Updated on 02/02/2012 7:07PM

Experimental Free Handicap: Hansen and Union Rags co-highweights

Barbara D. Livingston
The gray colt Hansen (right) held off Union Rags (left) to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Both were rated at 126 on the Experimental Free Handicap.

Hansen and Union Rags, the one-two finishers in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and in the voting for the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male of 2011, on Thursday were announced as the co-highweights for the 2011 Experimental Free Handicap, which is published by the Jockey Club.

Both colts received 126 pounds, the traditional assignment given to the topweight. Creative Cause, third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, is next at 124 pounds.

My Miss Aurelia, the undefeated winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and the winner of the Eclipse Award in that division, tops the list of females at 124 pounds, one pound higher than the usual assignment for the leading filly. Grace Hall, second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, and Stephanie’s Kitten, who won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, are next at 120 pounds.

The Experimental Free Handicap is a weight-based assessment of the previous year’s leading 2-year-olds for a hypothetical race at 1 1/16 miles on dirt, the exact conditions of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Juvenile Fillies. It has been published by the Jockey Club since 1935.

[COMPLETE LIST: 2011 Experimental Free Handicap - males and females]

This year’s Experimental Free Handicap was compiled by three racing secretaries representing each major region of the country – P.J. Campo of the New York Racing Association, Ben Huffman of Churchill Downs and Keeneland, and Tom Robbins of Del Mar.

Eligible for weighting were all 2-year-olds who last year finished in the top four in a graded or listed stakes run in the continental United States. As such, 130 males were weighted, and 94 fillies.

Hansen, trained by Mike Maker, won all three of his starts last year, but was defeated in his 2012 debut on Sunday in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He was bred by Dr. Kendall Hansen, who owns Hansen along with the Skychai Racing partnership.

Union Rags had won all three of his starts before being upset by Hansen in the Breeders’ Cup. He is scheduled to make his first start of the year later this month in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream, setting up a likely rematch with Hansen. Michael Matz trains Union Rags for his breeder, Phyllis Wyeth.

My Miss Aurelia, trained by Steve Asmussen, has been recuperating in Florida from a minor injury suffered late last year and is not expected to see action until much later this spring. The Stonestreet Stable of the late Jess Jackson bred My Miss Aurelia. Barbara Banke, Jackson’s widow, owns My Miss Aurelia along with George Bolton.