11/03/2013 5:07PM

Beyer: Here's why slower Juvenile got better figure than Juvenile Fillies

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Barbara D. Livingston
New Year's Day was awarded an 88 Beyer Speed Figure for his win in the BC Juvenile, six points higher than the 1-2 finishers in the faster BC Juvenile Fillies earlier on the same card.

Mucho Macho Man won the biggest race of the Breeders’ Cup, and nobody should be surprised that he earned the biggest Beyer Speed Figure at Santa Anita, a 112.  But racing fans who examine all the figures on Saturday may suspect an error in the stakes for 2-year-olds.  How could New Year’s Day win the Juvenile in slower time than the Juvenile Fillies and earn a higher figure?

New Year’s Day received a figure of 88 after running 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.52. She’s a Tiger and Ria Antonia each got an 82 after covering the same distance in 1:43.02 and finishing a nose apart.

The explanation, said Andrew Beyer, is evidence suggesting that the Santa Anita track was significantly faster for the first two dirt races on the card than it was for the rest of the day.

The Juvenile Fillies was marred by a breakdown and spill that caused significant trouble for at least half of the field.  The top three finishers, who avoided the trouble, had never recorded a figure above 80.  It is implausible that they would run faster than Havana, runner-up in the Juvenile who had recently won the Champagne Stakes with a figure of 93.

The theory that the track was faster early in the day was buttressed by the one dirt race contested before the Juvenile Fillies.  The second race on the card was a minor stakes for 3-year-olds that had drawn a thin field of five, and the winner was a colt who had never earned a figure higher than 91.  Yet he ran seven furlongs in an extraordinarily fast 1:20.76, almost the identical time recorded by the Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Groupie Doll.

“I am confident we are right that the track changed after the first two dirt races,” Beyer said. “But I am mystified by the downhill turf sprints.  I questioned whether the official times were accurate, but our colleague Randy Moss timed the races and confirmed that they were correct.”

Mizdirection, who came into the Turf Sprint with a perfect 5-for-5 record on the downhill course, won the event for a second time by running about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:12.25.  But earlier in the afternoon, a $100,000 stakes race for fillies, in which the top seven finishers were only two lengths apart, was clocked in the identical 1:12.25.   Both races accordingly received the same figure, 94.