02/13/2015 4:29PM

Leading Kentucky sires: Lookin At Lucky

Barbara D. Livingston
Lookin At Lucky is based at Coolmore's Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky.

Leading Kentucky juvenile sire by winners
Leading Kentucky freshman sire by winners, stakes winners (tie), and stakes wins

Lookin At Lucky was a champion as a juvenile, and improved enough the following season to bring home a second title.

If his progeny take after their sire, it could be an exciting year for the young stallion.

Lookin At Lucky, an 8-year-old Smart Strike horse based at Coolmore’s Ashford Stud in Versailles, Ky., more than held his own against a strong group of freshman sires in 2014, recording the most individual winners of the year not only among his own class but among juvenile sires overall. The stallion also tied for the most individual stakes winners by a freshman sire.

“Lookin At Lucky achieved everything you would hope to see with his first 2-year-old runners,” Ashford Stud manager Dermot Ryan said. “Having the most 2-year-old winners not just by freshman standards but overall is a great achievement, and he also had several stakes winners and his first graded stakes winner. I think what also really stands out is that he had 10 repeat winners, by far the best by a freshman sire. All this was achieved with only about 40 runners, which suggests to me he is consistently passing on above-average ability.”

Lookin At Lucky was part of a strong year for Ashford’s sires. His 29 winners from 43 starters were enough to edge out fellow Ashford freshman Munnings – with 27 winners from 53 starters – atop the juvenile and freshman winners lists. Another Ashford stallion, Scat Daddy, tied for third on the juvenile list with 24 winners.

Lookin At Lucky tied with WinStar Farm homebred Super Saver for the most stakes winners by a freshman sire, with four apiece. Lookin At Lucky was third by freshman earnings and 11th by juvenile earnings – the latter list topped by Ashford’s Giant’s Causeway.

Lookin At Lucky’s top runner was Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes winner Lucky Player, who won the race by a neck over Bold Conquest.

In addition to Lucky Player, who was bred in Florida, Lookin At Lucky had a number of successful runners from regional programs. New York-bred Good Luck Gus is his sire’s top earner, bankrolling $330,059 in his juvenile season while capturing a pair of statebred stakes. Four Leaf Chief won a pair of stakes for Louisiana-bred juveniles; Texas-bred Spider’s Alibi ventured far from his roots to become a stakes winner in Canada.

Lookin At Lucky is the sire of two other stakes-placed runners, including the well-regarded Maybellene. The filly was beaten less than a length by eventual Eclipse Award winner Take Charge Brandi when third in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes.

Lookin At Lucky won 9 of 13 career starts, bankrolling more than $3.3 million. He scored Grade 1 victories as a juvenile in the Del Mar Futurity and Norfolk Stakes, then was a close second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile after being bumped late. Voters forgave him the mishap, awarding him the Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male.

The following spring, Lookin At Lucky found more misfortune, finishing third in the Santa Anita Derby after being checked in traffic; he then drew the dreaded rail post for the Kentucky Derby, and finished sixth after being roughed up early. But the late-May foal reaffirmed his class by winning the Preakness Stakes by three-quarters of a length two weeks later. After a freshening, he turned in a strong summer and fall, winning the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational and Grade 2 Indiana Derby, and finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in his career finale.

Lookin At Lucky earned another title as champion 3-year-old male of 2010. The double placed him in rarefied air, making him one of just five horses since the modern Eclipse Awards were launched in 1971 to win both 2- and 3-year-old male honors. The others are regarded among the sport’s all-time greats: Secretariat (1972-73), Seattle Slew (1976-77), Affirmed (1977-78), and Spectacular Bid (1978-79).

“The heartening thing is that for all that Lookin At Lucky achieved with his first 2-year-olds last year, his own race record would suggest there is even more to come as they mature,” Ryan said. “Lookin At Lucky is one of only five colts to be crowned champion at both 2 and 3, and he hardly missed a beat in his two years on the track. So you would hope his offspring will follow suit.”