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, Stopshoppingdebbie extended her record to a perfect nine-for-nine, and plans have emerged for her to test her mettle outside Emerald Downs for the first time. Two Curlin babies, Sookie and Une Cherise, broke their maidens in absolutely dazzling fashion. Coming up this week, Curalina becomes the first of Curlin’s third crop to attempt a Grade I, as the once-raced maiden takes a swing at the Spinaway Stakes (GI): the race which will be Tom Durkin’s final call as the regular announcer at the Spa. Miss Frost gets a rematch against Granny Mc’s Kitten in the Riskaverse Stakes at Saratoga, and both Woelf Den and Shiva Curlin plan to run in the Monarchos Stakes at Gulfstream.
Without further ado, let’s see what Curlin’s runners have been doing on the track lately!
- Curlins BFF (Najecam, by Trempolino) – On August 23, Curlins B F F finished eleventh beaten 17 1/2 lengths in a maiden special weight at seven and a half furlongs over the Remington grass. The three-year-old filly was racing for the third time, and taking a rather inexplicable class rise from an eighth-place finish in claiming company at Lone Star last out. This time out she chased in the middle of a well strung out pack, over half a dozen lengths off the lead through the backstretch. She had no rally through the far turn, lost ground, and was passed by all but one horse in the field late. Though I Am Jane Dough won the race by five lengths, that still puts her a dozen lengths behind the place photo. She was in a bit over her head, and may be well served switching back to a maiden claimer for next out.
- Franklyididitmyway (Company Binness, by Seattle Dancer) – On August 22, Franklyididitmyway won a $5,000 N2L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Finger Lakes dirt. He was not claimed out of the race. He broke from the rail, and settled in a length or two off of longshot early pacesetter Essence of a Hero. He edged past that rival through the far turn, but coming into the stretch was head and head with Chinatowner on his outside. They fought in tandem, pulling over half a dozen lengths ahead of the rest of the field, with Franklyididitmyway able to get his neck in front in the final fifty yards. Chinatowner tried to get up in the last jumps, but our hero held on. The three-year-old gelding has found his stride since shipping to Finger Lakes in June, never finishing off the board in five races there. This was his very first race since his August 7 maiden win, and he has a nice win streak to carry into his first crack at the N3L level.
- Graceful Gal (Cloon, by Lure) – On August 24, Graceful Gal finished fourth beaten five lengths in a maiden special weight at five and a half furlongs over the Saratoga grass. The three-year-old filly was making her first career start. She bumped eventual winner Verisimilitude out of the gate, and settled almost a dozen lengths back early. She made up ground through the far turn, and had enough late energy to pass several of her adversaries. She finished five lengths off the winner, but was part of a four-way place photo in which she missed the show by just a head. It was a decent first effort, and it would make sense to see her come back at this level on the grass at Belmont.
- Inmyfathersimage (Friendly Michelle, by Artax) – On August 25, Inmyfathersimage finished eighth beaten 12 3/4 lengths in a conditioned $16,000 starter allowance at six and a half furlongs on the Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding was making his first start since a seven-furlong starter allowance win at Parx on August 4. This time out, he just ran flatly. He was quickly a dozen lengths behind the field, and remained about that far out of touch with the front through the entire six and a half furlongs. It should not have been an issue of class; he fits the starter allowance level at Parx perfectly. Hopefully he is physically okay, and returns with a better effort next out.
- Inspired By Grace (Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor) – On August 27, Inspired by Grace won an N1X allowance optional claiming race at about five furlongs over the Delaware Park turf. The three-year-old filly raced under the allowance condition. She stalked early, almost two lengths off the lead, outside due to having broken from the 9 gate. As early pacesetter Brooks Lass faded through the far turn, Inspired By Grace moved in on the remaining speedsters, Love This Kitty and Sydney Speaks. She drew even just past the furlong pole, and sprinted right by to win by three decisive lengths. She had hit the board once in her three previous attempts against winners, and it was a bit softer field than she had faced since breaking her maiden. She now has two wins, both in five-furlong turf dashes.
- Jay Eye See (England’s Rose, by Nureyev) – On August 24, Jay Eye See finished second beaten just half a length in an N1X allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs on the Monmouth dirt. He was up for the tag, but not claimed. This was his first race since being claimed by the Linda Gaudet barn, and his best in a long time. Scatter Joy rocketed past sharp-breaking Evolution Rocks, and was quickly ahead about four lengths. Jay Eye See stalked near the main pack, as Scatter Joy set early fractions quite fast for a lone speed, even in a sprint. Jay Eye See was outside, a couple lengths off the lead, coming into the stretch. He kicked in inside the final furlong, though, and made a serious run at the pacesetter. The wire came just quickly enough to relegate him to second. Still, it was good to see him come back to his Monmouth-loving ways after his last race; he has now hit the board in five of his six career starts over the Jersey oval.
- Keen Ice (Medomak, by Awesome Again) – On August 23, Keen Ice finished fourth beaten 9 1/4 lengths in a five and a half furlong maiden special weight over the Ellis Park dirt. The two-year-old colt was making his career debut. He settled in last early, about eight lengths off the early pace being set by Royal Saint. He improved his position down the stretch with a rail run, but it was too little, too late as Royal Saint drew away to win by 6 1/2 lengths. Still, it was a good tune-up sort of first effort, and it would be no surprise if a colt by Curlin out of an Awesome Again mare wanted longer than five and a half furlongs.
- Lin Marie (Coy Cat, by Hold That Tiger) – On August 28, Lin Marie finished fourth beaten two lengths in an N1X allowance for three-year-old fillies at six and a half furlongs over the Presque Isle Downs Tapeta. She stalked a length or two off of Overtime Goal’s early pace down the backstretch, and looked like she was making a move on the outside through the far turn. However, she didn’t have quite as much as either winner Admiring Glance or third-place Sweetsoutherndame, and settled for fourth. She was clear of fifth-place Panda Power, but just couldn’t finish like the top three did. Still, it was a better effort than either of her two other runs against winners, and suggested that it may be worth trying her on the Tapeta again.
- Shiva Curlin (Cavan Thunder, by Jump Start) – On August 23, Shiva Curlin finished seventh beaten 11 1/4 lengths in the Forty Niner Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth over the Gulfstream Park turf. This was the three-year-old colt’s second turf race, after a ninth-place run allowance run on the grass in his previous race, facing older. He sent early to the front, but settled a couple of lengths off the pace into the clubhouse turn. He chased from there through the backstretch, but approaching the far turn the field began to swallow the 40/1 shot up. Shiva Curlin was last entering the stretch, and finished ahead of only the badly fading Telcontar. At this point, it appears Shiva Curlin needs to try some softer company. Unfortunately, as detailed in the Racing Soon section, his connections are wheeling him back — and wheeling him back into another stakes at Gulfstream.
- Sookie (Island Escape, by Petionville) – On August 24, Sookie made her career debut a winning one, prevailing by fourteen lengths in a Pennsylvania-bred maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Parx dirt. She broke well, and was in a four-way fight for the lead early. She and Kinda Sexy got about two lengths in front of the rest. Coming into the far turn, Sookie started to overtake Kinda Sexy, pulling away in big strides under a hand ride. Even geared down in the final furlong, she continued to gain ground on the rest of the field. It wasn’t even close: Sookie crushed this bunch of Pennsylvania-breds, and it will be interesting to see if she turns out in a state-bred allowance next out, or if she tries her hooves against open company.
- Stopshoppingdebbie (Taste The Passion, by Wild Again) – On August 24, Stopshoppingdebbie improved her career record to a perfect nine-for-nine, winning the 1 1/8 mile Emerald Distaff at Emerald Downs by 3/4 length over stablemate Goin to the Window. Blinkers Off discussed the race in detail on Monday. That was the last open stakes for older horses at Emerald this season, though it sounds like Stopshoppingdebbie is finally going to take her show on the road. Based on comments made by trainer Tom Wenzel on At The Races with Steve Byk on Wednesday morning, and later tweeted by Vince Bruun of the Emerald Downs public relations department, Stopshoppingdebbie will be pointed next to either the Zenyatta Stakes (GI) or the L. A. Woman Stakes (GIII) at Santa Anita. If that goes well, she could then go to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (GI) or the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (GI). On one hand, it is exciting to see her finally pointing to races outside of Emerald. On the other, it seems a possibly abrupt jump in class. Hopefully Stopshoppingdebbie is up to it — and win or lose, she is still an exciting horse.
- Thats Our Princess (Princess Ruckus, by Bold Ruckus) – On August 22, Thats Our Princess finished third beaten six lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at six and a half furlongs over the Woodbine turf. The four-year-old filly, like the entire field, raced under the allowance condition. She was near the back of the pack early, but started to make up ground through the far turn. She did not kick on as strongly as winner Ginger Swirl, but she did continue to chase with interest to the wire. This was a good thing to see, as it was her first race back in ten and half months. Her last race had been an N2X allowance win at Belmont on October 4 of last year. (That is not a typo; she won an N2X even though she at that point only had a maiden win to her name). If she comes back sharper after that first tune-up, she will be perfectly competitive at this level.
- Une Cherise (Lady Cerise, by Honor Grades) – On August 28, Une Cherise romped in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Delaware dirt, winning by eight lengths. It was the three-year-old filly’s second career race; last out, in another maiden special at Delaware, she finished in the lower rung of a Curlin babies exacta below Liza Doolittle Day. This time out, she broke fastest of all, and then settled less than length off once Country Woman passed her inside. Through the turn, still in hand, Une Cherise pulled away from Country Woman, and well evaded For Finery’s run. She was half a dozen lengths in front entering the final furlong, and continued to improve that lead while in hand. She was significantly sharper with that debut race under her belt, and can hopefully maintain this form and momentum as she graduates to facing winners.
- Whisper to Curlin (Whisperifyoudare, by Red Ransom) – On August 23, Whisper to Curlin finished eighth beaten three and a half lengths in the Edward J. Debartolo Memorial Handicap, a mile and a sixteenth over the Remington Park grass. Blinkers Off discussed the race in detail on Sunday. It was a stiff order for the three-year-old colt, and a big class jump. Still, he finished right there with the pack: not a bad feat for a horse with so little experience compared to that salty field. He still has plenty of time to grow into himself, given that it looks like Curlin babies are developing nicely as they age, and this race makes it particularly exciting to see what he will do at age four.
- Agawa (Silver Adventure, by Silver Deputy) – On August 31, Agawa races in an N1X/N2L allowance at a mile and a quarter over the Woodbine grass. The four-year-old filly drew the 4 gate in the nine-horse field. She actually cuts back a little in distance here; her last race was a 1 3/8 mile route over the Woodbine grass on August 1. In that race, she finished half a length ahead of Meri Shika, who followed up with a win in the Flaming Page Stakes at a mile and a half. She has been improving as she has switched to longer turf races, compared to the middle-distance races she was running earlier this year. The distance and level make sense. Still, she has yet to win since her maiden triumph in August of last year.
- Always Sarah (Treasure Always, by Summer Squall) – On August 29, Always Sarah is on the also-eligible list for a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Saratoga dirt. The two-year-old is number 15, meaning there are four horses ahead of her to get slots. If she draws in, it would be her second race. Earlier in August she raced at the same distance at the SPa, finishing a well-beaten sixth behind Hard to Stay Notgo. She did rally from last late, and should improve with some experience. Unfortunately, that experience is unlikely to come tomorrow at the Spa, given how low she is on the AE list.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On August 30, Bold Shot races in a $30,000-$25,000 N3X claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Ellis Park turf. The four-year-old gelding drew the outermost post in the six-horse field. He races for the $25,000 tag. He rises in class here, entering this race off of a win at the $16,000 N2L level last out, over the same distance and surface. He spent so much of the year knocking on the door after breaking his maiden in February, and seeing him prevail there was an encouraging sign. Still, the class rise presents a stiff challenge. He does carry the co-lowest impost in the field, between the weight break for the lower tag as well as the jockey change to red-hot apprentice Juan Saez. Hopefully Saez gets him home.
- Curalina (Whatdreamsrmadeof, by Graeme Hall) – On August 31, Curalina races in the Spinaway Stakes (GI) at seven furlongs over the Saratoga dirt. The two-year-old filly drew the 7 gate in the nine-horse field. Curalina is still a maiden, though she finished a strong second to Super Saver filly High Dollar Woman in her first race. She was 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner despite having some trouble and racing greenly — but was 6 1/4 lengths ahead of the third-place finisher. She also gets a switch to Javier Castellano, the top jockey in the Saratoga colony. She may be a maiden, but she should be competitive in this bunch, and should appreciate the stretch from six furlongs to seven.
- D’Pretender (Lady Heroine, by Sea Hero) – On August 31, D’Pretender races in a $7,500 claiming race for three-year-olds at six and a half furlongs over the Camarero dirt. The colt drew the 3 post in a field of seven. D’Pretender broke his maiden at first asking at Camarero in May of last year, but has finished no better than second in twelve attempts since. He takes a much-needed class drop here: he tried older last out and finished a distant third, and has also always raced for higher tags. Hopefully, this gets him to remember to win.
- Danalin (Danaway, by Giant’s Causeway) – On August 29, Danalin runs in a N2X/N3L allowance optional claiming race at five furlongs over the Monmouth grass. The three-year-old filly drew the 2 gate in the field of eight, plus one main track only entry. Last out, on July 19, she attempted the Desert Vixen Stakes on the heels of an allowance win. She was competitive early, but faltered and faded to 10th. That was her first attempt in a stakes. She cuts back in class here, and also cuts back sharply in distance: the Desert Vixen was a mile and a sixteenth. This is her first attempt at a dash distance: she has not attempted shorter than seven and a half furlongs, and not won at shorter than a mile and a sixteenth.
- Danette (Sugar Britches, by Dixieland Band) – On August 31, Danette races in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Del Mar polytrack. The two-year-old filly drew the rail in a field of eight. This will be her fourth career start. After a disappointing seventh in her career debut at Arlington, she shipped to Del Mar and dropped in for a tag. Fifth in that race, she then went back up to special weight company and finished a decent third: while breaking from the rail, just as she does again here. The last race was her best effort, and her first at a mile; it seems wise for trainer Keith Desormeaux to try her again at this level.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – Dyker Beach is scheduled to race on August 31 in an N1X/N2L allowance at six furlongs over the Saratoga dirt. The four-year-old gelding drew the 2 gate in the field of 11, and will be part of a coupled entry for owner/trainer David Jacobson. Dyker Beach does have two wins to his name, but he qualifies for the N1X condition as one was a maiden claiming win, and the other a starter allowance win. That starter allowance win was his last out, after a string of three seconds at a similar level after breaking his maiden. This will be his first step up into straight allowance company, and is on the same distance and course where he won last out. How much Dyker Beach wants to win is a standing question, as he has been second nine time in nineteen starts. Still, he always shows up to run, and is consistent enough to at least try for a piece here.
- Federal Agent (Gwenjinsky, by Seattle Dancer) – On August 31, Federal Agent runs in a $30,000-$25,000 maiden claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Ellis Park turf. the four-year-old colt drew the 2 gate in the six-horse field, and races for the higher tag. He drops back into claiming company after a sixth-place finish in maiden special company at Ellis last out, going over the same distance and surface. He has only raced twice in claiming company, and the initial drop was probably long overdue: it took until his thirteenth start. In those fifteen career start to date he has been on the board five times, but has not gotten up to win. This company may still be a bit over his head: the closest he came recently was at the $10,000-$9,000 level two starts back.
- Keening (Haka Girl, by War Chant) – On September 1, Keening races in an N2X/N3L allowance optional claiming race at a mile and an eighth over the Saratoga turf. The four-year-old filly drew the 2 gate in the field of ten, and races under the allowance condition. Keening has raced at the Spa once before, finishing second in a 1 1/16 mile race at this level last out. She was far back early, got caught wide, and left herself too much to do to catch Tokyo Time. Both of Keening’s wins have been at a flat mile, but she was running well enough late in the last race to suggest that trying nine furlongs makes sense.
- Lord of the Realm (Danceroftherealm (GB), by King of Kings (IRE)) – On August 31, Lord of the Realm will race in a $7,500 N2L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Fort Erie dirt. The four-year-old colt drew outside in the field of eight. Last out he finished fifth for the same tag, but against a harder field: he skipped a condition and tried N3L company. He stands to fare better dropping back to the lower condition.
- Miss Frost (Allencat, by Storm Cat) – On August 29, Miss Frost races in the Riskaverse Stakes for three year old fillies at a mile over the Saratoga turf. She drew the 2 gate in a field of eight, plus two main track only entries. Last out she took the Tenski Stakes at a mile over the Saratoga grass, showing she does like this distance. That race was her first career stakes win. Here she faces a bit tougher bunch, and she is the co-highweight due to her stakes win. She gets a rematch here with Granny Mc’s Kitten, who won the P. G. Johnson Stakes last year — in which Miss Frost finished a clear third. This Kitten comes into the Riskaverse in good form, but so does Miss Frost.
- Prince Curlin (No Small Wonder, by Capote) – On August 31, Prince Curlin runs in a $10,000-$8,000 N2L claiming race at six furlongs over the Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding drew the 2 gate in a field of nine. He, like the entire field, races for the higher tag. He had been entered in a mile race at this level on August 25, but was a trainer scratch. His one career win to date did come at Parx, in a six and a half furlong maiden $10,000 back in April. He has struggled since, missing the board in six subsequent starts against winners. He does take a weight advantage into the gate with him: ten-pound bug Francisco Valentin has the call, so he carries 110 to everyone else’s 116-120. It would be nice to see him at least hit the board against winners.
- Shiva Curlin (Cavan Thunder, by Jump Start) – On August 30, Shiva Curlin runs in the Monarchos Stakes for three year olds at a mile over the Gulfstream dirt. The colt drew the 6 gate in a seven-horse field that includes another Curlin baby, Woelf Den. This placement for Shiva Curlin seems unwarranted, to say the least. He finished seventh in the Forty Niner Stakes at Gulfstream last out, just seven days before this race. That race was over the grass, but he has also been buried in stakes company twice on the dirt at Gulfstream. He ran finely at Calder, but has yet to run well at Gulfstream. That is not to say he can’t, necessarily — every single race he has run at Gulfstream has been at a class level far over his head. Shiva Curlin does not need to run in a stakes right now, even an undeniably weak one such as this, on any surface. Shiva Curlin needs to find his footing in easier company, whether it’s at Gulfstream or another track.
- Theogony (Upcoming Story, by Tale of the Cat) – On August 29, Theogony runs in an N2X/N3L allowance optional claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Woodbine grass. She, like all four others in the five-horse field, runs under the allowance condition. The four-year-old filly breaks from the 4 post. Theogony races for just the second time this year. Last out, in her first race back from a nine-month lay, she won a seven-furlong N1X over the synthetic at Woodbine. She has tried grass once, a one-mile N1X last year in which she finished fourth. All of her other races have been on polytrack. It makes sense to try the grass again, as there seemed no clear indicators in her other turf start that she did not like it, and she looks to be in good form coming back off the lay. Still, she faces a small but tough field that includes the 1-2 winners of this year’s Victoriana Stakes, run at this distance over grass.
- Woelf Den (Gorgeous Goose, by Mongoose) – On August 30, Woelf Den runs in the Monarchos Stakes for three year olds at a mile over the Gulfstream dirt. The colt breaks from the rail, and the seven-horse field includes another Curlin baby, Shiva Curlin. Woelf Den broke his maiden at Laurel in February and followed that up with a second in allowance company at the same track. Since moving to New York and then Gulfstream he has struggled, failing to hit the board in four tries. Last out, he was eighth beaten 17 3/4 lengths in an allowance optional claiming race at Gulfstream in which Atreides — the 3/5 morning line favourite in the Monarchos, won clearly. The stretch from the six and a half furlongs of that race to the mile of the Monarchos should help him here. Though placing him in a stakes seems a little strange given his recent performance, it makes a certain amount of sense assuming there are not straight three-year-old allowance races in the condition book. This is the distance at which he broke his maiden, and the field did not turn up all that strong beyond the untested Atreides.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On August 23, Dyker Beach had been a main-track-only entry in a one mile N1X allowance at Saratoga. Races were run on the turf as originally planned, though, and Dyker Beach scratched. It was good to see him scratched, as he would have been wheeling back her after just five days’ rest, after his win the previous Monday. He is now entered in a six-furlong sprint at a similar level this weekend at Saratoga, as detailed in the Racing Soon section.
- Palace Malice (Palace Rumor, by Royal Anthem) – Palace Malice had originally been pointing toward the Woodward Stakes. However, Dogwood Stable president Cot Campbell announced that he was being taken out of consideration for the Woodward after a poor gallop out in a workout on Sunday. They have still not found anything seriously physically wrong with him since his disappointing run in the Whitney, but he seemed “dull and not himself”, per Campbell. The current plan is for Palace Malice to race in the Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 27, and then the Breeders’ Cup Classic on November 1.
- Prince Curlin (No Small Wonder, by Capote) – On August 25, Prince Curlin was a trainer scratch from a $10,000-$8,000 N2L claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Parx dirt. He has worked back from that scratch, going three furlongs in 36.96 on August 27, and has entered a different race on August 31, as detailed in the Racing Soon section.
- Unnamed yearling colt out of Awesome Fleet (Awesome Again) – This week was the OBS August yearling sale; only one Curlin baby was entered. This colt, hip #21 in the sale, was offered as part of the Select Sale on Tuesday, August 26 and sold for $185,000. Beth Bayer was the consignor; Juan Vazquez signed the ticket as agent for owner John Patitucci. This colt has no full siblings named to date, though he does have a 2012 half-brother by Curlin’s sire Smart Strike who has yet to hit the worktab.
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!