Shanghai Bobby, last year’s champion 2-year-old male and undefeated winner of the Breeders’ Cup Grey Goose Juvenile, received the high weight assignment of 126 pounds on The Jockey Club’s 2012 Experimental Free Handicap, released Wednesday by The Jockey Club.
Beholder, who won the Breeders’ Cup Grey Goose Juvenile Fillies, was the high weight filly with 123.
Shanghai Bobby and Beholder were also Eclipse Award winners in their respective divisions of 2-year-old male and 2-year-old filly.
All Experimental Free Handicap weight assignments, as well as past performances for those horses, are available within the Publications and Resources section of jockeyclub.com at jockeyclub.com/experimental.asp.
The Jockey Club Experimental Free Handicap, published annually since 1935, is a weight-based assessment of the previous year’s leading 2-year-olds, with the weights compiled for a hypothetical race at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.
The weighting committee of racing secretaries was once again composed of P.J. Campo of the New York Racing Association, Ben Huffman of Churchill Downs and Keeneland, and Thomas S. Robbins of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
The committee weighted a total of 125 males and 117 fillies. Eligible for weighting were all 2-year-olds of 2012 that finished among the top four in graded or listed stakes races run in the continental United States. Listed stakes in 2012 were those with a value of $75,000 or more available to all starters, and no restrictions other than age or sex.
Shanghai Bobby (Harlan's Holiday—Steelin' by Orientate) won all five of his starts last year by a combined 14 lengths and earned $1,687,000. In addition to a maiden allowance race and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Shanghai Bobby won the Foxwoods Champagne Stakes, the Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes, and the Track Barron Stakes. He was bred in Kentucky by Stonehaven Steadings and is owned by Starlight Racing, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor, Michael B. and Derrick Smith, Derrick,
Beholder (Henny Hughes—Leslie's Lady by Tricky Creek) won three of her five starts and was second by a nose in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes with total earnings of $1,215,000. She was bred in Kentucky by Clarkland Farm and is owned by Spendthrift Farm.
Among sires of Experimental horses, Harlan’s Holiday leads the list of colts and geldings with five representatives; Any Given Saturday and Street Hero have four each.
City Zip and Malibu Moon head the fillies’ list with five representatives each. Broken Vow and Kitten’s Joy have four each.
Combining the two lists, Harlan’s Holiday, Kitten’s Joy and Malibu Moon are the leading sires with six each, followed by Broken Vow, City Zip, Henny Hughes and Unbridled’s Song with five each.
Kentucky, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania produced the largest number of horses in the 2012 Experimental Free Handicap. Of the 242 juveniles weighted, 152 were bred in Kentucky, 31 in Florida, 11 in New York and nine in Pennsylvania.
Following are trends and statistics gathered from the Experimental Free Handicap over the past 10 years:
- The largest difference from high weight to second was in 2007 with War Pass at 127 pounds, seven more than Dixie Chatter, Into Mischief and Pyro at 120.
- Of the five Kentucky Derby winners assigned a weight, the average weight assignment was 119.2 pounds.
- Of the 15 horses high weighted or co-high weighted, three went on to win a Triple Crown race (Union Rags, Lookin At Lucky, Street Sense), three others won graded stakes, and three others were Grade 1-placed.
- High weights and horses giving five pounds or less to the high weights for the male division account for 48 horses. That group of 48 has produced seven winners of Triple Crown races — Union Rags, Lookin At Lucky, Super Saver, Street Sense, Afleet Alex, Giacomo, Birdstone — and eight other Grade 1 winners, including 2004 Kentucky Derby runner-up Lion Heart.
- The aforementioned group of 48 also includes 12 additional graded stakes winners, including Creative Cause, who was third in the 2012 Preakness.
- Thus, of 48 males high weighted or giving five pounds or less to that year’s high weight, 27 won graded stakes as 3-year-olds. Only 10 of the 48 did not at least place in a graded race at 3.
- Fourteen horses that went on to a Triple Crown race the following year were not rated on the Experimental Free Handicap.
- Two fillies have won Triple Crown races in the course of the past 10 years: Rags to Riches, the 2007 Belmont Stakes winner, was not rated among females in 2006 and Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Preakness winner, was rated at 116 pounds in 2008.
The Jockey Club, founded in 1894 and dedicated to the improvement of Thoroughbred breeding and racing, is the breed registry for North American Thoroughbreds. In fulfillment of its mission, The Jockey Club provides support and leadership on a wide range of important industry initiatives and it serves the information and technology needs of owners, breeders, media, fans and farms, among others. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.