Generally speaking, Beyer and BRIS speed figures are arranged on a similar scale. A young horse that posts a triple-digit number is a fast and probably stakes-caliber runner with a bright future.
But interestingly, the Beyer and BRIS speed figures paint differing pictures of the 2019 Triple Crown contenders. On the Beyer scale, just two members of this foal crop have cracked the triple-digit barrier, those being Hidden Scroll (104) and Maximum Security (102). In stark contrast, a total of 21 Triple Crown-nominated runners have earned triple-digit BRIS ratings, and five have reached that plateau twice in their brief careers.
A few of these runners are known or suspected to be off the Triple Crown trail due to setbacks, including the Remsen Stakes (gr. II) winner Maximus Mischief, who figures of 104 and 106 from last year rank as the highest numbers posted by any 2019 Triple Crown nominee. Network Effect (104), Trophy Chaser (102 and 100), and Lucky Lee (100) are other notables who seem certain or unlikely to continue down the Triple Crown trail.
That leaves us with 17 potential Kentucky Derby candidates that have cracked the triple-digit barrier. From the highest numbers to the lowest, here are the stats:
|Game Winner||November 2||Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I)||103|
|Garter and Tie||December 8||Smooth Air Stakes||103|
|Jaywalk||November 2||Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I)||103|
|Tax||December 1||Remsen Stakes (gr. II)||103|
|Well Defined||September 29||Florida Sire In Reality Stakes||103|
|Garter and Tie||September 1||Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes||102|
|Hidden Scroll||January 26||Maiden Special Weight||102|
|Souper Jackpot||December 8||Smooth Air Stakes||102|
|Tax||February 2||Withers Stakes (gr. III)||102|
|Bellafina||August 5||Sorrento Stakes (gr. II)||101|
|Not That Brady||February 2||Withers Stakes (gr. III)||101|
|Our Braintrust||February 2||Withers Stakes (gr. III)||101|
|Vekoma||November 4||Nashua Stakes (gr. III)||101|
|Well Defined||September 1||Florida Sire Affirmed Stakes||101|
|Win Win Win||January 19||Pasco Stakes||101|
|Improbable||December 8||Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I)||100|
|Instagrand||August 11||Best Pal Stakes (gr. II)||100|
|Knicks Go||November 2||Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (gr. I)||100|
|Maximum Security||February 20||Allowance Optional Claiming||100|
|Mihos||January 5||Holy Bull Stakes (gr. II)||100|
Fittingly, the champion two-year-olds Game Winner (male) and Jaywalk (female) sit atop the list with their career-best 103 ratings, but they’re not alone. Last month’s Withers Stakes (gr. III) winner Tax has posted figures of 103 and 102, while Garter and Tie threw down identical numbers last year before tailing off a bit this season. Well Defined isn’t far behind either with figures of 103 and 101 as a juvenile, plus a sharp 99 for his upset victory in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (gr. III) earlier this month.
Hidden Scroll (102) and Maximum Security (100) rate high on both the BRIS and Beyer scales, and we’ll see if the former can put up another triple-digit figure when he runs in the Fountain of Youth Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park on March 2. He’ll be joined by the Nashua Stakes (gr. III) winner Vekoma, with a 101 on his record.
Improbable and Instagrand, who currently rank second and third in my Kentucky Derby Top 10, have both reached the 100 mark, and while Instagrand was the first colt to do so—reaching the milestone on August 11—the filly Bellafina actually beat him to the punch with a 101 in the Sorrento Stakes on August 5, though she hasn’t replicated that figure in five subsequent starts. Win Win Win, another member of my Kentucky Derby Top 10, matched Bellafina’s 101 with a powerful victory in the Pasco Stakes and is among the most exciting horses on the Triple Crown trail thanks to the brilliant turn-of-foot he has demonstrated on several occasions.
As we progress down the Road to the Kentucky Derby, expect to see more and more horses reach the triple-digit plateau and surpass the milestone by larger and larger amounts. In particular, the benefits of maturity could help already fast two-year-olds like Game Winner and Improbable to reach even higher heights this year.