10/29/2015 1:02PM

Jerardi: Honor Code has shot to beat American Pharoah

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John Bambury
Fast early fractions could set up the Breeders' Cup Classic perfectly for Honor Code.

So, what Beyer Speed Figure is it going to take to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic? If the race is run like it should be, with American Pharoah blitzing to the front, opening up a big lead, and setting very quick fractions, I think we could be looking at a 115.

Tonalist, Honor Code, and Smooth Roller have earned Beyers of 111 or more. American Pharoah has not, but anybody who watched the Haskell knows he could have done it that day.

If the Triple Crown winner does run like he should, I think he runs the others out of the race, and he may be the one with the 115. If, for some reason, he is over the top, then quick fractions could set up a big figure like they did for Honor Code (113) in the Whitney.

Unlike Honor Code, Tonalist does not have an eye-catching move. He is more of grinder and, again, if it’s run like it should be, I don’t think this is a grinder’s race.

Victor Espinoza could be making a big mistake if he rides American Pharoah in this race like in the Belmont Stakes, when he kept the field in the race and just ran away from them in the stretch. Honor Code is too talented to keep in the race. He can run by anybody’s horse, including American Pharoah.

Keen Ice and Frosted are interesting as 3-year-olds coming off career-best Beyers. Keen Ice got a dream setup in the Travers, so I doubt he can go much beyond the 106 he got that day. Frosted’s 106 in the Pennsylvania Derby also was a career top. He got a great trip, but it was his fifth triple-digit Beyer in his last six starts. There is a chance Frosted could pull a Will Take Charge – who lost the 2013 Classic by an inch – and make one more forward move, even perhaps big enough to get into the exacta or trifecta.

The Beyers in the Juvenile are fairly screaming that Nyquist is a bet-against, with declining figures of 89, 82, and 79 in his last three, all stakes wins. There is not a lot of quality speed, and Nyquist should be near the top, but still, I just don’t see him winning.

Greenpointcrusader is going the other way, with ascending Beyers of 80, 82, and 94 in the Champagne. I don’t think it was the mud that prompted the 94. This is a horse with giant strides who was always going to get better going longer. He got way better in the Champagne. With another forward move, they are all running for second.

Exaggerator is very solid, with Beyers of 85 and 86 in stakes at Saratoga and Keeneland. This is a horse with a winning move if timed correctly.

Songbird is the very rare “omni fig.” All of her Beyers are better than any filly in the Juvenile Fillies has ever earned. The unbeaten Songbird has figures of 84, 85, and 90. Only two of her opponents have ever hit 80 on the scale: Rachel’s Valentina, an 82 when winning the Spinaway, and Land Over Sea, an 82 when a distant second in the Chandelier to Songbird.

If you think Songbird is vulnerable without the lead, go back and watch the Del Mar Debutante, a race she blew open after an early battle and a race that produced three next-out stakes winners.

I’ve been watching Runhappy’s races on a loop. He runs as fast as horses can run. In a race that appears to have a lot of early speed, this colt might prove otherwise. He could be the speed of the speed. If that is so, expect a very big Beyer, perhaps in the 110 range.

As a charter member of the Private Zone fan club, it pains me to say that I don’t think he is going to be able to keep up with these six-furlong specialists. He is more of a seven-furlong, one-mile horse, and even with eight consecutive triple-digit Beyers, I am against. He certainly could win, but I just don’t see him getting comfortable in this style of race.