Updated on 04/25/2012 7:44PM

Jerardi: Nothing phony about Wise Dan's 117 Beyer Speed Figure

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Keeneland/Coady Photography

Race: Ben Ali Stakes at Keeneland

Winner: Wise Dan (117 Beyer)

Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Charles Lopresti

Fast Fact: Wise Dan set track record for the distance in his win. Beyer of 117 is highest ever recorded on synthetic.

To the skeptics who think it is impossible for a horse to get a huge Beyer Speed Figure on a synthetic surface, we give you Wise Dan, the horse that just sprinted 1 1/8 miles last Sunday at Keeneland while simultaneously breaking the track record, getting the biggest Beyer of 2012, and the biggest synthetic Beyer since the advent of synthetic surfaces.

Wise Dan got a 117 Beyer and there is nothing ambiguous about it. The Polytrack was fast, but it wasn’t so fast that nine furlongs in 1:46.63 was not every bit as sensational as it seemed. It was.

The surface was what we call 33 Beyer points fast (approximately 3 1/2 seconds at 1 1/8 miles, 2 1/2 seconds at six furlongs). So Andrew Beyer, who does the figures for Keeneland, took 33 points (we could call the variant -33) from the raw figure of the winning horses that ran that day to get the final speed figures. Wise Dan’s raw time equated to a 150 on the Beyer scale. Subtract the 33 points and you get the historic 117.

To compute the variant, every race run on the surface that day is analyzed by averaging the differences in time between what was expected and what actually happened. There is, of course, special attention paid to high-profile races or figures that will attract attention.

Wise Dan won the Ben Ali by 10 1/2 lengths, an obvious indication that something unusual may have gone down. Beyer looked closely at the horses that ran behind Wise Dan. Second-place Big Blue Kitten did improve a lot on his only Polytrack effort, but that came a year prior as a 3-year-old in his third career start. So there was every reason to think a horse that was good enough to win the Hall of Fame Stakes last August at Saratoga on grass and run a solid third in the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap behind Get Stormy, could earn a 98 Beyer.

The others, for the most part, fell in line with what would have been expected. What was not expected was for Wise Dan to run out the TV set.

“The figure is certainly for real,’’ Beyer said. “It will be very interesting to see what this horse does going forward.’’

We all knew Wise Dan was capable. After all, how many horses have won stakes on dirt, grass, and two different artificial surfaces? There may be others, but I can’t think of any.

Wise Dan has now won three stakes on Polytrack (Ben Ali, Fayette, Phoenix at Keeneland), one on Tapeta (PID Mile at Presque Isle), one on grass (Firecracker at Churchill Downs), and one on dirt (Clark Handicap at Churchill).

[DAN ILLMAN: Top 25 winning synthetic Beyer Figures of all time]

Prior to Wise’s Dan’s performance, the best artificial surface Beyers rarely made the 110's. On May 9, 2010, at Woodbine, Hollywood Hit got a 114 in a seven-furlong stakes. The horse never came close to the number in 10 starts before the race and has not come close in 10 starts since that race.

Hollywood Hit’s two most recent races were both at Turfway Park, where the horse had poor starts and was never close, earning a 60 and a 63.

Then there was Zenyatta’s tour de force in the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Classic. On the day the great mare absolutely had to run the fastest race of her life to win, she did exactly what the true believers always expected. She did what was necessary, getting a 112 Beyer when she ran down that star-studded field.

Zenyatta never came close to that Beyer again until she had to deliver in her final race. She got a 111 that day on the Churchill dirt surface in the 2010 Classic, falling a head short of catching Blame.

Zenyatta really was the exception to all rules, including Beyer Figures. She simply could not be judged by time.

Wise Dan, however, may be judged by time. The horse had previously delivered three triple-digit Beyers, but 101, 102, and 105 are not 117.

But that is the number. And it happened on a synthetic surface where it was thought an historic figure might not be possible.

“There has always been that notion in part because of the nature of synthetics,’’ Beyer said. “Like turf, synthetic races typically are run with a bunched-up pack and they finish close together so you don’t often have blowout wins like this. When a horse does separate himself and run fast from start to finish, they can certainly do it.’’

Wise Dan did it.