Reigning 2-year-old champion and Preakness Stakes winner Lookin At Lucky has been retired and will stand the 2011 season at Ashford Stud, the American arm of John Magnier's Coolmore Stud operation.
Ashford Stud purchased the son of Smart Strike for an undisclosed amount from partners Mike Pegram, Paul Weitman and Karl Watson. Although Ashford Stud has not yet announced its fees for 2011, manager Dermot Ryan said he expects Lookin At Lucky to stand for $35,000.
"He's a fantastic-looking horse," Ryan said. "He's a classic winner and he'll probably be the champion 3-year-old as well. He's very well bred and he's got all the traits we look for in a stallion."
Trained by Bob Baffert, Lookin At Lucky racked up nine wins in 13 career starts, including five Grade I triumphs. While initial plans called for the bay colt to return for his 4-year-old season, Baffert said the economics of the deal made it difficult for the owners to turn away the offer.
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"We were going to race him but there were a lot of farms who were interested in him," Baffert said. "It's the business part of it. But we enjoyed him, he never had a bad day. That's why we're in the business is to get a horse like this. And he's going to a great farm."
Should Lookin At Lucky take the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old male this year as expected, he would be the first horse since Spectacular Bid in 1978 and 1979 to earn divisional honors in both his 2-year-old and sophomore seasons.
Out of the Belong to Me mare Private Feeling, Lookin At Lucky was unbeaten in his first four career starts, including victories in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity and Grade I Norfolk. His lone loss as a juvenile came when he was beaten a head by Vale of York in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita Park, but he rebounded with a win in the Grade I CashCall Futurity.
Despite his fortuitous name, Lookin At Lucky was plagued with trouble in a handful of his races this year. Although he overcame nearly clipping heels with a horse to win the Grade II Rebel Stakes in his season debut, he was checked in tight quarters during a third-place run in the Santa Anita Derby and bumped hard into the rail during his sixth-place effort in the Kentucky Derby.
That Derby outing prompted his connections to switch from jockey Garrett Gomez to Martin Garcia for the Preakness. That pairing instantly clicked as Lookin At Lucky powered home to a three-quarter-length win and then followed that up with a 4-length romp in the Haskell at Monmouth Park in August.
"When he won the Preakness ... it reminded everybody why we put in the long hours because you can't put a price on the reward," Baffert said.
Lookin At Lucky also captured the Grade II Indiana Derby in October and finished fourth in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 6.
A half brother to Grade II winner Kensei, Lookin At Lucky retires with earnings of $3,307,278. He is currently at Ashford Stud and available to breeders for inspection.
"Any horse that pops up with his criteria of pedigree and race record, any top stud farm would have their eye on," Ryan said. "He's just a quality, gorgeous-looking horse."