Numbers crunchers already might know there are not one, not two, but three horses who could be regarded as analytical favorites for next month’s Belmont Stakes 2023.
Angel of Empire, Arabian Lion and Forte rise above the other 10 would-be starters when applying the optics of Beyer Speed Figures, Brisnet Speed Ratings, TimeformUS Speed Figures and the new Horse Racing Nation Speed Figures to the 12 horses listed by the New York Racing Association as probable or possible.
With his third-place finish three weeks ago in the Kentucky Derby, Angel of Empire was rewarded with a 104 Beyer, according to Daily Racing Form, the best of any candidate for the Belmont. The only 3-year-old males who have done better in 2023 were Mage and Two Phil’s, both of whom got 105s for their one-two finish in the Derby.
Forte, the 2022 champion juvenile male who was the scratched favorite from the Derby, has the top Brisnet rating of 103 from his Fountain of Youth (G2) victory in March at Gulfstream Park.
For his gate-to-wire triumph Saturday in the Sir Barton on the Preakness undercard at Pimlico, Arabian Lion got a 123 TimeformUS figure and a 107 from HRN, both best among Belmont possibilities.
Ranking the Beyers, Angel of Empire and Arabian Lion, whose Preakness victory earned him a 103, distinguished themselves in the Belmont discussion as the only ones in triple digits. Tapit Trice got a 99 for his Blue Grass (G1) win but regressed to a 94 this month when he finished seventh in the Derby.
Right behind Forte in the Brisnet ratings were three 102s. His stablemate Tapit Trice had one of them for his Blue Grass effort. Arabian Lion had the other two, one for finishing second in the Lexington (G3) and the other for winning the Sir Barton.
Arabian Lion’s TimeformUS number was followed closely by Angel of Empire’s 122 from the Derby. The next Belmont candidates were another four points lower.
The Sir Barton victory put Arabian Lion a cut above in the HRN figures. Angel of Empire’s Derby made him the next nearest at 104.
These are the Beyer, Brisnet, TimeformUS and HRN statistics in 2023 for all the Belmont candidates, in each case showing their form progression as they are considered for the 1 1/2-mile classic June 10 at Belmont Park. Each horse’s 2023 best is in bold type.
|Belmont Stakes 2023||Beyer||Bris||TFUS||HRN|
|Angel of Empire|
|3rd Kentucky Derby (G1), CD, May 6||104||101||122||104|
|1st Arkansas Derby (G1), OP, April 1||94||101||117||97|
|1st Risen Star (G2), FG, Feb. 18||89||97||110||93|
|2nd Smarty Jones, OP, Jan. 1||86||86||104||87|
|1st Sir Barton, PIM, May 20||103||102||123||107|
|2nd Lexington (G3), KEE, April 15||97||102||119||105|
|4th Robert B. Lewis (G3), SA, Feb. 4||92||94||109||92|
|1st Peter Pan (G3), BEL, May 13||97||101||117||99|
|1st MSW, GP, March 18||85||97||118||98|
|4th MSW, GP, Jan. 14||70||92||95||81|
|1st Florida Derby (G1), GP, April 1||95||100||116||102|
|1st Fntn. of Youth (G2), GP, March 4||98||103||118||99|
|5th Kentucky Derby (G1), May 6||98||96||117||98|
|2nd Wood Mem. (G2), AQU, April 8||93||99||109||94|
|1st Withers (G3), AQU, Feb. 11||91||96||116||95|
|1st alw OC, GP, May 11||77||89||106||91|
|6th Florida Derby (G1), GP, April 1||76||85||102||85|
|6th Fntn. of Youth (G2), GP, March 4||68||81||94||71|
|5th Holy Bull (G3), GP, Feb. 4||66||82||90||71|
|7th Mucho Macho Man, GP, Jan. 1||62||82||86||76|
|1st Preakness (G1), PIM, May 20||98||100||117||95|
|4th SA Derby (G1), SA, April 8||95||97||118||93|
|3rd Sham (G3), SA, Jan. 8||94||97||113||94|
|1st MSW, CD, May 2||88||94||107||93|
|2nd MSW, TAM, March 11||75||84||93||88|
|4th MSW, TAM, Jan. 21||68||79||86||87|
|8th Kentucky Derby (G1), CD, May 6||93||92||113||94|
|5th Blue Grass (G1), KEE, April 8||89||94||107||93|
|1st Gotham (G3), AQU, March 4||90||90||111||97|
|5th Leonatus, TP (AW), Jan. 1||70||80||96||85|
|Red Route One|
|4th Preakness (G1), PIM, May 20||91||94||111||89|
|1st Bath House Row, OP, April 22||92||98||110||97|
|6th Arkansas Derby (G1), OP, April 1||86||95||111||90|
|2nd Rebel (G2), OP, Feb. 25||92||94||113||95|
|2nd Southwest (G3), OP, Jan. 28||87||90||109||90|
|13th Kentucky Derby (G1), May 6||74||77||100||78|
|3rd Arkansas Derby (G1), OP, April 1||86||96||113||91|
|3rd Rebel (G2), OP, Feb. 25||90||92||112||92|
|1st Sham (G3), SA, Jan. 8||95||98||115||95|
|7th Kentucky Derby (G1), May 6||94||93||113||95|
|1st Blue Grass (G1), KEE, April 8||99||102||115||102|
|1st T.B. Derby (G1), TAM, March 11||88||95||110||95|
|1st alw OC, GP, Feb. 4||92||99||105||96|
|Beyer: Daily Racing Form|