fields have contained 6 or more horses that have run a 100+ prep Beyer. And in 16 of those 17 instances, a horse with a 100+ prep Beyer has won, Giacomo being the lone exception. With this year’s race shaping up to have eight horses that meet this criteria, it seems highly likely that the winner will come from this group.

What about horses that have run more than one triple digit Beyer? Since there are four in this year’s race, let’s use that number as the basis for our study. In the last 23, years, we have seen four or more horses with multiple 100+ Beyer figures 12 times:

* In the 12 years that had four or more horses that had duplicated triple digit Beyers, one of the duplicative horses won the race 9 times. Barbaro, Funny Cide and Charismatic are the only ones to beat four or more horses with multiple triple digit Beyers without having done the same in such races, although each did show one 100+ figure…this again supports the angle that the winner of this year’s race will come from that group.

* In 19 years horses showed multiple triple digit Beyers. In those years, a horse in that category won 12 times, as California Chrome, Big Brown and Street Sense were victorious in fields having less than four such horses. Horses to overcome this besides the three above: Orb, I’ll Have Another, War Emblem and Sea Hero.  In 2005, 2009, 2010 and 2011, no horses in the field had run more than one triple digit Beyer. In all four years, a horse that had not run even a single triple digit Beyer won the race. And of the three sub 100-Beyer horses that did beat fields containing paired 100+ Beyer horses (Orb, I’ll Have Another, Sea Hero), none had to beat more than two.

* 29 horses have had three or more 100+ Beyers over this timespan over 13 different races. Only 5 won.

CONCLUSION: There are years in which having run a 100+ Beyer is not incredibly important, but this decidedly does not appear to be one of those.

Running two triple digit Beyers has been a beneficial statistic over time, especially the more of these types of horses that have run in the race. A horse meeting this criteria has won 63% of the races they ran in, and has won 75% of the time when four or more horses meeting this criteria have run. And in 100% of the 12 races where four or more horses had duplicated 100+ Beyers, a horse with at least one 100+ Beyer won the race!!!

Perhaps more amazingly, over half of the seven horses to win‎ the Derby without ever posting a 100+ Beyer have done so by beating fields that didn’t contain any horses to have shown multiple 100+ figures, and the others have beaten just four such horses between them.

It’s also interesting to note that horses showing just two 100+ Beyers have been more successful than those showing three or more. The success rate for these sorts of horses has been just 38%, and in all five races where such horses have won, they’ve beaten at least one other horse that also had run three or more 100+ Beyers. Could we conclude that horses who have run three or more 100+ Beyers are more likely to regress or bounce than horses who have only run a pair of them? The evidence would suggest so‎.

Put more simply- Of the 19 races run in which at least one horse had duplicated Beyers:

– Horses with 2 or more 100+ Beyers made up 24.7% of the field on a year by year average basis. They won 63.1% of those races.

– Horses with 1 or more 100+ Beyers made up 54.1% of the field on a year by year average basis. They won 84.2% of those races.

Also, the three years in which a 100+ Beyer horse did not win, the percentages of the field that consisted of horses that had run at least one Beyer above 100 are the three lowest of the entire sample. Coincidence?

2013: Orb (15%)

2012: I’ll Have Another (20%)

1993: Sea Hero (26%)

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