this week in Curlin babies: 6.5.14

Since there is both a huge card at Belmont as well as a stakes card at Arlington on Saturday, I am knee-deep in far more past performances than usual.  Instead of trying to rush to get good race recaps written for the Curlin babies, this week’s full edition of This Week In Curlin Babies will instead appear on Sunday, with the usual in-depth coverage of all of the Curlin babies who have raced in the last week and a half.

However, there are two graded stakes races coming up that feature Curlin’s offspring, which warrant a few words before they go off on Friday.  They are both at Belmont, and they are both familiar and well-loved faces here at Blinkers Off.

Palace Malice races in the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) on Saturday, at a mile over the Belmont dirt.  He didn’t draw the best post position; he is on the rail in the field of thirteen horses.  This will be Palace Malice’s third career attempt at a mile, following wins in the Gulfstream Park Handicap (GII) and the Westchester Stakes (GIII).  The race drew a strong yet interesting field: strangely enough, despite Palace Malice’s foray into mile races being a fairly recent one, the only other horses in the field who have stakes wins at a mile are Goldencents and Broadway Empire.  However, there are a lot of horses in this field who are either crack seven-furlong horses stretching out, or eight-and-a-half- or nine-furlong horses cutting back to try a mile.  It is a tough test, but if any horse in training is up to any tough test at a middle or long distance, Palace Malice is that horse.

Ride On Curlin rides on to the final leg of the Triple Crown, the Belmont Stakes (GI), at 1 1/2 miles in the dirt.  He breaks from the 5 gate in a field of eleven.  He is coming off a strong second-place finish in the Preakness, and made his usual seven-furlong work last weekend.  Class-wise, he can give any of these horses a run for their money, but pace is the huge worry for him.  In my opinion, the pace scenario of the race is almost certain to set up very poorly for Ride On Curlin.  However, I would love nothing more than to see him prove my worries wrong, overcome it, and bring Curlin two Belmont winners in two three-year-old crops.

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