09/12/2011 11:25AM

Four Fastest Beyers So Far This Year

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Maybe it’s because they are so fast they can’t be caught to put a saddle on them (just kidding, in case you weren’t sure), but I find it interesting that the four horses with the four highest Beyer Speed Figures this year at any distance on any surface have a total of only eight 2011 starts between them. Here are thumbnail profiles on this quartet:

Big Drama, last year’s champion male sprinter, owns 2011 highest Beyer, a sensational 120 earned in his impressive romp in the six-furlong Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream on January 15. Big Drama went away after that performance, reportedly to rest up for a late summer and fall campaign. His first published workout after the Mr. Prospector was a three furlong breeze at Calder on July 31. Big Drama did not have another published work until August 21, when he breezed a half mile at Calder, but he came back a week later and worked a handy five furlongs. A week after that, Big Drama faced three outclassed opponents in Calder’s Whippleton Stakes, and won by 2 ½ lengths. Big Drama’s Whippleton Beyer was 88, 32 points lower than his Mr. Prospector fig, and 20 points lower than the number he got for winning the race that clinched him the 2010 male sprint title, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. This, plus his spotty published work schedule, has a Nervous Nellie like me a bit concerned. But all reports have Big Drama on target for the Vosburgh at Belmont on October 1.

M One Rifle is the first of three horses who have earned Beyer Figures of 114 this year. After finishing a tired fourth and earning a 95 Beyer in the Potrero Grande at Santa Anita on April 3 in his return from a nine month absence, M One Rifle received his 114 a month later for his narrow win over Cost of Freedom in the five furlong Cool Frenchy Stakes on the Cushion Track at Hollywood. M One Rifle tailed off to a 103 Beyer next time out when he finished third (he was moved up to second on a disqualification) in the Los Angeles Handicap, and he fell to an 89 when seventh in the Triple Bend in his most recent appearance. Although M One Rifle has not raced since July 2, his four starts this year make him by far the most active of this quartet. And four published workouts since August 15 suggest he is well on his way to a return to action, perhaps in the Ancient Title at Santa Anita on October 8.

Maclean’s Music made as strong a racing debut as anyone could ask for when he won a six furlong straight maiden race at Santa Anita on March 19. After posting fractions of 21.24, 43.48 and 55.05, Maclean’s Music ran off to score by just over seven lengths in 1:07.44, earning his 114 Beyer. Maclean’s Music had four published workouts after his debut, the most recent on April 18, but has not been seen since.

Shrewd Operator, the other to have earned a 114 Beyer this year, also has only one 2011 start. That outing came on June 25 on Arlington’s Polytrack in the White Oak Handicap going six furlongs, which means that all four of the highest Beyer Figures earned so far this year came in races at distances of six furlongs or less. Shrewd Operator, who was making his first start in almost 11 months in the White Oak, set the pace and ran off to win by nine lengths as the 5-2 favorite. He did not work for 51 days after that, but he does have five published workouts since August 15, and seems close to his return.

Here’s a link to the past performances for this quartet for you to peruse, and scrutinize:

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