Beyer Speed Figures: Is The 2022 Kentucky Derby Field Faster Than Last Year?

Written By Brett Gibbons on May 3, 2022
Beyer Speed Figures

Just how fast is a certain crop of horses in the Kentucky Derby? Below, we’ll use Beyer Speed Figures to determine the speed of the 2022 Kentucky Derby field. How do they stand up to last year’s group and what can we expect from these 20 horses?

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2022 Kentucky Derby Field Beyer Speed Figures

Beyer Speed Figures (BSF) is a common metric used to handicap horse racing and contextualize how well a horse ran in a given race. Typically, Kentucky Derby field horses post BSF around or over 90. Below is the best and most recent BSF from each horse in the 2022 Kentucky Derby Field.

Post/NumberHorseBest BSFMost Recent BSFOdds Estimate
3Epicenter102102+500
10Zandon9898+400
15White Abarrio9795+1000
2Mo Donegal9696+1000
9Tiz the Bomb9494+3000
16Cyberknife9292+1500
7Crown Pride (JPN)N/AN/A+3000
12Taiba103102+1000
13Simplification9692+2000
5Smile Happy9494+1500
17Classic Causway90< 80+3000
18Tawny Port9089+3000
14Barber Road8888+3000
6Messier10398+800
19Zozos9898+3000
4Summer Is TomorrowN/AN/A+5000
8Charge It9393+1500
2Happy Jack8383+5000
11Pioneer Of Medina9393+3000
20Ethereal Road8484+5000

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How Do They Compare To 2021?

Overall, the 2022 Kentucky Derby field looks generally faster than the 2021 field. Taiba (+800) and Messier (+800) lead the group having posted 103s previously in Kentucky Derby Prep races. Comparatively, Rock Your World ran a 100-BSF, which paced the 2021 group. Messier posted his on Feb. 6, 2022 in the Robert B. Lewis (G3), a 1 1/16 mile run which Messier won. Taiba ran his in a five-furlong Maiden Special Weight in March.

The top-end speed runs deeper in this field, as well. Epicenter (+400) ran his own 102 BSF race in the Louisiana Derby (G2). At 1 3/16 miles, it’s the longest Derby prep race, which is why the market looks extremely bullish on Epicenter.

The number of horses to run at least a 95 BSF is equal in the past two Derbies at nine apiece. However, seven horses posted a BSF between 90-94 in the 2022 crop versus five in 2021. The bottom of the crop is equivalent in both years, with the lowest top-BSF at 83.

How Do Beyer Speed Figures Translate In The Kentucky Derby?

In 10 of the last 12 Runs For The Roses, the winner posted a 100+ BSF in victory. The lone outright winner to run under a 100 came in 2014 (California Chrome, 97). In 2019, Country House received the win with a 99 BSF. However, that came after the disqualification of Maximum Security.

The winner of the Kentucky Derby will likely run their best career race, but having a history of 100+ BSF helps predict such a performance.

Full 2022 Kentucky Derby Field, Odds

PostHorseLatest odds (6:30 p.m. ETMorning Line OddsTrainerJockeyW-P-S (Races)
1Mo Donegal9-110-1Todd PletcherIrad Ortiz Jr.3-0-2 (5)
2Happy Jack20-130-1Doug O'NeillRafael Bejarano0-0-2 (3)
3Epicenter5-17-2Steve AsmussenJoel Rosario4-1-0 (6)
4Summer Is Tomorrow33-130-1Bhupat SeemarMickael Barzalona2-3-0 (7)
5Smile Happy14-120-1Kenny McPeekCorey Lanerie2-2-0 (4)
6Messier (CAN)6-18-1Tim Yakteen*John Velazquez3-3-0 (6)
7Crown Pride (JPN)17-120-1Koichi ShintaniChristophe Lemaire3-0-0 (4)
8Charge It15-120-1Todd PletcherLuis Saez1-2-0 (3)
9Tiz the Bomb27-130-1Kenny McPeekBrian Hernandez Jr.5-1-0 (8)
10Zandon6-13-1Chad BrownFlavien Prat2-1-1 (4)
11Pioneer of Medina53-130-1Todd PletcherJoe Bravo2-1-2 (6)
12Taiba5-112-1Tim Yakteen*Mike Smith2-0-0 (2)
13Simplification35-120-1Antionio SanoJose Ortiz3-1-2 (7)
14Barber Road54-130-1John OrtizRey Gutierrez2-4-1 (8)
15White Abarrio14-110-1Saffie Joseph Jr.Tyler Gaffalione4-0-1 (5)
16Cyberknife15-120-1Brad CoxFlorent Geroux3-2-0 (6)
17Classic Causway75-130-1Brian LynchJulien Leparoux3-1-1 (6)
18Tawny Port74-130-1Brad CoxRicardo Santana Jr.3-1-0 (5)
19Zozos43-120-1Brad CoxManny Franco2-1-0 (3)
21Rich Strike80-130-1Eric ReedSonny Leon1-0-3 (7)

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Written by
Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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