Welcome to another installment of this week in Curlin babies: all the news that’s fit to print about Blinkers Off’s favourite sire. It is a bit of a short one, as last week’s covered a week and a half due to the Arlington Million delay. Over the last few days Reversiontothemean acquitted herself well in her first attempt against winners; though she left herself too much to do late, her keen closing run suggests promise at the same level in future outings. Coming up this week, Stopshoppingdebbie attempts to make it nine-for-nine in her career in Sunday’s Emerald Distaff, and Whisper to Curlin faces open — and older — company in Saturday’s Debartolo Handicap at Remington.
Without further ado, let’s see what Curlin’s runners have been doing on the track lately!
- Baht (Belladia, by Silver Deputy) – On August 21, Baht finished sixth beaten 26 3/4 lengths in a $25,000 maiden claiming race at a mile over the Gulfstream dirt. He broke well, but quickly settled near the back of the pack. He never really fired, and was only able to pass two tiring horses late. The silver lining is that he kept running, albeit not all that fast: there wasn’t the abrupt drop out of it as there was his last time out. The three-year-old gelding was racing for just the fifth time in his career, and in his second race off of a layoff of over seven months. His last start was his first claiming race over the grass; this was his first claimer over the dirt. It will be interesting to see if they try him at a sprint distance instead, or go down to a lower level. Either one would make sense, but something probably should change.
- Curls in Place (Pola’s Place, by Out of Place) – On August 20, Curls In Place finished sixth beaten six lengths in a $35,000-$30,000 maiden claiming race at seven and a half furlongs over the Indiana Grand turf. The three-year-old filly was up for the higher tag, and not claimed out of the race. She was close to the pace early, running about a length off on the outside, but started losing ground as the field turned for home. She gave way to the horses behind her who had more run, and finished sixth. She was dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time after two starts in maiden special company at Belterra. This was an improvement; it is the closest to the front that she has finished.
- Garden Games (Garden Gloves, by Stormy Atlantic) – On August 21, Garden Games finished seventh beaten five and a half lengths in a maiden special weight at five and a half furlongs over the Remington Park dirt. She broke from the rail, and settled about three lengths back in the early stages. She dropped back down the backstretch, and ran fairly evenly to the finish. She did not kick in to challenge the leaders, but she finished in touch with the majority of the pack. The race was the two-year-old filly’s second career start; in July, she had finished a well-beaten sixth in a five-furlong maiden special at Canterbury, in which she was far back early but never kicked in to close. The finish closer to the front this time out was an encouraging sign, and hopefully she can improve further in start number three.
- Miss Curley d’Oro (Hug It Out, by Medaglia d’Oro) – On August 20, Miss Curley d’Oro finished fourth beaten 14 lengths in a maiden special weight at a mile over the sloppy, sealed dirt track at Evangeline Downs. The three-year-old filly was racing for just the third time, and improved upon two seventh-place finishes at Evangeline in May and June. Chance of Rena got very loose on the lead early, half a dozen lengths in front, and Miss Curley d’Oro chased along the rail in the closest flight back. She did not move with several others as they challenged Chance of Rena approaching the far turn, but did not fade, either. She came off the rail coming into the stretch to accommodate the fading Chance of Rena, angled outside, and ran evenly enough. She did not kick in to challenge runaway winner Sharp Quality, and settled for fourth. It was her first time racing in slop, so it was hard to tell whether her failure to kick in was a function of the surface, the two months off, or both.
- Reversiontothemean (Jet Setting, by Forestry) – On August 20, Reversiontothemean finished fourth beaten 3 1/4 lengths in an N2X/N4L allowance optional claiming race at a mile and seventy yards on the Suffolk Downs grass. The three-year-old filly was trying her next condition after having taken down an N1X at about a mile on the turf in her previous start. Reversiontothemean was near the back early, almost a dozen lengths off the pace. She made some headway through the far turn, but was still over half a dozen lengths back as the field turned for home. She really came into stride down the stretch, but had left herself too much to do. She angled out and caught up as much as she could, but was only able to get up for fourth. Still, it was a creditable run for her first against this class, and she should be competitive at this level going forward.
- Curlins BFF (Najecam, by Trempolino) – On August 23, Curlins B F F is entered in a maiden special weight at seven and a half furlongs over the Remington Park turf. The three-year-old filly drew the 11 post in a field of 12. She has raced twice before: once a well-beaten seventh in a dirt sprint at Remington last October, and then once in June, where she finished eighth beaten just four lengths in a five-furlong turf sprint. Staying on the turf makes sense, though the change from claiming back up to special weight might be a stretch. Still she was not far up the track in her first race off a long lay, suggesting that she could make a mark here.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On August 23, Dyker Beach is a main track only entry for an N1X/N2L allowance at a mile over the Saratoga grass. If the four-year-old gelding were to race, he would be running on very short rest: Dyker Beach just won a $50,000 starter allowance at the Spa going six furlongs on the dirt on August 18. He has never run on such short rest, though wheeling horses back that quickly is something his owner/trainer David Jacobson does with some frequency. The best case scenario will be that the race stays on the turf, and he gets a bit more rest after being scratched as an MTO. But, if he runs, hopefully his win last out has taught this frequent second-place finisher that winning races can be pretty shiny.
- Franklyididitmyway (Company Binness, by Seattle Dancer) – On August 22, Franklyididitmyway races in a $5,000 N2L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Finger Lakes dirt. The three-year-old gelding drew the rail in a field of eight. Last out, in his eighth career start, Franklyididitmyway prevailed by a neck in a $5,000 maiden claimer, running a slightly shorter distance of a mile and forty yards. Seeing him return to the dirt and run a similar distance makes a lot of sense, and hopefully he can clear this condition in short order.
- Graceful Gal (Cloon, by Lure) – On August 24, Graceful Gal will make her career debut in a maiden special weight at five and a half furlongs over the Saratoga grass. The three-year-old filly drew the 6 gate in a field of 11. Her worktab seems a little short going into this, with only three recent moves over dirt. However, putting her on the grass makes a lot of sense. Her only half-sibling to race so far, an Arch mare named Deverell, did win over the green stuff albeit at a route distance.
- Jay Eye See (England’s Rose, by Nureyev) – Jay Eye See is currently cross-entered into two races at Monmouth. The four-year-old colt is a main track only entry in an open $20,000-$18,000 claiming race at a mile over the Monmouth grass on August 23. In that race, he would be up for the higher tag. The next day, he is entered in an N1X/N2L allowance optional claimer at six furlongs over the Monmouth dirt. In that race, he would be up for the $20,000 tag, and drew the 6 gate in a field of ten. Whichever of these races he goes in, he would be dropping first off the claim. He was claimed for $30,000 in his last start, a sixth-place finish in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Monmouth dirt, by the Linda Gaudet barn. His last start was his first off-board finish at Monmouth, so hopefully whichever race he actually runs, he will find his ability to handle the track again.
- Keen Ice (Medomak, by Awesome Again) – On August 23, Keen Ice is slated to make his career debut in a maiden special weight at five and a half furlongs over the Ellis Park dirt. The two-year-old colt drew the 3 gate in a field of twelve. He had been on the also-eligible list for a six-furlong race at this level last weekend, but did not draw into the race. The colt has been on the worktab since late June, running four- and five-furlong drills, so should be fit to attempt this run.
- Shiva Curlin (Cavan Thunder, by Jump Start) – On August 23, Shiva Curlin heads postward in the Forty Niner Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth over the Gulfstream turf. The three-year-old colt drew the 6 gate in a field of eight, plus one also-eligible. This will be Shiva Curlin’s fourth attempt in stakes company, and his most perplexing to date. He has raced seven times, with so far a maiden win and an allowance win to his name. The allowance win was three starts back, but he has been well beaten in his last two starts. Two back he was last in the Quality Road Stakes at Gulfstream, and then last out he was ninth of ten in an allowance-level turf mile against older. He had a troubled trip there, hitting the rail down the backstretch, which would make it logical to try him in another allowance-level turf contest. He may do better with a better trip. But, ticking him back up to stakes company for this outing seems a bit excessive.
- Stopshoppingdebbie (Taste The Passion, by Wild Again) – On August 24, Stopshoppingdebbie races in the Emerald Distaff Handicap at a mile and an eighth over the Emerald Downs dirt. The four-year-old filly drew the rail in the five-horse field, and is the 124-pound highweight. Stopshoppingdebbie is currently a perfect eight for eight in her career, with all her races at Emerald; she hopes to make it nine here. The field includes two of the usual suspects in her four-year-old stablemates Goin t0 the Window (118) and Blueberry Smoothie (117), as well as two older Emerald Downs regulars who she faces for the first time: five-year-old She’s Stella Marie (112) and seven-year-old Wando Woman (118). She has never had to tote 124 before, but has done 122 and 123 in her last two races; this is not a huge deviation, and definitely not a Work All Week in the Addison Cammack type of situation, as little as the track handicapper could have been blamed for making it so. Hopefully she will win this race, and then her connections will start looking at some stiffer company in California for the fall.
- Thats Our Princess (Princess Ruckus, by Bold Ruckus) – On August 22, Thats Our Princess races in an N2X/N3L allowance optional claiming race at six and a half furlongs over the Woodbine turf. The four-year-old filly races under the allowance condition, and drew the 2 gate in a field of eight plus two main track only entries. This will be her first race since an allowance optional claiming win at Belmont last October, at six furlongs on the grass; that last win was particularly interesting as it was in an N2X race, despite the fact that she qualified for N1X at the time. She has tried grass once before, finishing a close second in an N1X at this distance over the Woodbine grass last June. She has been working regularly over the summer, going five and six furlongs at a time, so there is a strong chance she will be fit to run well here.
- Whisper to Curlin (Whisperifyoudare, by Red Ransom) – On August 23, Whisper to Curlin will race in the Edward J. Debartolo Memorial Handicap at a mile and a sixteenth over the Remington Park grass. The Iowa-bred colt drew the 3 gate in a field of 11, and is the only three-year-old facing a field of older horses. This is also his first attempt on the grass. His odds reflect that: he is 30/1 on the morning line, longest in the field. Fortunately, he only totes 112 pounds: least of all, and giving anywhere between two and eleven pounds to his adversaries. He comes into this race off of a clear win in the Iowa Breeders’ Derby at Prairie Meadows, his stakes debut. He has worked back once since that race, a four-furlong maintenance move over the Remington track. It is no surprise to see him back in a stakes after his nice performance last out. However, this will be his toughest test to date: it is a tough jump from Iowa-bred sophomores to the likes of Olympic Thunder, Bim Bam, and Dreams Cut Short. It will be thrilling if he even hits the board against this field.
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!