Monday, October 11, 2010

94 Too Low For Mo

After a dominating 4 3/4 length romp in the Champagne Stakes, I was sure Uncle Mo had not only matched his Saratoga maiden route, but exceeded it. The speedy son of Indian Charlie proved that the extra quarter mile was no problem for him as he stretched out from six furlongs to a flat mile on only his second career start.

The colt was pressured right from the gate by that "pesky," as Tom Durkin called it, I'm Steppin Up. After a sizzling opening quarter in 22.41 and a stiff half mile in 45.92 it was clear that if Uncle Mo were to win the Champagne he would really have to be something special. Around the far turn they came, and Mountain Town began to mount a menacing rally around the far turn. At the head of the stretch, it looked as though Mo wouldn't be in for another easy win.

It was just then, when it looked like the talented colt would not find more, that he spurted clear with an amazing turn of foot and bounded to the wire much the best. His final time of 1.34.51 was the second fastest of the meet so far, only .09 seconds off what Tizway had run six days earlier in the Kelso. His time for the final quarter was one second better than what AZ Warrior turned in for her effort in the Frizette and .7 seconds better than Tizway's final quarter in the Kelso. Add in that his final time was the second fastest in the history of the Champagne, and you have a monster performance that would surely garner a monster speed figure.

The next day the speed figures were released and soon many were baffled by the respectable, but not stellar 94 BFS Uncle Mo received. I checked everything I could on the track -- Belmont was not playing overly fast that Saturday or in the days leading up to the Champagne. During that race week, from Wednesday to Friday the final times for a mile around Belmont were all around the 1.37-1.38 range, one even was a 1.39. Yes, all of these were claiming races, maidens and AOC's. Saturday the only other race ran over a mile was the Frizette, which was run in 1.35.68. How is it that when the track was playing average and Uncle Mo made it look like a freeway did he only receive a 94 BFS?

I asked Youbet's Derek Simon his opinion on the matter and how he felt. Rather than try to rephrase what he said and confuse you all I'll give you his response.

Derek Simon's Response on the Frizette and Champagne BFS:

"For better or for worse, part of what Beyer and his associates attempt to do with their speed figures is have them make sense. Mathematically speaking, its almost like an unstructured form of linear regression, whereby disparate data points, i.e. individual speed figures, are smoothed out. This in my opinion makes the figure more reliable overall, but less reliable in specific instances.

Saturday's Belmont card was one of those "specific instances," I'm afraid. To begin there were only two dirt route races to consider on Saturday: The Champagne and the Frizette, both for two year olds -an age that often produces overnight improvement. However here's (I think) what the Beyer folk are thinking:


A Z Warrior (77 previous Beyer high)
*R Heat Lightning (76)
Joyful Victory (77)


Uncle Mo (102)
*Mountain Town (61)
I'm Stepin' Up (74)

*Key horses in my opinion. R Heat Lightning recorded Beyers of 76, 76, 74 in her three lifetime starts, making her Frizette number a benchmark of sorts, while Mountain Town's BFS was so poor that, should he finish well, which he did, it casts doubt (rightly or wrongly) on the quality of the race.

Now, the spread of 13 points between the two races is a constant based on the race times, so if Beyer gives Uncle Mo, say a 102 again, that means A Z Warrior gets an 89 and R Heat Lightning gets and 86 -significantly better than anything she's earned before. That with what would amount to a 93 figure for Mountain Town, is why I believe the race was deemed to be slower.

Is this fair, or more importantly, accurate? I'm not sure, but I'm leaning to "no" on both accounts. I say that because my figures generally show improvement on the part all top finishers. And Dani's theory of a deep Saratoga track, inflating final times of certain horses on certain days is making more and more sense. For example, R Heat Lightning recorded a respectable -8 LRS in the Frizette, after garnering a woeful -24 LRS in the Spinaway, run at Saratoga. Surely the leaders stopping to a craw in that race contributed to a final 76 BFS."

Basically what I got out of that was that Beyer is trying to twist these latest figures, to make his earlier ones look more accurate, which in my opinion is not right. As Derek pointed out 2 year olds can improve overnight. Who is to say that Mountain Town who ran a low 61, could not have show that same improvement in this start? A Z Warrior, being a 2 year old is not only eligible to improve, but also was coming off synthetics, was eligible to jump up when transferring to dirt. R Heat Lightning, if my theory on Saratoga is correct, was bound to run better over a track that was not as deep or tiring.

So, Was Uncle Mo's BFS too low? I think yes, and that it should've been in the 102-105 range. But that is just me. What are your thoughts?


  1. To Low Fo Show! I think a 102ish (again) would have been more accurate. The track was a little faster than Kelso day, but the Good Uncle turned in another huge performance!

  2. I think anything below 102 would've been too low. Beyer needs to recalculate this one. 94 is a respectable number, but Mo turned in a performance that was way above respectable.

  3. Do you think the mafia might be involved in this?

  4. Mafia being Beyer and his associates or is the Mafia holding a gun to his head and forcing him to give lower beyers than deserved, lol.

  5. when was the last time winners (based in the east)out of the champagne went on to win bc. Dont count fluke super saver derby win. Even out of saratogas elite meet, two year olds dont fare well against better competitions. Why do you think pletcher and the other east coast cronies dont race out west.

  6. Absolutely way too low for the kind of race he ran! That was without a doubt the best two-year-old performance of the year.

  7. Anon,

    Super Saver didn't even run in the Breeders Cup, so I don't really understand that comment. War Pass won the Champagne and BCJ. AP Valentine won the Champagne and the Preakenss. Timber Country also won the Champagne and Juvenile, plus he won the Preakness. Sea Hero won the Champagne and Derby. Forty Niner won this race plus the Haskell and Travers. Spectacular bid won this race, do I really need to list how he did later in his career?

    Brian A.

    I would agree with that, except for maybe some of the victories by Kantharos earlier this year. Like him, nobody has ever been close to Mo.

  8. Nothing like not understanding speed figures and then attributing a lot of things to Beyer that couldn't be farther from the truth. No new ground there.

    The speed figures are based on par times and a variant derived from them. They couldn't have been easier to make than this past Saturday's card at Belmont.

    Just because some of you fail to recognize that Uncle Mo earned his initial 102 figure while taking advantage of a track that was super kind ( to be mild ) to speed, and thus earned a figure not necessarily representative of his ability, doesn't mean there is some conspiracy by Andrew Beyer or his co-workers. Those that actually understand speed figures, and how they are earned, also know that this past Saturday's 94 figure for Uncle Mo was in many ways more impressive than his debut 102. We take all factors into account and thus don't need to jealously and unfairly attribute some completely non-existent bias to Andrew Beyer.

  9. Fraudspotter,

    Take a deep breath, release and calm down. I have no biased for or against Mr. Beyer. I actually think his speed figures are a useful tool, but in some instances can be misleading.

    You point that Saratoga, the day of Mo's maiden, was kind to speed. I am not arguing that. The thing that caught my eye was he ran straight 11's over a surface that produced pedestrian final quarters and furlongs. His final furlong, 11.76 dwarfed what Discreetly Mine and R Heat Lightning had been running which were 13 and 14 second final furlongs. That was why his performance was so impressive.

    I take in everything I can. I don't write without doing research on something like this and I wouldn't call it out if I didn't have facts to back it up. Facts are that the only other mile race on the card was the Frizette which was run in 1.35.68. That was the fast mile time all week, not including the Kelso. From Wed-Fri the fastest mile was a 1.37, I believe. The slowest was a 1.39. Uncle Mo's time was the second fastest of the meet, so far and is the second fastest in Champagne history. Put all that together and add to it that he ran faster throught the Champagne than AZ Warrior did in the Frizette, and virtually the same as Tizway, yet closed his final quarter one full second faster than the former and .7 seconds faster than Tizway, and you have to wonder why his BFS was so low.

  10. Take a deep breath? I'm so calm that I'm in a coma, thus that wouldn't be possible.

    Spare me your " I don't write without doing research " after you have printed a bunch of BS that shows nothing if not a complete misunderstanding of speed figures. The simple fact is you have decided that Andrew Beyer is some sort of scapegoat for your ignorance. He isn't but perhaps you are.

    Instead of bringing Beyer into the discussion, how about approaching the entire discussion differently. Why not say " I don't care what the speed figures say, I think Uncle Mo was more impressive in the Champagne because....." and try not to appeal to the uninformed masses with the run of the mill " Beyer sucks " crap and actually explain why his race Saturday impressed you. The bottom line is that there was absolutely no real reason to include Andrew Beyer and his speed figures unless you desperately needed to draw in those that don't really understand the issue. If you really felt you stood on solid footing you would have done it all on your own.

  11. Fraudstopper,

    You can believe I didn't research this before I posted it or not. You can believe I didn't go around and ask opinions before I published this but fact is I did, otherwise I wouldn't have given you that big long quote by somebody who has his own form of speed figures and know much more about figures than I do myself. So, please spare me the prejudgement.

    I would love for you to point out where I ever said "Beyer sucks." You say explain why the race impressed me, well I did while also explaining why i disagree with the speed figure. I actually mostly agree with the speed figures Beyer puts out, I'm a Rachel Alexandra fan, so by nature I must LOVE Beyer. This is one I didn't understand and didn't agree with.

    So for you to come on here and accuse me of something that is completely and totally inaccurate, shows your ignorance towards me and my general feeling towards Beyers and research, or you just flat out didn't read the whole blog and just read what your mind subsituted, which was "Beyer sucks" which could not be further from the truth.

  12. Anon,

    Little typo on my part, AP Valentine did not win the Preakness though he did place second.

  13. Fraudspotter, you spotted a fraud alright!
    Come on LDP tell us how Beyers are calculated...

    Then tell us how you bet the horses you handicap, as an underage gambler.

  14. Leigh,

    Why listen to me listen to Derek Simon's latest podcast where Derek interviews Beyer himself and he actually say how they are calculated. If you don't believe me ok, well go ahead and question others who I've actually talk to that have their own speed figures. Yes, I'm sure you know more than them. You are free to have your opinion, as am I, which is why I write. However, at least I'm bringing the thoughts of others in the game who study figures to back me up.

    BTW I handicap races, don't bet.

  15. Dani, Very insightful. ignore these ignorant folks who can't even interpret what they are reading. I think you are spot on with Mo's Champagne performance and to question his speed figure. Keep up the good work.