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’s banner achievement is, of course, Ride On Curlin finishing second in the Arkansas Derby (GI), and punching his ticket to the Kentucky Derby as a result. Coming up this week, Moulin de Mougin faces a tough challenge: she returns in the Santa Lucia stakes at Santa Anita, where she will face a couple of high-profile horses.
- Blue Violet (Gasia, by Silver Deputy) – On April 17, Blue Violet placed fifth in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles over the Pimlico dirt. She actually crossed the wire first, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Brenda’s Way, but was disqualified after a jockey’s objection. She was making an inside run coming into the far turn, but cut right into Penthouse Party; the officials decided it had enough of an effect on Penthouse Party’s ability to contend that they placed Blue Violet fifth, behind Penthouse Party. Brenda’s Way, the leader by about half a dozen lengths early, was placed first. This had been the four-year-old filly’s first race since an allowance win at Fair Grounds over a mile and seventy yards on January 23.
- Curlin N Twirlin (Bluff For Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – On April 16, Curlin N Twirlin finished third beaten 11 3/4 lengths in a $16,000 N2L claiming race at Penn National, at a mile on the dirt. It was her second race off the winter lay, and was just nine days after she finished 9th in an allowance at Parx. The four-year-old filly shot to the lead early, and was lone speed until the quarter pole, but got swallowed up through the far turn. The top two horses both finished well clear of her, though she stayed in front of the tired chasing pack. I’m hoping to see her in a bit shorter race next out (as her maiden win was at seven furlongs), and also with a bit more than nine days’ rest.
- Julie Napp (Garden District, by Dixie Union) – On April 11, Julie Napp finished seventh beaten 10 1/4 lengths in a one-mile maiden special weight on the Aqueduct turf. She broke with speed from the far outer gate and set the early fractions, but was caught coming into the stretch. She couldn’t sustain her run, and faded back to seventh. This was the three-year-old filly’s sixth career start, and her fifth at Aqueduct. However, it was her first attempt on the turf.
- Rebel Spy (Private Status, by Alydar) – On April 17, Rebel Spy placed third in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Pimlico. He finished 9 lengths behind the winning Qualify, but just a neck behind second-place Mr. Spaceman. He chased with the pack, about three lengths back, through most of the race. As the field turned for home, Qualify opened up, and no one else had an answer. He made up ground on the second-place horse through the final furlong, but just missed the place. The four-year-old colt, making his first start since a third-place finish at Delaware Park last September, was the longest shot in the field at 40.60-1. This was only his second career race, so there is room for improvement.
- Ride On Curlin (Magical Ride, by Storm Cat) – This has been discussed a few times here already (and he already has a new drink named in his honour!), so I’ll keep the exciting news short and sweet. On April 12, Ride On Curlin made it official: he is Kentucky Derby bound! Jon Court rode him off the pace, and made a wide move through the far turn. He came up for second in the Grade I Arkansas Derby, 4 3/4 lengths behind Danza. He has already shipped out to Churchill Downs, a track on which he has raced thrice before. His connections have also announced that Calvin Borel, who has ridden him five times in the past, will have the mount in the Derby. Borel most recently raced Ride On Curlin in the Southwest Stakes, where he finished third. I hope he takes him for an outside closing run, though, since that seems to be his best kind of trip.
- Shesacurlinmytoes (Cafe Concerto, by Trempolino) – On April 13, Shesacurlinmytoes finished 7th beaten 4 3/4 lengths in a starter allowance at a mile on the Golden Gate Fields turf. The three-year-old filly settled back early, about half a dozen lengths off the lead, and chased from back there. She saved ground along the rail, and was able to close up a bit of ground late, but didn’t have enough late to improve her placing much. This was her third start in starter allowance company, but her first time back on the turf since January 3, when she broke her maiden in a $20,000 maiden claimer at a mile on the Golden Gate turf.
- Smart Number (Star Number, by Polish Numbers) – On April 13, Smart Number finished 2nd beaten 1 3/4 lengths in an N1X allowance optional claiming race at Pimlico, over 1 1/16 miles on the dirt. She took up the back early, though it was a tightly packed field of five, so she wasn’t more than two or three lengths off the pace. The three-year-old filly came widest through the far turn as 2-5 favourite Spunderful opened up. She started to accelerate nicely through the final furlong, and cut into the winner’s lead, though just ran out of room. She did cross the wire 8 1/2 lengths ahead of the third-place Star Omega. This was good for her first race across the track, and hopefully she’ll break through and win an allowance at this level soon. Stretching from a mile (as she did in her last race to a mile and a sixteenth looked like a good decision here; hopefully she stays in these routes.
- Jay Eye See (England’s Rose, by Nureyev) – On April 20, Jay Eye See breaks from the 4 gate in a $62,500 allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream, at a mile on the dirt. It will be the four-year-old colt’s seventh start this year, though his first in about a month. He faces a horse who recently hit the board in a graded stakes race: Narvaez, second to Falling Sky in the Gulfstream Park Sprint Stakes and last seen in the Gulfstream Park Handicap. Jay Eye See is running for the $62,500 tag here, as are four of the six horses in the field.
- Liberated (Lady Melesi, by Colonial Affair) – On April 18, Liberated drew the 9 gate out of 11 in a 1 1/16 mile N2X/N3L allowance over the Keeneland polytrack. This is her first start since March 15, when she finished 9th in the Wayward Lass Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. She has raced thrice at Keeneland before, never having finished worse than third, and has two recent works over the synthetic track there.
- Moulin de Mougin (Cambiocorsa, by Avenue of Flags) -On April 20, Moulin de Mougin heads postward in the Santa Lucia stakes, at 1 1/16 miles on the Santa Anita dirt. She breaks from the second gate in a field of seven. It won’t be the four-year-old filly’s first attempt in stakes company, but it will be her first stakes race since her sixth-place finish in the Unzip Me stakes last September at Santa Anita. It will also be her first stakes attempt on any course other than the downhill turf at Santa Anita. The Santa Lucia has been drawing a lot of attention because of two horses in the field: Beholder will be kicking off her four-year-old season in this race, and Eblouissante makes the second start of her five-year-old year here as well.
- Whisper to Curlin (Whisperifyoudare, by Red Ransom) – On April 18, Whisper To Curlin races in a maiden special weight at Prairie Meadows, at a mile and seventy yards over the dirt. She has the 2 gate in a nine-horse field. It will be the three-year-old filly’s fourth career start. Last out, she finished seventh in a March 9 maiden special weight at Oaklawn; before that, she came in second in two maiden special weight races at Prairie Meadows. She has never raced past six furlongs before; this will be her first attempt at a route distance.
- Calamondin (Redaspen, by Bianconi) – Calamondin was a vet scratch from a seven furlong N1x allowance at Aqueduct on Saturday, April 12. No further reason was given for the scratch. He hasn’t returned to the worktab since that day, and has not been reentered for another race.
- Maria Maria (Hollow Miss, by With Approval) – Maria Maria, originally slated to race in today’s Appalachian Stakes (GIII), scratched the morning of the race. She was a trainer scratch this morning; at this point, no information is available about why she scratched, or where she may be pointing next.
- Please Explain (Lizzy’s Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – I already mentioned this in my fantasy recap earlier, but for completeness will mention it here, too. I’m so disappointed. Please Explain was stripped of her third place finish, and her trainer Tom Proctor fined $1,000 by the Oaklawn stewards, for a drug violation. Testing revealed methylprednisolone, a synthesized adrenal steroid. Robert Yates of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette broke this news last week; it caught a bit more traction yesterday, and there was a DRF article with a bit more information. If she’s hurting, I want her rested until she’s healed. If she doesn’t need the medication, she shouldn’t have it. That’s all I can say, since I know nothing but the publicly available information.
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 them to my list and cover them in future installments of this week in Curlin babies!