It may not be the most obvious thing given how much space Blinkers Off devotes to the Curlin babies, but there are plenty of horses I love to follow who are not by Curlin. One of them is Coltimus Prime, who I started to follow late last fall when Candice Hare wrote about him in her blog. He ran an incredibly game second in the Display Stakes at Woodbine last December. He ran in a few Kentucky Derby preps: he was a flat ninth in the Tampa Bay Derby, and a late-closing fifth in the Blue Grass. Since then, he had raced three times back at Woodbine. He had raced well in two allowances, and been near the pace early before fading to ninth in the Queen’s Plate last out.
His only start on dirt was that Tampa Bay Derby. It was a poor race, but there were plenty of reasons other than surface that could have explained it: the ship, the quirky surface at Tampa Bay, just not a great day…the jury was still out on whether Coltimus Prime liked dirt, and it was absolutely worth trying the surface again, especially given that he was by sharp dirt influence Milwaukee Brew.
Coltimus Prime found the dirt at Fort Erie to be just fine. He shipped out there last week, and breezed a sharp five-furlong bullet on July 22. Today he broke well, settled in as the inside speed, and got a perfect ride from jockey Eurico Rosa de Silva. Lynx stalked just off of him on the outside about a length back, but Coltimus Prime ran easily and set perfectly reasonable fractions: the quarter in 24.03, the half in 48.11. Turning for home, Lynx had gotten to within half a length. Smart Spree and Ami’s Holiday were nearby. Coltimus Prime had never won past a mile and an eighth, and had faded late in the Queen’s Plate last out after stalking somewhat faster early fractions. His ability to go the 1 3/16 miles of the Prince of Wales was a bit of a question.
Coltimus Prime answered emphatically and affirmatively. As he passed the furlong pole, he sprinted away from the stalking Lynx as well as everyone else in the field. No one could challenge him. He lived up to all the promise he had shown in his maiden romp and his hard-fought Display, and he looked dazzling in his first stakes win.
The Prince of Wales was good news on the Curlin Babies front as well. Astute readers of this week in Curlin babies recognized that name, Lynx (Silver Bird, by Lit de Justice), who Blinkers Off mentioned last week as a likely entrant in this race. He stalked Coltimus Prime from the start, and got very close through the turn. He was close until the final furlong. Even though he had no answer for Coltimus Prime’s kick away, he still finished a respectable second, holding off the closing favourite Ami’s Holiday by three quarters of a length at the wire. For a horse who took seven tries to break his maiden, it is nice to see Lynx finally growing into himself these last three starts. For a horse who has never gone past a mile and a sixteenth, Lynx handled the extra furlong with aplomb.
Congratulations to both of you, Coltimus Prime and Lynx!