Speed index

Last updated

Speed index (sometimes Speed rating) is a system of rating the performance of Quarter Horse racehorses. The American Quarter Horse Association (or the AQHA) has used two systems over the history of Quarter Horse racing to evaluate racing performances. The original system used a letter grade, starting at D, then C, B, A and the highest AA. Later AAA was tacked on the top, and later still AAAT (for TOP AAA) was made the top speed. Eventually, this system became too cumbersome, and a new system was introduced: the Speed Index system, which used a number system, with 100 being roughly equivalent to the old AAAT. This change occurred in 1969. [1]

American Quarter Horse Association American horse breed registry for Quarter Horses

The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), based in Amarillo, Texas, is an international organization dedicated to the preservation, improvement and record-keeping of the American Quarter Horse. The association sanctions many competitive events and maintains the official registry. The organization also houses the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum and sponsors educational programs. The organization was founded in 1940 in Fort Worth, Texas and now has nearly 350,000 members.


The actual calculation of the speed index starts with taking the three fastest winning times at a particular distance for the past three years at a given track. These times are averaged together, which is then the 100 speed index for that distance at that track. If the average doesn't meet the minimum standard time given by the AQHA for that distance, then the minimum standard time is used instead of the specific track average. To calculate a specific speed index for a specific horse in a specific race, the time the horse finished in is compared to the averaged speed for the distance the race was, and points are added or subtracted based on whether the time was faster or slower than the average. The number of points subtracted or added varies according to the distance of the race, and is based on a chart put out by the AQHA. [2]

The AQHA's award Race Register of Merit is awarded to any horse that achieves a Speed Index of 80 or higher during an approved AQHA race. [3]

See also

The Beyer Speed Figure is a system for rating the performance of Thoroughbred racehorses in North America designed in the early 1970s by Andrew Beyer, the syndicated horse racing columnist for The Washington Post. First published in book form in 1975, Daily Racing Form began incorporating Beyer Speed Figures in a horse's past performances in 1992 and the system now assigns a Beyer number for each horse race. Overall, the number reflects not only the winning time, but the time of the race and the inherent speed of the track over which it was run. On the Beyer scale, the top stakes horses in the United States and Canada earn numbers in the 100s, while extremely strong performances can rate as high as the 120s. In Europe, Timeform has a similar rating scale that yields a number, but with a different value. The popular rule of thumb for a rough equivalent of the Timeform score is to deduct 12-14 points to achieve the Beyer figure. For American Quarter Horse racing, the Speed index rating system is used.


Timeform is a sports data and content provider located in Halifax, West Yorkshire, England founded in 1948 to provide information to fans, bettors, and others involved in the horse racing industry. The company was purchased by the sports betting exchange Betfair in December 2006. Since 2 February 2016, it has been owned by Paddy Power Betfair.


  1. Close Legends pp. 6–7
  2. AQHA Racing Frequently Asked Questions
  3. American Quarter Horse Association Official Handbook p. 80

Related Research Articles

Easy Jet Quarter Horse champion race stallion

Easy Jet (1967–1992) was an American Quarter Horse foaled, or born, in 1967, and was one of only two horses to have been a member of the American Quarter Horse Association Hall of Fame as well as being an offspring of members. Easy Jet won the 1969 All American Futurity, the highest race for Quarter Horse racehorses, and was named World Champion Quarter Race Horse in the same year. He earned the highest speed rating awarded at the time—AAAT. After winning 27 of his 38 races in two years of racing, he retired from the race track and became a breeding stallion.

Go Man Go Quarter horse champion stallion

Go Man Go (1953–1983) was an American Quarter Horse stallion and race horse. He was named World Champion Quarter Running Horse three times in a row, one of only two horses to achieve that distinction. Go Man Go was considered to be of difficult temperament. While waiting in the starting gate for his very first race, he threw his jockey, broke down the gate, and ran alone around the track; he was eventually caught and went on to win the race. During his five years of competition until his retirement from racing in 1960 he had 27 wins, earning more than $86,000.

Depth Charge (1941–1965) was a Thoroughbred son of Bold Venture who went on to become an outstanding sire of American Quarter Horse racehorses. He was posthumously inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame

Unraced as a Thoroughbred, the stallion Top Deck (1945–1965) went on to become a famous sire of Quarter Horses.

Jet Deck (1960–1971) was a Quarter Horse racehorse and sire.

Moon Deck (1950–1974) was an influential Quarter Horse sire and racehorse.

Rocket Bar (1951–1970) was a registered Thoroughbred stallion that made his mark on the Quarter Horse racetracks and as a breeding stallion.

Chicado V Quarter Horse champion race mare

Chicado V was a Champion Quarter Horse race horse foaled (born) in 1950, and considered one of the outstanding broodmares of her breed. She was bred by Frank Vessels of Los Alamitos, California, and trained by Earl Holmes.

A registered Thoroughbred mare, Lena's Bar raced on the Quarter Horse racetracks and was the dam of Jet Smooth, Double Dancer and Jet Deck, three outstanding Quarter Horse stallions.

Top Moon (1960-1984) was a Quarter Horse racehorse and leading racehorse sire.

Barbara L Quarter horse race mare

Barbara L (1947–1977) was an American Quarter Horse that raced during the early 1950s and often defeated some of the best racehorses of the time. She earned $32,836 on the race track in 81 starts and 21 wins, including six wins in stakes races. She set two track records during her racing career. After retiring from racing in 1955, she went on to become a broodmare and had 14 foals, including 11 who earned their Race Register of Merit with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Her offspring earned more than $200,000 in race money. She died in 1977 and was inducted into the AQHA's American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame in 2007.

Black Easter Bunny was a Quarter Horse racehorse who raced during the early 1950s, winning many races against some of the giants of the breed.

Goetta was the World Champion Quarter Running Horse for 1964, and for a time led the list of all time money-earning Quarter Horse racehorses.

Texas Dandy was a Quarter Horse stallion who not only raced well, and sired outstanding broodmares, he was a movie star also.

A registered Thoroughbred, Cherry Lake raced mostly on the Quarter Horse racetracks and made her mark on the Quarter Horse breed as a broodmare. She was posthumously inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.

Shue Fly (1937–1963) was a Quarter Horse mare who was one of the dominant racehorses on the racetrack during the 1940s.

While successful at the Quarter Horse racetrack, Ought To Go was far more successful in the breeding shed, producing twelve foals. Ten of those foals started and won races.

Lightning Bar Quarter Horse stallion

Lightning Bar (1951–1960) was an American Quarter Horse who raced and subsequently became a breeding stallion. He was bred by his lifelong owner Art Pollard of Sonoita, Arizona, and was the offspring of Three Bars, a Thoroughbred, and Della P, a Quarter Horse mare from Louisiana, then noted for the breeding of sprint horses. Lightning Bar raced ten times, achieving four victories and four other top three finishes. His racing career was cut short by illness after only one year, following which he spent two years as a show horse. As a breeding stallion he sired seven crops, or years, of foals, among whom Doc Bar was the best known. In 1960 Lightning Bar died of an intestinal infection at the age of nine. He was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Association's (AQHA) Hall of Fame in 2008.

Miss Meyers Quarter Horse champion race mare

Miss Meyers was an American Quarter Horse racehorse and broodmare, the 1953 World Champion Quarter Running Horse. She won $28,725 as well as 17 races. As a broodmare, she produced, or was the mother of, the first American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Supreme Champion, Kid Meyers. She was the mother of three other foals, and was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 2009.


International Standard Book Number Unique numeric book identifier

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a numeric commercial book identifier which is intended to be unique. Publishers purchase ISBNs from an affiliate of the International ISBN Agency.