01/28/2010 12:00AM

Lookin At Lucky, Vale of York lead handicap list


Lookin At Lucky and Vale of York have been named 126-pound co-highweights atop the Experimental Free Handicap for American 2-year-old colts and geldings of 2009, while Blind Luck and She Be Wild are 123-pound co-highweights in the filly division.

The co-highweights were the first among male runners since the 2-year-olds of 2004, according to officials at The Jockey Club, which announces the Experimental every year in late January. The 2009 lists were released Thursday morning.


"We all felt like they were that close," said Ben Huffman, the Churchill Downs and Keeneland racing secretary who comprised the Experimental weighting committee along with P.J. Campo Jr. of the New York Racing Association and Tom Robbins of Del Mar.

In their only meeting, Vale of York defeated Lookin At Lucky by a head in the Nov. 7 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita. However, Lookin At Lucky was an easy winner in voting for a divisional Eclipse Award based on his overall body of work, which included wins in all five of his other races.

The Experimental has assigned handicap weights for a hypothetical race at 1 1/16 miles on dirt every year since 1935. In 1985, The Jockey Club began weighting fillies separately. The lists are assigned strictly according to 2-year-old form and do not purport to speculate about future performance.

Lookin At Lucky is owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman, and is trained by Bob Baffert. Vale of York is owned by Godolphin and trained by Saeed bin Suroor. Both colts are being pointed to the 136th Kentucky Derby on May 1.

Among the fillies, She Be Wild was the divisional Eclipse champion based largely on the strength of her victory in the Nov. 6 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, in which Blind Luck was a close third. Blind Luck raced once more in 2009, winning the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet by seven lengths.

She Be Wild is owned by Nancy Mazzoni and trained by Wayne Catalano. Blind Luck is owned by Mark DeDomenico LLC, John Carver, and Jerry Hollendorfer, with Hollendorfer the trainer.

Following Lookin At Lucky and Vale of York atop the male Experimental roster for 2009 are Noble's Promise (124 pounds), Buddy's Saint (123), Pounced (122), Super Saver (122), and Piscitelli (120). Next among fillies after She Be Wild and Blind Luck are Hot Dixie Chick (121), Beautician (120), Negligee (120), and Tapitsfly (119).

There were 94 males and 83 fillies weighted for 2009. To be eligible, a 2-year-old had to finish in the top four in graded or non-restricted races in the United States with a value of at least $75,000.

The co-highweights in 2004 were Declan's Moon, the Eclipse champion, and Wilko, winner of the BC Juvenile. The last co-highweights among fillies were a three-way tie in 1999 among Cash Run, Chilukki, and Surfside.

The last Experimental highweight to win the Kentucky Derby was Street Sense, who topped the 2006 list before capturing the Derby the following spring.

The 126 pounds for males and 123 for fillies are the traditional standards for Experimental topweights, although occasionally those imposts are slightly altered one way or another.