Beyer Speed Figure
The Beyer Speed Figure is a system for rating the performance of Thoroughbred racehorses in North America designed in the early 1970s by Andrew Beyer, the syndicated horse racing columnist for The Washington Post. First published in book form in 1975, Daily Racing Form began incorporating Beyer Speed Figures in a horse's past performances in 1992 and the system now assigns a Beyer number for each horse race. Overall, the number reflects not only the winning time, but the time of the race and the inherent speed of the track over which it was run. On the Beyer scale, the top stakes horses in the United States and Canada earn numbers in the 100's, while extremely strong performances can rate as high as the 120's. In Europe, Timeform has a similar rating scale that yields a number, but with a different value. The popular rule of thumb for a rough equivalent of the Timeform score is to deduct 12-14 points to achieve the Beyer figure. For American Quarter Horse racing, the Speed index rating system is used.
The record for the highest Beyer Speed figure is held by Groovy, the 1987 American Champion Sprint Horse who earned 133 and 132 in back-to-back races, in the Roseben and True North Handicaps at six furlongs in 1987. In 2004, Ghostzapper earned the highest Beyer Speed Figure for the year at 128. Formal Gold ran successive numbers of 126, 124 and 125 in 1997. These were three of the eight highest figures earned in the 1990s. Easy Goer and Sunday Silence both earned 124 speed figures in the 1989 Breeders' Cup Classic, which tied for the highest speed figure earned in any Breeders' Cup race. In 2007 the highest Beyer Speed Figure was 124 assigned to Midnight Lute in the 7 furlong Forego Handicap at Saratoga Race Course. Commentator, who once ran a 123 in his career, scored a 120 as a 7-year-old, possibly a record for a horse that old. Easy Goer ran a 122 in winning the 1989 Belmont Stakes, the best Beyer Speed Figure in any Triple Crown race since these ratings were first published in 1987. Alysheba ran a 122 speed figure in his career. Holy Bull earned a 121 in his career. Easy Goer is also the record-holder for a two-year-old, earning a 116 Beyer Speed Figure in the 1988 Champagne Stakes.
Beyer Speed Figure Scale
- 115+ - Best horses in the country
- 100 - Good allowance or low grade stakes horses
- 90 - Typical $25,000 claiming race
- 80 - Typical $10,000 claiming race
- 57 - Bottom level $2,500 claimers at lesser tracks
Top Beyer Speed Figures earned
|Horse||Year earned||Speed Figure||Cite|
Beyer speculated that had his figures existed in 1973, Secretariat would have scored 139 in his classic 1973 win at the Belmont Stakes. This implies that Secretariat would have had the highest ever Beyer speed figure However, Beyer also acknowledged that by some calculations, Count Fleet's Beyer speed figures might have reached 150."
- Daily Racing Form: Beyer Scale
- Beyer, Andrew Beyer on Speed: New Strategies for Racetrack Betting, p.57 (1995) Houghton Mifflin ISBN 978-0-395-73523-7
- Beyer, Andrew (November 10, 1996). "Overacheiver Cigar Had a Mark of Consistency". Washington Post.
- Lerner, Darrell (November 1, 2009). "Historical Breeders’ Cup Beyers". farewelltokings.com.
- Paulick, Ray (November 17, 2010). "Paulick Report Forum brought to you by Breeders’ Cup: Talking Speed Figures with Beyer". paulickreport.com.
- Beyer, Andrew (May 17, 2004). "On the Fast Track To History". The Washington Post.
- Beyer, Andrew (1993). "Beyer on Speed". Beyer on Speed.
- Beyer, Andrew (February 9, 2008). "With a Combination of Speed and Class, War Pass Is Reminiscent of Seattle Slew". The Washington Post.
- Genaro, Teresa (April 24, 2009). "When the Withers Mattered". The New York Times Horse Racing blog.