Luck wasn’t on Lookin At Lucky ’s side when he failed as the favorite during troubled trips in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) and Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), but the son of Smart Strike rebounded with three consecutive graded stakes wins to help claim his second straight divisional championship when the Eclipse Awards were announced Jan. 17.
In doing so, Lookin At Lucky became the first horse since Spectacular Bid to be named champion 2-year-old male and 3-year-old male.
Lookin At Lucky began his sophomore season with high hopes, especially after scoring in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park in March to give him his sixth win in seven career starts. After the misfortune in his next two starts, Lookin At Lucky solidified his status as the top 3-year-old with victories in the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), IZOD Haskell Invitational (gr. I), and Indiana Derby (gr. II).
In the Preakness, trainer Bob Baffert made the bold decision to replace regular rider Garrett Gomez with up-and-coming jockey Martin Garcia, who was making his first appearance in the race—and it worked out beautifully. Garcia gave Lookin At Lucky a superb ride, as he steered the bay colt from away from trouble for a rallying three-quarters length triumph at Pimlico.
Lookin At Lucky left no doubt as to who was the best 3-year-old of 2010 when he turned in what was probably his best performance of the season in the Aug. 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park, romping by four lengths against a deep field. His come-from-behind triumph in the Indiana Derby two months later in the slop at Hoosier Park helped wrap up another championship.
All four of his wins came on different racetracks in an ambitious campaign that saw him run a solid fourth in the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) at Churchill Downs.
Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman campaigned Lookin At Lucky, who was retired in November and will stand at Ashford Stud in 2011. Bred in Kentucky by Gulf Coast Farms and out of the Belong to Me mare Private Feeling, Lookin At Lucky retired with a record of 9-1-1 from 13 starts and earnings of more than $3.3 million.
“He ran so well as a 2-year-old, but you never know how they are going to come back the following year,” Baffert said. “For him to come back stronger as a 3-year-old and to win back-to-back championships despite not winning the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile) or Kentucky Derby says a lot. It just goes to show you how much talent he had.”
First-Place Vote Totals:
Lookin At Lucky, 224; Eskendereya 5; Drosselmeyer, 3; Afleet Express, 1; Discreetly Mine, 1; Paddy O’Prado, 1; Super Saver, 1; Smiling Tiger, 1; Twirling Candy, 1.