Updated on 02/03/2017 2:19PM

Figures for Pegasus changed due to possible timing glitch

Barbara D. Livingston
Arrogate's Beyer Speed Figure for the Pegasus World Cup has been bumped up to 119 to reflect a possible flaw in the timing of the race.

Two prominent North American speed-figure makers have altered the initial figures given to performers in Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park because they believe the official timing of the race is approximately a second too slow, the figure makers said Tuesday.

Andrew Beyer, the founder of Beyer Speed Figures, which appear in Daily Racing Form past performances, said on Tuesday that the initial figure given to the Pegasus winner, Arrogate, was changed from a 116 to a 119 after figure-makers, including Randy Moss, hand-timed the race at a time that was significantly faster than the official time of 1:47.61.

In addition, TimeformUS, which produces its own speed figures for its past-performance products, changed its initial figure from a 134 to a 139, according to Craig Milkowski, who produced the Pegasus figure for TimeformUS. Milkowski, who posted an analysis of the Pegasus timing on TimeformUS’s website on Monday, said he was initially alerted to a possible discrepancy by the private clocker Bruno DeJulio, who sent him an e-mail contending that hand-timing the race replay resulted in clockings near 1:46.90, seven-tenths of a second faster than the official time.

Using video-editing software, Milkowski said that he subsequently compared the Pegasus to a frame-by-frame replay of the 2014 Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park, in which Lea set the current track record for 1 1/8 miles of 1:46.86. The Pegasus was also run at 1 1/8 miles.

“Clearly, [the Pegasus] was faster,” Milkowski said on Wednesday. “It’s not even close.”

The official timer for Gulfstream Park is Trakus, which relies on an array of local antennas and transmitters inserted in horse’s saddlecloths to determine when horses reach specific points on the track. The track does not have a traditional teletimer-based system, in which horses trigger beams registering times for fractions and the finish line.

Reached on Tuesday, Michael Ciacciarelli, the chief operating officer of Trakus, said that the company had heard “chatter” about the timing of the Pegasus and had formed a team “that is kind of looking into it.” However, he also said that an initial review of the race had not turned up any errors in the timing system. Ciacciarelli did not immediately return a phone call on Wednesday morning seeking comment on any new developments in the review.

Tim Ritvo, the chief operating officer of The Stronach Group, which owns Gulfstream, said that the track has asked Trakus to review the timing of the race and that they are waiting on the company's response.

Hand-timing replays of races can sometimes be problematic because of the video-replay rate of the software being used. However, video-editing software can remove most of the doubt formed by hand-timing, and, in the case of the Pegasus, multiple sources have reported a consistent discrepancy with similar results.

Beyer said that the analysis of the Trakus data for the Pegasus timing revealed a particularly suspicious sixteenth of a mile, roughly half of a mile into the race, in which the five leaders all ran the distance in approximately 5.30 seconds.

“That’s like something you'd see with a Quarter Horse rocketing out of the gate and going to a five-length lead,” Beyer said.

Beyer and other figure-makers have raised questions about times posted at Gulfstream in the past, including a track record registered by Normandy Invasion in 2014 during a one-mile race, as well as a race earlier this year on Jan. 6 in which the Beyer Figures for the field were adjusted downward approximately 15 points based on doubts over the timing of the seven-furlong race’s second quarter-mile.

“Bettors can’t play this game without reliable data,” Beyer said.