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Texas Red, American Pharoah, Lady Eli, and Take Charge Brandi Top the 2014 Experimental Free Handicap
Texas Red, winner of the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1), and American Pharoah, champion 2-year-old male and winner of the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the FrontRunner Stakes (G1), shared the high weight of 126 pounds on The Jockey Club’s 2014 Experimental Free Handicap, released today by The Jockey Club.
The 126 pounds assigned to Texas Red and American Pharoah is the standard impost for top Experimental colts and equivalent to the assignment on last year’s high weight, New Year’s Day.
The filly division also had co-high weights with Lady Eli, winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), and Take Charge Brandi, champion 2-year-old filly and winner of the 14 Hands Winery Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), both receiving 123 pounds, 1 pound higher than the second-weighted males, Hootenanny and Carpe Diem.
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.
This year’s list of eligible horses was expanded to review all 2-year-olds of 2014 that started in graded or listed stakes races run in the continental United States instead of only the top four finishers. Out of the eligible 196 males and 174 fillies, a total of 100 males and 88 fillies were assigned weights.
All Experimental Free Handicap weight assignments, as well as past performances for those horses, are available within the Resources section of jockeyclub.com.
Texas Red (Afleet Alex - Ramatuelle (CHI) by Jeune Homme) won two out of five starts and earned $1,192,300. He was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC.
American Pharoah (Pioneerof the Nile - Littleprincessemma by Yankee Gentleman) was bred in Kentucky by Zayat Stables. He won two out of three starts in 2014 with earnings of $361,500.
Lady Eli (Divine Park - Sacre Coeur by Saint Ballado) won all three of her starts with earnings of $719,800. She was bred in Kentucky by Runnymede Farm Inc. & Catesby W. Clay.
Take Charge Brandi (Giant's Causeway - Charming by Seeking the Gold) won four out of eight starts including the Delta Downs Princess Stakes (G3) and the Starlet Stakes (G1) for earnings of $1,620,126. She was bred in Kentucky by Charming Syndicate.
Not only was Kentucky the foaling state for the top four weighted horses, but it was again the leading foaling state of all weighted horses with 71 males and 59 fillies; Florida was second with nine males and five fillies. Ireland led foaling countries outside of the U.S. with seven fillies and one male.
Kitten’s Joy was the leading sire of weighted horses with two fillies and four males. Tied for second with five total were Curlin, Sky Mesa, and War Front.
The weighting committee of racing secretaries included four this year with P.J. Campo of the Stronach Group, Ben Huffman of Churchill Downs and Keeneland, Martin Panza of The New York Racing Association Inc., and Thomas S. Robbins of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club.
Following are a few facts about the Experimental Free Handicap:
- The Experimental Handicap started in 1933 in the U.S. as a variation of England’s Free Handicap. There was no Experimental compiled in 1934.
- Today a mythical race designed to gauge the ability of top 2-year-olds during their 3-year-old campaigns, the Experimental Free Handicap was for more than a decade a real race.
- The Experimental Handicap was a 6-furlong race from 1940 through 1945.
- The “free” designation became part of the name from 1946 to 1952 because there was not a nomination fee.
- From 1946 to 1952, the Experimental Free Handicap was contested as two races: one at 6 furlongs and another at 1 mile and 1/16.
- The 6-furlong division of the race was discontinued in 1956, and the race was not held in 1957.
- Six of the Triple Crown winners led their 2-year-old class (Whirlaway , Count Fleet , Citation , Secretariat , Seattle Slew , Affirmed ).
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, directly or through subsidiaries, 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. It is the sole funding source for America’s Best Racing, the broad-based fan development initiative for Thoroughbred racing. You can follow America’s Best Racing at americasbestracing.net. Additional information is available at jockeyclub.com.