The win by Victor Espinoza and California Chrome in 2014 was extraordinarily slow, compared to past Kentucky Derbies. (Matt Slocum/Associated Press)

The Beyer Speed Figure is a rating assigned to every race by every horse in the U.S. and incorporated in the Daily Racing Form past performances. It takes into account the time of a horse’s performance and the inherent speed of the racing surface over which he ran.

The average winning figure in the Kentucky Derby is 108, though the last six runnings have been slower than the historical norm — possibly because most contemporary U.S. horses aren’t bred to go 1¼ miles. California Chrome won an extraordinarily slow race last year with a figure of 97. However, this year’s field is the strongest in years from the speed-figure standpoint. Materiality earned a 110 in the Florida Derby, winning by a length over Upstart (108). Dortmund has reeled off figures of 106, 104 and 104. American Pharoah won the Arkansas Derby with a 105.

The winning Beyer Speed Figures in the Derby since 1990:

2014 California Chrome 97
2013 Orb 104
2012 I’ll Have Another 101
2011 Animal Kingdom 103
2010 Super Saver 104
2009 Mine That Bird 105
2008 Big Brown 109
2007 Street Sense 110
2006 Barbaro 111
2005 Giacomo 100
2004 Smarty Jones 107
2003 Funny Cide 109
2002 War Emblem 114
2001 Monarchos 116
2000 Fusaichi Pegasus 108
1999 Charismatic 108
1998 Real Quiet 107
1997 Silver Charm 115
1996 Grindstone 112
1995 Thunder Gulch 108
1994 Go for Gin 112
1993 Sea Hero 105
1992 Lil E. Tee 107
1991 Strike the Gold 107
1990 Unbridled 116

More Kentucky Derby coverage:

Field, odds and Andrew Beyer’s analysis

No races as a 2-year-old: Does it matter?

Front-runners in the Kentucky Derby

Todd Pletcher’s Kentucky Derby failures

Evaluating an enigma: Mubtaahij

Kaleem Shah and Dortmund are an American success story

More columns by Andrew Beyer