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 edition was delayed a few days due to the massive Belmont card, but I haven’t forgotten about the Curlin babies! The biggest highlight of this past week was Palace Malice’s big win in the Met Mile: he’s the original reason I started following Curlin’s progeny, and he just keeps getting better and better. This week also featured Curlin’s Princess becoming the first winner from Curlin’s third crop, as well as Stopshoppingdebbie improving her career record to a perfect seven for seven.
Without further ado, let’s see what everyone has been up to!
- Agawa (Silver Adventure, by Silver Deputy) – On May 31, Agawa finished fourth beaten 2 1/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile over the Woodbine turf. The four-year-old filly stayed near the rear for the first half mile, and then started to improve position through the far turn. She angled out coming down the stretch, and was closing up ground, but was not quite able to catch the leaders late. This was her first return to the Woodbine turf since last October; it was over this course that she broke her maiden in August. She had two races in the meantime, earlier in the spring, which were allowances at Keeneland and Fair Grounds in which she finished off the board.
- Baroness Rose (Sandra’s Rose, by Old Trieste) – On June 5, Baroness Rose finished sixth beaten 4 3/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile on the Churchill Downs turf. The three-year-old filly ran wide throughout. She improved her position through the far turn and heading into the stretch, and did start to make a run, but was unable to sustain it late. Since breaking her maiden at Ellis Park at two, Baroness Rose has now finished off the board in four allowance-level starts at three. It was encouraging to see her finish closer to the front than last out, though it seems she may need a change in either surface, distance, or class to make progress.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On June 7, Bold Shot finished second beaten 2 1/2 lengths in a $40,000-$35,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles on the Churchill Downs turf. The four-year-old gelding was up for the lower tag, and not claimed. He took up the rear early, about half a dozen lengths back, and started to improve position through the far turn. He kicked away enough in the final furlong to catch everyone else, but he didn’t quite have enough to challenge the late zip of Bern’ James Bern. This was Bold Shot’s fourth straight on-the-board finish since breaking his maiden at Fair Grounds in February.
- Curlin N Twirlin (Bluff For Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – On May 30, Curlin N Twirlin won an N1X allowance at six furlongs over the Penn National dirt. The four-year-old filly broke from the rail, moved outside to stalk, and then made her move coming out through the far turn. She entered the stretch ahead, and carried that advantage all the way to the wire to win by three lengths. It took Curlin N Twirlin a while to get going; she did not win until her eleventh start, when she dropped from maiden special to maiden claiming ranks. After two well-beaten finishes in allowance company, it appears that she got what she needed in her move to Penn National: she was third in a $16,000-$14,000 claimer last out, claimed out of that race, and then followed up with this win.
- Curlin’s Gold (Harlow Gold, by Orientate) – On May 31, Curlin’s Gold finished third beaten 1 3/4 lengths in the Leave Me Alone Stakes, at six furlongs in the Calder dirt. The three-year-old filly broke from the outermost gate in the ten-horse field, and stalked on the far outside early. She made her move through the backstretch, and got her head just in front as the field turned for home. However, she was outkicked late by winner Florida Sun, and just nabbed for second by Scandalous Act in the final sixteenth. This was her first attempt in stakes company; she had won her last two races before this, a maiden special and an N1X allowance, both at six furlongs at Calder.
- Curlin’s Kid (Lucette, by Dayjur) – On June 7, Curlin’s Kid won a $25,000-$20,000 maiden claimer at a mile on the Pimlico turf. He was up for the higher tag, and not claimed. He ran to the rail early, chasing from a handful of lengths off down the backstretch. He made his move through the far turn, took the lead, and didn’t look back. Imawarrior tried to catch him coming down the stretch, but didn’t have enough; Curlin’s Kid won by 1 1/2 lengths. This was the three-year-old gelding’s eleventh career start; he had been second in four of his ten previous races.
- Curlin’s Princess (Image of Mom, by Halo’s Image) – On June 7, Curlin’s Princess became Curlin’s first two-year-old winner of this year when she went wire-to-wire in a five furlong maiden special weight over the Gulfstream dirt. She broke well, was challenged early for the lead by Jamie’s Dancer and Syrisong, but pulled ahead and got to the rail. Down the stretch, she ran away with it: second-place Jamie’s Dancer finished 4 1/2 lengths back, and third-place Syrisong finished 13 1/4 back. Best of all, she did this in hand. Expect to see her in the allowance ranks next out.
- Danalin (Danaway, by Giant’s Causeway) – On June 7, Danalin placed fourth in an N1X allowance at 1 1/16 miles on the Monmouth turf. The three-year-old filly had crossed the wire second, 2 3/4 lengths behind late-closing winner Patsy’s Holiday, but drifted out into Sawyer near the sixteenth pole while trying to wrest control from her stalking position. Sawyer had to check, and ended up crossing the wire fourth. After a stewards’ inquiry and jockey objection, she was disqualified to fourth. This was Danalin’s first start back since March, after racing in allowance optional claimers at Gulfstream through the winter. Hopefully she will be better — and run a little more straightly and truly — second off the lay.
- Diversy Harbor (Motokiks, by Storm Cat) – On May 31, Diversy Harbor finished second in the American Oaks (GI) at a mile and a quarter over the Santa Anita turf. The three-year-old filly broke slowly, and brought up the rear until the field approached the quarter pole. She fired, and came storming on the outside down the stretch. She didn’t have quite enough to catch Room Service late, but was able to get in front of Little Journey and Tiz The Key to score second. I had thought that she would relish the additional distance given her breeding, and that she did. As for a next race, Craig Bernick of owner Glen Hill Farm tweeted that she will either point toward the San Clemente (GII) at a mile on the Del Mar turf, or wait for the Del Mar Oaks (GI), at 1 1/8 miles on the turf.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On May 30, Dyker Beach finished second, beaten by just a neck, in a starter allowance at a mile and a sixteenth over the sloppy, sealed Churchill Downs dirt. The four-year-old gelding didn’t have the best start, having bumped with Purgenality early. He chased a handful of lengths off the pace early, along the rail, and made a move to improve position. Dyker Beach swung outside coming into the stretch, and was gaining on pacesetter Prosecution, but he fell just short come the wire. I would expect to see him back in starter allowance company next out; he acquitted himself quite well in this, his first start since breaking his maiden.
- Franklyididitmyway (Company Binness, by Seattle Dinner) – On June 3, Franklyididitmyway finished second beaten a neck in a $7,500 maiden claimer at six furlongs over the Finger Lakes dirt. The three-year-old gelding was not claimed out of the race. He settled near the back early, and was almost a dozen lengths back at the half mile pole. He began to rally, though, and gobbled up ground along the rail. He passed the fading pacesetter Prometheus Crown late, but just ran out of distance to catch Essence of a Hero, who was just to his outside. This was Franklyididitmyway’s first race at Finger Lakes, after previously racing at Golden Gate and Emerald Downs; it appears another try at this class level would be appropriate, after this strong performance in defeat.
- Inmyfathersimage (Friendly Michelle, by Artax) – On June 4, Inmyfathersimage finished second by a scant nose in a $32,000 claimer at six furlongs over the Belmont dirt. The four-year-old gelding was not claimed out of the race. He tracked the pace in the second flight early, a handful of lengths back. He made a move through the far turn, went outside, and was charging late down the middle of the track. He got very close to wire-to-wire winner Handy Stan, and surpassed him just past the wire, but just missed where it counted. I would expect to see him in similar conditions next out, given his strong performance in this race.
- Inspired By Grace (Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor) – On May 31, Inspired By Grace broke her maiden, finishing first in a maiden special weight at five furlongs over the Pimlico turf. The three-year-old filly was making her third career start, and had finished second in both of her previous races. She broke sharply, but settled in mid-pack, four or five lengths off the lead. She made her move through the far turn, though; she came through wide, and kicked away strongly once the field turned for home. She crossed the wire 2 3/4 lengths in front of Knotty Pine, her closest competition. It was good that she put it together, and she is likely to turn up in allowance company next.
- J to the Croft (A to the Croft, by Menifee) – On June 8, J to the Croft finished third beaten 6 1/2 lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile over the Belmont turf. The three-year-old colt didn’t run his usual early-leading style. Instead, after breaking well, he settled near the back of the pack, four or five lengths off the lead, saving ground along the inside hedge. He angled outside and made a closing run down the stretch. It was too late to catch the streaking Tourist, who won by 5 3/4 lengths over Patent, but J to the Croft was able to overtake the fading Dance Champion to get in for the show. This was still only J to the Croft’s fourth career race; there is room for the colt to grow and improve.
- La Grange (Jennie R., by Awesome Again) – On June 8, La Grange became the second member of Curlin’s third crop to enter a starting gate. The two-year-old filly raced in a maiden special weight at four and a half furlongs over the Arlington polytrack, and finished second. She settled midpack into the far turn, and then really fired coming down the stretch. She was unable to catch Tulira’s Star, who had fired as well but from farther ahead, but ran strongly to the wire. She finished 3 1/2 lengths behind Tulira’s Star, but got in another 3 1/2 lengths behind her entry-mate Midnight Candy. It was a strong debut effort, and hopefully she gets it done next out.
- Liberated (Lady Melesi, by Colonial Affair) – On May 31, Liberated finished sixth in an N2X allowance optional claimer at a mile on the Churchill Downs dirt. The four-year-old filly raced under the allowance condition. She broke well, and raced on the lead down the backstretch and into the far turn. She was challenged early by She’s Got Swag, but the latter backed off. However, approaching the turn for home, both She’s Got Swag and Pappascat rushed to engage. Liberated gave way, and dropped back down along the rail. She finished sixth, beaten 19 1/4 lengths, having been passed by every horse save one. It was definitely better to see her in a race of this level than in another stakes; she was overmatched in the La Troienne (GI) last out. So far, though, she has not been able to run back to her three-year-old form this year.
- Lin Marie (Coy Cat, by Hold That Tiger) – On June 1, Lin Marie finished third in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Pimlico dirt, beaten 8 3/4 lengths. It was the three-year-old filly’s first career start. She broke a little slowly, and settled at the back of the pack, close to a dozen lengths off the pace for much of the early going. She never got up to threaten Paddle Board’s lead, but had enough energy late to pass the tiring horses. She couldn’t quite catch Sconset Express in second, though she was only 3/4 lengths away from the place. It was a decent effort for a first time out, and I would expect to see her in a similar level of race next out.
- Mike The Hab (Hightshift, by St. Jovite) – On May 31, Mike the Hab finished third in a $25,000-$23,500 maiden claimer at 1 1/16 miles over the Woodbine polytrack, beaten a length and a quarter. The three-year-old colt was up for the higher tag, and not claimed out of the race. He was near the back early, about half a dozen lengths off the pace, but got up to be just three lengths off the pace into the far turn. He kept running with interest. He didn’t quite make it up to threaten the close-stalking Doonundurrus, and was passed late by the fast-closing Melmich as well, but did get ahead of odds-on favourite Mega Length to secure the show. It was a solid run for it being his first start back since October.
- Oso Smart (Duchess Zea, by Ascot Knight) – On June 7, Oso Smart finished eighth beaten 8 lengths in a $50,000-$40,000 maiden claimer at a mile on the Santa Anita turf. The three-year-old colt was up for the lower tag, and not claimed. He got up to the lead early, and maintained it into the far turn. In Excessiveness passed him through the far turn, though, and Oso Smart got caught in traffic. He had to steady, and faded out of contention. This was his tenth start, and his fourth in claiming company. He has been bouncing around between claiming and special weight company; it appears he needs to remain in claimers, and possibly even try a class drop.
- Palace Malice (Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem) – I already wrote a whole piece about this race, so I’ll keep it short and sweet: Palace Malice faced his toughest challenge of the year with aplomb, and won the Metropolitan Mile (GI) on June 7 at Belmont by a length over Goldencents. He is now four-for-four in his four-year-old year, with all his victories being in graded stakes. According to trainer Todd Pletcher, his likely next start will be in the Whitney Handicap on August 2 at Saratoga. I am hoping this means he is stretching out in distance for the second half of the season; I would love to see him take another crack at the Breeders’ Cup Classic later this year.
- Prince Curlin (No Small Wonder, by Capote) – On June 6, Prince Curlin finished seventh beaten 42 lengths in a $6,250 N2L claiming race at a mile over the Gulfstream dirt. He was not claimed out of the race. Prince Curlin bolted to the front early, and remained at the vanguard for the first quarter-mile. However, he faded out of it very quickly at that point. He fell to a distant last through the far turn, and was out of the race. Prince Curlin has won once, when he broke his maiden at Parx in his seventeenth start. Unfortunately, he has been well beaten in his four starts since.
- Reach For Yield (Lucky Soph, by Cozzene) – On May 30, Reach For Yield finished fourth beaten 2 3/4 lengths in a $50,000 maiden claimer at seven furlongs on the Belmont dirt. He broke sharply, but ended up settling back and dropping near the back of the pack. Jockey Javier Castellano asked him for more run coming into the far turn, but he didn’t respond. He finally fired coming down the stretch, and broke away near the top three, but the run was too little too late. That was only Reach For Yield’s third start, and his second for a tag. I would anticipate he would run at the same level next out.
- Ride On Curlin (Magical Ride, by Storm Cat) – On June 7, Ride On Curlin raced in the Belmont Stakes (GI). Unfortunately, he bled, was eased, and officially did not finish the race. According to trainer Billy Gowan, he is going to get thirty to forty-five days off, and then go back in training to possibly point toward the Travers. I’m sad that the Belmont didn’t go well, but I’m glad John Velazquez eased him if he was having trouble, and I’m glad he is getting some time off after this grueling Triple Crown campaign. He is still my favourite horse from the Triple Crown trail this year, and I hope he comes back strong after a well-deserved break.
- She’s Curly (Mo Cheoil Thu (IRE), by In The Wings (GB)) – On May 30, She’s Curly broke her maiden in her third career start, in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth over the Pimlico turf. She did this on a class rise from two previous starts in maiden claimers. The three-year-old filly raced over a dozen lengths back early, but made a strong move along the rail through the far turn to improve position. She was able to find room between horses to close up on pacesetter Big N Toasty, and prevailed by half a length. I would expect to see her in an allowance next out; if she got up to break her maiden in an eleven-horse maiden special weight field, it would at least make sense not to run her back for a tag.
- Slip By (Fortune Pending, by Fortunate Prospect) – On May 31, Slip By broke his maiden going seven and a half furlongs over the Delaware Park turf. After the break, he settled along the rail a few lengths off the lead. He made his move through the far turn, made it through a hole along the rail as the field turned for home, and battled to the lead. Crown Thy Good and Star Crossed Lover challenged him late, but the three-year-old colt had more in reserve, and fought on to win by half a length. This was his fifth start, and his first on the Delaware dirt.
- Smart Number (Star Number, by Polish Numbers) – On June 2, Smart Number placed first in an N1X allowance at a mile on the Parx dirt. The three-year-old filly actually crossed the wire second, but was elevated to first after a stewards’ inquiry and jockey objection against Billygets Arrested, who had crossed the wire first after running erratically down the stretch. Smart Number stalked a length or two back along the rail for much of the race, but found room to angle outside, pass tiring pacesetter Manda Moo, and engage Billygets Arrested late. This race was Smart Number’s second straight allowance win; last out, she prevailed in an N1X allowance at Presque Isle for Pennsylvania-breds.
- Stopshoppingdebbie (Taste the Passion, by Wild Again) – On June 8, Stopshoppingdebbie extended her perfect record to seven wins in seven starts, with her 1/2 length win in the Washington State Legislators Handicap at six and a half furlongs over the Emerald Downs dirt. The four-year-old filly broke from the 6 gate in a field of six, and stalked about a length back down the backstretch. She made her move through the far turn, and had taken command by the time the field turned for home. Goin to the Window, who had been stalking just behind her, made a furious run late, which cut into her lead. However, Stopshoppingdebbie had enough strength to hold on — and win in a stakes-record time of 1:14.1. This makes seven wins, all at Emerald Downs, and six in stakes. I would love to see her venture out from Emerald Downs to try a little deeper water, but no matter what she does, Stopshoppingdebbie has already proven that she’s a consistent horse who shows up every single time.
- Waynesborough (Bloomy, by Polish Numbers) – On June 7, Waynesborough finished third beaten 3 lengths in a $25,000-$20,000 N2L claiming race at 1 1/8 miles over the Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding was up for the higher tag, and not claimed. He was far back early, about a dozen lengths, but gained on the field in the far turn and coming into the stretch. He came in wide and continued to rally; though it wasn’t quite enough to catch pacesetter Rob the Bank or eventual winner Forever Conga, it was enough to get in for a clear show. Waynesborough broke his maiden two starts back in a $25,000-$20,000 maiden claimer at Pimlico in his eighth start; he has been third in both of his starts against winners.
- Keening (Haka Girl, by War Chant) – On June 13, Keening races in an N1x/N2L allowance at a mile on the Churchill Downs turf. The four-year-old filly drew the 6 post in a field of thirteen, plus four also-eligible. She has finished third in two previous allowances this year, though one of those was on dirt and one on all-weather. She has not raced on the turf since her eighth-place finish just 4 1/2 lengths behind Emotional Kitten in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (GII) last year, as a 61/1 long shot. She faces easier here, so hopefully she can notch her second win.
- Lord of the Realm (Danceroftherealm (GB), by King of Kings (IRE)) – On June 10, Lord of the Realm races in a $5,000-$4,750 claiming race at a mile and 70 yards on the Fort Erie dirt. The race is for non-winners since December 10. He drew the 3 gate in the seven-horse field, and races for the lower tag. The four-year-old colt has been well beaten in two starts over the Woodbine poly this year, and is trying dirt for the first time in over a year. He should appreciate the class relief here.
- Miss Frost (Allencat, by Storm Cat) – On June 11, Miss Frost heads postward in an N1X/N2L allowance optional claimer at 1 1/16 miles over the Belmont turf. She drew the 6 post in the seven-horse field, and is in under the allowance condition. This is the three-year-old filly’s second start this year. Back on May 18, she finished eighth in a one-mile turf allowance at Belmont. Though she has shown better form at Saratoga during her career than at Belmont, she should hopefully improve this time out being second off the lay.
- Reversiontothemean (Jet Setting, by Forestry) – On June 9, Reversiontothemean is entered in a six-furlong maiden special weight over the Suffolk Downs dirt. The three-year-old filly drew the rail in a field of seven. She has started seven times, and finished second in her last two at this level at Suffolk. Last out, she missed catching the leader (and 4/5 favourite) Wildcat Ruby by just a nose. This is the right level for her, and she has a good chance to win her first this week.
- Shiva Curlin (Cavan Thunder, by Jump Start) – On June 13, Shiva Curlin races in an N2X/N3L allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream, 1 1/16 miles over the dirt. Shiva Curlin drew the 7 post in an eight-horse field, and races under the allowance condition. He comes in here off his 3/4 length win on May 25 in a 1 mile 70 yard N1X allowance at Calder. Shiva Curlin has raced at Gulfstream just once before, when he finished 7th in the Sir Bear Stakes. He comes in here at a more appropriate class level, but does face older horses for the first time.
- Texas Ryano (Blending Element (IRE), by Great Commotion) – On June 13, Texas Ryano returns to the track off of a four-month lay. The three-year-old colt races in a 1 1/8 mile turf N1X/N2L allowance at Santa Anita, where he is in under the allowance condition. He drew the 5th post of six horses. He is lightly raced; he has raced just twice before, both times over that same Santa Anita turf. He broke his maiden at a mile in January, and then finished fourth beaten 1 3/4 lengths in an allowance last out. He returns at the right level, but is going to have his work cut out for him: Quotient, last seen finishing third in the American Turf (GII), also drew into this race.
- Miss Curley d’Oro (Hug It Out, by Medaglia d’Oro) – Miss Curley d’Oro has been slated to run in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Evangeline Downs dirt on June 4. However, the three-year-old filly was a vet scratch. She has only started once before, in a maiden special at Evangeline on May 17, at about five furlongs on the turf. She broke slowly that day, and finished seventh.
- Ribbons and Curls (Royal Fair, by Deputy Minister) – Ribbons and Curls had been scheduled to run in a maiden special weight at five furlongs on the Churchill Downs turf on May 30, which was eventually run over the dirt due to turf conditions. However, the three-year-old filly was a vet scratch from the race. She has only started once before, and finished seventh in a $20,000 maiden claimer at six furlongs over the Churchill Downs dirt.
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 or shoot me an email and let me know so I can add them to my list and cover them in future installments of this week in Curlin babies!