this week in Curlin babies: 5.22.14

Welcome to another installment of this week in Curlin babies: all the news that’s fit to print about Blinkers Off’s favourite sire.  The big highlight of the week was the Preakness Stakes, where Ride On Curlin ran a huge race to finish second.  The first two-year-old Curlin baby, the filly Curlin’s Princess, ran second in her first race at Gulfstream.  Highlights of the coming week include Lady Of Luck running in the First Lady Handicap at Ruidoso, a potential run by Flash Forward in the Sheepshead Bay stakes at Belmont, and of course Ride On Curlin’s continued preparation for the Belmont Stakes.  He will have plenty of competition there, but if he wins, that will make two Belmont Stakes champions in two three-year-old crops for Curlin.  It’s nowhere near a lock, of course, but an exciting thing to dream about if you are a Curlin fan!

Anyway, let’s see what the Curlin babies have been up to this week!

Race Results

  • Blue Violet (Gasia, by Silver Deputy) – On May 21, Blue Violet finished 2nd beaten 1 1/4 lengths in the Blue Violet Stakes, at 1 1/16 miles over the Delaware Park dirt.  Blue Violet broke well, got near the lead, and settled in an outside stalking place about a length back of Montana Native.  Bryan’s Jewel made a run at Blue Violet through the far turn, and actually got a head in front coming into the stretch, but Blue Violet pushed back gamely down the stretch to recapture second position.  She finished 1 1/4 lengths behind the classy Montana Native, but a half-length in front of Bryan’s Jewel.  This was the four-year-old filly’s first placing at stakes level since last February, when she finished third in the Rachel Alexandra.
  • Curlin’s Princess (Image of Mom, by Halo’s Image) – On May 16, Curlin’s Princess became the first member of Curlin’s third crop to hit the track when she appeared in a 4 1/2 furlong baby race over the Gulfstream dirt.  The filly finished second behind Lucky’sstormwarning (Lookin At Lucky’s first winner!) — 2 3/4 lengths behind her, but another 11 1/4 lengths behind third-place Jamie’s Dancer.  She got in a nice place stalking the winner early, but was really green down the stretch.  She got close, but then ducked hard toward the rail, allowing Lucky’sstormwarning to get away and win.  That should hopefully be something that a bit more racing experience will fix.
  • Curly Queen (Queen Mama, by Seattle Slew) – On May 17, Curly Queen finished fifth beaten 7 1/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at six and a half furlongs over the Calder dirt.  This was her first race against winners; last out, she broke her maiden in her third career start.  She settled in the back of the pack, made up a bit of distance through the far turn, but wasn’t able to sustain a run.  She passed one tiring horse, but that was it.  She didn’t really fade, but she didn’t fire either.  This was a class rise for her, and she is only three years old; hopefully she will grow into herself a bit and be able to contend.
  • Fireball Merlin (Princess Ruckus, by Bold Ruckus) – On May 19, Fireball Ruckus finished 9th beaten 9 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at seven furlongs over the Woodbine poly.  He broke well and stalked on the outside early.  However, he steadily lost ground down the backstretch and through the far turn, and made no late rally to improve position.  It was a little surprising to see him run so near the lead early, since in his second-place finish (where he only lost by a head), he closed.
  • Miss Frost (Allencat, by Storm Cat) – On May 18, Miss Front finished 8th beaten 12 lengths in an N1X allowance at Belmont, a mile over the turf.  It was the three-year-old filly’s first race since her fifth-place finish in the Chelsea Flower Stakes last October.  She got into a good stalking position along the rail early, just a length and a half or so off the pace.  However, she started steadily losing ground as the field made its way into the far turn.  She had no response when jockey Jose Ortiz asked her for more, and faded back to eighth down the stretch.  This was her first race in over six months; hopefully she will be sharper next out.
  • Oso Smart (Duchess Zea, by Ascot Knight) – On May 17, Oso Smart finished seventh beaten 9 3/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Golden Gate Fields turf.  It was the three-year-old colt’s first race at Golden Gate, and his first time out since a third-place finish in a 1 1/8 mile MSW at Santa Anita back in March.  Oso Smart broke well, got near the lead, and was only about a length off when the pace settled.  He stayed there down the backstretch and then gave early leader Seedsandstemsagain chase through the far turn, but ran out of gas turning for home.  He faded back down the stretch, and was passed by most of the field.  He did finish right near most of the pack; winner Sawyer’s Hill did sustain a move into the stretch, and finished 6 1/2 lengths ahead of second-place Seedsandstemsagain.  His trainer Adam Kitchingman does much of his running at Santa Anita; at this point it’s a toss-up whether Oso Smart is more likely to be seen next in another maiden special at Golden Gate, or if he will re-drop to the claiming ranks back at Santa Anita.
  • Oxford Babes (Spring Awakening, by In Excess (IRE)) – On May 20, Oxford Babes finished sixth beaten 11 1/2 lengths in a N1X allowance optional claimer at Indiana Grand, at six furlongs on the dirt.  She was in under the allowance condition.  The lightly raced four-year-old filly was only making her fourth career start, and her second against winners.  She stalked a few lengths back early, and then looked like she was trying to make a run as the field turned for home.  She couldn’t keep it up, though, and faded away down the stretch.  To date she has only run sprint races.  It wouldn’t surprise me if her connections tried a route given that Curlin blood is good route blood, but it’s anyone’s guess where she goes next — or when, given how lightly raced she is.
  • Rebel Spy (Private Status, by Alydar) – On May 17, Rebel Spy finished 8th beaten 19 3/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at 1 1/16 miles over the Pimlico dirt.  The race was originally carded for the turf, but moved to the dirt after heavy rains the day before.  He settled about ten lengths off the pace early, near the back of the pack.  He chased from there, and was wide through the far turn.  He wasn’t able to ever mount a run on the leaders, and finished near the back of the pack.  This was his fourth career start; in his two third-place finishes, he was never anywhere near that far back.  His start wasn’t clearly bad; I’m curious whether this was accidental, or a deliberate attempt to try running him from off the pace.  No matter what the reason, though, I would be surprised if next out there weren’t at least an attempt to run him closer to the pace.
  • Ride On Curlin (Magical Ride, by Storm Cat) – On May 17, Ride On Curlin finished second in the Preakness, just 1 1/2 lengths behind California Chrome.  I have discussed this race in detail, both in the Preakness recap as well as my Fantasy recap.  He ran huge, and proves yet again that he is the standard-bearer for Curlin’s second crop.  He points to the Belmont next; assuming everyone stays healthy, he and California Chrome will likely be the only horses to run in all three Triple Crown races this year.
  • Sylvia T  (Brisquette, by Unbridled’s Song) – On May 18, Sylvia T finished fourth beaten 2 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Belmont inner turf.  The four-year-old filly ran with the pack just two or three lengths off for most of the race.  She lost a bit of ground early in the stretch, but found another gear coming down the stretch and recouped the distance she had lost on the leader.  She couldn’t quite catch anyone who hit the board, but looked like she had plenty of run late.   She is consistent enough at cashing checks: in eleven career starts at the MSW level, she has five seconds, a third, and four fourths.  However, to graduate, she may have to try something different.  She has tried dirt and turf, sprints and routes; a class drop may be in order to determine whether she can win, or she’s just happy coming in close behind the winner.

Racing Soon

  • Curlin’s Kid (Lucette, by Dayjur) – On May 24, Curlin’s Kid is slated to run in a $25,000-$20,000 maiden claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf.  The three-year-old gelding drew the 9 gate in a full field (thirteen horses, with five also eligible!), and is in for the higher tag.  He has started nine times since last August, twice in the claiming ranks and seven times in maiden special company.  His last start, a six-furlong turf race at the same level, was his first turf start; he finished fourth beaten 7 1/4 lengths in that turf sprint.  He finished second in a higher-priced one mile maiden claimer on the dirt; hopefully the stretch in distance and the drop in class will help the light come on.  Unfortunately, it’s one of the few things left that they can do; at his tenth start, he is coming dangerously close to Career Maiden territory.
  • Flash Forward (Magical Flash, by Miswaki) – On May 24, Flash Forward may start in the Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont, at 1 3/8 miles.  The four-year-old filly drew the rail.  She is a main track only entry; the race is a turf race, but she will run if the race is shifted to the dirt.  There is a decent chance she will run, as there is rain in the Elmont, NY forecast for the next few days.  She last raced in the Cat Cay Stakes at Aqueduct on April 6, where she finished third, 7 1/2 lengths behind Princess of Sylmar.  If she runs, it will be the longest race of her career by a furlong.  She has a win and two seconds at 1 1/8 miles at stakes level; the win was an 8 1/4 length runaway in the My Flag Stakes over Toasting last August at Saratoga.  This is a bigger and more difficult field than she has faced in many of her previous stakes attempts, however; hopefully her sharp recent works do lead to good race performance.
  • Lady of Luck (Lunarlady, by Yes It’s True) – On May 25, Lady of Luck will run in the First Lady Handicap at Ruidoso Downs.  The race is at six furlongs over the dirt.  It will be the four-year-old filly’s first start since April 5, when she finished fourth beaten just half a length in the Czaria Stakes at this distance at Sunland.  The field is almost exactly the same as the Czaria; only third-place Challenging is out, and longshot Rolanda is in.  Lady of Luck has done well in allowance company, but has yet to hit the board in a stakes race.  She has two sharp recent works at Sunray Park, so hopefully this will be her time to shine.
  • Lord of the Realm (Danceroftherealm (GB), by King of Kings (IRE)) – On May 24, Lord of the Realm will race in a $8,000-$7,500 N2L claiming race six and a half furlongs over the Woodbine polytrack.  The four-year-old colt breaks from the 2 gate in a field of eight, and races for the lower tag.  This race will be his second race off of a layoff of almost five months.  Back on May 3, first off the lay, he finished sixth beaten only 4 1/2 lengths at this distance and level as a 42.85-1 long shot.  This will be his twelfth start; other than his maiden win last September he has not hit the board.
  • Lynx (Silver Bird, by Lit de Justice) – On May 25, Lynx is entered in a maiden special weight at Parx, at a mile over the dirt.  The three-year-old gelding breaks from the 6 gate in a field of seven.  This will be Lynx’s seventh career start, and his first over the Parx course.  He has had a couple of decent works over the oval, though, since his last race back in March.  He cuts back from the 1 1/16 miles he has run in his last few starts, and faces a bit easier company at Parx than he did at Gulfstream earlier in the spring.
  • Moulin de Mougin (Cambiocorsa, by Avenue of Flags) – On May 25, Moulin de Mougin will race in an N2X allowance optional claimer at Santa Anita, at 1 1/8 miles over the turf.  The four-year-old filly drew the 7 gate in a 10-horse field, and is not up for the tag.  This will be her first start since the 1 1/16 mile Santa Lucia Stakes on April 20, where she finished fourth beaten 13 1/2 lengths behind Beholder.  She had been nominated to the Mizdirection Stakes (at about 6.5f on the turf) on the same day, but is probably going to be better served doing a route at allowance company.
  • Sheikinator (Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) – On May 25, Sheikinator returns to the track for his first race since his second-place finish in an allowance on the Derby undercard.  He returns at a similar level and a similar distance: an N1X allowance for three-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles over the Churchill dirt.  Much of the field from his last race returns here, as well.  Sheikinator’s last race was his first return to the board since he broke his maiden last November; he had a seventh-place finish in the CashCall Futurity last year, as well as two lackluster finishes in allowances at Oaklawn through the spring.  He has been first and second in his only starts at Churchill.  It’s too early to tell, but maybe he is a horse for this Churchill course.
  • Shiva Curlin (Cavan Thunder, by Jump Start) – On May 25, Shiva Curlin will run in an N1X allowance for three-year-olds at Calder, at 1 mile and 70 yards over the dirt.  The colt breaks from the rail in a field of seven.  This will be his first race back since his last-place finish in the Sir Bear Stakes at Gulfstream last out.  The Sir Bear was his first race since breaking his maiden; the return to Calder (the site of his maiden win) as well as the drop in class should point to a better performance here.
  • Whisper to Curlin (Whisperifyoudare, by Red Ransom) – On May 23, Whisper to Curlin returns in a maiden special weight at Prairie Meadows.  The race is for Iowa-breds, at six furlongs over the dirt.  He drew the 6 gate in a field of ten.  Whisper to Curlin is the 2/1 morning line favourite, but has been second in all four of his starts at Prairie Meadows.  Last out on May 2, as the odds-on favourite, the three-year-old colt was a well-beaten second behind Denali Tiz a Park.  He has had one maintenance work since that race.  I am hoping that this will be the time he finally breaks through, though all these second-place finishes are starting to make me wonder if he needs either class relief or some other major change.
  • Wise Minister (Take a Check, by Touch Gold) – On May 25, Wise Minister will race in an N1X Pennsylvania-bred allowance at a mile over the Parx dirt.  The three-year-old colt drew the second gate in a field of ten.  He had been scheduled to race at Monmouth on May 10, though he was a vet scratch from that race.  His last out was at Pimlico on April 6, where he crossed the wire third but was elevated to second after the disqualification of Ghareeb.  Wise Minister has only raced once at Parx, a third-place finish in his first career start.  I’m glad to see him in this spot, though; his recent performances in open allowances in Maryland suggest a class drop will help him, and here he drops from open to state-bred company.

Other News

  • Danalin  (Danaway, by Giant’s Causeway) – Danalin had been on the also-eligible list for a 1 1/16 mile N1X allowance over the Monmouth turf on May 18.  However, no horses scratched from the race in time to get her in the gate, so she was scratched.  The three-year-old filly has not raced since March; she raced in a series of allowance optional claiming races at Gulfstream over the winter, repeatedly finishing third and fourth.  She last posted a work on May 6; there is no indication yet of her next race.
  • Slip By (Fortune Pending, by Fortunate Prospect) – Slip By had been scheduled to race on May 17 in a maiden special weight at 1 1/16 miles over the Pimlico turf.  However, the race was taken off the turf; as a result, the three-year-old colt was scratched.  Instead, he went back and posted a work at Fair Hill that morning; I would be surprised if his next entry were anything but a similar race at a similar level, with hopes the races stay on the grass that day.
  • This week was the Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic sale of two-year-olds in training.  Five Curlin babies walked through the sales ring at Timonium, though none were actually sold.  Blinkers Off will be keeping an eye on all of these horses going forward, and will let you know when they sell or race!
    • Shirleys Curls (Weeks, by Ghazi) – Shirleys Curls, hip #3 in the sale, was a Reserve Not Attained (RNA) at $40,000.  The filly had breezed a furlong in 10.4 seconds during the under tack show on May 14.
    • unnamed filly (Yoursmineours, by Belong To Me) – An unnamed two year old filly by Yoursmineours, hip #25 in the sale, was an RNA at $37,000.  On May 14, she had breezed a furlong in 10.4 at the under tack show.  Of local interest, this filly is a half sister to Shared Property, a Scat Daddy gelding who won the Arlington-Washington Futurity in 2o11 by a length over Take Charge Indy.
    • Birthday Girl (Birthday Wire, by Birdonthewire) – Birthday Girl, hip #67 in the sale, was an RNA at $32,000.  On May 14, at the under tack show, the filly breezed a furlong in 10.3.
    • Flyforawhiteguy (Come Together, by Dixie Union) – Flyforawhiteguy, hip #130 in the sale, was declared out.  The colt did breeze in the under tack show, going a furlong in 10.2, but was later declared out.
    • Currency Exchange (Rahy Dolly, by Rahy) – Currency Exchange, hip #425 in the sale, was declared out.  The colt breezed a furlong in 11.1, but was later declared out.

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!

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