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Beyer Beware

Posted by Brian Mulligan on 8/16/2010 4:24:56 PM

It was 1992 when Daily Racing Form incorporated Beyer Speed Figures in their past performances and the way handicappers studied changed drastically. It was good news for those that continued to work but bad news for lazy handicappers who just wanted a place for ‘one stop shopping’.

Growing up as a fledgling handicapper, was personally not comfortable with accepting one figure as the cure all but as the years escalated, I’ve come to understand the importance of Beyer figures although players have to beware of not relying on them like they have come down from Mt. Zion.

The Beyer number reflects the time of the race and the inherent speed of the track that it was run on. Using this formula, the difference of 2 and a half points are roughly equal to one length in sprints and 2 points to one length in routes.

The superstars of the sport could record Beyers in the mid-120 range but those figures are rare indeed. Generally, the best horses in the country will be able to show a 115 Beyer or better on the best of performances.

Good allowance runners or low-grade stakes performers will run close to 100 Beyers while a traditional $25,000 claimer that is going good, will be able to post a 90 figure.

On the lower end, $10,000 sellers are performing well when then post a figure in the 80 range while the bottom rung runners at the minor tracks are life and death to reach the 60 Beyer plateau.

The best way to use the Beyer figure may be as a gauge as to who fits and who does not fit at this current level.

If a runner has proven that at any point of his career he is capable of posting a Beyer that fits with the field, he has to be left in the mix.

On a random recent day at Del Mar when 8 races were carded, the Beyer was a prime player in 6 of the 8 events.

One race was won by a first timer so that test can be eliminated.

Two races were won by a horse that had the best last-race Beyer.

One race was won by a runner that had the top Beyer in the field considering the last 3 races.

Another was won by a runner that had the 2nd best in the field considering the last 3 races.

Two others were won by the third best last-race Beyer and one of those runners paid over $15.

Lastly, a $40 plus runner with the worst last-race Beyer won but that runner was making only his second start on grass.

Some theorize that there are also times when the Beyer figure can be naturally inflated especially when a horse wins by himself on an off track.

Basically, the figure seems to stand up much better on the main or synthetic track and is a bit less reliable on the grass.

Using the Beyer figure to your advantage, takes much more than just hopping on a number and staying there but trying to evaluate how that recent Beyer will improve or decline under today’s conditions.

Happy shopping.

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