Kentucky Derby 2021: How do the speed figures stack up?

Kentucky Derby 2021: How do the speed figures stack up?
Photo: Benoit Photo

In many recent editions of the Kentucky Derby, speed figures have helped signify a standout. In the 2021 Run for the Roses, Beyer Speed Figures, Brisnet Speed Ratings and TimeformUS Speed Figures show just how competitive and evenly matched this year's field is.

Essential Quality, the likely favorite in the race, stands high above the rest of the field in terms of accomplishments, but his modest career high Beyer Speed Figure of 97 gives hope to those looking to beat the chalk.

The three runners in the prospective field to post a Beyer higher than Essential Quality all have question marks in their own right.

Mandaloun earned a 98 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the Risen Star (G2), but his lackluster sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby (G2) is tough to stomach as a handicapper.

Hot Rod Charlie earned a 99 figure while dusting Mandaloun in the Louisiana Derby, but he was defeated by Essential Quality and Medina Spirit in his prior two races.

Rock Your World is the only Derby contender to post a triple-digit Beyer. He has the highest Beyer and TimeformUS Figures and the co-highest Brisnet Rating.

Based on numbers, he is the horse to beat and he will certainly be on my tickets. But what happens if he is not able to make the lead and is forced to take kickback for the first time in his career?

There are 10 horses within five Beyer points of the 100 Rock Your World earned in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).

O Besos could easily be 10 times the odds of Essential Quality despite having a career-best Beyer only one point lower.

Florida Derby (G1) winner Known Agenda and Robert B. Lewis (G3) winner Medina Spirit each lie outside the top eight on the Beyer scale but are being undervalued according to Brisnet and TimeformUS. Known Agenda's 101 Brisnet Rating is only one point behind the top figure, while Medina Spirit's 120 career high TimeformUS is the second best in this group.

Essential Quality is a very good horse who is likely to show up with an honest effort, but he does not have the numbers to merit a short price compared with recent chalky winners such as American Pharoah and Justify. A Triple Crown winner might not come from this group, but if the numbers are telling the truth, this year's Derby has a strong chance to produce large payoffs.

Below is a closer look at the career best Beyer Speed Figures, Brisnet Speed Ratings and TimeformUS Figures for the prospective 2021 Kentucky Derby field.

 HorseTop Beyer Top BrisnetTop TimeformUS
Rock Your World100102124
Hot Rod Charlie99100117
Essential Quality97102118
Highly Motivated97102118
Midnight Bourbon9698114
Dream Shake9695118
O Besos9694113
Medina Spirit9598120
King Fury9595117
Known Agenda94101113
Super Stock9297116
Caddo River9296117
Soup and Sandwich9098112
Dynamic One8995106
Like The King8694110
Get Her Number8494109
Hidden Stash8393107
Beyer speed figures and TimeformUS figures are courtesy of Daily Racing Form.  
Brisnet speed ratings are courtesy of Brisnet 

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