Updated on 04/25/2012 7:44PM

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

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.

Ray Sousa More than 1 year ago
regardless of the figure that was impressive,big blue kitten is no slouch and he got smoked,wise dan is scary good on turf or synthetic on dirt hes very very good but on yurf or synth hes a monster.
Greg Kilka More than 1 year ago
Beyer fig and surface aside....when you're picking them up and laying them down @ under 12 seconds an eighth for 9f, you're MOVING!! Will be interesting to see what WD does the rest of year.
Don Reed More than 1 year ago
Dick, that video on Union Rags was so good, you were giving Churchill a run for his money, in the narration categroy. What a pleasure it was to listen to. Now all we have to do is wonder whether Mike Matz will almost instaneously experience euphoria or shellshock after Union Rags comes out of the gate on Derby Day. I think he deserves the euphoria, this time around. Note to DRF: This posting system is 3rd World shoddy. It is beneith you, and it also speaks poorly of your regard for your clients, us. Please go over to Kentucky Confidential and see what a real web site looks like.
James More than 1 year ago
Einstein. Grade 1 winner on synthetic and turf. Grade 2 winner on dirt. Two 3rd place finishes and one 2nd place finish (behind Curlin) in Grade 1 races on dirt. How quickly we are forgotten.
Mike Lee More than 1 year ago
Not surprised at the beyer after watching a replay of this race,Wise Dan is the real deal,but I serious question the beyers(94) assigned to I'll Have Another & Creative Cause finishing 1,2 in the Santa Anita Derby which was the fastest run 1 1/8 prep race this year.Were those horses punished for running on a fast track or what??...Ask Mine That Bird how important beyer speed figures for a derby prep race are...didn't he win the derby following an 80 or 81 beyer in the Sunland Derby?? ML
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not a very strong case for the number. If he runs a 110 or 112, sometime later this year, or, even better, runs that kind of figure twice, then it's more likely we have a ballpark number on this one. If not, we're talking a figure as reliable as most Beyers for two-year olds at five and five-and-a-half furlongs (which is to say, mostly not worth printing 'in the Form). As Andy said (I'm a believer in most of his other numbers, but I think they are having even more trouble with artificial surfaces than they did, for quite a while, with grass). it will be interesting to see his next handful of races.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The logic is underwhelming, Dick. 'Bout the best you can say is that this MIGHT be a perfect storm, a day when a previously Grade 3 horse runs like a Grade 1. If, say, he stays in good form, and runs a 110 or 112 in good company somewhere later in the year, I'll be more open to it. 'Til then, I'll put this figure in with Andy's often unreliable batch for two-year olds at five and five-and-a-half furlongs.
Geral John Pinault More than 1 year ago
I was drolling when I saw Wise Dan entered at KEE! I sent in in big-time win & place. Thanks Wise Dan for both the cash & the memories! Wise Dan is The Man!!!
Jordan More than 1 year ago
117 fits with what I was expecting it to be after watching the race. Of late, that 117 Beyer does stand out. But I still think it telling that a good 5 years into synthetic surfaces and that's the top fig. While 117 would also be high for dirt races these days, it wouldn't have been the top fig from last year and historically, 117 is not THAT high a fig for top dirt performers. Horses like Skip Away and Cigar ran big figs so often that a 117 for either was merely average. Back in the 07' Breeder's Cup, both Curlin and Corinthian ran a 120, and in 04' Ghostzapper ran figs of 128 and 124. Horses like Easy Goer, Gentlemen, Best Pal, and Formal Gold also ran multiple 120+ figs. So, a 117 is not a monster fig, historically speaking, when compared to the top dirt figs of the past 20 years or so. However, a 117 does fit with the top turf figs of the last 20 years. The top turf figs I'm aware of are Miesque's 119 for the BC Mile(I believe 88'), Daylami's 118 for the 99' BC Turf, and Fantastic Look's 117 for the 01' BC Turf. This tells me that synth figs do more closely resemble turf figs than dirt figs, at least at the very top. While it's nice to see a two turn synth fig top increase from a 112 to 117, again let's remember that 117 on dirt is not unbelievable.
hialeah More than 1 year ago
synthetic - formed by artificial synthesis, hence, not genuine. artificial. I don't buy Beyer numbers on poly for starters, but I saw the race and it was spectacular. Wise Dan can run on anything, how you quantify it is open for debate. But the horse is for real.