How to use Beyer Speed Ratings

The Beyer speed rating is one of the biggest changes that horse racing handicappers have ever experienced. Basically it gives a numerical representation of how fast a horse ran taking into account the factors such as competition, track bias, and the actual time of the horse. This simple number gives us a basis to judge the horse’s competitive ability. 

The speed of a horse can alter the race on how fast it takes the lead or when it decides to turn it on the stretch. The speed rating was created by Andrew Beyer and it made horse racing betting a little easier for your average bettor.

So, the higher the speed figures the better the performance sounds simple right? If one could go to the track and go large on the ones with the highest speed ratings all the time there would be no need for this website. Basically in every race if you figure out the horse that will end up with the highest speed rating you will have the winner.

This video is a great introduction to this topic before we get any further:


Key point: The speed rating of a horse in sprints is twice as important as the class its going up against. This is valid only in sprint races but the speed horses when more than their share of races even when going up in class.

The purpose of a speed rating is to take the different tracks and conditions creating a common number using a complex computer generated number that gives us a representation of how fast a horse is. The numbers are generally between 50 and 100, with 100 being an extremely high (fast) figure. Speed ratings allow us to analyze a horse’s particular performance in a race simply and easily, without having to worry about which size track the time was run at, or what the condition of the track was during the race. It does not however automatically tell how fast a horse will run, especially at a different distance.

In computing a horse’s speed rating, four separate factors are combined.

1.) The first component is called the raw speed rating. This is figured using the finishing time and the distance that the horse ran.

2.) The raw speed rating is then modified with an Inter-Track Variant (ITV), a number that allows for speed variations between tracks. To determine the fundamental speed differentials between the various size tracks we analyze horses that have shipped to and from various racetracks throughout the year.

3.) The third adjustment to the raw speed rating is the Daily Track Variant (DTV). This compensates for things such as a sloppy track or other day-to-day factors affecting the track condition. This can even vary between races as conditions change.

4.) The fourth and final adjustment to the resulting speed rating is the post position adjustment factor. This takes into account the positive or negative effects post has on the horse’s overall race performance. This would make it possible to see a horse finish 2nd and have a higher speed rating that the horse who won.

*General Guideline for speed rating per class par clockings*
Distance :    5f    5 1/2f     6f     61/2f 7f      1mile
Time:         :58   1:04.60     1:10.60   1:16.80    1:23.00   1:35.80

Distance:     1mile70yds    11/16    11/18    13/16   11/4
Time:           1:41.60       1:44.10   1:50.70  1:57.40  2:04.10

All four of these factors combined together produce a single number called the final speed rating. Now with this single number you are able to compare a horse’s performance no matter where it raced. This lets you easily analyze a horse making its first start at a track or changing class dramatically. Never be misled again by using simple final times as your guide.

When looking at ratings and you see a horse who regularly earns figures in the 50’s and is meeting a handful of runners that are in its same class or above always racing in the 70’s we can usually throw this horse out. This just stands out to us that the horse is in a class below the horses its up against. Its not the actual speed rating that makes the difference its how it acquired it that speed rating. When a horse is consistently producing superior speed figures when its lowest figure is better than the best figure  of competition it will win 75% of the time.
You are trying to handicap the true speed of the horse, this is done by observing past speeds that stay around the same range. Also a true speed can be determined by a horse that goes wire to wire with no true challengers. If the horse raced at a track with a huge track bias, the beyer speed that it got is irrelevant.

When we refer to the top beyer speed in a horse race basically its the horse with the highest figure in its previous race on the same surface (dirt or turf) regardless of distance, track conditions, post positions or any other variable.

When betting horse racing we are looking to distinguish between the best horses a difference of 3 or more points. If its less than 3 then its not enough to distinguish one horse over another. Some of the best handicappers begin by finding out which are the top beyer and then trying to see if the horse can repeat that effort. This is so important that I will repeat it. You are looking at the horse set to run a top beyer and the last couple races it might have dominated but that does not mean it will do that today, in fact you will see it could mean the complete opposite.

You also have to be aware of the horse that had a poor speed rating last time out but has been stellar in the previous ones. There could be a valid reason for this poor speed rating. It could have stumbled out of the gate, been closed off by another horse, or been on a muddy track. These horses can sometimes avoid betting traffic and you can get some decent odds on a horse that wins the race easily. Look for the circumstances that offer the best value. We are looking for horses that are climbing up to a top beyer speed and taking note of the ones that are going to bounce.

A bounce is a frequent term used today in horse racing betting and it refers to a horse that had a few good races and is going to take a significant drop in speed rating due to his physical condition.

Any horse that has been racing on or near the lead in a route for 5 to 7 furlongs may be an excellent wager when turned to a shorter distance. Also blinkers can add some speed when a horse is using it for the first time.

Unfortunately factors play in the speed rating such as track bias, troubled trips, trainer conditioning, post position, trainer intent and etc… Don’t let that discourage you the more you know of those the more accurate you will be with speed ratings. These ratings are basically something to measure one horse to another against to see which one is superior. Track bias and trouble a horse encounters are not included in the calculation of most speed figures.

There have been numerous patterns studied to get a commonality among speed ratings so in this modern age you can use those to your advantage in handicapping horse racing Here is  a very simple approach that you can apply

* Do this for each horse in the program, the more recent the races the better the prediction of speed the horse will run.

* Take the horses in the field and average their two  best speed ratings at today’s distance. (because distance plays a huge factor in the speed of a horse)

make note if the races are at the same track that is running today. If you can compare it against a horse that ran the same track you have straight up speed ratings and pick the one that is higher.

* After this is done for each horse I like to make a note of the top 3 and continue with my handicapping. This give you a good solid use for the beyer system in the modern age. This is very simple in its process but very effective and gives you a solid number to go off of.

As you can see Speed rating can be played by a variety of ways.  If you have horses that you are comparing actual Beyer speed ratings to. You want to look for if they ran at the same distance and the same track under the same conditions then you have a true comparison. You can compare these horses heads up and pick the speed rating that is higher.

What I like to do is I continue to look for overlays for why they had a great trip or a bad one. If the horse just had a bad outing that is uncharacteristic of him then you can throw that particular race out that others are still looking at. I always throw horses out that have their general speed rating a lot lower than the rest. Incorporate this simple formula while looking at the speed rating and make sure this is one of the several bullets in your gun.

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  • By Anonymous, April 6, 2011 @ 5:32 am

    thanks for sharing your knowledge to us in making a speed rating and other stuffs…

  • By Anonymous, April 18, 2011 @ 5:32 am

    im not actually sure about me reading or understand ing this since im not really a horse racing fan but thanks to this article it gave me additional information about horse racing and speed.

  • By Anonymous, June 1, 2011 @ 3:27 am

    speed rating is a great idea that ou could share to us…
    and help people to make their selection 🙂

    thank you for posting this kind of idea…

  • By admin, January 19, 2012 @ 7:45 am

    Not a problem.. Thanks for the comment

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