Updated on 09/16/2011 6:53AM

Horse of the Year is also highweight

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Harold Roth/Horsephotos
Point Given was assigned 128 pounds for 3-year-old males going long.

NEW YORK - Underscoring his unanimous selection as champion

3-year-old male and his election as Horse of the Year of 2001, Point Given was given the highest weight assignment in the 2001 .

The Free Handicap weights were calculated by three racing secretaries: Mike Lakow of the New York Racing Association, Martin Panza of Hollywood Park, and Bob Umphrey of Calder Race Course. The three scrutinized the past performances of the most successful performers in 2001 before arriving at their weights. In all, 677 horses were assigned weights in eight divisions, based on age, distance, and surface.

Point Given was assigned 128 pounds for 3-year-old males going long, a pound higher than the leading horse in any other division and four pounds more than Kentucky Derby winner Monarchos, the second-ranked horse in that category. It was another four pounds back to A P Valentine and Congaree, who were both pegged at 120.

"He was a standout in his division, even though he lost the Derby," Lakow said of Point Given. "We looked back at previous years and thought he was comparable to a 3-year-old like Skip Away, and he was certainly superior to other 3-year-olds that were weighted at 126 pounds. Point Given was a standout in his division, unlike other divisions."

One more difficult division was the 3-year-old filly going long group, in which Kentucky Oaks and Alabama winner Flute was the topweight at 124 pounds. But just one pound below her were no less than four others: Exogenous, Fleet Renee, Golden Ballet, and Unbridled Elaine.

Another such division was the older females going long, in which two-time Grade 1 winner Gourmet Girl and Spain, runner up in the Breeders' Cup Distaff, were co-topweights at 121 pounds.

"That was the toughest division," Lakow said. "We struggled over this one. Gourmet Girl wound up winning the Eclipse Award, but we felt three or four of these could have beaten each other on any given day. It was a difficult call."

The only other category where there were actual co-topweights was in the older male going long division. As if to reflect the scant nose that separated champion older horse Tiznow and Sakhee at the end of the Breeders' Cup Classic, they were each assigned 127 pounds.

In the male sprint division, sprint champion Squirtle Squirt and Delaware Township were each assigned 123 pounds. But when you consider the scale of weights for age allowance, which comes into play only in divisions where 3-year-olds of 2001 were weighted against older horses, Squirtle Squirt emerges as the topweight. With a two pound age allowance for 3-year-olds going short (there is a three-pound allowance going long), Squirtle Squirt is the highweight in this division at 125 pounds on the scale.

So even though Xtra Heat, who was voted champion 3-year-old filly, was assigned top weight of 123 pounds in the female sprinter category, two pounds more than the older Dream Supreme and Go Go, the actual spread between them, after consideration of the age allowance, is four pounds.

The same applies in the female turf category, in which champion Banks Hill was the 124-pound topweight over England's Legend at 122 pounds.

When you factor in Banks Hill's age allowance, however, which in this case is three pounds for going long, the spread between her and England's Legend is five pounds. That is the largest spread between topweight and second highweight in any of the categories in the 2001 Free Handicap.

As for the male turf horses division, the weights were almost completely impacted by the World Thoroughbred Championships. Breeders' Cup Turf winner and champion turf horse Fantastic Light was made the 127-pound topweight, two pounds more than Mile winner Val Royal.