Welcome to another installment of this week in Curlin babies: all the news that’s fit to print about Blinkers Off’s favourite sire. This week Blinker’s Off’s very favourite Curlin baby, Palace Malice, is trying to follow up his win last time out with another graded stakes win, this time in the New Orleans Handicap (GII). He’s not the only Curlin progeny to see the track, though, so let’s get started!
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On March 23, Bold Shot finished second, beaten a length and a half, in a $25,000-$20,000 claiming race at Fair Grounds, at about one mile on the turf. The four-year-old gelding ran for the higher tag. Far back early and caught wide, he made up some ground through the far turn, came up the rail down the stretch, and was able to pick off everyone but Bacardi Cat Run. The winner, who had been several lengths in front most of the race, found another gear in the final furlong to stay ahead of Bold Shot. Bold Shot has nothing to be ashamed of, however; he ran a nice race here, and clearly contends at this level.
- Curlin’s Kid (Lucette, by Dayjur) – On March 25, Curlin’s Kid finshed fifth and last, beaten 12 3/4 lengths, in a one mile maiden special weight over the Laurel dirt. He dueled for the pace early, gave way coming into the stretch, and faded much late. It was the three-year-old gelding’s seventh overall start, and his first since February 22. In that previous start, he was second beaten 2 1/2 lengths in a $40,000-$35,000 maiden claimer at the same distance at Laurel; he had been up for the higher tag. The February 22 race was his first in the maiden claiming ranks; after this most recent finish, it would not be surprising to see him down in the claiming ranks next out.
- Jay Eye See (England’s Rose, by Nureyev) – On March 23, Jay Eye See finished third in a one mile $100,000 Allowance Optional Claiming at Calder, beatein 3 3/4 lengths. The four-year-old colt was not in for the tag. He hit the gate at the start, but didn’t get caught too far back; he headed up the little pack who stalked the two leaders. Jay Eye See saved up some ground coming through the far turn, and overtook the fading favourite Majestic Express, but had nothing to match the wire-to-wire winner I’m Steppin’ It Up. He also got nipped just a head by the closing Macho Bull for the place. This was Jay Eye See’s second race in nine days and sixth so far this year; hopefully he will get a bit of a break after this.
- Larrymoeandcurlin (Sally Bowles (SAF), by London News (SAF)) – On March 22, Larrymoeandcurlin finished sixth beaten 13 1/4 lengths in a six furlong maiden special weight on the Turfway all-weather. He got caught in a little traffic early, but it didn’t look bad enough to be a real reason to hamper him. He stayed near the back of the stalking pack, lost ground coming out of the far turn, and made no real stretch run. Unfortunately, it was a flat race. Hopefully, this three-year-old gelding’s next time out (see Racing Soon section below) will go better than this one did.
- Air Squadron (Air France, by French Deputy) – Air Squadron, a four-year-old colt, may run at the Fair Grounds in a one-mile allowance ($41,900 purse) on March 29. He is a main track only entry, however; he will not run if the race stays on the turf as originally carded. If he runs, he will break from the 12 gate in a field of 13 horses. It will be his first race since a fifth-place finish in a $17,500 allowance optional claiming at Fair Grounds, where he beaten 7 3/4 lengths after hitting the gate at the start. He was in that race under the N1X condition, and not up for the tag.
- Charlie A (Seresa’s Spirit, by Rahy) – This lightly-raced three-year-old filly will break from the 11 gate in a seven and a half furlong $75,000 allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream. (With Danalin in this field as well, she won’t be the only Curlin baby there!) She broke her maiden at first asking at this distance on the Gulfstream turf in January. Next out, she attempted a mile and a sixteenth on the turf, but ended up 6th beaten 19 lengths. That field contained four stakes-quality horses: In Tune, Camille Claudel, Rosalind, and Bird Maker. The 11 post won’t help her here, but it won’t hurt her as much as it may hurt others, assuming she runs from off the pace again this time out.
- Danalin (Danaway, by Giant’s Causeway) – This three-year-old filly drew the rail in the same March 29 $75,000 allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream in which Charlie A drew the outside. After breaking her maiden at first ask last November (at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf), she has finished either third or fourth in four races at this level, including two at this same distance of seven and a half furlongs along the turf. Her last race was a fourth-place finish at this level and distance, but beaten only a length and a quarter; she was bumped at the start and caught far back, but made a closing move that almost got there.
- Larrymoeandcurlin (Sally Bowles (SAF), by London News (SAF)) – Stretching out after his recent try at a sprint distance, Larrymoeandcurlin races March 29 in a 1 1/16 mile maiden special weight along the Turfway synthetic, just a week after his last start. This is his first attempt at a route. His first maiden race was at five furlongs, and the subsequent three have been at six. Nothing in his pedigree screams that he can’t handle this distance. In addition to Curlin colts and fillies who have had success at route distances, London Citizen (the only other named foal to date out of Sally Bowles) was a winner in a nine-furlong handicap at Beverley last year.
- Lynx (Silver Bird, Lit de Justice) – Returning to the track for the first time in a month and a half, this three-year-old gelding is slotted for a 1 1/16 mile maiden special weight at Gulfstream on March 29. He breaks from the 9 gate in a field of 11. He has raced five times before; all but his first were at route distances. He finished a surprising third in his last race — his first at Gulfstream. As a 50.4-1 shot, he checked in only 1 1/4 lengths behind eventual Tampa Bay Derby champion Ring Weekend. This race showed much improved form than this Ontario-bred was showing on the Woodbine synthetic; hopefully that form will continue.
- Palace Malice (Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem) – In his first start since his hard-fought Gulfstream Park Handicap win to open his four-year-old season, Palace Malice heads to the Fair Grounds for the New Orleans Handicap (GII) on March 29. The 121 pound highweight, he drew the outermost post in the eight-horse field. In this race he stretches out to a furlong more than his last race; the New Orleans Handicap is run at a mile and an eighth. Palace Malice has run this distance three times: his troubled seventh in last year’s Louisiana Derby, his neck second behind Java’s War in the Blue Grass, and then his length defeat of Will Take Charge in the Jim Dandy. He has run twice before at the Fair Grounds: the aforementioned Louisiana Derby, as well as last year’s Risen Star, in which he finished half a length between Ive Struck A Nerve and Code West. If this is any indication, he is capable of running well on this track and at this distance. Furthermore, he showed in the Gulfstream Park handicap that he can win from the outer post. The biggest worry is whether the Gulfstream Park Handicap took much out of him. That could be a factor, especially since he gives Normandy Invasion six pounds. Hopefully, though, he comes into this ready to run!
- Case’s Ticket (Feels Like Friday, by Anet) – This three-year-old colt had been scheduled to run at Fair Grounds on March 21, in a 1 mile 70 yard maiden special weight on the dirt. It was announced the morning of the race that he was scratched. Last out, on March 4, he was 3rd beaten 3 lengths in a race at the same distance and conditions.
That’s it for this week. If there’s a Curlin baby at any level of racing who you think I missed, leave a comment and let me know so I can add him to my list and cover him or her in future installments of this week in Curlin babies!