Countless trends come into focus this time of year on the Kentucky Derby trail, but not all are created equal. Establishing those that have proven to be relevant in recent years can ease the complexity of handicapping a 20-horse field and assist in finding a live long shot or tossing a vulnerable favorite.
Here is a closer look at the best Beyer Speed Figures and BRIS Speed Ratings among this year's contenders.
|Rock Your World||100||102|
|Hot Rod Charlie||99||100|
|Soup and Sandwich||90||98|
|Like The King||86||94|
|Get Her Number||84||94|
Looking at these figures is one thing, but interpreting them is another. Since 1992, 26 of 29 (89.6 percent) Kentucky Derby winners have entered the race with a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of at least 95. This number would be 27 out of 29 if Maximum Security had not been disqualified in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, gifting Country House with a victory.
Since 2000, 18 of 21 (85.7 percent) Kentucky Derby winners had a BRIS Speed Rating of at least 100 prior to the race. This number would have been 19 of 21 if Maximum Security had not been taken down.
Ten of the 21 horses currently being considered for the Kentucky Derby have posted a Beyer of at least 95. In order from highest to lowest they are: Rock Your World, Hot Rod Charlie, Medina Spirit, Mandaloun, Essential Quality, Highly Motivated, Midnight Bourbon, Dream Shake, O Besos and King Fury.
Six contenders have recorded a best BRIS of at least 100: Rock Your World, Essential Quality, Highly Motivated, Known Agenda, Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun.
This leaves Rock Your World, Essential Quality, Highly Motivated, Hot Rod Charlie and Mandaloun as the only horses who fall into both categories.
If this dominant trend holds true, then the winner of the 2021 Kentucky Derby will come from this group of five.
There is more to handicapping the Derby than speed figures, but one could do far worse than trusting a statistic that holds true 90 percent of the time to narrow down win contenders.