Kentucky Derby 2020: Who are the fastest contenders?

Kentucky Derby 2020: Who are the fastest contenders?
Photo: Rob Simmons/Eclipse Sportswire

Some players value speed figures much more than others, but being faster than your rivals is never a bad thing. Since Beyer speed figures started being used about 40 years ago, the winner of the Kentucky Derby typically has run at least one race that earned a Beyer over 100. Country House was an exception last year, but Maximum Security, who actually crossed the line first, had two 100-plus Beyer races prior to the Derby.

With four extra months of maturity and racing for this year's contenders, seven horses are entering the Derby with 100-plus Beyers. Those that have not reached this threshold seemed destined for a minor placing at best.

Brisnet speed figures and Timeform US speed figures are other useful tools for determining speed and the overall quality of Kentucky Derby prep races. It is no surprise that heavy Derby favorite Tiz the Law dominates all three categories this year.

Those who focus on Brisnet speed ratings will increase the chances of Caracaro, whose 109 figure is the second highest in the field. Caracaro will be double-digit odds but could easily run second to Tiz the Law once more. 

Art Collector, the likely second choice in the Derby, is vulnerable according to Brisnet speed figures. His career top of 104 is tied for only seventh highest in the field.  But on the Beyer scale his 103 is the third-highest in the field, and on the TimeformUS scale, Art Collector's 124 is not only tied for second-best but only two points away from Tiz the Law at 126. 

Tied with Art Collector for the second highest TimeformUS speed figure is Thousand Words, who has arguably the second most impressive overall speed figures when combining all three methods. Thousand Words, who could be the fifth choice in the Derby, has the same Timeform US and Brisnet ratings as Art Collector while offering a higher Beyer figure and odds.

See where your favorite contender ranks on the speed figure scales below. The highest number that each horse has run this year is listed.

 Horse     Beyer Speed     Figures Brisnet Speed Ratings TimeformUS Speed Figures
 Tiz the Law 109   115  126
 Art Collector 103  104  124
 Honor A. P.102  108   123 
 Authentic101 107 121
  Thousand Words  104  104  124 
Caracaro 101 109 120
Ny Traffic 101 107 120
Max Player 99   107   118 
Dr Post  96   104  115
King Guillermo  99  102  120 
Rushie  97  103  118 
Sole Volante 96 102  113 
 Storm the Court  90  102  113 
Enforceable 91   95  111
 Attachment Rate95 98  120 
 Shirl’s Speight91 95  117 
Major Fed  87 99 109
Necker Island  87  98 114
Finnick the Fierce  88  97  112
Winning Impression  82   91  109
 

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