11/05/2015 12:57PM

Jerardi: Juvenile filly Songbird much faster than colt Nyquist

Barbara D. Livingston
Songbird earned a 99 Beyer Speed Figure for winning the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, 10 points higher than the colt Nyqust received for his victory in the Juvenile.

Before we get to this Saturday’s stakes, let’s review a few of the Breeders’ Cup Beyer Speed Figure highlights beyond the 120 that American Pharoah got in the Classic.

Songbird arrived in the Juvenile Fillies with what we call “omni figs.” Each of her three figures was better than any other filly in the race had ever earned. Omni horses almost never lose, and Songbird won with complete ease, earning a career-best 99 Beyer, 10 points better than the 89 that Nyquist got four hours later in the Juvenile. Nyquist has never hit 90 and has never lost. I have no particular explanation for that other than that some horses just know how to win. I was against Nyquist in the Juvenile, and he ran an amazing race. But put him in against Songbird next year, and I shall be going with the numbers.

The last three races that Liam’s Map ran this year went 113, 114, and 114, the best Beyer series of 2015. The first two were easy, the Dirt Mile anything but. This was some racehorse. It’s a shame he was around for only 14 months.

Runhappy got a 108 Beyer in winning the Sprint without the lead, demonstrating just what a talent he is. Private Zone got his ninth straight triple-digit Beyer, and Favorite Tale, after his odyssey from barn to barn on his way from Parx to Keeneland, ran a brilliant third, getting his fourth consecutive triple-digit Beyer.

Stopchargingmaria picked the right time to get a career-best Beyer when she got a 98 in the Distaff. All credit to DRF clocker Mike Welsch, who explained that she was sitting on the race of her life.

Mongolian Saturday had not hit 100 on the Beyer scale but got a 104 when he had to have it in the Turf Sprint, holding off Lady Shipman and her fourth triple-digit Beyer in her last five.

On to the Long Island Handicap at Aqueduct. It is not often that the early stages of a 1 1/2-mile grass race matter that much, but they matter here. The three fillies closest to the rail appear to have the most early speed, and how that speed is used may well affect the outcome.

Goldy Espony had gone wire to wire in three consecutive races with ascending Beyers (85, 92, 95) before getting caught up in a speed duel and fading badly. Under no circumstances does this look like a hot pace, but it could be contested. If Goldy Espony clears the field in moderate fractions, a realistic possibility, she is the most likely winner.

Rosalind caught a no-pace race in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor and ran the race of her life with a 98 Beyer. Perhaps she just got better or was helped by the pace situation, a mystery that is not likely to be cleared up until after this race is run.

Danzo Cavallo is another filly who got clear last out and ran a brilliant second (earning a 97) to Stephanie’s Kitten in the Flower Bowl. Stephanie’s Kitten came back to win the BC Filly and Mare Turf with a career-best 104 Beyer in her 25th race.

Strategy obviously will matter. Chad Brown has Rosalind and Danzo Cavallo, so it would be nice to have an eavesdropping device in the paddock to hear what he and his jockeys are discussing. Failing that, we will just have to use our imaginations here.

When I see a mare with Beyers of 93, 96, 93, 93, and 76, I am always intrigued. Bettors often focus on the last thing they see, and if I believe the low Beyer to be an aberration, I have a good bet at odds better than they should be.

Those Beyers belong to Gold Medal Dancer. She got the 76 when wide in the June 13 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs. Being on the rail was a significant edge that night, and she was nowhere near the rail. After that night, I put her on my “horses to watch” list. Unfortunately, the Chilukki at Churchill is her first race since then.

So, again, a quandary. I know she is better than her sixth-place finish that night, and anything in that earlier Beyer series is going to win this race. But where has she been for the last five months?

That it looks like Gold Medal Dancer should sit a nice stalking trip just behind Spelling Again does tilt the equation slightly in her favor, but, like the Long Island Handicap, this is no easy call.