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Homeracing

Top Winning Brisnet Speed Ratings for 2022

Profile Picture: Alastair Bull

December 22nd, 2022

Brisnet Speed Ratings show there were two outstanding performances in 2022: one by Flightline, and one by… Wudda U Think Now?

Yep. While it’s no surprise that the highest SR of the year (117) came from Flightline, the horse some were putting in the conversation with Secretariat about stunning historic performances, few would have picked the next-highest (115) came in a January allowance from a horse whose only stakes victories were in races limited to New York State-breds.

It highlights how outstanding speed figures can come from anywhere, and yet it wasn’t entirely a fluke.

Horse
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Date
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Race
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Track
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Distance
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Speed Rating
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Class Rating
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Flightline
Sep. 3
Pacific Classic
Del Mar
1 1/4 miles
117
128.08
Wudda U Think Now
Jan. 16
Allowance Optional Claiming
Aqueduct
6 furlongs
115
121.03
Flightline
Nov. 5
Breeders' Cup Classic
Keeneland
1 1/4 miles
113
126.79
Life Is Good
Aug. 6
Whitney Stakes
Saratoga
1 1/8 miles
113
125.29
Taiba
Sep. 24
Pennsylvania Derby
Parx Racing
1 1/8 miles
113
122.99
Tuesday (IRE)
Nov. 5
Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf
Keeneland
1 3/16 miles
113
122.59
Next
Sep. 8
Cape Henlopen Stakes
Delaware Park
1 1/2 miles
113
120.77
Channel Maker
Jul. 8
Grand Couturier Stakes
Belmont Park
1 1/2 miles
112
118.67
Mo Donegal
Jun. 11
Belmont Stakes
Belmont Park
1 1/2 miles
111
123.64
Mo Donegal
Apr. 9
Wood Memorial
Aqueduct
1 1/8 miles
111
122.64
Modern Games (IRE)
Sep. 17
Woodbine Mile
Woodbine
1 mile
111
122.28
Mind Control
Sep. 24
Parx Dirt Mile
Parx Racing
1 mile
111
121.36
Taiba
Apr. 9
Santa Anita Derby
Santa Anita
1 1/8 miles
111
120.51

Wudda U Think Now recorded his 115 figure when winning the six-furlong allowance at Aqueduct by 10 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:11.99. It was 16 rating points higher than anything he’d ever done before. But at his next start, the Hollie Hughes S. a month later, he won by nearly five lengths and recorded a 108 Speed figure, still one of the better marks of the year.

Wudda U Think Now’s 115 Speed figure came when recording quarter-mile splits of :23.42, :23.93, and :24.64 on his way to a winning six-furlong time of 1:11.99. That’s not spectacular by itself, but it was way, way faster than any other race at Aqueduct that day. There were two other six-furlong contests Jan. 16 at the New York track, none of which were faster than 1:14.58, and of the six races between seven furlongs and one mile, the fastest six-furlong split was 1:15.17.

Wudda U Think Now didn’t get above 96 in five starts after the Hollie Hughes. He’s obviously got ability though, and he loves Aqueduct, having scored six of his eight victories at the Queens venue, including the Alex M. Robb S. in his latest Dec. 17.

Article Image

Wudda U Think Now wins at Aqueduct (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Flightline’s top mark of 117 in the Pacific Classic was truly outstanding, as highlighted by the splits compared with the other dirt races at Del Mar that day. In the 1 1/4 mile feature, Flightline reached the three-quarter mile mark in 1:09.97; of the other five dirt races on the day, only one (the seven-furlong allowance) recorded a faster time at that point, and his time at the one-mile point of 1:34.47 was more than three seconds faster than the finishing time for the one-mile Shared Belief S. And he still reeled off a :24.81 final quarter-mile while being eased up near the line for a 1:59.28 final time.

Flightline also recorded the equal-third best mark of 113 in his easy Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) triumph. This came courtesy of sectionals set by Life Is Good that were faster than the Pacific Classic; the six-furlong mark was hit at 1:09.27 and the mile at 1:34.58. With Life Is Good unable to sustain that pace, Flightline “cruised” his final quarter in :25.47 for a 2:00.05 final time.

For Flightline to make Life Is Good suffer the way he did was no mean feat, as that galloper also made the top 10 with a 113 rating when taking out the Whitney (G1). Life Is Good may not be a genuine 1 1/4-mile horse, as evidenced by his failure in the Dubai World Cup (G1), but he can be forgiven his Breeders’ Cup Classic effort given how fast he went early on; it took a horse like Flightline to stay on that pace and still win the way he did.

Flightline was one of three horses to feature more than once on the top 10 Speed Figures list. The others were three-year-olds, and neither is probably going to win the Eclipse Award. Taiba recorded a 113 figure when winning the Pennsylvania Derby (G1), and 111 when taking out the Santa Anita Derby (G1). The other sophomore on the top 10 list more than once was Mo Donegal, who recorded a 111 figure in both the Wood Memorial (G2) and Belmont S. (G1).

Likely champion three-year-old male Epicenter’s best Speed rating was 110, recorded when winning the Travers (G1); he beat Zandon by 5 1/4 lengths, further than Taiba beat Zandon in the Pennsylvania Derby.

Along with Flightline, Taiba, and Life Is Good, two others recorded 113 Speed figures in victories. They were outstanding dirt stayer Next in the 1 1/2-mile Cape Henlopen S. (rained off the turf at Delaware Park), and Irish raider Tuesday in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Veteran turf galloper Channel Maker was the only horse to record a 112 Speed rating, doing so in the 1 1/2-mile Grand Couturier S., while horses that hit 111 with winning performances other than the aforementioned Taiba and Mo Donegal were Mind Control in the Parx Dirt Mile and Modern Games in the Woodbine Mile (G1).

Interestingly, five horses reached Speed figures of at least 111 in defeat during 2022. In Italian and Soldier Rising both recorded 112 figures when finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf and Grand Couturier, respectively. The third horses in those two respective races, Lady Speightspeare and Highest Honors, recorded 111 Speed ratings.

In addition, Far Mo Power also recorded a 111 Speed rating in the Parx Dirt Mile, run the same day as Taiba’s fast Pennsylvania Derby performance. Far Mo Power actually beat Mind Control to the wire in that race but was later disqualified and placed second.

One thing the overall list for 2022 shows is that the best figures were almost overwhelmingly in prestigious contests. Of the 26 winning performances with Speed ratings of 109 or higher, all but one were in stakes races. It’s just that the sole exception was the second-best rating of the year.

So Wudda U Think Now?

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