01/30/2009 12:00AM

Midshipman tops Experimental at 126


Just days after being named champions at the Eclipse Awards, Midshipman and Stardom Bound were further honored Thursday when they were listed as highweights atop their respective divisions in the Experimental Free Handicap for 2008, released by The Jockey Club.

Midshipman, the champion 2-year-old colt of 2008, was listed at 126 pounds on the Experimental, which assigns weights for a hypothetical race at 1 1/16 miles on dirt. Next on the Experimental list at 124 pounds were Vineyard Haven and Stardom Bound, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2008.

Midshipman, trained throughout his 2-year-old season by Bob Baffert, won the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Juvenile to end his season. He and the other Eclipse winners were honored Monday night in Miami Beach at the annual awards dinner.

Midshipman was bred and owned by the Stonerside Stable, which sold most of its assets and horses to Darley Stable. The Unbridled's Song colt is being trained for Darley by Saeed bin Suroor in Dubai.

Stardom Bound also has undergone a change of owner and trainer since she clinched divisional honors by winning the BC Juvenile Fillies for owner Charles Cono and trainer Chris Paasch. The filly was purchased at auction in early November for $5.7 million by IEAH Stables, which has turned her over to trainer Rick Dutrow.

The 126-pound designation for Midshipman is one pound below what was assigned to the 2007 topweight, War Pass, on the Experimental, which is an annual tradition that dates to 1935. By comparison, the highest weight ever assigned was 132 pounds to an eventual Triple Crown winner, Count Fleet, in 1942. The next highest was 130, which went to five 2-year-olds, the latest being Arazi in 1991. Secretariat, the 2-year-old champion of 1972, was pegged at 129.

The weighting committee for the Experimental comprised racing secretaries P.J. Campo of the New York Racing Association, Ben Huffman of Churchill Downs and Keeneland, and Tom Robbins of Del Mar.

In all, the committee weighted 191 2-year-olds: 104 colts and geldings, and 87 fillies. After Midshipman and Vineyard Haven, the winner of the Hopeful and Champagne, next among the male runners were Square Eddie (123), Street Hero (122), Old Fashioned (121), Donativum (120), and Pioneerof the Nile (120).

Following Stardom Bound on the list of fillies were Dream Empress (120), Laragh (117), Sky Diva (117), and Springside (117).

Sky Mesa led all sires with six horses on the list, while 118 of the ranked horses were bred in Kentucky.

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