12/14/2017 11:40AM

Beyer Sire Performance Standings: War Front leads the way in 2017

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Barbara D. Livingston
War Front leads all sires in Daily Racing Form's Beyer Sire Performance Standings in 2017, based on the number of Beyers greater than 90.

There are many ways to evaluate a stallion’s performance, with those measures evolving as the breeding industry has over the decades. With the North American foal crop first expanding and then shrinking, stallions’ book sizes and career trajectories changing, and purses ballooning, all figures must be interpreted with proper context and a critical eye. Now, a means of evaluating racehorse performance that has been a respected standard for the last quarter-century can be used to compare stallions as well.

Beyer Speed Figures were incorporated into Daily Racing Form’s past performances in 1992 and are now an industry standard for the comparison of one horse’s performance to another. DRF’s Beyer Sire Performance Standings, introduced earlier this year and now available as a sortable online tool, provide a way to compare stallion progeny performance in various categories beyond wins and earnings. The standings provide totals and percentages for progeny who surpass specific Beyer Speed Figure benchmarks in North American races.

While traditional sire lists based on earnings can be slanted by one or two horses competing in rich stakes events, or by casino-inflated purses on some circuits, the Beyer Sire Performance Standings are not impacted by those factors. Beyers also are assigned to all runners in a race, allowing DRF’s exclusive sire lists to include all performances.

By traditional standards, the 2017 racing season was the story of the late Unbridled’s Song and Lane’s End’s Candy Ride, whose sons Arrogate and Gun Runner dominated the North American handicap division. Arrogate captured the world’s two richest races, the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational and the $10 million Dubai World Cup, to push Unbridled’s Song’s bankroll to $18,403,258 on the year. Gun Runner recorded four Grade 1 victories on the season, capped by the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, to fuel Candy Ride’s $15,066,512.

:: BEYER SIRE PERFORMANCE STANDINGS: Sortable divisional sire charts

Against those two formidable runners, those totals on the traditional general sires earnings lists were insurmountable. But the Beyer Sire Performance Standings tell a different story, displaying quality across the board.

Popular international sire War Front, who stands at Claiborne Farm, sired 31 horses who turned in a combined 86 Beyer Speed Figures that met or surpassed a benchmark Beyer of 90. Those runners accounted for 26 percent of War Front’s starters in 2017, giving him the lead among all stallions with 50 or more starters.

Many of War Front’s top figures were posted by runners who ran well to place in stakes without winning – evidencing how, because Beyers are assigned to all runners in a race, these figures can provide a broader picture of a stallion’s season. His runners were led by Designed for War, who posted a 104 Beyer when second in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes, and Lancaster Bomber, who earned a 103 Beyer for his runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. Lancaster Bomber also earned a 102 Beyer when second in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile to tie for third among his sire’s progeny.

While Gainesway’s three-time leading sire Tapit was dethroned from atop the progeny earnings list in 2017, he did factor prominently on the Beyer Sire Performance Standings general sires list. He recorded 75 Beyers of 90 or above, recorded by 33 starters, giving him the most individual starters to hit that benchmark figure on the season.

Curlin, Dubawi, Kitten’s Joy, and War Front tied with seven individuals each to surpass a Beyer of 100. Among those, Kitten’s Joy had the most triple-digit figures, with his seven runners accounting for 18.