Declan's Moon, Wilko Top Experimental

A year after a record three colts shared top weight on the Experimental Free Handicap, this time around the lead is shared by two. Champion Declan's Moon, an unbeaten grade I winner, and Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) winner Wilko were assigned standard high weight of 126 pounds by racing secretaries Mike Lakow, Frank Gabriel Jr., and Tom Robbins. As is nearly always the case, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) was the key race.

"We felt that the Juvenile was the strongest race, so Wilko had to be ranked at the top," Lakow said. "As for Declan's Moon, he was unbeaten and defeated Wilko (who was third) in the Hollywood Futurity (gr. I). So, he had to be co-high-weighted."
Lakow, of the New York Racing Association; Gabriel, of Arlington Park; and Robbins, of Del Mar, weighted 87 males and 66 fillies that were 2-year-olds of 2004.

"The division was so competitive," Lakow said about the males. "We ranked plenty of them at 120 and higher, and we just hope they stay sound for this year."

There were 10 at 120 pounds or more, one more than last year. Sharing the second highweight of 124 pounds are Afleet Alex and Roman Ruler. The former won his first four starts, including the Hopeful Stakes (gr. I), before registering close seconds in the Champagne Stakes (gr. I) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Roman Ruler scored grade II wins in the Norfolk and Best Pal Stakes, and was second to Declan's Moon in the Del Mar Futurity (gr. II) and fifth in the Juvenile.

Proud Accolade, the Champagne winner, and Sun King, who was third in the Juvenile, shared 123 pounds.

Unlike the male division, the filly division was a case of total domination. Champion Sweet Catomine, who won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) by 3 ¾ lengths and broke her maiden in the Del Mar Debutante Stakes (gr. I), was assigned high weight of 124 pounds, a pound above the standard and on par with last's year leading filly, Halfbridled. Next at 117 pounds came the trio of grade I winners Balletto, Sense of Style, and Splendid Blended.

The Experimental, published since 1933 under the auspices of The Jockey Club, is compiled for a hypothetical race at 1 1/16 miles in the spring for 3-year-olds on dirt. At one time, it grouped males and females together. Separate lists began in 1985.
Horses eligible for weighting were all 2-year-olds of 2004 that finished among the first four in graded or other non-restrictive races with an added value of $75,000 or more, run in the continental United States.

The rankings also come into play when assessing a horse's chances in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), and are used in conjunction with the dosage theory in determining which horses are "dual qualifiers."

Dual qualifiers are those horses ranked within 10 pounds of the male topweight that also have proper dosage figures to win the Churchill classic. Thirteen male runners were weighted within 10 pounds (116 pounds or more) of Declan's Moon and Wilko. Under the dosage system, each horse is assigned a Dosage Index (DI) and Center of Distribution (CD). Horses with a DI higher than 4.00 and a CD above 1.25 are considered genetically unlikely to win the Run for the Roses.

Colts and geldings:

126 -- Declan's Moon, Wilko; 124 -- Afleet Alex, 124 -- Roman Ruler; 123 -- Proud Accolade, Sun King; 122 -- Giacomo, Rockport Harbor; 121 -- Devils Disciple; 120 -- Consolidator; 119 -- Galloping Grocer; 118 -- Southern Africa; 117 -- Chandtrue; 116 -- Flamenco, Park Avenue Ball; 115 -- Dubleo, Greater Good; 114 -- Crown Point, Lunarpal, Primal Storm; 113 -- Actxecutive, Defer, Straight Line, Texcess; 112 -- Boston Glory; 111 -- Better Than Bonds, Drum Major, Elusive Chris, Leaving On My Mind, Patriot Act, Seattles Best Joe, Seize the Day, Storm Surge; 110 -- Bellamy Road, Boggy Creek, Cajun Pepper, Closing Argument, Evil Minister, Gold Joy, Wallstreet Scandal; 109 -- B. B. Best, Cin Cin, Funk, Magoo's Magic, Three Hour Nap; 108 -- Anthony J., Bushwacker, Littlebitofzip, Sunny Sky (FR), Tadreeb; 107 -- G P's Black Knight, Rey de Cafe; 106 -- Chips Are Down, D'court's Speed, Killenaule, Maximus C, Wild Desert, Winsomemoneyhoney; 105 -- Cherokee Chase, City Code, Doctor Voodoo, Major League, Rush Bay, Winning Expression; 104 -- Diamond Isle, Hal's Image, Magna Graduate, Positive Prize, Ready Ruler, Smooth Bid, Spanish Chestnut; 103 -- Rubialedo, Scipion, Smoke Warning, Upscaled; 102 -- Malanato, My Parade, Silver Haze; 101 -- Chattahoochee War, Dusty Minister, Elusive Thunder, Social Probation, Woody's Apache; 100 -- Favorite Minit, Fusaichi Rock Star, Reno Bob, Storm Creek Rising.


124 -- Sweet Catomine; 117 -- Balletto (UAE), Sense of Style, Splendid Blended; 115 -- Ready's Gal; 114 -- Inspiring, Runway Model, Souvenir Gift; 113 -- Sharp Lisa, Sis City; 112 -- In the Gold; 111 -- Classic Elegance, Dance Away Capote, Paddy's Daisy, Play With Fire; 110 -- Melhor Ainda, Punch Appeal; 109 -- Broadway Gold, Culinary, Louvain (IRE), Northern Mischief, Toll Taker; 108 -- Chocolate Brown, Enduring Will, Hello Lucky, Short Route; 107 -- Conveyor's Angel, Megascape, Summer Raven; 106 -- Buzz Song, Culture Clash, Hear Us Roar, Memorette, Take a Check; 105 -- Double D Appeal, Kota, Queens Plaza; 104 -- Angel Trumpet, Bella Banissa, Im a Dixie Girl, No Bull Baby, Royal Copenhagen (FR); 103 -- Aspen Tree, Dansetta Light, Jill Robin L, K. D.'s Shady Lady, La Maitresse (IRE), Limited Entry, My Miss Storm Cat, Smuggler; 102 -- Berbatim, Leona's Knight, Paragon Queen, Running Bobcats, Secrets Galore, She's a Jewel; 101 -- Gotta Rush, Lady Glade, Ninadivina, Salute, Winning Season; 100 -- Darn That Girl, Malika's Gold, Miss Matched, Western Princess, Wild Chick.

Download Experimental Free Handicap (PDF) with complete statistical breakdowns.