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The Top 5 TimeformUS Speed Figures of 2013

 

A review of the top TimeformUS speed figures for the 2013 racing season indicates one dominant main track performer and one dominant turf performer. 

  

The seven-year-old gelding Game On Dude owns the three highest speed figures of this season. Meanwhile, fellow seven-year-old gelding Wise Dan owns five of the eight highest speed figures run on a turf surface this year. Both of these extremely talented geldings have very impressive career resumes. 


TimeformUS PPs


Indeed, the Equibase database goes back to 1991, and since that time, there are only ten male horses with ten or more career North American Graded Stakes wins:  

Skip Away 16
Wise Dan 15
Game On Dude 13
Cigar 11
Silver Charm 10
Lure 10
Congaree 10
Kona Gold 10
Gio Ponti 10
Sir Bear 10
 
Wise Dan is the reigning Horse of the Year of 2012 and the presumptive Horse of the Year of 2013. Game On Dude, meanwhile, lacks so much as a single Eclipse Award in any divisional category. However, as we profile the five highest speed figures of 2013, it is Game On Dude who reigned supreme in that department this past season. Also worth noting: Four of these five performances were turned in by frontrunners in two-turn main-track races. As TimeformUS speed figures account for pace, you can rest assured that great care was taken to not overrate these performances, but they reinforce the notion that at the very top, it's what American horses still do best--deliver dazzling performances if allowed to control the pace early.
 
#1 Game On Dude (132 Speed Figure in the Santa Anita Handicap): In a vintage Game On Dude performance, he faced no quality pace pressure and utterly demolished the Big Cap field by a race record 7.75 length margin of victory as the 125-pound highweight in the field. Eventual second-place finisher Clubhouse Ride was the beneficiary of a ten pound break in weights. He returned to finish second beaten just a half length in the $1,500,000 Charles Town Classic in his next start, before winning the Grade 2 Californian at Betfair Hollywood Park.
 
Former Big Cap winner Ron The Greek was next in the scales at 122 pounds. He was exiting a gigantic victory in the Sunshine Millions, where he won by more than 11 lengths. However, it was a race in which his main competitor, Mucho Macho Man, was virtually eased. Ron The Greek was campaigned exceptionally hard and traveled all over, but his season was disappointing until he gave a shocking reminder of how capable he is on his day: when delivering an almost seven length victory in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, with Palace Malice and Flat Out finishing second and third.
 
 
#2 Game On Dude (130 speed figure in the Pacific Classic): This race had plenty of controversy in regard to the final time. However, there wasn't the slightest doubt about who was best. In another example of what Game On Dude is capable of when allowed a loose lead, he drilled his eleven other opponents in the Pacific Classic by a race-record 8.5 lengths. Del Mar's most important race was turned into an absolute mockery by Game On Dude.
 
 
#3 Game On Dude (129 speed figure in the Hollywood Gold Cup): Once again, Game On Dude was allowed an uncontested early lead. Under a lofty 127 pound weight impost, he got the job done in the final edition of Hollywood Park's most storied race, the Hollywood Gold Cup. Even though his great form would deteriorate in his final two starts of 2013, it should be noted he was unable to secure his optimal trip, free running on a loose early lead, in either the Breeders' Cup Classic or Clark Handicap.  
 
#4. Fort Larned (129 speed figure in the Stephen Foster): Here's a fascinating statistic for you: Fort Larned has led at the first call only four times in his entire racing career.
 
The first time he ever did was the 2012 Cornhusker Handicap, and he crushed Successful Dan by three lengths at 7/2 odds. The second time Fort Larned ever led at the first call of a race came in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Classic, where he gamely defeated Mucho Macho Man at 9/1 odds (and it was a long way back to the third-place finisher).
 
The third time Fort Larned ever led after the first call was the aforementioned 2013 Stephen Foster Handicap, and he responded with a dazzling win by more than 6 lengths in 1:47 2/5. Moreover, he crushed some good horses on this day. Ron The Greek was beaten more than 10 lengths. Successful Dan was beaten 15 lengths, and he came right back to finish an excellent second in the Whitney Handicap, beating Mucho Macho Man home, among other talented rivals.
 
Throughout his racing career, Fort Larned has made the early lead just four different times, and he was an impressive winner all four times. He's simply not the same caliber of performer when he is unable to make the early lead. If anyone has any doubts that Fort Larned enjoys a free-running front-end style performance, watch what happened in his return race this year, when jockey Brian Hernandez was tossed at the break. Fort Larned blasted off the television screen without his jockey aboard, one of the most memorable performances ever delivered by a riderless horse. Give Fort Larned the lead and he will torch you. He's just not the same horse when using stalking tactics.
 
#5. Flat Out (129 speed figure in the Westchester Handicap): Finally, we have a speed figure that was not earned by racing on an easy early lead! The hard-hitting eight-year-old Flat Out came from next to last and rallied to nail the front-running Cross Traffic in this edition of the Westchester. The distance of this race was a mile, and Flat Out would reaffirm his ability at the mile distance when he captured the Grade 1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct later in the year.
 
Just in case you aren't already sick of us mentioning the value of a loose early lead, Westchester second-place finisher Cross Traffic won his two-turn stakes debut in the Whitney Handicap with a loose early lead. His 128 speed figure just missed the cutoff. That's a big feather in the cap of old Flat Out--delivering the highest speed figure of the year by any horse who didn't establish an early lead.
 

TimeformUS PPs

 

 

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Older Comments about The Top 5 TimeformUS Speed Figures of 2013...

omg, cali guy doesn't have Dude love? I'd almost want to suggest de-programming. lol, on the alias accusation. Anyway, when you see Dude not win a 9f on dirt, why blame the Dude completely, if you get my drift. Also, He barely lost to the colt so many say should be top 3 year old, not some big shameful huge deficit loss. And at the end of the year. P.S. Choke monkey.
Hi dan, there is no sarcasm intended in the following remark, just wanted that to be clear."but when you have things your own way and cant hold off WTC in the Clark, that tells me a lot."dan.agostino.9- I believe very strongly it tells everyone that WTC is the premier dirt horse in n/a at this time and getting even better. When I was handicapping that race I couldn't separate the two at the finish and had to play a 1 to 1 ratio box, which isn't bad in a virtual two horse race I guess. As for "Dude" he is just fantastic for a fan/bettor as he always, without exception, runs the race the way it plays out on paper, win or lose. As a fan/bettor he's my choice for older male as consistency counts for a lot. I agree with Steven Christ from DRF, a person I have a lot of respect for as a handicapper. As for the only other horse that award could go to MMM he lacked the consistency, leaving GOD. OK, so he's about the 4TH best dirt horse running these past years, his consistency in running and winning in million dollar races that are open to all who want to enter should be a plus, not the big minus people believe it to be. From a wagering standpoint GOD is not only the best of this time period, but all time as far as risk % goes. This horse in consecutive races paid $4.60,$2.60, $2.60, $5.40, the purse value of those four races was $3 million, and when it came time for the BCC it was clear he wouldn't be there allowing for elimination of the 6/5 favorite for the second year in a row allowing me to bet MMM and Fort Larned with confidence. I passed on the the 2.60s but took the two others, and I bet with a lot of confidence as the form indicated he had to fall down to lose, which he didn't, unlike MMM (DNF) and Fort Larned (DNF) did . When do you or anyone think you'll ever see a GIFT HORSE like this again? This is my last comment on the Eclipse Awards. I believe that after awarding Wise Dan HOTY and then literally giving him two others he clearly didn't deserve the Eclipse Awards voters voted the awards and themselves into obscurity.
guess you know that my hrn user name is augie127 now lol gave that away.
I am no ones alias, we can all agree that the dude can throw monster figures when things go his own way. but you cannot begin to compare the competition in the classic division east vs west. i would gladly take the dude off the owners hands. the dudes best race i have ever seen was his second in the BCC of 2011. had him that day. but when you have things your own way and cant hold off WTC in the clark, that tells me a lot.
you knock GOD for throwing a clunker in the BCC, but um Flat Out, Fort Larned, Ron the Greek, Will Take Charge, & Mucho Macho Man have thrown MORE than their fair share. a horse can do anything on any different day.
  • EP Taylor · Well MMM coming back from Injury, then a viral infection I would give him a pass, on his bad early part of the year. · 351 days ago
I'd like to see any other horse try to win 3 out of 4 10fs in a year. And that one girl is right about the PC's prestige and its purse, not to mention it can attract turfy types as well as dirt horses. I like soup--goes with Andy Balint's comment??? augie doggie sounds like a backing up alias,. If not, sorry.
Sorry that was harsh, but after all you're new and the eclipse award voters are experts. Cough, choke, gag
Odd that none of your top dirt contenders are even in consideration for any type of Eclipe Award.
jmo, scoldy types.
I'd rather blame the choke monkey than The Dude anytime.
Final ratings are so dependent upon the varied interactions of the pace of race....Lots of variation in the evolution of final times
how many times can you beat the likes of kettle corn and others out west. Ron the Greek is one of the most up and down horses I have seen in recent memory. Game on Dude has lost two BCC in a row on his home track. I like this horse a lot but lets get serious he is not deserving of an Eclipse. Any time he runs into a good field he gets beat. Losing the Clark after where he was at the top of the stretch should say it all.
how many times can you beat the likes of kettle corn and others out west. Ron the Greek is one of the most up and down horses I have seen in recent memory. Game on Dude has lost two BCC in a row on his home track. I like this horse a lot but lets get serious he is not deserving of an Eclipse. Any time he runs into a good field he gets beat. Losing the Clark after where he was at the top of the stretch should say it all.
Game on Dude was not cheated last year. He doesn't deserve Older Male. It doesn't matter if he is likeable. It matters if he performs. Not backing down? If that was how it worked, Handsome Mike would be HOY. Champions don't stay home. Remind me where all but one of GOD's races were? They didn't go to the Pacific Classic because they had bigger stakes in the Whitney and Woodward. As for Charlestown, the best horses active that early in the year were there. Flat Out is known as a NY horse. No one gives him crap because no one but me says he deserves an eclipse. and he races in Florida, New Jersey,... There is no hate for GOD, accepting thay he is not beating the best of the handicap division. It is great he is a gelding. if he wasn't he wouldn't be around.
This fact was never mentioned when Secretariat gained immortality ! I believe it happens when the track is souped up for a big raceday.
Game on dude was cheated last year and will get cheated again this year. He deserves older make but won't get it because so many people have problems liking him for reasons I can't fathom. To me he seems much more like able than Dan- and at least he shows up three years in a row to the classic. Never hear any of the haters give him credit for not back down even after losing three times. Champions don't stay home. Is it his fault mucho macho man or fort larned or flat out didn't show up to the pacific classic? One of the most prestigious older make graded stakes races? Or that no one else besides a handful of horses was brave enough to tackle the awkward track at Charles town? No one gives flat out crap for only being extremely successful in New York. And the dude did come out easy this year. He showed up In West Virginia to take the big bucks. I'm so sick of all the hate pushed at the dude. It really actually makes me sick. This is a horse for crying out loud. An animal. They way I see it he always runs his heart out and gives his owners his best effort. This horse has been running for years and has been sound. He is a great horse for the sport and deserves so much more respect. Too bad he's a gelding
Older male: Wise Dan, Game on Dude, Sahara Sky. Unfortunately, Kaitlin, the way that these awards work is not everyone gets a piece. They are separate categories. Wise Dan fits the criteria for them better than any other horse. I wish that Game on Dude had shipped for the Woodward and shown up in the BCC, he's a nice horse, but he didn't have a campaign that was worth Horse of the Year, nor Older Male.
WTC lost some, but he came back and beat all those big horses that beat him. He defeated all notable 3yos who had defeated him earlier in the year with his victories in the Rebel, Travers, Pen Derby and second in the Jim Dandy. He then went to the BCC, just lost to MMM, and wheeled back to show GOD that there are real nice horses in the east. As for the Pacific Classic, he defeated a Dullahan who clearly was not right and that seemed to be about it. Look at what Dullahan did this year. Can you find anything impressive? I doubt he could've even taken the Ben Ali over Successful Dan.
nobody wanted to give Game On Dude HOY? he deserves Older Male. Wise Dan has HOY wrapped up. but does he deserve 3 Eclipse Awards while some others go without anything? no.
Some would give MMM the award basically off of 1 race, so why not just give it to him in the winner's circle of the BCC? Would save time. Or WTC with his losses, too? And I like how the Pacific Classic is always left out of the "discussion" since that was a win over a large not just Cali field by Game On Dude.

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The TimeformUS Blog is written by several TimeformUS Analysts from around the country.
 
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