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 update is going to be a long one, since it covers two weeks of updates on the Curlin Babies front. It has been a huge two weeks, both on the track and in the sales ring! In fact, it has been such a huge two weeks that it is going to be split into two entries. This one is going to focus on the racing. Even though sales results generally go in the Other News section, Keeneland September has been enormous. Once that winds down on September 21, there will be a separate entry detailing the Curlin babies in the catalogue.
On the track, the highlights include two horses achieving their first graded stakes placings: Maria Maria and Bold Conquest. Keen Ice broke his maiden at second asking with a furious late run, Theogony and Thats Our Princess finished 1-3 in an allowance on the Woodbine Mile undercard, and Federal Agent emphatically dismissed anyone who wanted to call him a career maiden. This weekend features two Curlin babies making forays into stakes company: Liberated in the Pink Ribbon at Charles Town, and Ol Donyo in the Musical Romance at Gulfstream.
Without further ado, let’s see what Curlin’s runners have been doing on the track lately!
- Air Squadron (Air France, by French Deputy) – On September 13, Air Squadron finished fourth beaten 3 3/4 lengths in an N2X allowance at a mile and seventy yards over the Kentucky Downs turf. The four-year-old colt was racing for the first time at Kentucky Downs, and for the second time since being claimed into the barn of Mike Maker. He stalked along the rail about two lengths off the pace for much of the race. Down the stretch he could not quite match the late kick of winner Power Pad or second-place Taken by the Storm, but still kept running well all the way to the wire. He was necked out for the show by the late-closing Hesinfront, who had dropped into that race out of the American Derby (GIII). This was a significant class rise from his N1X win at Ellis the previous time out, and he showed he belonged at the level. He should be a tough customer next out, since the field at Kentucky Downs was more difficult than the average N2X.
- Always Sarah (Treasure Always, by Summer Squall) – On September 12, Always Sarah finished sixth beaten 13 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at six and a half furlongs over the Belmont dirt. The two-year-old filly was starting for just the second time, and making a small stretch from her six-furlong debut. She stalked close to the pace early, only about a length and a half off. However, she backed up significantly through the far turn, with nothing left in the stretch. Last out she was near the back and belatedly made up ground; this was an attempt at a different style. She looked better last out; maybe tge lead just is not her style.
- Baht (Belladia, by Silver Deputy) – On September 13, Baht finished eighth beaten 25 1/4 lengths in a $30,000-$25,000 maiden claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth on the Churchill Downs dirt. The three-year-old gelding was running for the sixth time; he has been off the board in all six races. This race was no better: he settled near the back of the pack, trailed along the rail, never made a move, and finished last. He needs a class drop if he is going to continue racing; fortunately, as detailed in the Racing Soon section, he will get that next out.
- Barbara’s Smile (Credenza, by Lord Carlos) – On September 10, Barbara’s Smile finished fourth beaten three lengths in a $40,000 N2L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Belmont grass. She was not claimed. The three-year-old filly was returning to Belmont after a third-place finish at the $25,000 N2L level at the Spa. Though she was fourth in this outing, she finished closer to the front, in a bit of an encouraging sign. She was near the back of the pack early, and made a steady run toward the front. She made it as close as about three lengths from the lead, but was not able to close up more room on the lead past then. It is an improvement from earlier attempts to clear the N2L condition, though it is approaching time to try a class drop or a different sort of race, since she has now tried five times to clear that rung.
- Baroness Rose (Sandra’s Rose, by Old Trieste) – On September 17, Baroness Rose won an N1X allowance at seven and a half furlongs over the Indiana Grand turf. The three-year-old filly hit the board for the first time in six races this year: she won on debut last July, did not resurface until March, and finished no better than fifth in allowance company in five races since. This time, she was off the pace early, about half a dozen lengths back. She made a move through the far turn, and took aim on pacesetter (and 1/5 favourite) Wild Swava. Entering the final furlong it looked like she had made up all the ground she could, but in the final sixteenth she got her next gear. She rushed in on Wild Swava, and won by a head. This was her first try at Indiana Downs, and the company and surface agreed with her. Hopefully this gets her back on track.
- Belisama (Bavarian Belle, by More Than Ready) – On September 14, Belisama finished fifth beaten 12 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Churchill Downs dirt. The three-year-old filly was making her career debut. She started near the back of the pack, and steadily improved position through the race. She did not ever seriously threaten the leaders or summon a powerful late run, but was at least able to get ahead of most of the main pack. It was an okay debut…not great, but not suggesting she would be out of place trying maiden special weight company again.
- Bold Conquest (One for Jim, by Distorted Humor) – On September 6, Bold Conquest became the second of Curlin’s third crop (after La Grange) to attempt a graded stakes — and the second to achieve placing. He finished second in the Iroquois Stakes (GIII), a mile and a sixteenth over the Churchill Downs dirt, a neck behind stablemate Lucky Player. He broke from an outside gate, and settled wide a handful of lengths off the lead as the field rounded into the backstretch. He made a wide move around the field in the far turn, and nailed frontrunners Mr. Z and Lucky Player in early stretch. Mr. Z faded out, but Lucky Player fought back to prevail by a neck. This was Bold Conquest’s first race since breaking his maiden second out at Saratoga, and his first at two turns. This gave him not only his first stakes placing, but also four points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby — so though it’s obviously too soon to declare him a Derby prospect, he has taken his first step in that direction.
- Captured (Alluring, by A. P. Indy), Wise Minister (Take a Check, by Touch Gold) – On September 18, both Captured and Wise Minister raced in an N1X allowance at a mile and a sixteenth over the Penn National Dirt. Captured, a three-year-old gelding, was ninth beaten 13 1/4 lengths. This was a step up for him; Captured won last out at Penn National, but in $12,500 N2L company. Captured chased along the rail through the clubhouse turn and the backstretch, near the back of the group but still only four or five lengths off the pace. He started to lose a lot of ground through the far turn, though, and got caught wide entering the stretch. This was an ambitious placing, and it would make sense to see him in claiming company again next out. Wise Minister, a three-year-old colt, fared more than a little better: he won by 1 1/4 lengths. Breaking from a gate near the outside, he was wide through the clubhouse turn and the backstretch, chasing a few lengths back. He angled in toward the rail on the far turn, and pulled ahead down the stretch. Morning Cigar made a late run, but he was able to hang on. Wise Minister had struggled a bit at Parx in his last two starts, and was trying Penn National for the first time. He looked good in this race, and will hopefully run well at his next condition.
- Copperplate (Verdana Bold, by Rahy) – On September 17, Copperplate finished seventh beaten 3 3/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at six furlongs over the grass at Kentucky Downs. The three-year-old colt was racing for the first time since breaking his maiden in a turf dash at Ellis in August. He sent to the front, with County Corrections on him the whole time. The two of them stayed up front until there was close to a furlong left, when County Corrections got past. Copperplate ran out of steam, and dropped back along the inside. This was a stretch out from his last race, as well as a significant class rise. This does show that he is probably a dyed-in-the-wool speed horse, needing the lead and losing interest if he doesn’t have it. He is lightly raced enough that one can hold out a glint of hope that may change, but only time will tell.
- Curlin Crush (Secret Source, by Mineshaft) – On September 6, Curlin Crush finished seventh beaten 17 1/2 lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs on the Kentucky Downs turf. The two-year-old colt was making his career debut. It was fairly flat: he did not break badly, but did not have the early speed of most of the rest of the field, and did not fire late. He trailed throughout: never last, but never threatening in the field of nine either. He had a relatively long worktab going into the race, though none of the works were particularly fast. It was his first race, though, so hopefully he gained some experience and will race better next time out.
- Curlino (Comfort Zone, by Rubiano) – On September 13, Curlino finished third beaten 7 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at six and a half furlongs over the Churchill Downs dirt. The two-year-old colt had been breezing at Churchill since late July, and had a good tab going into the race. He settled near the back of the pack early, about five lengths out. He started closing some ground up down the stretch, but by then Far Right and Risk Parity were too far separated to catch. He made it far enough to win the show photo. Hopefully this will be a stepping stone to a better run next out.
- Curlin’s Kid (Lucette, by Dayjur) – On September 10, Curlin’s Kid finished third beaten 2 1/2 lengths in a $25,000-$20,000 claiming race at a mile on the Laurel turf. The three-year-old filly was in for the higher tag, and claimed out of the race. She moves from the barn of Gary Capuano to that of Helen Marshall. She tracked from midpack early, and started to make up ground through the far turn. Heading into the stretch she was about two lengths off the pace, but was not able to carry her rally all the way there. She stayed in touch with the front, not losing significant ground and achieving the show. It was not quite the level of improvement the bettors were hoping to see, having sent her off as the favourite. Still, it was creditable, and suggests the level is appropriate.
- D’Pretender (Lady Heroine, by Sea Hero) – On September 18, D’Pretender finished fourth in a $5,000 claiming race for three-year-olds at six furlongs over the Camarero dirt. This was a bit better finish than the three-year-old colt had been making recently; as opposed to the short fields of five in which he had been running as of late, this was a field of eleven. He was near the back of the pack early, and closed into slow fractions for a sprint. He made a belated run, though, and his outside run was good enough to get his nose on the wire for fourth. The class drop was something good for him, and hopefully he can improve against this sort of company.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On September 7, Dyker Beach finished fifth beaten 2 1/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at seven furlongs over the Belmont dirt. The four-year-old gelding was making his first attempt in straight allowance company after a starter allowance win at Saratoga last out. He stalked on the outside about two lengths off the pace. As the field turned for home he was able to keep his place about that far off, but did not really close up ground either. It was not a scintillating performance, but it did show potential to be competitive in straight allowance company. Since this was his first time outside of claiming or starter ranks since his maiden days, this was about as encouraging as a fifth-place finish could be.
- Federal Agent (Gwenjinsky, by Seattle Dancer) – On September 12, Federal Agent won a $15,000 maiden claiming race at 1 1/16 miles over dirt. The race had originally been carded for grass, but he stayed in when it was washed off. Federal Agent had been a maiden for an almost worrisome length of time: the four-year-old gelding had entered the race 0 for 16. This time out, he found his stride. He chased a handful of lengths off early, but made his move through the far turn. He got his head in front turning for home, and drew away as the field approached the wire. This was his first time racing at Indiana Downs, and maybe this track agrees with him. Hopefully, he returns there next out.
- Franklyididitmyway (Company Binness, by Seattle Dancer) – On September 18, Franklyididitmyway finished third beaten 4 3/4 lengths in a $5,000 N3L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Finger Lakes dirt. This was the three-year-old gelding’s first attempt at the N3L condition, having cleared N2L last out, and broken his maiden in the start before. He was about half a dozen lengths off the pace early, unhurried. He started gaining some steam approaching the stretch, and started picking off horses. Park City and Commodus were too far ahead to catch, but he fired strongly enough to be up just in time for the show. This was an encouraging first run at the condition, and continues his streak of being in the money in all six starts at age three, which are also all six starts he has made at the upstate oval.
- Garden Games (Garden Gloves, by Stormy Atlantic) – On September 11, Garden Games finished third beaten nine lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Remington Park dirt. It was the two-year-old filly’s third start, and her first on-the-board finish. She went off the longest shot in the board: 71.9/1. She started near the back, and saved ground along the rail. She fired down the stretch, but got bottled up approaching the final furlong. Things opened up a bit for her late, and she pushed ahead of most of the pack near her. Though she was no match for runaway winner Bling It On Baby, who won by 8 3/4 lengths in hand, she was just a neck short of the place. It was her best effort to date, and a distinct suggestion that she is growing into herself.
- Graceful Gal (Cloon, by Lure) – On September 18, Graceful Gal finished second beaten a neck in a New York-bred maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner grass. The three-year-old filly was making her second start, having been fourth in a turf sprint last out against state-bred maidens at Saratoga. She chased about a length and a half back early, as Resolutely set tortoise-like early fractions. In shallow stretch, Resolutely had pulled ahead to lead by open lengths. Graceful Gal found her best stride late, and started eating away at her lead. All told, the finished a neck short. Being able to close that well in a race where the quarter went in 27:45 and the half in 52.65, though? This filly has talent, and should be tough next out.
- Inspired by Grace (Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor) – On September 13, Inspired by Grace finished foruth beaten 1 3/4 lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at five furlongs over the Parx dirt. She raced under the allowance condition. The race had originally been carded for turf, but it was washed off and run in the slop. It was her first race since clearing the N1X condition by daylight in a turf dash allowance at Delaware. She was locked in an early speed duel with Romantica Mia early, and shook her off entering the final furlong. However, she had a trio of horses on her outside to deal with: and all three passed her in the final sixteenth. Still, she hung on better than her rival in the duel, and acquitted herself admirably in light of the surface change. This was her first time racing in mud, and only her third time on the dirt. Though she does her better work on the grass, she is at least competitive on dirt.
- Julie Napp (Garden District, by Dixie Union) – On September 17, Julie Napp won a $40,000 N2L claiming race at six furlongs over the muddy Belmont dirt. The three-year-old filly had been a main track only entry, and the race was washed off the turf. She was dropping in after two seventh-place finishes in allowance company at Saratoga, so the class drop made sense. She was claimed out of the race: previously in the barn of Dominick Schettino, she is now owned and trained by Eddie Kenneally. Usually a frontrunning type, she broke sharply, but then was rated at the back of the tight four-horse pack. Entering the sweeping far turn, she began to close ground. Passing the three-eighths pole, she nailed Mr Rico Is Valid on her inside, and pulled ahead under a ride to win by 5 1/4 lengths. Even though the field was short, this hopefully served as a confidence builder, and also proved that she could run strongly in the mud.
- Keen Ice (Medomak, by Awesome Again) – On September 6, Keen Ice graduated to the ranks of the winners, winning a maiden special weight at a mile over the Churchill Downs dirt by a head. He settled near the back of a strung out pack early, almost a dozen lengths off the lead entering the far turn. In early stretch, Keen Ice had everyone else beat: except for Tiznow R J and Starbound, who were head-and-head over half a dozen lengths in front of him. Passing the sixteenth pole he realised the urgency of the situation: he charged ahead into what looked like an impossible gap to close, and nailed that pair to win by a head! This was his second career start; he had been fourth in a five and a half furlong sprint at Ellis in his debut. It is not an uncommon move for Dale Romans to start a promising runner in a sprint at Ellis and then stretch out, and that’s exactly what he did. The bettors saw what he did there: he was 10/1 on the morning line, but bet all the way down to the 9/5 favourite in the field of twelve by the time the gates sprung open.
- Lady of Luck (Lunarlady, by Yes It’s True) – On September 16, Lady of Luck raced in an allowance at six and a half furlongs over the Albuquerque dirt. She did not finish. The four-year-old filly was in better form through the winter and spring, but came back a disappointing sixth in an allowance at Albuquerque after a summer layoff. This was her second race back. She was slow after the break, and quickly spotted the rest of the field half a dozen lengths. She chased down the backstretch and through the far turn, but steadily lost ground. Her jockey pulled her up with about a furlong to go. It was not clear from the video exactly why she was pulled up, and the race chart does not note that information. Hopefully she is okay, and I will return with any update that comes.
- Larrymoeandcurlin (Sally Bowles (SAF), by London News (SAF)) – On September 5th, Larrymoeandcurlin finished sixth beaten 26 1/4 lengths in a $10,000 maiden claiming race at six furlongs on the Churchill Downs dirt. The three-year-old gelding was not claimed out of the race. He settled near the back of the pack early, and was just outrun. He ground going into the stretch because he flung very wide, but even without that he would likely have been well beaten. It was his second attempt after dropping from maiden special to maiden claiming, and his lowest level to date. It was his seventh race, and his second off a lay; he has been off the board in all seven starts. The class drop is a step in the right direction, though something else may need to change as well.
- Larrymoeandcurlin (Sally Bowles (SAF), by London News (SAF)) – Larrymoeandcurlin returned to the track on September 18, and did try another surface: polytrack. Unfortunately, that change did not appear to help much, at least at first outing. He raced in a $7,500 maiden claiming race at a mile on the Arlington synthetic, and finished eighth (and last) beaten 15 3/4 lengths. He was not claimed out of the race. Near the back early, Larrymoeandcurlin made an outside run approaching the turn. Nearing the stretch he was only about three lengths off the pace, but he faded out in the stretch. This was his first attempt on polytrack, so it may be worth trying it again to see if he might take to it.
- Lord of the Realm (Danceroftherealm (GB), by King of Kings (IRE)) – On September 9, Lord of the Realm finished sixth beaten 7 3/4 lengths in a $5,000-$4,750 N2L claiming race at six furlongs over the Fort Erie dirt. The four-year-old colt raced for the higher tag. He settled near the back of the pack, six or eight lengths off the lead. He never lost a lot of ground from there, but never fired either; he crossed the wire near the back of the main pack. This was a bit of a disappointment given that he was dropping back from a series of attempts at the next level up. However, it was not entirely surprising; he has had some better runs and some weaker ones whether he is running in $5,000 company or $7,500. This is also three straight off the board finishes, for the first time since shipping to Fort Erie from Woodbine in June.
- Liza Doolittle Day (Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat) – On September 6, Liza Doolittle Day made it two-for-two for her career, prevailing in an N1X allowance at six furlongs over the Laurel dirt. The three-year-old filly was racing for the first time since her maiden win at Delaware Park, in which she prevailed over fellow Curlin baby Une Cherise. This time she was outbroken, but quickly rushed to the front. She was pressured early by What a Lute and Daddy Loves Gold, but soon settled a length in front. She was able to slow down the pace a bit from that pressured beginning, and save enough energy to maintain her lead down the stretch. She crossed the wire a length and a half in front, holding off both Eddy Gourmet and Daddy Loves Gold. She has made every call a winning one in her two races so far, but gotten through some pressure in both races. N2X will be a tougher test, but hopefully she is up to it when she faces it.
- Lynx (Silver Bird, by Lit de Justice) – On September 8, Lynx finished third beaten two lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile and a sixteenth over the Parx dirt. The three-year-old gelding was making his first start since his second-place finish in the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie; he had scratched out of the Smarty Jones Stakes (GIII) on September 1. He stalked close early, but was caught outside through both turns. He made a run in the final furlong, but had too much to do; Metroliner had his way on the front end throughout, and carried the day. It was a creditable first run against older, though disappointing that he did not win after his nice run in the Prince of Wales. Still, this at the very least bodes well for his chances to be competitive in the allowance ranks going forward.
- Maria Maria (Hollow Miss, by With Approval) – On September 13, Maria Maria achieved her first graded stakes placing, finishing third beaten 3 1/2 lengths in the Pucker Up Stakes (GIII) at a mile and an eighth over the Arlington turf. The three-year-old filly was coming off a strong second to Kiss Moon in division two of the Hatoof Stakes, the local prep. She tucked in along the rail early, and chased Final Redemption’s early pace from about two and a half lengths back. She continued there, but angled off the rail to make her run down the stretch. She gained slowly and steadily: outgunned by the 1-2 finishers Sistas Stroll and V V Goodnight, but able to edge Final Redemption late to hit the board. The turf was soft and heavy, and this showed that Maria Maria could run well over it. It is good that trainer James DiVito has started to run her on turf more; it appears she does her best work over grass.
- Mike the Hab (Hightshift, by St. Jovite) – On September 6, Mike the Hab finished eighth and last, beaten 20 lengths, in a $40,000-$37,500 N2L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Woodbine polytrack. The three-year-old gelding was up for the lower tag, and not claimed. It was his first race since July 30; he had been slated to try dirt at Fort Erie, but the race was rained out and he was not reentered there. Mike the Hab broke slowly, and settled in the back, half a dozen lengths off the lead. He advanced slightly up the rail as the field approached the far turn, but quickly emptied out and faded back to last. This suggested that he is not exactly competitive in races at this level over poly, and that either a surface change or a class drop were in order.
- Mike the Hab (Hightshift, by St. Jovite) – Mike the Hab wheeled back on September 17, getting the class drop he needed. He finished second beaten 4 1/4 lengths in a $12,500-$11,500 N2L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Woodbine polytrack. He raced for the higher tag, and was not claimed. Mike the Hab settled along the rail, chasing in midpack, about three lengths off the pace. Turning for home he angled off the rail a bit, and closed in on early pacesetter Bandamba from his outside. Millioninthemaking, behind Mike the Hab in shallow stretch, used that opening to fly ahead and win going away. However, Mike the Hab stayed engaged, and got his nose in front of the pacesetter on the wire. He was more competitive at this level than he had been a few rungs up the class ladder; it would make sense to see him come back.
- Ol Sanish (Dimple Pinch, by Smoke Glacken) – On September 12, Ol Sanish finished fifth beaten five lengths in a maiden special weight at five furlongs over the Churchill Downs dirt. The two-year-old filly was racing for the first time since clipping heels and losing her rider in a maiden attempt at Ellis in July. This time she settled midpack on the outside, four or five lengths off the pace. She never really fired hard enough to threaten the leaders, though, and maintained that spot throughout the race. She is still a juvenile, and likely has some developing to do; she also may be fresher next out, second off the lay.
- Ostentatious Me (Gorgeous Me, by Big Spruce) – On September 13, Ostentatious Me finished in a dead heat for eighth beaten 2 3/4 lengths in $40,000 maiden claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Belmont grass. The three-year-old colt was not claimed. He loped along near the back of the pack early, almost a dozen lengths off. He mounted a gradual, sustained run on the outside, starting as the field approached the far turn. He closed up most of the distance, but did not improve his position much relative to the field: he finished near the back of the main pack at the wire. It was some improvement upon recent performances; it would be understandable to either drop him a rung, or try one more time at this level.
- Prince Curlin (No Small Wonder, by Capote) – On September 9, Prince Curlin finished sixth beaten nine lengths in a $7,500 N2L claiming race at seven furlongs over the Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding was not claimed. He broke well, and stalked close to pacesetter Sportacular early. However, he started to fade through the far turn, and steadily lost ground. Still, the fact that he was only beaten nine lengths was one of his better performances.
- Prince Curlin (No Small Wonder, by Capote) – Prince Curlin wheeled back a week later on September 16, finishing sixth beaten 13 3/4 lengths in a $10,000-$8,000 N2L claiming race at five furlongs over the Parx dirt. He was up for the lower tag, and not claimed. He broke decently, and kept up with the field for the first few strides, but then dropped back. He finished with what looked like run left, but by then he had already lost touch with the pack. This seemed a bizarre placement: it was a class rise from his last outing, and the last thing he needs is a class rise. He has been no better than fourth since breaking his maiden in April, and does not seem to be competitive against winners. Either he needs to find a softer circuit, or he needs to find a role as something other than a racehorse.
- Pulling G’s (Torrid Affair, by Alydeed) – On September 7, Pulling G’s finished second beaten 3/4 lengths in his debut, a six-furling maiden special weight over the Belmont dirt. The four-year-old gelding was about a length off of pacesetter (and odds-on favourite) Clark Kent early, but really engaged the duel about a quarter of a mile in. They pulled ahead of the rest of the field, fighting through the turn and the stretch. Clark Kent edged away in the last furlong to win, but Pulling G’s was still another 10 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Jazz Player. It was a dead-game outing for a first-time starter, and hopefully he builds on that for next time.
- Reversiontothemean (Jet Setting, by Forestry) – On September 13, Reversiontothemean finished second beaten 1 3/4 lengths in a conditioned allowance optional claiming race at about a mile over the Suffolk Downs turf. The three-year-old filly was not up for a tag. Her previous outing, she had finished fourth at the same level: her first finish worse than second in what were then seven starts at Suffolk. She got back on track this time, though. She chased the early pace from a few lengths back, but came in to stalk less than a length off with about half a mile to go. She pulled to the lead with about a quarter of a mile to go, but was confronted by favourite Lapantalones Fance in the stretch. That rival bumped Reversiontothemean, and drew off to win, but she held on to finish a clear second. It was good to see her run well…though now I just hope she lands on her feet, and finds a place where she likes to race, if Suffolk Downs closes.
- She’s Curly (Mo Cheoil Thu (IRE), by In The Wings (GB)) – On September 5, She’s Curly finished sixth beaten 6 1/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile and a sixteenth over the Laurel grass. The three-year-old filly was taking a much-needed class drop after a last-place finish in Monmouth’s Desert Vixen Stakes, but had been on the shelf for almost two months going into the race. She settled about half a dozen lengths off the pace, but never really improved much from there. She lost a bit of ground after being caught wide through the far turn, and made it up again in the stretch, but never threatened to hit the board. This was the same distance and surface at which she broke her maiden at Pimlico earlier this year, and it would make sense for her trainer to try her one more time at this level, when she is fresher, before looking to change something major.
- She’s Curly (Mo Cheoil Thu (IRE), by In The Wings (GB)) – On September 17, She’s Curly finished fourth beaten 1 1/4 lengths in a conditioned starter allowance at a mile and a sixteenth over the Laurel turf. The four-year-old filly was taking a welcome class drop from her last three starts. She chased along the rail early, about three lengths off a dawdling early pace. She picked up the pace turning for home. Though she wasn’t able to catch favourite Leda’s Swan, she was in a three-way photo for place, and just a neck out of second all told. It was an improvement from her recent races, and shows this to be an appropriate level for her.
- Sookie (Island Escape, by Petionville) – On September 17, Sookie finished sixth beaten 8 1/2 lengths in a Pennsylvania-bred N1X allowance at six furlongs over the Penn National dirt. The three-year-old filly was racing for just the second time, after breaking her maiden by fourteen lengths in hand on August 24 at Parx. This time out, she tried to get to the lead along the rail, and did: but with protracted pressure from Congressionalstorm. Those two dueled, but were both caught by eventual winner You Knew Juneau — and then others — coming down the stretch. It was a disappointing performance for Sookie, the 1/5 favourite after her dazzling maiden win. Still she is very lightly raced, and hopefully she learns to take some pressure.
- Starfire Mist (Misty Lady (ARG), by Lucky Roberto) – On September 14, Starfire Mist finished ninth beaten 12 1/4 lengths in an N2X starter allowance at a mile over the Golden Gate turf. The four-year-old filly was returning to the same distance and level at which she had finished a decent fourth two weeks before. She settled near the back of the pack early, and was just never able to sustain a run. It was a strangely bad effort, as she generally runs better over the turf at Golden Gate. There wasn’t a clear reason or excuse; hopefully this was just a one-off, a bad day.
- Thats Our Princess (Princess Ruckus, by Bold Ruckus), Theogony (Upcoming Story, by Tale of the Cat) – On September 14, both Thats Our Princess and Theogony raced in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at seven furlongs over the Woodbine polytrack. Both four-year-old Curlin fillies were in under the allowance condition. Thats our Princess was third beaten 2 3/4 lengths. She broke alertly, and settled in to stalk less than a length off the pace. She took a short lead through the far turn, and maintained it into the final furlong. She was passed late, however, by Black Bird Rock’s outside bid: as well as strong rail bid from Theogony, who started near the back of the pack and really fired in the final sixteenth. Theogony got the best of it, prevailing by half a length. Thats Our Princess was racing for just the second time this year, and has two third-place finishes at the level; hopefully she puts it together third off the lay. Theogony was racing for just the third time at four, and has cleared the N1X and N2X conditions across those starts. She looks to be coming into her own well.
- Trensita (Trensa, by Giant’s Causeway) – On September 19, Trensita finished second beaten a neck in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth over the Belmont grass. The two-year-old filly had only raced once before, finishing sixth beaten 5 3/4 lengths after an extremely wide trip at this distance over the Saratoga grass. This time out, she broke from the rail. The break was sharp, but she settled almost half a dozen lengths off the pace early. She made a gradual advance up the backstretch, and then had to angle off the rail through the far turn to avoid fading pacesetter One And Done. She kept going on the outside, and was edging into Path’s lead in the final furlong. She was running well, but missed by just a neck. Still, this shows she is going in the right direction, and another crack at a turf route maiden special weight would make sense.
- Tres Hermanas (Pretty Meadow, by Meadowlake) – On September 14, Tres Hermanas finished sixth beaten 7 3/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile over the grass at Gulfstream. This was the three-year-old filly’s fourth race, and first since clearing the N2L condition in $30,000 N2L company in July. She loped near the back of the pack early, about eight lengths back on the outside. she made a very early move to stalk just a length or so back down the backstretch, but slowly lost ground, unable to sustain her early bid. The race was a class rise for her, and it was not necessarily a bad effort, but she mat be better served in claiming or starter company.
- Waynesborough (Bloomy, by Polish Numbers) – On September 15, Waynesborough finished second beaten a neck in an N2L starter allowance at a mile and seventy yards on the Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding has had a bit of second-itis lately: he broke his maiden in May, and in six starts since (in claiming, allowance, and starter ranks) has been second or third in every single one. He tracked about two lengths off the early pace set by Now We’re Talkin, along the rail. He edged closer to the front through the far turn, and angled back in to overtake the fading pacesetter in early stretch. He looked like he was going to go clear of odds-on favourite Da Bears as well, but fell just short. He is running well, and running at the right level, but hopefully he can remember how to win soon.
- Whirl (Shag, by Dixieland Band) – On September 7, Whirl finished eighth beaten 12 1/4 lengths in her career debut, a maiden special weight at six furlongs on the Churchill Downs dirt. The two-year-old filly was near the back of the pack early, and never really fired. She steadily lost ground through the race, and never quite managed to threaten or improve position. It was her first start as a juvenile; given how the Curlin babies tend to improve as they age, she does stand to run better with experience.
- Baht (Belladia, by Silver Deputy) – On September 20, Baht run in a $10,000 maiden claiming race at 1 1/16 miles over the Churchill Downs dirt. The three-year-old gelding will break from the 7 gate in the field of eight, though he will wear number 1A. He has raced six times to date, finishing off the board in all attempts. He is taking a class drop here, which seems a welcome one as he was a well-beaten eighth at the $30,000-$25,000 level last out. This seems to be a more realistic placement, given his performance this year.
- Barbara’s Smile (Credenza, by Lord Carlos) – On September 20, Barbara’s Smile races in a $25,000 N2L race at seven furlongs over the Belmont grass. The three-year old filly breaks from the rail in a field of eight. She takes a class drop and a distance cut from her last time out, a decent fourth-place finish in a $40,000 N2L on September 10. The class drop seems wise; even though her last race was somewhat better than other recent efforts, she has still been at the N2L level for five races now.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On September 24, Bold Shot will run in a $25,000-$20,000 open claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Kentucky Downs grass. The four-year-old gelding breaks from the 5 gate in the field of 12, plus one also eligible. He cleared the N2L condition at Ellis two back, and last out finished fourth in a $30,000-$25,000 conditioned claimer there. This will be a step up in class. The distance and surface are right up his alley, but this will be a litmus test for how he handles stiffer competition.
- Blisstering Strike (Brief Bliss, by Navarone) – On September 20, Blisstering Strike races in an N1X/N2L allowance at five and a half furlongs over the Laurel Park grass. The three-year-old filly drew the 2 gate in the field of ten, plus one main track only entry. She had been entered in a $40,000 N2L claiming race at six furlongs on the grass earlier in the week, but scratched when the race was washed to the dirt. The distance seems about right, as she broke her maiden at five furlongs on grass. However, the class level looks to be a bit over her head. Her last actual race was a faltering performance in an allowance at Penn National, and these N1X allowance horses at Belmont will be far tougher.
- Liberated (Lady Melesi, by Colonial Affair) – On September 20, Liberated races in the Pink Ribbon Stakes at seven furlongs on the Charles Town dirt. The four-year-old filly breaks from the 6 gate in the field of ten, plus two also-eligible entries. She has not raced since an allowance win at Ellis on July 25, raced at a mile. She does have a second-place finish in her only attempt at seven furlongs; all three of her wins have been at a flat mile. Still, this may suit her, as Charles Town is a bullring. This is a two-turn seven furlongs. She has never raced at a bullring before. This is a step up from an Ellis allowance, but at least a reasonable step up: not like her still-baffling entry in the La Troienne. If it turns out she likes bullrings, she has an outside shot.
- Lin Marie (Coy Cat, by Hold That Tiger) – Lin Marie is entered for an N2L allowance on September 20 at a mile and seventy yards over the Delaware Park grass. In that race, she has the 11 gate in a field of twelve. Assuming this race is not washed off, this will be her first attempt on the grass. All but one of her races to date have been on dirt, and she tried Tapeta at Presque Isle last out. After three off-the-board efforts since breaking her maiden, it makes good sense to try something new.
- My Curby (My Baby Baby, by Bernstein) – On September 24, My Curby is entered in a miaden special weight at six and a half furlongs over the Kentucky Downs grass. The two-year-old colt drew the 8 gate in the eleven-horse field. This will be his career debut. He has been working regularly since late July, including a five-furlong move on September 19. However, all of those works have been on dirt. Still, it would be no surprise if My Curby has some turf skills: his dam My Baby Baby won the Mint Julep Handicap (GIII) in 2011 over the grass, and placed in multiple graded stakes on turf as well.
- Ol Donyo (Royal Tigress, by Storm Cat) – On September 20, Ol Donyo runs in the Musical Romance Stakes, seven furlongs over the Gulfstream dirt. The four-year-old filly breaks from the 3 gate in a field of 11. This will only be her second race of the year, but last out she came off of an eight-month layoff to win an allowance at six furlongs at Gulfstream. She stretches out here; seven furlongs should be no problem, as she is already a stakes winner at a mile. She showed last out that she likes the track and has come back at four years old in good form, so this race looks like a perfectly logical step up from that last outing.
- Smart Number (Star Number, by Polish Numbers) – On September 20, Smart Number races in an N2X/N3L allowance optional claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Parx dirt. The three-year-old filly breaks from the 6 gate in the field of 12, and races under the allowance condition. She attempted stakes races at Presque Isle in her last two starts, finishing off the board in both starts. She has only raced at Parx once before, but it was a good one: she cleared the N1X condition at a flat mile over the Parx dirt in June. She should like the course and distance, and the class drop should suit her well.
- Sunset District (America America, by Mister Baileys (GB)) – On September 20, Sunset District races in an N1X/N2L allowance at seven furlongs over the Parx dirt. The three-year-old colt drew the 11 gate in a field of 12. It will be his first race at Parx, and his second attempt to clear the N2L condition. Last out, he was flat in a 1 1/16 mile allowance optional at Monmouth, finishing seventh of eight. The start before he broke his maiden at a flat mile over that same track. Seven furlongs will be his shortest distance to date. His breeding suggests he probably likes longer than this, but the turnback means at least that stamina should not be a question.
- Baht (Belladia, by Silver Deputy) – On September 6, Baht had been entered in a maiden special weight at a mile and a half over the Kentucky Downs grass. However, he was scratched from the also-eligible list. Had he run, it would have been his longest race to date. However, barring a freakish day or a heretofore unrevealed love of long distances, Baht would have likely been in far over his head here. He has been entered at Churchill (see Running Soon section), and the new entry was at the claiming level.
- Barbara’s Smile (Credenza, by Lord Carlos) – On September 5, Barbara’s Smile had been on the also-eligible list for a $25,000 N2L claiming race at a mile over the Belmont turf. However, none of the main entries scratched, so she did not draw in. She has had a tough time since breaking her maiden at first asking in May, but hit the board at this distance and level at the Spa last out. She was re-entered in a race on September 10, as detailed in the Race Results section. (Sep 5, Race 4, BEL)
- Blisstering Strike (Brief Bliss, by Navarone) – On September 17, Blisstering Strike had been entered in a $40,000 N2L claiming race at six furlongs on the Belmont inner grass. However, the race was washed off the turf, and the three-year-old filly scratched as a result. This was the same race won by fellow Curlin baby Julie Napp. Blisstering Strike is re-entered for a grassy allowance race at Laurel on September 20, as detailed in the Running Soon section.
- Inspired by Grace (Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor) – On September 11, Inspired by Grace had entered an N2X allowance optional claiming race at five and a half furlongs over the grass at Laurel. However, she was submitted as an early scratch for the race. She raced instead at Parx two days later, as detailed in the Race Results section.
- Lin Marie (Coy Cat, by Hold That Tiger) – Lin Marie was entered on the also-eligible list for an N1X/N2L allowance on September 19 at a mile over the Laurel grass. However, she did not draw in, and was scratched. She is currently entered in a race tomorrow at Delaware Park, as detailed in the Running Soon section.
- Liza Doolittle Day (Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat) – On September 5, Liza Doolittle Day had been a main track only entry for an N1X allowance at five and a half furlongs at Laurel. However, the race stayed on the grass, so she scratched. It would have been her first start against winners, but she only had to wait one more day to make that start. She started in a six-furlong dirt allowance at Laurel the next day, and made quick work of the N1X condition as detailed in the Race Results section.
- Maria Maria (Hollow Miss, by With Approval) – On September 13, Maria Maria had been on the also-eligible list for the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf, run at a mile over the Kentucky Downs grass. However, she was scratched. She had been cross-entered in the Pucker Up (GIII) at Arlington the same day, and even before she was scratched off the AE list, her trainer had stated that she was going to opt to stay at Arlington instead. That race is detailed in the Race Results section.
- Miss Curley d’Oro (Hug It Out, by Medaglia d’Oro) – On September 14, Miss Curley d’Oro had been on the also-eligible list for a maiden special weight at about a mile over the Louisiana Downs turf. No one scratched from the race, so the three-year-old filly did not draw in. She has raced three times before, all in maiden specials at Evangeline, and always been off the board. It would have been good to see how she handled a different track, but at this point she has neither been re-entered nor worked back.
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!