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, there were several fun highlights in the world of Curlin babies. Whisper to Curlin earned his first stakes win in his first stakes start, taking the Iowa Breeders’ Derby. Two-year-old filly La Grange acquitted herself well in her first graded stakes attempt, finishing second in the Sorrento Stakes (GII). Also, Franklyididitmyway broke his maiden in his eighth career start. Coming up this week, Moulin de Mougin tries graded stakes company again in the John C. Mabee Stakes (GII) at Del Mar, this time at her preferred distance of nine furlongs. Miss Frost also tries stakes company for the first time this year, taking a shot in the Tenski Stakes at Saratoga.
Without further ado, let’s see what Curlin’s runners have been doing on the track lately!
- Always Sarah (Treasure Always, by Summer Squall) – On August 6, Always Sarah finished sixth beaten 16 1/4 lengths in a New York-bred maiden special weight at six furlongs on the Saratoga dirt. The two-year-old filly was making her career debut. She settled back early, and was about a dozen lengths off the pace when the field approached the far turn. This was not where anyone wanted to be: Hard to Stay Notgo was on the front early, and very easily led the field on a merry chase. Always Sarah started to run more in the final furlong, however, and looked like she might want more distance. As she is by Curlin out of a Summer Squall mare, that would make sense. However, her dam side suggests she should figure out the racing thing soon — she has two half-siblings who won first out, and three who won second out.
- Baht (Belladia, by Silver Deputy) – On August 9, Baht finished tenth beaten 12 1/4 lengths in a $12,500 maiden claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Gulfstream turf. The three-year-old gelding was on the drop from maiden special weight company in his first three starts, but also racing for the first time since January. He broke in the middle of the pack, but got up to stalk from only about a lengths and a half back as the field entered the backstretch. However, he steadily lost ground down the backstretch, and was ahead of only the hopelessly beaten trailer Paddleyourowncanoe once the field turned for home. Since this was his first race in seven months it would make sense to give him a race or two before telling for sure, but the way he lost ground down the backstretch combined with the precipitous class drop from maiden special to maiden $12,500 after a long lay is not the most promising beginning to the fall racing season.
- Baroness Rose (Sandra’s Rose, by Old Trieste) – On August 3, Baroness Rose finished 9th beaten 7 1/4 lengths in an N1X allowance optional claiming race at five and a half furlongs over the Ellis Park turf. The three-year-old filly raced under the allowance condition. She broke slowest of all, briefly made up a little ground down the backstretch, but could not sustain any sort of run. She faded back to last late. She had broken her maiden over the Ellis turf last year. She faced tougher company earlier this year, and there was hope that a move to easier company over a track on which she had already won could help her find her form again. However, that did not happen today. It will be interesting to see if they try here one more time against allowance company at Ellis, or go ahead and drop her in for a tag. Either seems reasonable at this point, though if she falters again in an allowance it would seem like a class drop would be the only logical move.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On August 3, Bold Shot finished fourth beaten 4 1/2 lengths in a $30,000-$25,000 claiming race at a mile over the Ellis Park turf. The four-year-old gelding raced for the lower tag, and was not claimed out of the race. Bold Shot broke from the outermost gate, and was content to settle in last early. He chased about a dozen lengths behind the field, and then started to make up ground through the far turn. He left himself too much to do to pose a real threat against the top three, but did get past everyone else late. It was a better race than last time, and trying a closing style made sense. Next time, hopefully he does not try coming from so far in the clouds.
- Curlin N Twirlin (Bluff for Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – On August 7, Curlin N Twirlin finished second beaten 3 3/4 lengths in a $12,500-$10,500 N3L claiming race at six furlongs on the Penn National dirt. The four-year-old filly was up for the higher tag, and was claimed out of the race. Entering the race she was trained by Timothy Kreiser; she is now in the barn of Mary E. Eppler. She chased with the pack early, about four lengths back, but lost ground approaching the far turn. She was next to last entering the stretch, but ran well enough to pick off everyone except for Missdixieactivist. That leader was by then very loose on the lead, and won easily.. Curlin N Twirlin had faltered last out in $25,000-$22,500 company, so a drop made sense. It was good to see that she performed better this time out.
- Franklyididitmyway (Company Binness, by Seattle Dancer) – On August 7, Franklyididitmyway broke his maiden, winning a $5,000 maiden claiming race at a mile and forty yards over the Finger Lakes dirt by a neck. He settled with the pack early, and ended up dropping back to about half a dozen lengths off. Despite a paceless opening half, Franklyididitmyway started to make up length along the rail approaching the far turn. He came out into the stretch, accosted pacesetter Don’t Back Down, and fought on to win by a neck. With such a slow pace, he left himself a lot to do…and showed the gameness to do it. He had hit the board in all three previous starts, but seeing him show this fight and finish the job bodes well for his graduation to N2L company.
- Inmyfathersimage (Friendly Michelle, by Artax) – On August 4, Inmyfathersimage won a $16,000 starter allowance at seven furlongs over the Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding was in over his head among allowance optional claiming company at Monmouth last out, finishing twelfth and last. He broke from the 3 gate, and settled in along the rail. Poliziano and Draxhall Woods fought for the early lead; as Poliziano got out of it, Inmyfathersimage was ready to strike. He made his way closer, pounced on the stretch, and pulled away to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Draxhall Woods. The class drop was a wise move for his connections to make, and Inmyfathersimage took perfect late advantage of the early fight for the lead.
- La Grange (Jennie R., by Awesome Again) – On August 6, La Grange finished second beaten 3 1/4 lengths in the Sorrento Stakes (GII) at six and a half furlongs over the Del Mar polytrack. The field was short: just five, with the scratches of Conquest Eclipse and Windy Forecast. La Grange bobbled a bit coming out of the gate, but did not lose a lot of ground at that point. She wan up with the pack, and eventually settled in fourth along the rail. Sunset Glow, last seen finishing second of 21 runners in the Group III Albany at Ascot, was on the front early and set the fractions. Four or five lengths back entering the far turn, La Grange fired midway through the far turn, and was chasing hard in second by shallow stretch. Sunset Glow had more than enough left, though, and won clearly. La Grange finished another 5 1/4 lengths ahead of third-place Heart of Paradise. This was her first race back after winning the Cinderella Stakes over the Los Alamitos dirt. She had raced on the polytrack before, finishing second behind Tulira’s Star in her debut. Though she did not win here, she ran gamely late, and it would make sense to see her back in another stakes next out.
- Keening (Haka Girl, by War Chant) – On August 2, Keening finished second beaten 2 1/2 lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the inner Saratoga turf. The four-year-old filly raced under the allowance condition. She was sufficiently fractious in the gate that she had to load, and then rider Jose Lezcano climbed on. When the gates opened, she settled into last: farther back than usual for her, a good eight or nine lengths back. She loped along until the far turn, when she finally started to roll and start picking off horses. By then, she had left too much work to do. Tokyo Time had set a comfortable pace, and had plenty of energy left to evade the cavalry charge behind her. She picked everyone else off from the outside, but missed Tokyo Time. It was still a perfectly competitive level for her, though, and it would make sense to see her return against similar company in a turf route.
- Kulik Lodge (Kulik Cat, by Giant’s Causeway) – On August 9, Kulik Lodge won an N1X/N2L allowance optional claiming race at a mile over the Del Mar turf. The four-year-old colt was racing for the first time since last November, but races for a trainer who has been strong with getting horses ready to race off of layoffs: Tom Proctor. Early on, Kulik Lodge was on the outside, and settled in to stalk about a length off the pace set by Great Friends Rule. He edged ahead of the pacesetter on the stretch, and just repelled the late outside run of Husband’s Folly to take the race by a nose. It was his second career win, and his second by a nose: in that November start, a maiden special weight at a mile in the dirt, he beat Lochte by that same slim margin. This was a good debut after sitting on the shelf so long, and it would make sense to see him step up to the next allowance condition next out.
- Myperfectvalentine (Netherland (ARG), by Roy) – On August 3, Myperfectvalentine finished sixth beaten 14 1/2 lengths in a $16,000 N2L claiming race at six furlongs over the Saratoga dirt. The four-year-old filly was not claimed out of the race. She stalked only about a length and a half off the pace early, but was unable to keep up with the runaway South Sound. She dropped back into midpack coming into the far turn. She never really mounted a run down the stretch, and got home near the middle of the main pack. She did break her maiden at six furlongs on dirt, though it was the Aqueduct inner track. After two disappointing finishes at this level (one at Belmont, one at Saratoga), it may be worth trying a different distance or surface, or finding easier company.
- Ol Donyo (Royal Tigress, by Storm Cat) – On August 7, Ol Donyo won an allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs over the Gulfstream dirt. She was in under the allowance condition, as was the whole field. This race was her first since her fifth-place finish in the Go For Wand Stakes (GII) last November. She settled early along the rail, about three lengths off Royal Rhiannon’s early pace. She closed up through the far turn, but got bottled up behind the pacesetter as the field turned for home. She made it through a hole nearing the furlong pole, and even though she drifted out to the centre of the track, she still got past the pacesetter easily. Ol Donyo crossed the wire 3/4 length in front of Royal Rhiannon, and three lengths ahead of third-place Five Star Momma, the favourite. It was a good effort for a horse coming back from such a long lay, and hopefully Ol Donyo can return to the stakes company she faced last year.
- Palace Malice (Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem) – On August 2, Palace Malice finished sixth beaten 11 lengths in the Whitney Handicap (GI), at a mile and an eighth over the Saratoga dirt. A previous entry addressed his trip, and provided a replay of the race. Hopefully he recovers from the race, and comes back strong and healthy his next time out. It sounds as though his next outing will be in the Woodward at Saratoga later this month, with the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Classic to follow.
- Please Explain (Lizzy’s Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – On August 3, Please Explain finished fourth beaten five and a half lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Arlington turf. It was the three-year-old filly’s first attempt against older, and her first try on the grass. For further details about her race, as well as some paddock pictures, read the piece from Monday.
- Reversiontothemean (Jet Setting, by Forestry) – On August 6, Reversiontothemean won an N1X allowance at about a mile over the Suffolk Downs turf. She broke slowly, and spotted 1/2 favourite Clara Lives Strong almost ten lengths early. She made a sustained run on the outside, though, and had caught up to the pacesetter come early stretch. Reversiontothemean passed her, and drew away late to win by 1 1/2 lengths. The three-year-old filly was racing for the second time since she broke her maiden; last out, she finished second at this level at six furlongs on the dirt. This race was the longest of her career to date as well as her first attempt on the grass. She handled it with aplomb, and this opens up good options for where to place her at the N2X/N3L level.
- Whisper to Curlin (Whisperifyoudare, by Red Ransom) – On August 2, Whisper to Curlin won the Iowa Breeders’ Derby at a mile and a sixteenth over the Prairie Meadows dirt. It was Whisper to Curlin’s first attempt in stakes company, and he faced a field of six other Iowa-bred three-year-olds. He tracked the early fractions of stablemate Ooey Gooey from about a length and a half off on the outside. Coming through the far turn he pulled even with Ooey Gooey, and they fought for the lead entering the final furlong. Ooey Gooey fought hard, but in the final sixteenth, Whisper to Curlin had the most. He pulled away to win by 2 3/4 lengths. After as many second-place finishes as Whisper to Curlin had at the maiden special weight level, it has been exciting to see him succeed once he shifted to facing state-breds. Whether he stays in state-bred company or is able to take his form and beat open company, it is exciting to see a horse who was knocking on the door for so long break through, advance, and win a stakes.
- Woelf Den (Gorgeous Goose, by Mongoose) – On August 3, Woelf Den finished fourth beaten five lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile over the Gulfstream dirt. The three-year-old colt was in under the allowance condition. For the early going he ran along the rail, settling about four lengths off the dueling pacesetters. Coming around the far turn he angled out, entering the stretch four wide. He improved position as the dueling pacesetters faded, but never had enough going to make a strong challenge for the front. His stretch run was rather even. Still, it was his first race after being off for almost three months. There is a good chance he will come back a little sharper next start.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On August 1o, Bold Shot is slated to run in a $16,000-$14,000 claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Ellis Park turf. The four-year-old gelding drew the 6 gate in a field of seven, and races for the higher tag. He has raced at this level at Ellis his last two times out, finishing sixth at this distance two back and then fourth at a flat mile. It seems strange that he has run almost exclusively on turf since breaking his maiden, since he graduated in the dirt. Next out, it seems he needs something to change: either surface or class.
- Calamondin (Redaspen, by Bianconi) – On August 11, Calamondin will race in an N2X/N3L allowance optional claiming race at Parx, six furlongs over the dirt. The four-year-old gelding drew the 9 gate in a field of 12, and will be in under the allowance condition. This will be his first race since May 1, when he won an N1X at Penn National at this same distance. He has only shown up on the worktab twice since then, so hopefully he has done plenty of extracurricular running to be fit for this.
- Captured (Alluring, by A. P. Indy) – On August 13, Captured will run in a $12,500-$10,000 N2L claiming race at a mile over the Penn National dirt. The three-year-old gelding breaks from the 3 gate in a field of six. He scratched out of an August 8 race at the $5,000 level. Both races are a class drop from his last race (a $16,000-$14,000 claiming race at Monmouth), and the fact that he is making a less precipitous class drop is encouraging.
- Copperplate (Verdana Bold, by Rahy) – On August 15, Copperplate will race in a maiden special weight at five and a half furlongs over the Ellis Park turf. The three-year-old colt drew the 7 gate in a field of 12 horses. Copperplate has race twice, once at Churchill and once at Ellis, finishing off the board both times. His career debut was over dirt, though his only start at Ellis was on the turf. This should be slightly softer company than he faced on the grass before, which may help him out. He should be ready to run: he has posted two cracking works in the weeks since his last start, including a bullet four furlongs at Churchill on August 7.
- Danette (Sugar Britches, by Dixieland Band) – On August 13, Danette will race in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Del Mar polytrack. Danette debuted in maiden special company at Arlington in June, but last out finished fifth in an $80,000-$70,000 maiden claiming race at Del Mar. She stretches out markedly in distance: that race was at just five and a half furlongs. It makes sense to try her at a route, given her pedigree. The jump from maiden claiming to maiden special seems odd given that she did not exactly thrive when dropped in for a tag, but hopefully she will appreciate the stretch out and improve as a result of that.
- Lord of the Realm (Danceroftherealm (GB), by King of Kings (IRE)) – On August 12, Lord of the Realm races in a $7,500-$7,000 claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Fort Erie dirt. The four-year-old colt drew the outermost post in the eight-horse field, and races for the higher tag. Lord of the Realm has not won yet at Fort Erie, but has definitely improved since moving there from Woodbine: in four starts there, he has been second three times. For a horse who had failed to hit the board except for a maiden win, this is a good sign. He is competitive at this level, distance, and track, and hopefully will do one better one day soon.
- Mike the Hab (Hightshift, by St. Jovite) – On August 12, Mike the Hab will race in an N2L allowance at about seven furlongs over the Fort Erie grass. The three-year-old gelding breaks from the 3 gate in a field of ten. This will be Mike the Hab’s ninth start, but his first away from Woodbine. He has raced on turf twice, both times in claiming company after he broke his maiden. After two off-the-board finishes, a change seems in order, and trying the company at Fort Erie looks like a reasonable change to try.
- Miss Frost (Allencat, by Storm Cat) – On August 11, Miss Frost races in the Tenski Stakes at a mile over the Saratoga turf. The races is restricted to three-year-old fillies who have not won a graded stakes in 2014. She drew the 6 gate in a field of ten, plus two also-eligibles and two main track only entries. This will be Miss Frost’s first race since a tenacious allowance victory at Belmont on July 10. That win was at a mile on the turf, just as this race is. It will also be her first time in stakes company as a three-year-old, though she is stakes-placed as a two-year-old. It is a step up in class from last out, but warranted in light of her performance.
- Moulin de Mougin (Cambiocorsa, by Avenue of Flags) – On August 10, Moulin de Mougin will run in the John C. Mabee Stakes (GII) at a mile and an eighth over the Del Mar turf. She drew the 5 gate, though will break from post position 4 because there is an early scratch inside of her. The field originally contained nine fillies and mares, but both Miss Ellany and Queen of the Sand scratched early. Moulin de Mougin last raced in the Royal Heroine Stakes, run at a mile over the Santa Anita turf, and finished third as a 20/1 longshot. This time she stretches to nine furlongs: a distance at which she has already won twice in allowance company. This is the toughest company she has faced in her career, but after her run in the Royal Heroine she deserves this chance to see how she stacks up.
- Shiva Curlin (Cavan Thunder, by Jump Start) – On August 10, Shiva Curlin will race in an N2X/N3L allowance optional claiming race at a mile over the Gulfstream grass. The three-year-old colt races under the allowance condition, and drew the 5 gate in a field of 11, plus two also-eligibles. Shiva Curlin drops in here from a seventh-place finish in the Quality Road Stakes last out, in which he was over his head against the likes of Wildcat Red and East Hall. He drops back to allowance level here, but faces a challenge at least as tough: going up against older horses for the first time. It is good to see his connections step back from stakes company after two shaky finishes. Hopefully he can find a competitive level at Gulfstream — he has been excellent at Calder, but has yet to find his place at the more prominent South Florida track.
- Smart Number (Star Number, by Polish Numbers) – On August 10, Smart Number will race in the Malvern Rose Stakes, run at a mile and a sixteenth over the Presque Isle Downs Tapeta. Last out, she finished sixth in the Northern Fling Stakes at a mile over the same course. She has won once over the course at Presque, in a one-mile N1X allowance in May. This is a significant step up in class from the field she beat. She has gone this distance twice while still in the maiden ranks, never finishing better than second. However, there’s no reason in her pedigree that she shouldn’t be able to handle it, being by Curlin out of a mare who produced a multiple stakes winner at a mile and a mile and a sixteenth. Hopefully she is up to this challenge; it would be exciting if she hits the board here.
- Trensita (Trensa, by Giant’s Causeway) – On August 10, Trensita is slated to make her career debut in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth over the Saratoga turf. The two-year-old filly drew the 9 gate in a field of ten, plus three also-eligibles and three main-track-only entries. The Michael Matz trainee has been on the worktab since mid-June, first at Fair Hill and then at the Spa. Her last work was over the turf training track, showing she has had at least some grass under her hooves. A mile and a sixteenth is not short, especially for a two-year-old debut, but if anyone can handle it…a filly by Curlin out of a Giant’s Causeway mare ought to be able to. She is her dam Trensa’s first runner — but Trensa herself won three times at a mile and a sixteenth, including twice on turf, and was graded stakes placed at 1 3/8 miles on the grass. This all bodes well for Trensita to like these conditions.
- Woelf Den (Gorgeous Goose, by Mongoose) – On August 10, Woelf Den will race in an N1X/N2l ==L allowance optional claimer at six and a half furlongs over the Gulfstream dirt. The three-year-old breaks from the outermost gate in a field of nine. He has raced at Gulfstream once before, finishing fourth in an August 3 allowance race at a mile in the dirt. This is his first attempt at a sprint distance since his career debut in September of last year, where he finished eighth beaten 10 1/2 lengths behind Noble Moon. His ability to handle a sprint is still an unanswered question, and this race will help address it.
- Captured (Alluring, by A. P. Indy) – On August 8, Captured had been slated to race in a $5,000 claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Penn National dirt. However, he scratched from the race; he was listed as a stewards scratch. He has been reentered to run on August 13; details are in the Racing Soon section.
- Curlin’s Kid (Lucette, by Dayjur) – On August 2, Curlin’s Kid had been on the also-eligible list for a $30,000-$25,000 N2L claiming race at about seven and a half furlongs over the Delaware turf. However, the three-year-old gelding did not draw into the race, and was scratched. The level of the race was slightly tougher than his previous out; it would make sense to see him here or possibly a rung lower, at something close to the mile distance at which he broke his maiden two starts back.
- Liberated (Lady Melesi, by Colonial Affair) – On August 9, Liberated had been scheduled to run in the Gardenia Stakes (GIII), at a mile over the Ellis dirt. However, she scratched the morning of the race. The scratch was recorded as a trainer scratch, so hopefully she is okay and just being pointed elsewhere. Classwise, this seemed ambitious. She did win an N2X allowance at Ellis last out, and hopefully her connections can find another allowance condition for her instead of rushing her back up to a stakes.
- On August 4 and 5, the Saratoga Selected Yearlings sale happened. There were two Curlin colts in the sale, and both were sold to prominent syndicates.
- Unnamed colt out of Giant Canal (Giant’s Causeway) – On August 4, this colt was sold for $165,000 to West Point Thoroughbreds. He was hip #14 in the sale, and consigned by Buck Pond Farm. West Point has posted a video of this colt walking around after they got him. He is a full brother to unraced two-year-old colt Towpath. Towpath has not yet appeared on the worktab.
- Unnamed colt out of Marquet Rent (Marquetry) – On August 4, this colt was sold for $200,000 to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. He was hip #46 in the sale, and consigned by Taylor Made Sales Agency. This colt is a full brother to two-year-old colt Wood Machine. Wood Machine has yet to race, but has appeared on the worktab and recently fired a bullet five-furlong move at Indiana Grand.
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 send 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!