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2008 Experimental Free Handicap

By

Midshipman

Midshipman, winner of the 2008 Breeders' Cup Juvenile, is the highweight at 126lbs on the Experimental Free Handicap

© Cindy Pierson Dulay
Updated January 30, 2009

Midshipman, winner of the Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile, received the high weight assignment of 126 pounds on the 2008 Experimental Free Handicap released today by The Jockey Club. The 126 pounds assigned to Midshipman is 1 pound less than the assignment on last year's high weight, War Pass, and is the standard impost for top Experimental colts. The filly division is headed by Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Stardom Bound at 124 pounds.

The Experimental Free Handicap, published annually by The Jockey Club 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. This year's weighting committee of racing secretaries was composed of Ben Huffman of Churchill Downs, P.J. Campo of the New York Racing Association and Thomas S. Robbins of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.

The committee weighted a total of 104 males and 87 fillies. Eligible for weighting were all 2-year-olds of 2008 that finished among the top four in graded or other unrestricted races with an added value of at least $75,000, run in the continental United States.

Darley Stable's Midshipman won three of his four starts last year for earnings of $1,380,200. In addition to his 1 1/4-length victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he also won the Del Mar Futurity and finished a close second in the Norfolk Stakes. He was bred in Kentucky by Stonerside Stable.

Midshipman is weighted 2 pounds higher than Vineyard Haven, also a winner of three of his four starts in 2008, including the Champagne Stakes and Hopeful Stakes. He earned $419,000 for owners Robert Frankel, Louis Lazzinnaro and Diamond Pride LLC.

In the filly division, the 124 pounds assigned to Stardom Bound is 1 pound above the assignment on last year's high weight, Indian Blessing.

Bred in Kentucky by Fletcher Gray, Carolyn Gray and John Youngblood, Stardom Bound's three victories from five starts all came in Grade 1 races — the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Oak Leaf Stakes and Del Mar Debutante. She earned $1,420,600 for her owner Charles Cono LLC.

Among sires of Experimental horses, A.P. Indy, Lion Heart, More than Ready, Sky Mesa and Sligo Bay (IRE) top the list of colts and geldings with three representatives each, while Smoke Glacken and Tapit head the fillies' list with four representatives each. Combining the two lists, Sky Mesa is the leading sire with six representatives. Of the 191 juveniles weighted, 118 were bred in Kentucky, 27 in Florida and nine in California and New York.

The other use of the Experimental rankings is in determining which horses are dual qualifiers for the Kentucky Derby. Horses ranked within 10 pounds of the male topweight or who are a champion in another country and have a Dosage Index of 4.0 or less and a Center of Distribution of 1.25 or less are considered the dual qualifiers. These horses have statistically shown that they have a better chance at winning the Derby. Dual qualifiers are indicated below in bold.

Colts and Geldings

126 - Midshipman *
124 - Vineyard Haven *
123 - Square Eddie *
122 - Street Hero *
121 - Old Fashioned
120 - Donativum *
120 - Pioneerof the Nile *
119 - Westphalia *
118 - Coronet of a Baron *
118 - I Want Revenge *
118 - Terrain
117 - Big Drama *
117 - Charitable Man *
116 - Beethoven
116 - Believe in Hope *
116 - Chocolate Candy *
116 - Del Conte *
116 - Run Away and Hide
116 - Southern Exchange *
116 - West Side Bernie *
115 - Azul Leon
115 - Giant Oak

Full list of colts and geldings

Fillies

124 - Stardom Bound *
120 - Dream Empress *
117 - Laragh *
117 - Sky Diva *
117 - Springside
116 - Doremifasollatido *
116 - Mani Bhavan *
116 - Maram *
116 - Rachel Alexandra *
115 - Heart Shaped
115 - Wynning Ride
114 - Dave's Revenge

Full list of fillies

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