For the first time since 1946, three horses share the highweight assignment of 126 pounds on the 2003 Experimental Free Handicap, released today by The Jockey Club. They are Action This Day, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile; Cuvee, winner of the Futurity Stakes; and Ruler’s Court, winner of the Norfolk Stakes.
The filly division is headed by undefeated Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies victress Halfbridled at 124 pounds, one pound more than the standard impost for top weighted fillies.
The Experimental Free Handicap, published annually by The Jockey Club since 1933, is compiled for a hypothetical race at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. This year’s weighting committee of racing secretaries once again comprised Frank Gabriel, Jr. of Arlington Park; Michael Lakow of the New York Racing Association; and Thomas S. Robbins of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
The committee weighted a total of 88 males and 78 fillies. Eligible for weighting were all two-year-olds of 2003 that finished among the top four in graded stakes or other unrestricted races with an added value of $75,000 or higher, run in the continental United States.
B. Wayne Hughes’ Action This Day (Kris S. – Najecam, by Trempolino) rallied from last to win the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile by 2 ¼ lengths. Bred in Kentucky by Jaime S. Carrion, Trustee, Action This Day won two of his three starts at two and earned $817,200.
Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC and Spendthrift Farm’s Cuvee (Carson City – Christmas Star, by Star de Naskra) won four-of-six starts last year, including the Futurity Stakes, Saratoga Special Stakes and Kentucky Breeders’ Cup Stakes by a combined 24 lengths. Bred in Kentucky by Verne H. Winchell, Cuvee earned $360,704.
Darley Stud Management LLC’s Ruler’s Court (Doneraile Court – Future Guest, by Copelan) won two-of-four starts and $197,700 last year, including a 14-length romp in the Norfolk Stakes. Ruler’s Court was bred in Kentucky by Douglas Arnold and Dr. Roy Sadovsky.
The 126 pounds assigned the co-highweights is a standard top weight for Experimental colts and is equivalent to the assignment on last year’s highweight Vindication. Action This Day, Cuvee and Ruler’s Court are weighted two pounds higher than Marylou Whitney Stables’ Birdstone (Grindstone – Dear Birdie, by Storm Bird), a winner of two-of-three starts and $339,000 last year, including the Champagne Stakes.
At 123 pounds is Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor’s Lion Heart (Tale of the Cat – Satin Sunrise, by Mr. Leader), undefeated in three starts with victories in the Hollywood Futurity and Hollywood Preview Stakes and earnings of $310,800. Lion Heart was weighted one pound higher than Buckram Oak Farm’s Eurosilver (Unbridled’s Song – Russian Tango, by Nijinsky II).
In the filly division, the 124 pounds assigned Halfbridled (Unbridled – Half Queen, by Deputy Minister) is one pound above the assignment on last year’s highweight Storm Flag Flying.
Bred in Kentucky by Wertheimer and Frere, Halfbridled went undefeated in four starts in 2003 and earned $849,400. In addition to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, she won the Del Mar Debutante and Oak Leaf Stakes.
At 120 pounds is Starlight Stables LLC, Paul Saylor and John Martin’s Ashado (Saint Ballado – Goulash, by Mari’s Book), winner of the Spinaway Stakes, Demoiselle Stakes and Schuylerville Stakes. Ashado won four-of-six starts last year and $610,800.
Sharing third highweight at 119 pounds are Emory A. Hamilton’s La Reina (A.P. Indy – Queena, by Mr. Prospector) and Marjorie and Irving Cowan’s Society Selection (Coronado’s Quest – Love That Jazz, by Dixieland Band).
La Reina won two-of-four starts, including the Tempted Stakes, and banked $142,400. Society Selection won two-of-three starts, including the Frizette Stakes, and earned $327,000.
Among sires of Experimental horses, Grand Slam tops the colts’ list with six representatives, one more than El Prado (IRE). A. P. Indy and Forestry lead the fillies’ sire list with four each. Combining the two lists, Grand Slam is the leading sire with eight representatives. Of the 166 juveniles weighted, 112 were bred in Kentucky, including all four highweights, while 21 were bred in Florida and eight in Texas.
The 2003 Experimental Free Handicap is available in the “Information and Statistics” section of The Jockey Club’s web site, located at www.jockeyclub.com.