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Homeracing

Breeders' Cup speed figure trends at Keeneland

Profile Picture: Ashley Anderson

October 20th, 2022

For the third time in the event's 38-year history, the Breeders' Cup World Championships will return to Keeneland on Friday, Nov. 4, and Saturday, Nov. 5, with the best horses in the world descending upon the Lexington, Kentucky race track.

Among those expected to compete are star juvenile Cave Rock, European invader Nations Pride, plus the undefeated four-year-old speedster Flightline.

To get you ready for the prestigious weekend, packed with purses totaling $31 million, let's look at the top speed figures in each of the 14 Grade 1 races based on the two previous Breeders' Cups held at Keeneland. Using Brisnet data, we'll average the Speed figures from each of the Breeders' Cups at Keeneland to help you target which horses to bet based on how fast they're running leading up to the event.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1)

Distance: 5 1/2 furlongs
Age: Two-year-olds
Surface: Turf
Average winning Brisnet figure at Keeneland: 92

Run for the first time in 2018 as part of the Breeders' Cup at Churchill Downs, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint was listed as a Grade 2 event up until 2022, when it was upgraded to Grade 1 status.

On Nov. 6 2020, Florida-bred juvenile Golden Pal brought a 3-1-2-0 record into the event, coming off a 3 1/2-length win in the 5 1/2-furlong Skidmore S. at Saratoga.

Breaking quickly out the gate, the Uncle Mo son set the pace early and went on to wire the 5 1/2-furlong sprint, beating second-place finisher Cowan by three-quarters of a length.

Sent off as the 0.80-1 favorite, Golden Pal finished the race in 1:02.82 over a track labeled good and posted a 92 Brisnet Speed figure in the process.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1)

Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Age: Two-year-olds
Surface: Dirt
Average winning Brisnet figure: 101.5

The Medaglia d'Oro filly Songbird was another post-time favorite who triumphed in the Breeders' Cup when she romped to a 5 3/4-length victory in the Juvenile Fillies. Under Mike Smith, the filly set the pace from the onset and opened a clear advantage along the backstretch before she stopped the clock at 1:42.73 over a fast track.

Her 103 BRIS figure is three points higher than 2020 Juvenile Fillies winner Vequist, a Nyquist filly who posted a 100 Speed rating while winning by two lengths at odds of 6.60-1 when running over a Keeneland track also labeled fast.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1)

Distance: One mile
Age: Two-year-olds
Surface: Turf
Average winning Brisnet figure: 95.5

The average Juvenile Fillies Turf Speed rating is 95.5 on Keeneland's grass, with Catch a Glimpse, by City Zip, earning a 94 Speed figure over yielding ground in October of 2015 and Irish-bred Aunt Pearl scoring a 97 Speed figure over a course labeled good in 2020.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1)

Distance: 1 1/16 miles
Age: Two-year-olds
Surface: Dirt
Average winning Brisnet figure: 99.5

Another Uncle Mo son, Nyquist, entered the Breeders' Cup Juvenile with an unbeaten, 4-for-4 record racing at Santa Anita and Del Mar before shipping to Keeneland to record a half-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile race.

Nyquist was bumped hard at the start but recovered to take command in the stretch, crossing the wire in 1:43.79 with a 98 Speed rating in 2015. The Doug O'Neill pupil would go on to win the Kentucky Derby (G1) in 2016 and place third in the Preakness (G1).

In 2020, Tapit colt Essential Quality flashed a 101 Speed figure and finished the Juvenile in 1:42.09 while beating Hot Rod Charlie by three-quarters of a length.

Essential Quality went off as the 2.90-1 favorite in the Kentucky Derby but crossed the finish line fourth behind Medina Spirit, who was later disqualified as the winner.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1)

Distance: One mile
Age: Two-year-olds
Surface: Turf
Average winning Brisnet figure: 93.5

Ahead of the 2015 Breeders' Cup, War Front colt Hit It a Bomb broke his maiden at the Curragh and won the Star Appeal S. at Dundalk before making his North American debut.

Over yielding turf, the two-year-old beat 2.70-1 favorite Airoforce by a length, finishing the one-mile event in 1:38.86 with a 92 BRIS figure.

In 2020, Fire At Will, by Declaration of War, shocked the field as a 30-1 longshot, crossing the finish line in 1:35.81 with a 95 Speed figure while running over a track labeled good.

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1)

Distance: Seven furlongs
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Dirt
Average winning Brisnet figure: 105

Ontario-bred Wavell Avenue had yet to win a stakes before she ran the 2015 Filly & Mare Sprint, but the Chad Brown pupil put it all together for the seven-furlong sprint, winning by 1 3/4 lengths as a 10-1 shot. With a final time of 1:22.39 over a fast track, the four-year-old Wavell Avenue tallied a 100 BRIS figure.

In 2020, at age three, Into Mischief filly Gamine followed up a ninth-place finish in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) via DQ with a record-setting score in the Filly & Mare Sprint.

On a fast track, the Bob Baffert trainee drew away to a 6 1/4-length win over 2019 Kentucky Oaks hero Serengeti Empress, earning a 110 BRIS figure and setting a Keeneland track record with a final time of 1:20.20.

Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1)

Distance: 5 1/2 furlongs
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Turf
Average winning Brisnet figure: 106

Five-year-old Mongolian Saturday won the Turf Sprint by a neck, posting a 111 BRIS figure while crossing the wire first in 1:03.19 over good turf. He returned to race in the event in 2016 at Santa Anita and 2017 at Del Mar but finished ninth and 12th, respectively, with BRIS figures in the low 90s.

British-bred Glass Slippers was four years old when she triumphed in the 2020 Turf Sprint, earning a 101 Speed figure, rallying from 10th at the three-eighths pole to win by half a length.

Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1)

Distance: Six furlongs
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Dirt
Average winning Brisnet figure: 105

Super Saver colt Runhappy produced a 108 BRIS figure over fast dirt with a 1:08.58 finish in 2015, while Whitmore finally got over the hump in his fourth Breeders' Cup Sprint start, posting a 102 Speed figure while winning the six-furlong event by 3 1/4 lengths as an 18.4-1 longshot in 2020.

Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1)

Distance: 1 3/16 miles
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Turf
Average winning Brisnet figure: 98.5

Because Keeneland's turf course does not accommodate the two regular distances of 1 1/4 miles or 1 3/8 miles at which the Filly & Mare Turf is most often raced, the 2015 edition was run over 1 3/16 miles. That year, Stephanie's Kitten, by Kitten's Joy, won the event by 1 1/4 lengths, earning a 95 Speed figure with a time of 1:56.22 over good turf.

Stephanie's Kitten also won the one-mile Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2011 at Churchill Downs and placed second in the 2014 Filly & Mare Turf held at 1 1/4 miles at Santa Anita.

French-bred Audarya (FR) posted a 102 Speed figure in the 2020 edition while setting a new track record of 1:52.72 for 1 3/16 miles.

Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1)

Distance: One mile
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Dirt
Average winning Brisnet figure: 108.5

In his final race before retiring to stud, Liam's Map, by Unbridled's Song, scored a 2 1/2-length victory in the Dirt Mile, securing a 108 Speed rating with a final time of 1:34.54, a little less than a second off the track record set by Knicks Go in the 2020 Dirt Mile. The Brad Cox pupil flashed a 109 Speed figure while crossing the wire in 1:33.85.

Knicks Go would go on to win the 2021 Breeders' Cup Classic at Del Mar at the age of five.

Breeders' Cup Mile (G1)

Distance: One mile
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Turf
Average winning Brisnet figure: 103.5

The Mark Casse-trained Tepin recorded a 107 BRIS figure in the Breeders' Cup Mile in 2015 in the midst of an eight-win streak that ended the following year at the same track in the First Lady S. (G1).

In 2020, Irish-bred Order of Australia (IRE) pulled off one of the biggest upsets in Breeders' Cup history when he won the Mile by a neck at 73.20-1 odds. Over firm turf, the three-year-old Aidan O'Brien trainee generated a 100 Speed figure, crossing the finish line in 1:33.73.

Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1)

Distance: 1 1/8 miles
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Dirt
Average winning Brisnet figure: 104.5

Tale of the Cat daughter Stopchargingmaria won by a neck in the Distaff in 2015, producing a 102 Speed figure with a final time of 1:48.98.

Tapizar mare Monomoy Girl flashed a 107 Speed rating in her 1 3/4-length win, just barely missing Noble Bird's track record of 1:47.75. The 2018 Kentucky Oaks winner conditioned by Brad Cox crossed the finish in 1:47.84.

Breeders' Cup Turf (G1)

Distance: 1 1/2 miles
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Turf
Average winning Brisnet figure: 106.5

Both Breeders' Cup Turf races at Keeneland have resulted in near-identical Brisnet Speed figures, with Irish-bred Found recording a 107 in 2015 and Irish-bred Tarnawa earning a 106 in 2020.

Breeders' Cup Classic (G1)

Distance: 1 1/4 miles
Age: Three-year-olds and older
Surface: Dirt
Average winning Brisnet figure: 112.5

The only horse to win the Kentucky Derby, Preakness (G1), Belmont (G1), and Breeders' Cup Classic in one season is American Pharoah, who posted a 114 Speed figure in his 6 1/2-length win in the 2015 Classic, the final race of his career.

In 2020, Authentic made history of his own. The Into Mischief colt posted a 111 BRIS figure and set a new track record with a finish time of 1:59.60.

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