Beyer Speed Figures
Beyer Speed Figures - what they are, how they are created and how to use them.
Using Beyer Speed figures and par times when handicapping horse races.
Andrew Beyer is the father of the Beyer Speed Figure. He is a world famous handicapper and columnist for the Washington Post. His book, Picking Winners, revolutionized handicapping with the introduction and explanation of speed figures. The idea behind speed figures is simple - the easiest way to measure one race horse against another is by how fast it runs. Beyer devised a system that assigns a number - a speed figure - to each horse's performance in a race. If every horse ran over a standard surface at the same distance we could compare their speeds simply by looking at their finishing times. Beyer's idea is to be able to compare horses who run over different surfaces (fast tracks, slow tracks, etc.) and different distances. In theory, a horse that earns a 100 speed figure running 7 furlongs at Keeneland should be faster than a horse that earns a 92 running one mile at Saratoga.
The creation or computation
of Beyer Speed figures is a laborious and time consuming process. Thankfully,
the figures are published in the Daily Racing Form, and the average
handicapper can take advantage of them without spending hours compiling
Handicappers often want to equate a speed figure with a race level and
in general a horse that runs in the high 100's is a stakes caliber horse,
while one who earns figures in the 80-90 range may be a high priced claimer
and a horse who earns a speed figure in the low 50's may be a $5,000 claimer.
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