While The Jockey Club’s Experimental Free Handicap (or “Experimental Handicap” as it was initially known) originated in 1933 and has been released annually since 1935, there’s a dearth of easily accessible information on the internet with lists of horses weighted in the earlier years. It’s not difficult to locate the highweights, or weights assigned to notable horses, but it can be challenging to easily find lists of all horses who were weighted each year.
For that reason, I’ve decided to start a series listing all horses weighted in the Experimental Handicap/Experimental Free Handicap on a year-by-year basis from its inception in 1933 through possibly 1965 or so.
Weights assigned by Walter S. Vosburgh for the 1933 Experimental Handicap (2-year-olds of 1933):
126 lbs. – First Minstrel
125 lbs. – Cavalcade
124 lbs. – Singing Wood; High Quest
122 lbs. – Soon Over (GB); Mata Hari (f); Spy Hill
121 lbs. – Elylee
120 lbs. – Hadagal; Bazaar (f)
119 lbs. – Red Wagon; High Glee (f)
118 lbs. – Wise Daughter (f); Far Star (f); Sir Thomas
117 lbs. – Discovery; Roustabout; Jabot (f); Slapdash (f); Black Buddy; Observant; Chicstraw
116 lbs. – Trumpery; Sgt. Byrne; Glendye; Peace Chance
115 lbs. – Kawagoe; Revere; Gay Monarch
114 lbs. – Blue Again; Collateral; Rhythmic (f); Domino Player; Blue for Boys (f)
112 lbs. – Trey; Bonanza; Proud Girl (f); Dreel; Chance Flight; Some Pomp (f); Fortification; Kieva (f)
111 lbs. – Sir Ten; Brown Jack; Agrarian; Holystone
110 lbs. – National Anthem; Propagandist; Bright Haven; Loggia (f); Earnings; Cuirassier; Greyglade (f); Miss Merriment (f)
109 lbs. – Hildur Prince; Moira’s Chief; General Parth; Spoilt Beauty (f); Vicar
108 lbs. – Calycanthus; R. Pinchot; Sonrisa (f)
107 lbs. – Easy Come (f); Wrackdale; Bataille (f); Speed Girl (f)
106 lbs. – Sassafras; Stand Pat; The Triumvir; Rose Cross; Kepi
105 lbs. – Sun Tempest; Front; Maine Chance; Fleam (f); Wise Nat; Hawk Moth (f)
104 lbs. – Yap (f); Dessner; Inflate (f); Kings Minstrel; Sainted
103 lbs. – Captain Argo; Flabbergast (f)
Overall, fifty-five sires were represented among the eighty-four horses weighted, with a total of fifteen stallions having sired more than one horse on the list. Sir Gallahad III lead the list with seven horses listed, with First Minstrel’s sire Royal Minstrel (GB) next with five, followed by John P. Grier with four, and Chicle (FR), Man o’ War, Sickle (GB), and St. Germans (GB) with three. Chatterton, General Lee, High Time, Pompey, Stimulus, The Porter, Wise Counsellor, and Wrack (GB) each had two horses make the list.
“In the opinion of Water S. Vosburgh, official handicapper of The Jockey Club, Mrs. Payne Whitney’s First Minstrel is entitled to first rating among the two-year-old colts of 1933 and Charles T. Fisher’s Mata Hari stands foremost of the season’s juvenile fillies.
Mr. Vosburgh, generally recognized as America’s leading authority on thoroughbred form, in the December 15 issue of “The Racing Calendar,” the official publication of The Jockey Club, for the first time classified the most prominent two-year-olds that raced in the United States and Canada this year. He calls it “the experimental handicap for two-year-olds of 1933.”
Such a rating, known as the “future handicap,” has been in vogue in England for more than a century and naturally commands the respect not only of bookmakers who lay future prices on most of the English classics but also of horsemen and players generally.
Mr. Vosburgh’s handicap should be particularly interesting to the various operators who make winter books on the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, late closing spring classics for three-year-olds exclusively.
First Minstrel, which won the Sanford and the Junior Champion among other less important victories, is given the post of honor of 126 pounds. This is one pound higher than the rating allowed Mrs. Dodge Sloane’s Cavalcade, winner of the Hyde Park, and two pounds more than Mrs. John Hay Whitney’s Singing Wood, which won The Futurity. Mrs. Slone’s High Quest, which won the Futurity Trial, is rated even with Singing Wood at 124 pounds.
Yet the Dixiana filly Mata Hari, which follows at 122 pounds, the same notch at which are placed Mrs. Payne Whitney’s colts, Soon Over and Spy Hill, really ranks much higher when her sex allowance is taken into consideration. Two-year-old fillies are allowed three pounds in the scale and three-year-old fillies five pound up to September 1; three pounds thereafter. So Mr. Vosburgh’s rating on a two-year-old basis really places Mata Hari second with Cavalcade at 125 pounds, one less than the top weight, First Minstrel. With her five pounds’ allowance as a prospective candidate for leading three-year-old honors, Mata Hari would be elevated to the peak (127), one pound ahead of First Minstrel.
E. R. Bradley’s filly Bazaar, a sensation at Saratoga where she won the Hopeful, is rated two pounds below Mata Hari, but her sex allowance as a three-year-old would move her right behind First Minstrel alongside Cavalcade. Many are likely to disagree with Mr. Vosburgh on his ratings of other leading fillies, particularly of Far Star, a stablemate of Mata Hari, which her stable connections are supposed to consider the better of the two. Far Star and W. S. Burton’s Wise Daughter are both placed two pounds below Bazaar and four below Mata Hari. C. V. Whitney’s High Glee, which beat Bazaar in the Matron, is rated a pound better than these two.
In view of the disappointing performances at Belmont and in Maryland after he had won the Champagne, Warren Wright’s Hadagal seems generously treated with ninth ranking at two pounds better than Sir Thomas, which ran Singing Wood to a head in The Futurity and which would undoubtedly have won had he not lost several lengths for Tony Pascuma in jumping a path across the main track midway of the chute.” (W. J. Macbeth / New York Herald Tribune, 12/17/1933)