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Blog - RACING

Sweet Reason is the top 2-year-old according to Equibase Speed Figures. The filly's speed figure is 4 points higher than the second highest figure (Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire).

Speed figures are a useful tool for racing fans and handicappers when trying to evaluate horse racing performances at various distances and on multiple surfaces.

The speed figure makers take the information at their disposal - including whether the track was especially fast or slow that day and the time of the race compared with races at the same distance the same day, among many others - to come up with a number that is representative of the performance that, in theory, can be used to compare horses.

With that in mind, I took an early look at the Equibase Speed Figures of this year’s 2-year-olds to try and identify some possible early storylines or standouts for this week’s Making the Grade blog.

The tables below provide the top 10 speed figures earned by 2-year-old males and 2-year-old fillies in stakes races as well as the top 20 (actually 21 as there was a tie) speed figures earned overall by 2-year-olds regardless of sex of level of competition.

Right away, a point of interest jumped out. Not only is Spinaway Stakes winner Sweet Reason by far the fastest 2-year-old filly so far in 2013, she’s also the fastest 2-year-old, including males. 

Top 2-year-old Equibase Speed Figures (male and female, all races)

Rank

Horse

Purse Earnings

Win%

Speed
Figure

1

Sweet Reason

$237,600

100%

112

2

Big Sugar Soda

$67,500

33%

108

3

Ride On Curlin

$34,929

33%

105

4

Burning Warrior

$45,600

100%

101

4

Stopchargingmaria

$108,000

50%

101

6

Bet On Soup

$25,305

33%

100

6

Strong Mandate

$230,400

67%

100

6

Sunday Rules

$130,500

100%

100

9

True Thought

$37,168

100%

99

10

Lunarwarfare

$68,200

33%

98

10

Miss Behaviour

$87,000

100%

98

10

Protonico

$22,800

100%

98

10

Untapable

$128,125

100%

98

10

Yes I'm Lucky

$113,000

75%

98

15

Artemis Agrotera

$42,000

100%

97

15

My Brown Eyed Guy

$154,730

75%

97

15

Stonetastic

$56,621

50%

97

15

Sweet Emma Rose

$35,700

50%

97

19

Diamond Bachelor

$105,000

100%

96

19

Financial Mogul

$65,200

50%

96

19

Long On Value

$82,800

75%

96

Sweet Reason has won her two career starts by a combined margin of 12 lengths for trainer Leah Gyamati and owner Treadway Racing. She followed up a debut win at 9.80-to-1 odds in August at Saratoga with another dominant win at the Spa in the Spinaway Stakes on Sept. 1.

By 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, Sweet Reason is a half-sister (same dam [mother], different sire [father]) to graded stakes winner Don’t Forget Gil, who finished second in the 1 ¼-mile, Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks in 2009.

With a 14-point jump from a 98 Equibase Speed Figure to a 112 in her second start, plus the pedigree to be able to continue to excel as the distances get longer, Sweet Reason is definitely one to watch on the road to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Burning Warrior and Strong Mandate produced the top two Equibase Speed Figures by males in stakes races. The latter was most impressive in winning the Hopeful Stakes. I profiled him last week in my Making the Grade blog and was blown away by one of the best 1 ¼-mile pedigrees I’ve ever seen.

2-Year-Old Males in Stakes

Horse

Race

Track

Date

Speed
Figure

Burning Warrior

Louisiana Cup Juvenile S.

Louisiana

08/17/2013

101

Strong Mandate

Hopeful S.

Saratoga

09/02/2013

100

Yes I'm Lucky

Tyro S.

Monmouth Park

08/04/2013

98

My Brown Eyed Guy

Florida Stallion Affirmed S.

Calder

08/24/2013

97

Long On Value

Strike Your Colors S.

Delaware Park

07/29/2013

96

Diamond Bachelor

Oak Tree Juvenile Turf S.

Del Mar

09/04/2013

96

Boji Moon

Iowa Cradle S.

Prairie Meadows

08/03/2013

95

Corfu

Saratoga Special S.

Saratoga

08/11/2013

95

Wired Bryan

Saratoga Special S.

Saratoga

08/11/2013

95

Zdeno

Winnipeg Futurity

Assiniboia

09/07/2013

95

As for Burning Warrior, he won his two career races, both sprinting, by a combined margin of 15 ¾ lengths at Louisiana Downs. Clearly, he’s quite fast but we won’t know if he’s a legitimate contender for either the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile or the 2014 spring classics until he steps up in competition. He’s by a sire, A. P. Warrior, who won graded stakes around two turns on grass and dirt, so perhaps Burning Warrior could find success stretching out.

A couple of others from the above list to keep an eye on:

  • Diamond Bachelor has won twice at a mile on turf and drew high praise from his trainer, Patrick Biancone, “He is one of the best at [his] age I’ve ever trained.” Biancone said he will keep him on the turf for this year, so the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf should be an appealing option.
  • My Brown Eyed Guy won both the Dr. Fager and Affirmed divisions of the Florida Stallion Stakes Series and has won three in a row by open lengths.
  • Long On Value put together a three-race winning streak, including stakes victories at Colonial Downs on turf and Delaware Park on dirt, before an unplaced finish in the Hopeful. The muddy track that day for the Hopeful was an odd consistency, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see him bounce back from his worst career Equibase Speed Figure for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott.
  • Don’t give up on Big Sugar Soda after his Hopeful fourth-place finish. He posted a huge 108 Equibase Speed Figure in his second start, the second-fastest figure by a 2-year-old this year, before a major regression on the muddy track for the Hopeful. He also was bumped at the start in the Hopeful, so I’m inclined to give him another race for trainer Steve Asmussen before casting judgment.

Moving back to the fillies, Stopchargingmaria, the Spinaway runner-up, also is intriguing based upon an improvement from a 90 Equibase Speed Figure in her debut to a 101 in the Spinaway in her second race. The Spinaway was contested on a sloppy track, so perhaps Stopchargingmaria just didn’t relish the wet surface as much as Sweet Reason. Her connections seemed to feel that she handled the wet track fine, however, and it might just be a case of being second best to a very promising filly. Either way, an 11-point improvement in her second start bodes well for Stopchargingmaria.

The top-ten stakes speed figures for the fillies also includes the top three from the Pochahontas Stakes on Sept. 7 and the top two from the Del Mar Debutante Stakes on Aug. 31.

Sunday Rules won the Generous Portion Stakes on Aug. 28 at Del Mar looks like a potentially blazing fast sprinter. Her sire, Tribal Rule, was a lightning-fast son of influential sire Storm Cat. Tribal Rule only made four career starts but he was freaky fast. Sunday Rules showed some of that freakishness in the Generous Portion when she blistered the opening half-mile in :44.32 en route to a front-running, 8 ½-length runaway on the synthetic Polytrack surface. I don’t see two turns or the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in Sunday Rules’ future, but I think we’ll be hearing much more from this filly out in Southern California for trainer Mike Mitchell.

2-Year-Old Fillies in Stakes

Horse

Race

Track

Date

Speed Figure

Sweet Reason

Spinaway S.

Saratoga

09/01/2013

112

Stopchargingmaria

Spinaway S.

Saratoga

09/01/2013

101

Sunday Rules

Generous Portion S.

Del Mar

08/28/2013

100

Miss Behaviour

Sorority S.

Monmouth Park

09/01/2013

98

Untapable

Pocahontas S.

Churchill Downs

09/07/2013

98

Stonetastic

Pocahontas S.

Churchill Downs

09/07/2013

97

Scandalous Act

Florida Stallion Susan's Girl S.

Calder

08/24/2013

94

She's a Tiger

Del Mar Debutante S.

Del Mar

08/31/2013

94

Rosalind

Pocahontas S.

Churchill Downs

09/07/2013

94

Fascinating

Del Mar Debutante S.

Del Mar

08/31/2013

93

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

Image Description

Mike Curry

A native of Philadelphia who grew up in nearby Wilmington, Del., Curry was editor of Thoroughbred Times TODAY before joining the America's Best Racing team in May 2012. He credits his grandfather for the inspiration to repeatedly sneak off to Delaware Park as a 16-year-old and the 1989 rivalry between Sunday Silence and Easy Goer for his passion for horse racing. Curry graduated from the University of Delaware in 1997 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a concentration in Journalism. He worked for the Wilmington News Journal and was Sports Editor of the Cecil Whig before moving to Lexington in 2005.

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