Lookin At Lucky
It could be said that this multiple stakes winner was a win machine. It could also be said that, despite his name, he experienced his share of bad luck.
A son of Smart Strike, Lookin At Lucky was just about perfect as a two year old. Following his debut win in the summer of 2009 at Hollywood Park, the Bob Baffert trainee enjoyed a perfect Del Mar meet by winning both the Grade II Best Pal Stakes and Grade I Del Mar Futurity. One more win awaited him that year, and that came in the Grade I Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita. That set him up for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, and a chance for an undefeated campaign.
For all his talent and success on the track, it seemed that Lookin At Lucky was at times ironically named. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile was a good example. Starting from the extreme outside, he raced wide throughout the contest, and that was very visible in the frontstretch. But Lookin At Lucky was tough, and he was not going to just give up. He pressed on, fighting while still wide to finish second and narrowly miss to longshot Vale of York. The loss did not hurt him, though. He came right back several weeks later to take the Grade I CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park, and that completed a year which netted him Top Two Year Old honors.
Reemerging in the middle of the 2010 Kentucky Derby prep season, Lookin At Lucky's road to Louisville consisted of a light schedule. He overcame brief trouble in the backstretch and a wide trip in the frontstretch to just win the Grade I Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, but trouble came again in the later stages of the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, costing him a chance for victory. Despite being steadied, Lookin At Lucky showed his fight, battling back for third.
Although he did not win the Santa Anita Derby, people saw the colt as a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender. Favored in every single race of his career going into the 136th running of the famed event, Lookin At Lucky would again assume that role at Churchill Downs (at a very unusual price of more than 6-1). The trouble was that he drew the rail, which is never ideal for the Derby. He and jockey Garrett Gomez tried to clear the field at the start, but it did not go according to plan. Shuffled back in the opening seconds, he was bothered by another horse, and was towards the back of the pack by the time he reached the wire for the first time. Dealing with an off track and more than a dozen horses in front of him, the reigning Two Year Old champion did not back down. He fought back, getting up for sixth place. He was well beaten, but at the same time he made up a lot of ground compared to where he was after the first quarter-mile.
Many who watched the Derby saw the race as a throw out. Lookin At Lucky was among the top choices in the Preakness Stakes two weeks later. Everything went much better, and he finally experienced his big moment in the classics, taking the Triple Crown's second jewel. Next came a daylight victory in the Grade I Haskell Invitational and a come from behind triumph in the Grade II Indiana Derby (which featured an electrifying rally from the far turn).
That set him up for what was his career finale in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. There would be no avenging his Kentucky Derby loss under the Twin Spires, but Lookin At Lucky was in contention for the win briefly in the stretch before finishing fourth.
Despite losing that battle, he once again emerged as champion of his division. One year after being named racing's top juvenile, Lookin At Lucky became its Top Three Year Old for 2010. Fittingly, he retired a champion.
Owned by Karl Watson, Michael E. Pegram, and Paul Weitman, the bay horse put together a record of 9 wins, a second, and a third in 13 starts. Overall, he earned well over $3 million.
Reviewing his record more closely, one will find Lookin At Lucky was pure racehorse.
-He won at seven racetracks across North America
-He was successful at six different distances, and was a winner sprinting and routing.
-He won eight graded stakes, five of them Grade I events.
After his racing career was finished, Lookin At Lucky began stallion duty. Among his best horses as of the summer of 2019 are Accelerate, Breaking Lucky, Dr. Dorr, Lookin at Lee, and Madefromlucky. It appears that the two-time Eclipse Award champion is going to have a fine career both on and off the track.
He may not have always been lucky. But when he was in action, the fans saw themselves looking at a true racehorse.