THE HIGHEST BEYER NUMBER EVER GIVEN OUT IN A ROUTE RACE WAS IN 2004; HOW DOES THAT IMPACT THIS DERBY?

McCraken
McCraken is a contender in the 143rd running of the Kentucky Derby. Photo by ACS Photography

The highest Beyer speed figure ever given out on a route race was in 2004. It just so happens that bit of history, trivia and history may play a factor in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

How?

Well, let me describe.

In 2004, Monmouth Park played host to its annual signature race – the Philip H. Iselin Stakes, which was first run in 1884. In New Jersey, the Iselin is about as important as the Kentucky Derby is to us – and the rest of the racing world.

It turns out that rains had dumped a ton of water on the track, turning it muddy – much like Churchill Downs will be today. But it didn’t bother one horse – Ghostzppaer.

The big, beautiful racing machine ran over the 11/8-mile muddy track like a rocket – winning the stakes by a whopping 10 ¾ lengths. That margin of victory remains as the biggest in the history of the race.

Afterwards, the Beyer Figures installed Ghostzapper with a 128 number. Still, to this day, it’s the biggest Beyer ever given in a route race.

So how does this impact the Derby – some 13 years later?

Well, it’s a muddy track today, too.

And, Ghostzapper just so happens to be the sire of whom?

McCracken. Go figure. And, go figures…

He got the perfect setup tonight. He’s been training really well into this race so I was confident he’d run well. When we turn for home I could feel like I had a lot of horse underneath me still. It was a great feeling and he won very easily under his own. I knew this horse could be better than his last couple of races and he had some bad luck. He overcame that tonight.”

Gutierrez, Jockey of PAVEL (winner)
  • Rob Murphy

    Rob Murphy

    A horse racing and thoroughbred enthusiast, Murphy has devised his own method for handicapping and breeding. Murphy's company, M375 Thoroughbreds, Inc., has bred, raised and raced successful horses such as Platinum Tiara, Swing and Miss, Diamond Studs, Strike Three and Golden Spikes. Murphy is a former Major League Baseball player. ...

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