In the early 1970s, while working for the Washington Daily News, Beyer did extensive work on the concept of speed figures and wrote books that helped popularize their use. By calculating variables such as the track conditions and the horse's time, Beyer speed figures give a measure of how fast a horse was in a given race. This number can then be used to compare a given horse's "speed" against its competition in an upcoming race, despite the fact that the horses have all run in different races, at different tracks, and are different calibers of horses. Speed figures have come into general usage and many racing forms include them in their publications.
Andrew Beyer is the author of four books on racing and has been The Washington Post's horse racing columnist since 1978. He was a member of the class of 1965 at Harvard University.