105 Beyer

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Miss Woodford
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:10 pm

Rick1323 wrote:No one wants to say it out loud, but the BSFs do dull the accomplishment. It doesn't take away from what he did, but it does dull it when compared to others in history. Would Smarty have swept this group, even with AP in it? Big Brown? Bid? Winning the Triple Crown is a fantastic accomplishment, but it doesn't cement his place in history. He has several months left to do that. I expect him to improve as the year progresses and move up the ladder.......
I'm curious what Beyer would have given Citation - he ran 2:05 in the Derby, 2:02.40 in the Preakness, and 2:28.20 in the Belmont. I wonder if the flying bricks of the 1940s were out in force after that.
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:15 pm

Miss Woodford wrote:
Rick1323 wrote:No one wants to say it out loud, but the BSFs do dull the accomplishment. It doesn't take away from what he did, but it does dull it when compared to others in history. Would Smarty have swept this group, even with AP in it? Big Brown? Bid? Winning the Triple Crown is a fantastic accomplishment, but it doesn't cement his place in history. He has several months left to do that. I expect him to improve as the year progresses and move up the ladder.......
I'm curious what Beyer would have given Citation - he ran 2:05 in the Derby, 2:02.40 in the Preakness, and 2:28.20 in the Belmont. I wonder if the flying bricks of the 1940s were out in force after that.
How was the track playing? And I'd also point out that the entire body of work is what made Citation a great. Others are TC winners while being quite far down any list of all-time greats. It certainly would've been fair to criticize him at the time if those times were slow.

As for FB, I don't recall her saying anything that isn't being discussed now, so I'm not sure that she's being treated fairly. I'm pretty sure being called a POS wasn't appropriate, not for critiquing a horse.
"This is how we roll in the Shire." -- Leonard
thinair
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:18 pm

Life At Zen wrote:
Sorry for not being specific, I know it's hard for you old-timers to interpret tone and meaning on the vast Inter-Webs. I should've added "IMO" at the end.
Believe me, it's not the only tough thing for us old-timers:-)
thinair
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:20 pm

For those interested in historical figs, I can ask Beyer about Citation, but I have talked to him at length about supposed fast horses of the past, and Count Fleet is the one that is considered to have likely been the fastest of the old-time greats.

I wish figs had been more mainstream when Dr. Fager was running.
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:25 pm

thinair wrote:For those interested in historical figs, I can ask Beyer about Citation, but I have talked to him at length about supposed fast horses of the past, and Count Fleet is the one that is considered to have likely been the fastest of the old-time greats.

I wish figs had been more mainstream when Dr. Fager was running.
Couldn't they pull charts and come up with numbers now for the past greats? Might be a bit tedious but would think it possible. Would love to see the numbers for Fager (the best horse to ever race ;-). Oh, and Ruffian too.
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Life At Zen
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 12:29 pm

Admin wrote:
thinair wrote:For those interested in historical figs, I can ask Beyer about Citation, but I have talked to him at length about supposed fast horses of the past, and Count Fleet is the one that is considered to have likely been the fastest of the old-time greats.

I wish figs had been more mainstream when Dr. Fager was running.
Couldn't they pull charts and come up with numbers now for the past greats? Might be a bit tedious but would think it possible. Would love to see the numbers for Fager (the best horse to ever race ;-). Oh, and Ruffian too.
I'd love to see figures for Ruffian.
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Tessablue
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:27 pm

thinair wrote:For those interested in historical figs, I can ask Beyer about Citation, but I have talked to him at length about supposed fast horses of the past, and Count Fleet is the one that is considered to have likely been the fastest of the old-time greats.

I wish figs had been more mainstream when Dr. Fager was running.
Interesting. I tend to give Count Fleet a hard time because of his abbreviated career and short fields, but I'd be curious to hear just how his times and figures stacked up.

Personally, I think older horses got off the hook by running before the advent of speed figures- it allows racing fans, who tend to operate under hefty nostalgia biases, to just assume that they were faster. I would not be surprised if Slew's TC BSFs lined up pretty readily with AP's- noting, of course, that the Preakness this year was essentially impossible to quantify.

One thing I've wondered, perhaps someone else can clarify- aren't Beyers, by their very nature, much better at determining when a slow time is relatively fast, versus when a fast time is relatively slow? There comes a point at which a horse can't physically run any faster, no matter the track condition- is there any merit to the notion that the math can be compromised by an exceptionally fast track?

And I say all of this as someone who really enjoys speed figures. They are great fun and useful handicapping tools, and I was certainly an AP critic on the basis of times a few weeks ago, but allowing his figures to dim his achievement seems unfair if we don't even have a baseline for the previous winners.
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Sham
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:42 pm

This seemed like a fun thing to think/write about during my lunch break.

Belmont day figures:

American Pharoah (Belmont) -- 2:26.65 -- 105
Honor Code (Met Mile) -- 1:33.18 -- 112
Wedding Toast (Ogden Phipps) -- 1:40.21 -- 102
Curalina (Acorn) -- 1:35.12 -- 92
March (Woody Stephens) -- 1:21.37 -- 95
Coach Inge (Brooklyn) -- 2:27.17 -- 102
Japan (Easy Goer) -- 1:42.14 -- 89

Looking through that list, I don't see any adjustments that really make me uncomfortable from a figure making standpoint. The tough bit about 12f is how seldom it's run at Belmont or otherwise. So VE Day and Coach Inge basically running to their top form makes the Brooklyn an easy figure within the context of the other races, which the 102 would represent for their race. The only couple of notes I have from the track is that I don't recall them watering the dirt course at all before Honor Code's race, after which point they did so twice coming into the Belmont, once just after the Met Mile and once after the Manhattan. It had rained heavily early Saturday to my understanding, and it wasn't hot, so I'm guessing the track condition was fairly consistent. I don't think the way they watered the course made it more wet than it should have been for the Belmont.

A consideration around the figure is how the horses behind American Pharoah ran. What's inescapable within Beyer figures is how those horses performed from a finish time/beaten lengths standpoint versus how they've fared in the past. This makes Beyers a bit more of a class measurement than they really claim to be, but c'est la vie. Frosted's figure (I'm guessing a 97?) for the Belmont would represent a slight regression from his Derby (100) and Wood (103), but is within reason. Keen Ice (previous top 92) and Mubtaahij (previous top 91) would both have a new high figure (94 range?) off this race. Those seem reasonable. Those two also represent two of the best distance pedigrees in the field, so a new top figure at this distance doesn't exactly surprise. Heck, one of them might be next year's Brooklyn winner. But there isn't a ton of justification to give them well above a 95 figure given each of their past performances, especially given the time for the race squares with the expectation for their figures.

The other thing is that AP could hardly have run faster than the final time given the pace he set. The pace versus final time of the Belmont and Brooklyn were very similar, with slow opening furlongs and a screaming fast final half mile. Recent years have seen slow paces and slow finishes, possibly owing to the track condition, possibly owing to the horses being slow. This was a slow pace and lightning finish, faster than anything we're likely to see again for a while.

If you want a number to complain about, think about last year's Belmont. Norumbega ran 12f in 2:27.13 in last year's Brooklyn and earned a 101 figure. Tonalist ran 2:28.54 later on the same card and was awarded a 100. In this case, Tonalist's figure was split out, which is something I don't tend to like seeing unless there's significant justification, eg. AP's Preakness. Note that the 2008 to 2013 stretch has been the slowest stretch of Belmont races in its recent history as well, with a top Beyer for any winner of 100. Recall Drosselmeyer got a 94 in winning the Belmont, Palace Malice a 98. Had the early pace been faster, who knows whether AP would have gotten a faster final time; we'll never know the answer to that one. The last "fast" Belmont before this was Rags to Riches, who got a 107. The years of thoroughbreds improving in speed up to the Belmont as a logical extension of their physical maturation appear to be over; horses really just don't seem to want the distance anymore.

Some other numbers to note -- Secretariat received an unofficial 139 for the Belmont. I want to say Easy Goer got something in the 120 range, Point Given somewhere in the mid 110s. Count Fleet's numbers were obviously never made, but expectation is that they could have been as high as 150.

One interesting thing to think about in the context of speed figures is what they tell us about the average thoroughbred versus black type thoroughbreds. One argument is that horses are getting slower. That's possible, but I'm not sure I buy it. For one, we'd have to have a really good idea of how track surfaces and daily maintenance have changed over the last few decades. Have tracks gotten deeper, slower universally for the sake of horse safety? Or are they by and large the same? Are tracks being watered more or less during a card than they used to be? Another possibility is that the average horse is simply faster than it was in previous decades, while the fastest horses are only getting incrementally faster; those average horses represent the pars on which other horses' figures are based. So if the average horse is faster overall, than the top class horses might not have as much separation as they used to from that average. I'm guessing if we looked at a sport like Olympic-level sprinting, we might see a similar trend of the field getting faster on average and the outliers only getting incrementally so. Thorograph figures say that horses are getting faster all the time. Someone needs to do a Ph.D thesis on horse racing statistics to answer this question officially.

Finally, who cares? ;) All this shite doesn't make a bit of difference when it comes to American Pharoah. He's won the Triple Crown, and deserved every bit of his victory.
Last edited by Sham on Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Soto, Suni, Sham, whichever.
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Sham
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:52 pm

Tessablue wrote:One thing I've wondered, perhaps someone else can clarify- aren't Beyers, by their very nature, much better at determining when a slow time is relatively fast, versus when a fast time is relatively slow? There comes a point at which a horse can't physically run any faster, no matter the track condition- is there any merit to the notion that the math can be compromised by an exceptionally fast track?

And I say all of this as someone who really enjoys speed figures. They are great fun and useful handicapping tools, and I was certainly an AP critic on the basis of times a few weeks ago, but allowing his figures to dim his achievement seems unfair if we don't even have a baseline for the previous winners.
I think there's a good amount of figure compression that occurs when a track is faster versus when a track is slower. Ie., I think higher figures will often follow slower tracks, while new track record performances aren't entirely likely to coincide with high speed figures. Think about Materiality's Florida Derby. The time for that race for 9f was 1:52 and change, and yet it got the highest prep figure of 110 because the track was dead. Mathematically there should be some compensation for this, but I don't know whether there is. So for example if a par for 9f at Aqueduct is 1:50 (12.2 sec/furlong) while the par for 9f at Santa Anita is 1:48 (12 sec/furlong) , I'd expect there to be some additional math around the difference baked into the figures. But I haven't done enough work around them on the whole to know if that follows actual performance.

And I echo the last paragraph completely.
Soto, Suni, Sham, whichever.
Rick1323
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 1:58 pm

Track records are more about track condition than the ability of the horses.
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:10 pm

thinair wrote:For those interested in historical figs, I can ask Beyer about Citation, but I have talked to him at length about supposed fast horses of the past, and Count Fleet is the one that is considered to have likely been the fastest of the old-time greats.

I wish figs had been more mainstream when Dr. Fager was running.

Dr. Fager - from the Chicago Tribune:

"``Because he was the fastest horse who ever raced in North America,``

says his retired Hall of Fame trainer, John Nerud. ``I don`t believe that any horse could beat him at distances up to a mile. They`d run rabbits at him to try to run him down in the early stages, but he could outrun five rabbits.

``Any horse that ran head to head with him had to get beat. No horse could look him in the eye and still survive.``

The context of the record, established in the Washington Park Handicap, makes it even more astonishing. Dr. Fager was asked to carry 134 pounds, and no horse in the 40 earlier runnings had competed bearing a comparable burden. Yet Dr. Fager won by 10 lengths.

They ran at Dr. Fager in sizzling relays-first Hedevar, then Angelico and Kentucky Sherry, next R. Thomas and finally Racing Room and Info. It was to no avail.

Dr. Fager was sixth at the quarter-mile call and second at the half, only a head behind R. Thomas. Moving with a rush while still being held under restraint by jockey Braulio Baeza, he took command leaving the backstretch and rocketed away from his adversaries. According to the Daily Racing Form chart of the race, he won ``with something left.``

The fractions were :22 4/5 by Angelico for the quarter, :44 by R. Thomas for the half and 1:07 3/5 by Dr. Fager for three-quarters.
Except for Prove It, winner of the 1962 Washington Park in 1:33 4/5 while carrying 131 pounds, no other horse had ever run a mile in under 1:34 with more than 130 pounds on its back.

The world record that Dr. Fager broke was 1:32 3/5, set by Buckpasser carrying 125 pounds in the 1966 Arlington Classic."

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/1989 ... buckpasser

If someone already put up the fractions ... sorry ... I just saw thinair's inquiry and posted.

Maybe someone here could do a rough estimate of what his Beyer was that day.
Last edited by a Flying Brick on Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
stark
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:10 pm

Rick1323 wrote:Track records are more about track condition than the ability of the horses.
Amen!

Give the trackman a bonus for a track record at Gulfstream and you'll have it Thursday afternoon!
I've found it easier to tear up tickets at 8/1 instead of 8/5.
Apollo
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:18 pm

thinair wrote:For those interested in historical figs, I can ask Beyer about Citation, but I have talked to him at length about supposed fast horses of the past, and Count Fleet is the one that is considered to have likely been the fastest of the old-time greats.

I wish figs had been more mainstream when Dr. Fager was running.
I appreciate the two references in that post, for varied reasons. I don't like to comment on athletes or anything before my time. You simply miss too much, relying solely on books or even videos.

I have a modest opinion that Count Fleet was superior to Citation. It's based primarily on how fast he ran, and sheer brilliance with a relatively brief span. But I could be way off base. I certainly wouldn't bet on it. Citation might simply outclass Count Fleet, as so many from that era prefer.

I don't trust speed figures, or power ratings in sports, at the highest levels. They are far more useful in clarity at a lower level, like claimers, the stiff horses who are forced to give their all every time.

Among the top tier, running times and Beyers are comically flimsy and semi irrelevant. Too many issues dictate time, just like final margins in sports are often random, like energy and turnovers during 4th quarter blowouts. Other variables trump Beyers with a laugh. For example, I'm sure many of the late blooming stiffs who attempted the Triple Crown in the Belmont had superior Beyers to American Pharoah in the Derby and Preakness, and perhaps earlier in the year. The goofs who embrace that type of thing thought they were better horses than American Pharoah. Meanwhile, the trump card truth was way back there as a 2 year old, the early excellence as greatest predictor of absolute excellence. Beyers are forever vulnerable to that type of thing.

I hope American Pharoah is dominant the remainder of the year, partially to provide a needed dose of reality toward how overrated Dr. Fager is. I don't have many beefs in racing. Dr. Fager so high on those all time lists is remarkable ignorance. It is one of the great litmus tests, IMO. I don't put much stock in the opinion of people who are gushing high on Dr. Fager, to the point they slot him above most of the Triple Crown legends. I like frontrunners. Class frontrunners who can control their speed and extend when necessary. Not fragile one-dimensional types like Dr. Fager.

It's comical how high he is on some of those all time lists, based on secondary races later in his career after skipping the Classics completely, despite being plenty healthy enough to run two races during May of his 3 year old year. Sorry, you won't warrant a Top 5 or Top 10 spot when the names of those May races were the Withers and Jersey Derby. To ignore that type of thing is parallel to the idiots who ignore how vital the 2 year old excellence is toward the Triple Crown pursuit.

Here's a quote from a couple of weeks prior to the Derby, compliments of Dr. Fager's famous trainer, after his horse narrowly defeated Damascus in the Gotham mile:

"I've had the feeling for some time that Dr. Fager just isn't a Derby-type horse," said (Johnny) Nerud. "And nothing he did today caused me to change my mind."

That's admirably candid. If Dr. Fager had run in the Classics his reputation would have been shattered to the point he never could have recovered enough to falsely climb the all time lists, no matter how many breakneck races he won later on. We shouldn't be dense enough to allow an athlete to skip the Olympics or Masters or similar and then assign them all time status as if they hadn't run away from those defining tests.

Point blank, the horses who dominate the 3 year old classics are at a different level than late blooming types who earn applause later on. That's really the only reason I wish those fantasy races could actually play out, to see how thoroughly the young heroes would establish themselves as the true elite.

Matt adds plenty to this board. I appreciated him early when he was among the very few who held a similar opinion of Dr. Fager, that his all time rating was simply too high.
MySaladDays
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:21 pm

Oldowan wrote:It's pointless to compare him to other Triple winners (I mean really pointless--nevermind the gap of almost four decades and all that's changed in racing
Michael Jordan: "I believe greatness is an evolutionary process that changes and evolves era to era."

I look to my tennis champion "greats" who won Grand Slams with small wooden rackets with much smaller "sweet spots"..... advances in equipment, nutrition, technology, supplements all tweak the physics of the game......but all champions have something in common: in some way, they are freaks. American Pharoah, amazing efficiency in running style, doesn't matter what track, can't put it all on the breeding, something happened with that particular match-up.

Everyone has to compete in the moment of time in which they live. Bad crop, good crop, (subjective anyway) they are all in the same boat and have to perform against each other, not athletes from 40 years ago. Numbers and times are for history books but don't tell the whole story. Numbers aren't the only descriptor of "uniqueness".
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:24 pm

Apollo wrote:
thinair wrote:For those interested in historical figs, I can ask Beyer about Citation, but I have talked to him at length about supposed fast horses of the past, and Count Fleet is the one that is considered to have likely been the fastest of the old-time greats.

I wish figs had been more mainstream when Dr. Fager was running.
I appreciate the two references in that post, for varied reasons. I don't like to comment on athletes or anything before my time. You simply miss too much, relying solely on books or even videos.

I have a modest opinion that Count Fleet was superior to Citation. It's based primarily on how fast he ran, and sheer brilliance with a relatively brief span. But I could be way off base. I certainly wouldn't bet on it. Citation might simply outclass Count Fleet, as so many from that era prefer.

I don't trust speed figures, or power ratings in sports, at the highest levels. They are far more useful in clarity at a lower level, like claimers, the stiff horses who are forced to give their all every time.

Among the top tier, running times and Beyers are comically flimsy and semi irrelevant. Too many issues dictate time, just like final margins in sports are often random, like energy and turnovers during 4th quarter blowouts. Other variables trump Beyers with a laugh. For example, I'm sure many of the late blooming stiffs who attempted the Triple Crown in the Belmont had superior Beyers to American Pharoah in the Derby and Preakness, and perhaps earlier in the year. The goofs who embrace that type of thing thought they were better horses than American Pharoah. Meanwhile, the trump card truth was way back there as a 2 year old, the early excellence as greatest predictor of absolute excellence. Beyers are forever vulnerable to that type of thing.

I hope American Pharoah is dominant the remainder of the year, partially to provide a needed dose of reality toward how overrated Dr. Fager is. I don't have many beefs in racing. Dr. Fager so high on those all time lists is remarkable ignorance. It is one of the great litmus tests, IMO. I don't put much stock in the opinion of people who are gushing high on Dr. Fager, to the point they slot him above most of the Triple Crown legends. I like frontrunners. Class frontrunners who can control their speed and extend when necessary. Not fragile one-dimensional types like Dr. Fager.

It's comical how high he is on some of those all time lists, based on secondary races later in his career after skipping the Classics completely, despite being plenty healthy enough to run two races during May of his 3 year old year. Sorry, you won't warrant a Top 5 or Top 10 spot when the names of those May races were the Withers and Jersey Derby. To ignore that type of thing is parallel to the idiots who ignore how vital the 2 year old excellence is toward the Triple Crown pursuit.

Here's a quote from a couple of weeks prior to the Derby, compliments of Dr. Fager's famous trainer, after his horse narrowly defeated Damascus in the Gotham mile:

"I've had the feeling for some time that Dr. Fager just isn't a Derby-type horse," said (Johnny) Nerud. "And nothing he did today caused me to change my mind."

That's admirably candid. If Dr. Fager had run in the Classics his reputation would have been shattered to the point he never could have recovered enough to falsely climb the all time lists, no matter how many breakneck races he won later on. We shouldn't be dense enough to allow an athlete to skip the Olympics or Masters or similar and then assign them all time status as if they hadn't run away from those defining tests.

Point blank, the horses who dominate the 3 year old classics are at a different level than late blooming types who earn applause later on. That's really the only reason I wish those fantasy races could actually play out, to see how thoroughly the young heroes would establish themselves as the true elite.

Matt adds plenty to this board. I appreciated him early when he was among the very few who held a similar opinion of Dr. Fager, that his all time rating was simply too high.
I don't think anybody here was suggesting the DOCTOR was a candidate for the Triple Crown. He never ran in the Derby, the Preakness, or the Belmont .. so I don't understand any comparison to horses that have.
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:29 pm

Apollo wrote: It's comical how high he is on some of those all time lists, based on secondary races later in his career after skipping the Classics completely, despite being plenty healthy enough to run two races during May of his 3 year old year. Sorry, you won't warrant a Top 5 or Top 10 spot when the names of those May races were the Withers and Jersey Derby. To ignore that type of thing is parallel to the idiots who ignore how vital the 2 year old excellence is toward the Triple Crown pursuit.

Here's a quote from a couple of weeks prior to the Derby, compliments of Dr. Fager's famous trainer, after his horse narrowly defeated Damascus in the Gotham mile:

"I've had the feeling for some time that Dr. Fager just isn't a Derby-type horse," said (Johnny) Nerud. "And nothing he did today caused me to change my mind."

That's admirably candid. If Dr. Fager had run in the Classics his reputation would have been shattered to the point he never could have recovered enough to falsely climb the all time lists, no matter how many breakneck races he won later on. We shouldn't be dense enough to allow an athlete to skip the Olympics or Masters or similar and then assign them all time status as if they hadn't run away from those defining tests.

Point blank, the horses who dominate the 3 year old classics are at a different level than late blooming types who earn applause later on. That's really the only reason I wish those fantasy races could actually play out, to see how thoroughly the young heroes would establish themselves as the true elite.

Matt adds plenty to this board. I appreciated him early when he was among the very few who held a similar opinion of Dr. Fager, that his all time rating was simply too high.
Somebody better go dig Kelso up and tell him he's a nag.
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Apollo
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:31 pm

Rick1323 wrote:Track records are more about track condition than the ability of the horses.
Exactly. Same in other sports. There are notoriously fast swimming pools and fast speed skating ovals, namely Calgary and Salt Lake City. Records stand at those venues for years and years.

Believe it or not, there are actual Beyer-type numbers in sports like that. Not nearly as prominent as in racing, probably do the lesser role of wagering, but I've seen them from time to time.

Not surprisingly, the highest "Beyers" are reserved for those freakishly fast surfaces. The adjustment simply isn't enough to compensate. Moderate athletes don't take full advantage of the unusually fast conditions. They race dull so the track appears to be relatively normal. When the freak types take to the surface they are able to shatter records and then have the "Beyer" adjustment take it to absurd level, one they don't fully deserve.

No different in racing.
a Flying Brick
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:46 pm

My GOD !!! The Doctor was carrying 134 pounds !!! As said in the movie Pharlap .... weight will stop a train.
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:17 pm

A horse has to prove himself in the TC to be a greater racehorse than the TC winners? I don't think so. He was too immature and fast to prove himself going those distances early.
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katmandu
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Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:23 pm

From the mouth of Mr. Beyer himself:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/am ... story.html
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