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The 150th running of the Belmont Stakes is just five days away and I will be here all week trying to give you the needed information to help to make the right decisions when it comes to handicapping the event. We have already looked at updated odds and the New Shooters in the race, so now I will dig a little into Justify, who is looking to be the 13th horse in the history of the sport to win the Triple Crown. The last horse to do it was back in 2015 when American Pharoah accomplished the feat and before that is was back in 1978 (Affirmed).
What Is The 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 and was first used in 1991. 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. The better horse will post Beyer Speeds in the 100’s. The highest official recorded speed was 133, which was done by Groovy in 1987, but Beyer has stated that Secretariat would have posted a Beyer Speed of 139 in his 1973 Belmont Stakes win.
Justify’s first career race saw him post a Beyer Speed of 104, which is odd for young horses to do so in their first race. Even more impressive may have been his Beyer Speed of 101 in his second race. That is impressive because 17 of the previous 18 first racehorses that had a triple-digit Beyer speed in their debut saw it decline by a median of 12 points in their next race. Justify then posted a Beyer Speed of 107 in his next race and a 103 Beyer Speed in the Kentucky Derby.
Justify Had a Slow Beyer Speed At the Preakness
The Preakness Stakes was a different story as Justify posted a Beyer Speed of just 97 in that event, which was the lowest Beyer Speed in the Belmont Stakes since they have been keeping track. They started in 1991. Is there something to worry about here with the low Beyer Speed. I don’t feel that there is. The Preakness had a wild storm rage through just prior to the event, which made the tack very muddy and almost impossible to get an accurate Beyer Speed in the race. The highest Beyer Speed at the Preakness Stakes was 118, which was done twice. The first was by Silver Charm in 1997 and then by Smarty Jones in 2004.
Justify has shown in his other races that he is very capable of hitting a triple-digit Beyer figure here at the Belmont Stakes. This track should be fine and you will see a far better Beyer Speed from him, but will it be enough to will the race and the Triple Crown? We shall see, but when handicapping this event, do not pay all that much attention to his Beyer Speed in the Preakness.