Belmont Stakes 2023: Crunching speed numbers for 12 horses

Belmont Stakes 2023: Crunching speed numbers for 12 horses
Photo: Ron Flatter

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.

Flatter: There is a proven recipe for Belmont Stakes success.

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 2023Beyer Bris TFUS HRN 
Angel of Empire    
3rd Kentucky Derby (G1), CD, May 6104101122104
1st Arkansas Derby (G1), OP, April 19410111797
1st Risen Star (G2), FG, Feb. 18899711093
2nd Smarty Jones, OP, Jan. 1868610487
Arabian Lion    
1st Sir Barton, PIM, May 20103102123107
2nd Lexington (G3), KEE, April 1597102119105
4th Robert B. Lewis (G3), SA, Feb. 4929410992
1st Peter Pan (G3), BEL, May 139710111799
1st MSW, GP, March 18859711898
4th MSW, GP, Jan. 1470929581
1st Florida Derby (G1), GP, April 195100116102
1st Fntn. of Youth (G2), GP, March 49810311899
Hit Show    
5th Kentucky Derby (G1), May 6989611798
2nd Wood Mem. (G2), AQU, April 8939910994
1st Withers (G3), AQU, Feb. 11919611695
Il Miracolo    
1st alw OC, GP, May 11778910691
6th Florida Derby (G1), GP, April 1768510285
6th Fntn. of Youth (G2), GP, March 468819471
5th Holy Bull (G3), GP, Feb. 466829071
7th Mucho Macho Man, GP, Jan. 162828676
National Treasure    
1st Preakness (G1), PIM, May 209810011795
4th SA Derby (G1), SA, April 8959711893
3rd Sham (G3), SA, Jan. 8949711394
Prove Worthy    
1st MSW, CD, May 2889410793
2nd MSW, TAM, March 1175849388
4th MSW, TAM, Jan. 2168798687
Raise Cain    
8th Kentucky Derby (G1), CD, May 6939211394
5th Blue Grass (G1), KEE, April 8899410793
1st Gotham (G3), AQU, March 4909011197
5th Leonatus, TP (AW), Jan. 170809685
Red Route One    
4th Preakness (G1), PIM, May 20919411189
1st Bath House Row, OP, April 22929811097
6th Arkansas Derby (G1), OP, April 1869511190
2nd Rebel (G2), OP, Feb. 25929411395
2nd Southwest (G3), OP, Jan. 28879010990
13th Kentucky Derby (G1), May 6747710078
3rd Arkansas Derby (G1), OP, April 1869611391
3rd Rebel (G2), OP, Feb. 25909211292
1st Sham (G3), SA, Jan. 8959811595
Tapit Trice    
7th Kentucky Derby (G1), May 6949311395
1st Blue Grass (G1), KEE, April 899102115102
1st T.B. Derby (G1), TAM, March 11889511095
1st alw OC, GP, Feb. 4929910596
Beyer: Daily Racing Form


TFUS: TimeformUS

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