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Monday, January 27, 2003Contact: Bob Curran Jr. (212) 521-5326
Vindication, Storm Flag Flying Topweights on Experimental Free Handicap

Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Vindication is the highweight at 126 pounds in the colt division of the 2002 Experimental Free Handicap released today. The filly division is headed by Storm Flag Flying, winner of the Long John Silver’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, at 123 pounds.

The Experimental Free Handicap, published annually by The Jockey Club since 1933, is compiled for a hypothetical race at 1 1/16 miles on dirt.

This year’s weighting committee of distinguished racing secretaries comprised Frank Gabriel, Jr. of Arlington Park; Michael Lakow of the New York Racing Association; and Thomas S. Robbins of Del Mar Thoroughbred Club. (Gabriel was appointed to the weighting committee after the passing of longtime Keeneland racing secretary Howard Battle in July; Battle had served on the committee since 1986.)

The committee weighted a total of 64 males and 56 fillies. Eligible for weighting were all two-year-olds of 2002 which finished among the top four in graded stakes or other unrestricted races with an added value of $75,000 or higher, run in the continental United States. The minimum purse for qualifying stakes races was raised from $50,000 to $75,000 in 2002 and mirrors last year’s increase in the minimum purse requirement for Listed stakes races, as implemented by the Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers (SITA).

Padua Stables’ Vindication (Seattle Slew - Strawberry Reason, by Strawberry Road (AUS)) won all four of his starts last year and earned $680,950. In addition to his 2 ¾-length victory in the Bessemer Trust Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Vindication romped by six lengths in the Kentucky Cup Juvenile. Vindication was bred in Kentucky by Payson Stud, Inc.

The 126 pounds assigned the highweight is a standard top weight for Experimental colts and is equivalent to the assignment on last year’s highweight Johannesburg. Vindication is weighted two pounds higher than Daniel Borislow’s Toccet (Awesome Again - Cozzene’s Angel, by Cozzene), a winner of six-of-eight starts and $755,610 last year. Toccet’s stakes wins included the Champagne Stakes, Hollywood Futurity, Remsen Stakes and Laurel Futurity.

Sharing third highweight at 122 pounds are The Thoroughbred Corporation’s Kafwain (Cherokee Run - Swazi’s Moment, by Moment of Hope) and John C. Oxley’s Sky Mesa (Pulpit - Caress, by Storm Cat).

Kafwain won three of eight, including the Norfolk Stakes and Best Pal Stakes, and earned $535,848. Sky Mesa won all three of his races, including the Hopeful Stakes and Lane’s End Breeders Futurity, and banked $416,576.

At 119 pounds are Michael Tabor and Mrs. John Magnier’s Hold That Tiger (Storm Cat - Beware of the Cat, by Caveat), Michael Pegram’s Icecoldbeeratreds (In Excess (IRE) - Guilded Times, by Crafty Prospector) and Patrick Biancone and Fabien Ouaki’s Whywhywhy (Mr. Greeley - Thorough Fair, by Quiet American).

In the filly division, the 123-pound assignment on Ogden Mills Phipps’ Storm Flag Flying (Storm Cat - My Flag, by Easy Goer) is a standard weight for top Experimental fillies and is equivalent to the assignment on last year’s highweight Tempera.

Bred by Phipps Stable, Storm Flag Flying went undefeated in four starts in 2002 and earned $967,000. In addition to the Long John Silver’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, she won the Frizette Stakes and was a 12 ¾ length winner of the Matron Stakes.

At 121 pounds is Robert and Beverly Lewis’ Compsure (Touch Gold - Party Cited, by Alleged), winner of the Oak Leaf Stakes and runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. Composure won two-of-six starts and earned $431,300.

Third highweight at 119 pounds is John Paul Reddam’s Elloluv (Gilded Time - Currency Quest, by Cryptoclearance), a winner of two-of-three races last year, including the Hollywood Starlet Stakes, and $242,700.

Elloluv was assigned one pound more than WinStar Farm’s Awesome Humor (Distorted Humor - Horns Gray, by Pass the Tab), undefeated in four starts, including the Spinaway Stakes, Adirondack Stakes and Debutante Stakes. She earned $309,115.

Among sires of Experimental horses, Boston Harbor and Dehere lead on the colts’ list with three each. A.P. Indy and Coronado’s Quest lead the fillies’ sire list, also with three each. Combining the two lists, A.P. Indy and Dehere are the leading sires with five representatives each. Of the 120 juveniles weighted, 83 were bred in Kentucky, including both topweights, while 17 were bred in Florida and seven in California.