The Baltimore Bounce
It appears that my hypothesis may be correct (the sample is far too small to be definitive). Horses that improved their Brisnet speed figure by more than five points in the Kentucky Derby (compared to their previous start) are just 1-for-7 in Maryland since 1992. All other Derby winners are 7-of-13. (Using the Beyer numbers produces a 1-for-9 and 7-for-11 ledger, respectively.)
This begs the question: Are Triple Crown winners the exception to the rule? Based on the following chart, not so much:
Of course, I had to use the old Daily Racing Form speed ratings for this one, but even utilizing that simple formula (100 minus the fifths of a second the winner’s time was off the track record minus beaten lengths) — and without using track variants — it is clear that even Triple Crown champs tend to record consistent speed figs. In fact, Secretariat, one of the chart “exceptions” actually set a track record in his race prior to the Wood, which was arguably the worst race of his career (explaining his 20-point ascension in Louisville).
So where does this leave Orb? Well, honestly, it makes him a bit vulnerable — especially if any of the other Preakness contenders improve.
Will Orb, like Secretariat, be the exception to the "greatness rule"? Believers will get even odds or less to find out.