this week in Curlin babies: 5.29.14

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 highlight of the week was definitely this past Sunday, when five Curlin babies all had their pictures taken: Lynx, Moulin de Mougin, Shiva Curlin, Timeless Pleasure, and Wise Minister!  Another bright spot this week was when Whisper To Curlin, second so many times at Prairie Meadows, finally broke his maiden.  Coming up this Saturday is the next chapter in the Diversy Harbor vs. Nashoba’s Gold rivalry; they show up in their first Grade I, the mile and a quarter American Oaks at Santa Anita.  One other Curlin baby is also attempting stakes company this weekend: three-year-old filly Curlin’s Gold, who is following up consecutive maiden and allowance wins at Calder with a run in Saturday’s Leave Me Alone Stakes.

Race Results

  • Curlin’s Kid (Lucette, by Dayjur) – On May 24, Curlin’s Kid finished second beaten 1 1/2 lengths in a $25,000-$20,000 maiden claimer at a mile on the Pimlico turf.  The three-year old gelding was up for the higher tag.  He settled in the pack, a handful of lengths off the lead, behind the dueling pace-setters Nice Way and Macon’s Hard Rock.  Coming into the far turn, both Curlin’s Kid and longshot Salsalito made their bids, with Curlin’s Kid a bit farther outside.  Curlin’s Kid raced willingly down the centre of the track, but could not match Salsalito’s energy in the final sixteenth.  This was Curlin’s Kid’s tenth start — and his fourth second-place finish, suggesting he may not have the most desire to get up front.
  • Fairness (No Fair, by War Chant) – On May 29, Fairness finished second beaten 1/2 lengths in a seven-furlong N2L allowance over the Louisiana Downs dirt.  It was her eleventh career start, and her third since she broke her maiden.  She broke well, and when the pace settled, she was just a head behind Vendeuse on the lead.  Coming into the far turn Vendeuse started to fade, and Fairness took the lead.  In the final seventy yards, though, she could not repel an outside run from Alysay, who closed from the far back early to win.  La Justice was also trying to catch her, but Fairness did have enough to stave her off and hold the place.  This is her second strong finish at allowance level at Louisiana Downs, suggesting this may be the right class and course for her.
  • Kara’s Match Point (Home Court, by Storm Cat) – On May 26, Kara’s Match Point finished sixth beaten 7 1/2 lengths in an N1X allowance over six furlongs on the inner Belmont turf.  She broke very slowly, and ended up about a dozen lengths back when the pace settled.  She saved ground along the rail and got within about half a dozen lengths as the field turned for home, but that is as close as the four-year-old filly got.  She loped down the stretch fairly evenly, passing just one tired horse late.  This is the worst she has finished since last fall, though she hasn’t actually won a race since breaking her maiden in March of last year.  It is rather safe to say Kara’s Match Point is not a turf horse, though: her worst career finishes are this sixth-place and an eighth-place last October, and those have been her only two turf starts.
  • Lady of Luck (Lunarlady, by Yes It’s True) – On May 25, Lady Of Luck finished fourth beaten 2 1/2 in the First Lady Handicap at Ruidoso Downs, at six furlongs in the dirt.  It was the four-year-old filly’s second straight fourth-place finish in a stakes; she last finished a close fourth in the Czaria Handicap at Sunland on April 5.  Lady of Luck started near the back of the pack, about half a dozen lengths off.  This was no surprise, as she has won before from a closing position.  She improved her position relative to the leaders late, but the run was not strong enough to challenge either the leader or the second-place horse.  She only missed catching third-place Bright Town by half a length, however.  It will be interesting to see where she goes next; neither another small New Mexico stakes race nor an allowance-level confidence builder seem out of the question.
  • Lord of the Realm (Danceroftherealm (GB), by King of Kings (IRE)) – On May 24, Lord of the Realm finished seventh beaten 12 1/4 lengths in an $8,000-$7,500 N2L claiming race at six and a half furlongs over the Woodbine polytrack.  The four-year-old colt broke well enough, but ended up settling at the back of the pack; he was just running slower than almost everyone else there, even early.  He loped along on the rail, and then turned wide into the stretch, still last.  He had enough to get ahead of Ring of Gold, who had been dueling early but tired.  However, he was still well out of it, and never really threatened to hit the board.  I try to be optimistic about the Curlin babies, but Lord of the Realm has never finished better than fifth except for his maiden win last September.  I’m not sure he’s cut out to be a racehorse.
  • Lynx (Silver Bird, by Lit de Justice) –  On May 25, in his seventh start, Lynx won a one-mile maiden special weight over the Parx dirt.  It was his first race over the Pennsylvania oval, and he took to it well.  He broke with the pack, came outside around the clubhouse turn due to the post position, and settled just in the back of the tightly bunched pack.  Down the backstretch, though, he got up to stalk 1/9 favourite Sassicaia’s lead, just on his outside.  They dueled through the far turn and coming into the stretch, but Lynx had more run.  He pulled away in the final furlong to win by a decisive three lengths over the favourite — and nine lengths ahead of the third-place Monkey’s Medal.  Lynx is no longer a maiden, and I would anticipate seeing him in an allowance somewhere on the mid-Atlantic circuit next out.
  • Moulin de Mougin (Cambiocorsa, by Avenue of Flags) – On May 25, Moulin de Mougin won an N2X allowance optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles over the Santa Anita turf.  She was in under the allowance condition.  It was a notch down in class for the four-year-old filly; last time out, she finished fourth behind Beholder in the Santa Lucia Stakes.  In this race, she broke well, and got a nice stalking position early, just a few lengths off.  She chased from there along the backstretch as My Lil Shamrock set the fractions; the leader got as far as half a dozen lengths ahead of her closest competitor.  The field closed in approaching the far turn, though, and Moulin De Mougin found her next gear just in time.  She kicked ahead in the final sixteenth, and won by half a length.  After this, I am even more baffled about why her connections ran her in the Santa Lucia — this was her third career win, and all of those have come on the green stuff.
  • Sheikinator (Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union) – On May 23, Sheikinator finished second in an N1X allowance at a mile and a sixteenth over the Churchill Downs dirt.  The three-year-old colt came in here off a second-place finish in an allowance over the same course on the Derby undercard.  He settled near the back of the pack early, and chased about ten lengths back down the backstretch.  Full Dancer, who had been stalking just off lead early, pulled ahead around the far turn; around that point, Robby Albarado tried to get Sheikinator to go, but he didn’t want to fire yet.  He finally fired once the field turned for home, but by then Full Dancer was ten lengths ahead of everyone else.  Sheikinator passed the rest of the field, and closed the margin to seven lengths by the wire, but that was as far as he got.  He may well be a horse for the Churchill course, never having finished worse than second there; I anticipate he will go at the same level there next out.
  • Shiva Curlin (Cavan Thunder, by Jump Start) – On May 25, Shiva Curlin won an N1X allowance at 1 mile and 70 yards over the Calder dirt.  It was a welcome step down in class from last out, when the three-year-old colt finished seventh and last in the Sir Bear Stakes.  He settled in mid-field along the rail, and chased the pace from three or four lengths back down the backstretch.  He made his move through the far turn, though, and circled wide around the field.  Filly Faith Hall, who had been on the lead the entire race, dueled with Shiva Curlin down the stretch.  However, he pulled away in the final sixteenth, and won by 3/4 length.  It will be interesting to see where he goes next.  He clearly likes the Calder dirt, though with only one start at Gulfstream it may be a bit premature to say he is just a Calder horse.  Especially with the imminent cut in dates at Calder, hopefully he gets a chance to try himself at the right class at Gulfstream soon.
  • Socialbug (Candytuft, by Dehere) – On May 26, Socialbug finished second in the Winning Colors Stakes (GII) at six furlongs on the Churchill Downs dirt.  It was the four-year-old filly’s first graded stakes race, and her first time hitting the board in a stakes.  She broke well, and set brisk early fractions in the race.  Turning for home, she was still a length in front, but the late run of Southern Honey was just too much in the final sixteenth.  Southern Honey had been stalking two or three lengths back for most of the race, closed some distance as the field turned for home, and pulled past Socialbug late.  Still, though, it was a good outing for Socialbug, and showed that graded company is not outside her reach.
  • Sunset District (America America, by Mister Baileys (GB)) – On May 24, Sunset District finished third in a 1 mile 70 yard maiden special weight over the Monmouth dirt.  It was the three-year-old colt’s first career start.  Sunset District broke from the outermost gate of six, and was wide and a few lengths back going into the clubhouse turn.  He chased the pace from about two lengths back down the backstretch.  Bay of Biscay was the only one of the stalkers who really engaged leader Encryption down the stretch; Sunset District was unable to do so.  He found enough late to pass the fading All Included, but still finished seven lengths behind Encryption, and 4 1/2 lengths behind Bay of Biscay.  Given that this was his first start, though, he does stand to improve.
  • Timeless Pleasure (Salty Sal, by Cox’s Ridge) – On May 25, Timeless Pleasure won a $30,000 maiden optional claiming race at a mile on the Emerald Downs dirt.  The three-year-old filly was not up for the tag.  Once the pace settled, she stalked the leaders from about a length and a half off the pace, from the outside.  She inched closer up along the backstretch, and then came around the two leaders as the field approached the stretch.  She pulled ahead under strong handling in the final furlong, and won by two lengths over closing Wedding Kake and fading Ee Da How.  This was her fourth start, and her third off the winter lay; she has so far only raced at Emerald.  Interesting to note is that her trainer is Tom Wenzel and part-owned by Northwest Farms — the same connections as undefeated Curlin filly Stopshoppingdebbie.
  • Whisper To Curlin (Whisperifyoudare, by Red Ransom) – On May 23, Whisper To Curlin won a maiden special weight at six furlongs on the Prairie Meadows dirt.  This was his sixth career race, and his fifth at Prairie Meadows.  He had failed as the favourite in his last start, and been second in three of his four starts at the Iowa oval.  However, the three-year-old colt figured it out today.  He was chasing the pace about half a dozen lengths back early, but started picking off horses coming into the far turn.   He appeared to be stalling out a bit approaching the eighth pole, but come the sixteenth pole he finally kicked into the gear he needed. He passed ahead of the last couple of horses, and kicked away to win by two lengths.  This was exciting, since I had been following him so long that I was wondering if he would ever finish better than second!  It was good to see him find the ability to pass that last horse.
  • Wise Minister (Take a Check, by Touch Gold) – On May 25, Wise Minister won a state-bred N1X allowance at a mile over the Parx dirt.  The three-year-old colt prevailed despite not having the best of trips.  He was at the back early, steadied into the backstretch, and ran into a snarl of traffic turning for home.  Despite the congestion, he ran along to the inside down the stretch, split horses just past the eighth pole, came just outside the two leaders past the sixteenth pole, and pulled away to win by half a length over the favoured Grasshoppin.  It looks like the dial back from open allowance company to state-bred company was exactly what he needed.

Running Soon

  • Agawa (Silver Adventure, by Silver Deputy) – Agawa is the 3/1 morning line favourite in an N1X/N2L allowance at one mile over the Woodbine turf on May 31.  The four-year-old filly drew the 3 gate in a field of twelve, or fourteen if the race is washed off and the two main track only entries draw in.  This will be Agawa’s third race off the winter lay, and her first back at Woodbine since last fall.  She has hit the board in three of her seven starts; all three of those times on the board have been over the Woodbine turf.  Look for her to get back on track here, between being third off the lay and dropping from a bit harder field at Keeneland last out.
  • Curlin N Twirlin (Bluff For Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – On May 30, Curlin N Twirlin races in an N1X allowance at Penn National, at six furlongs on the dirt.  The four-year-old filly drew the rail, and faces a field of six other fillies.  Seeing her in allowance company here is a bit baffling; last out, on April 16, she was a distant third in a $16,000 claimer at Penn National.  She broke her maiden in her eleventh start: on the drop from special to claiming company.  Since breaking her maiden, she finished up the track twice in allowance company before dropping back for a tag.  We will see how this race goes, and the cutback from the mile last out may help, but I would not be surprised to see her outclassed here.
  • Curlin’s Gold (Harlow Gold, by Orientate) – On May 31, Curlin’s Gold makes her first attempt in stakes company.  The three-year-old filly runs in the Leave Me Alone Stakes at Calder, at six furlongs over the Calder dirt.  She drew the 11 gate, farthest outside in the field.  This seems like the perfect time to send her up to stakes level, since the light seems to have gone on in her head.  She broke her maiden back in February, in her fifth career start, and then ran away with a six-furlong allowance in April.  The post is sub-optimal, and the 3/1 morning line seems a bit low given the class rise.  If she can overcome the post, though, she has a shot.
  • Diversy Harbor (Motokiks, by Storm Cat) – On May 31, Diversy Harbor makes her first foray into a Grade I race.  She races in the American Oaks, at 1 1/4 miles over the Santa Anita turf.  The three-year-old filly drew the 7 gate in the eight-horse field.  She faces her rival Nashoba’s Gold for the fourth time; the latter drew the 2 gate.  After Diversy Harbor beat Nashoba’s Gold in their first meeting in March, Nashoba’s Gold has won two straight: the Providencia (GIII) and the Honeymoon (GII).  However, Diversy Harbor has a great chance to avenge those defeats here.  Particularly, the stretch out to a mile and a quarter is exciting.  Not only was her sire a proven winner at Classic distances, but her half-sister Keertana was a multiple graded stakes winner at distances up to a mile and a half.  Diversy Harbor is bred to run all day, and should relish the stretch out to ten furlongs.
  • Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On May 30, Dyker Beach heads postward in a $30,000 N1X starter allowance at 1 1/16 miles over the Churchill dirt.  The four-year-old gelding drew the 3 gate in the seven-horse field.  Dyker Beach finally broke his maiden in his last start (the fifteenth of his career), in a $50,000-$45,000 maiden claimer at Churchill back on May 8.  It was only his second start in claiming company; all the rest of his starts were in special weight company, and most on the New York circuit.  This seems like a perfect next place for him, at the same distance and track as his maiden win.
  • Inspired By Grace (Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor) – On May 31, Inspired By Grace races in a maiden special weight at Pimlico, at five furlongs on the turf.  This is the three-year-old filly’s third career race.  She breaks from the 4 gate in a field of 12, and is the 2/1 morning line favourite.  She has finished second in two attempts in maiden special company, one on the dirt and one on the turf.  She faces a mix of three-year-olds and upward, but finished second beaten just half a length in her first start against a turf sprint field that included older, as well.  She should have a good shot here.
  • Liberated (Lady Melesi, by Colonial Affair) – On May 31, Liberated goes out in an N2X/N3L allowance optional claimer at a mile over the Churchill Downs dirt.  She is in under the allowance condition, and drew the 7 gate in the field of seven.  It is good to see her here, given that last out she raced in a race that was way over her head: the GI La Troienne, where she finished a distant last.  She has finished off the board in four starts this year, and looks to need either a break or a class drop.  Liberated gets a class drop here, and gets to the same surface and distance as both of her career wins.  This is the right spot if she’s going to race.
  • Mike The Hab (Hightshift, by St. Jovite) – On May 31, Mike The Hab makes his three-year-old debut in a $25,000-$23,500 maiden claiming race at 1 1/16 miles over the Woodbine synthetic.  The colt drew the 6 post in the field of eleven horses.  This is his first start since October of last year, when he finished fourth in a 1 mile 70 yard $40,000 maiden claimer, directly on the drop from special weight company.  He has been putting up fairly consistent works, and is on a drop in class from his last out.  However, it is his first back from a long lay, so he may need a race to get going.
  • Miss Curley D’Oro (Hug It Out, by Medaglia d’Oro) – On June 4, Miss Curley d’Oro races in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Evangeline Downs dirt.  The three-year-old filly drew the 3 gate in a field of eight.  She makes just her second career start her.  Her last time out, at about five furlongs over the Evangeline turf, she finished seventh beaten 10 3/4 lengths.  She tries a bit more distance here, and tries the turf.  It is interesting to see her switch so quickly from turf to dirt, given that a horse can just need a race to figure things out.  However, her blood suggests more dirt than turf, so it may be a smart move for that reason.
  • Reach For Yield (Lucky Soph, by Cozzene) – On May 30, Reach For Yield is slated for a $50,000 maiden claiming race at seven furlongs over the Belmont dirt.  The three-year-old colt drew the 5 gate in the eight horse field.  It will be his third start, his second for a tag, and his first against older.  His last time out, in early March, he finished fifth beaten 14 3/4 lengths in $75,000 maiden claiming company at Gulfstream.  This is a bit of a distance cut; last out he went seven and a half furlongs.  It seems like a logical race for him, though the long waits between all of his races are strange.
  • Slip By (Fortune Pending, by Fortunate Prospect) – On May 31, Slip By heads postward in a maiden special weight at Delaware Park, at seven and a half furlongs over the turf.  The three-year-old colt is the 5/2 morning line favourite, and breaks from the 5 gate in a field of twelve (plus two also eligibles).  Slip By ran big last time, finishing third in a 1 1/8 mile turf maiden special weight at Keeneland as a 14.6-1 long shot.  He cuts in distance here, and faces generally easier company than he faced at Keeneland.  This bodes well for the Michael Matz trainee; he has a good chance of graduating here.

Other News

  • Flash Forward (Magical Flash, by Miswaki) – On May 24, Flash Forward was scratched from the Sheepshead Bay Stakes at Belmont (GII), at 1 3/8 miles.   She was a main track only entry; since the race stayed on the turf, she scratched.  There hasn’t been any word on where the four-year-old filly is going next, though it would be a surprise if it weren’t at stakes level given that her last three finishes (and seven of her last nine) have been on the board in stakes in New York.  She’s not flashy, she may have a bit of second-itis, but she is a consistent horse who hits the board and cashes checks in stakes.
  • Reach For Yield (Lucky Soph, by Cozzene) – Reach For Yield was a trainer scratch from a $40,000 maiden claimer at Belmont on May 29, at a mile on the Belmont turf.  He was re-entered in another race, though, discussed above in the Racing Soon section.
  • Starfire Mist (Misty Lady (ARG), by Lucky Roberto) – On May 26, Starfire Mist was a veterinarian scratch from a $20,000-$18,000 maiden claimer at a mile over the Golden Gate turf.  She was a late scratch, though I was not watching the feed at the time, and I did not see exactly what happened to her.  The four-year-old filly has started three times, all at Golden Gate and all in maiden special company.  I am keeping an ear out for information, and hoping to see that she is okay.
  • Sylvia T (Brisquette, by Unbridled’s Song) – On May 26, Sylvia T scratched out of a 1 1/16 mile maiden special weight at Belmont.  The race was carded for the turf, and the four-year-old filly was a main track only entry.  She has not been re-entered for another race at this point yet.  It will likely be another maiden special in New York given her current pattern, although she may need some class relief since she is an eleven-start maiden.

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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