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 another belated one, but it does cover all of the Curlin babies who have hit the track — or been slated to — in the last two and a half weeks. Ol Donyo added another stakes win to her resume in the Musical Romance at Gulfstream, and two-year-olds Danette and Bold Conquest both achieved Grade I placing. Highlights over the next few days include My Curby taking on maiden special company at Keeneland after a sharp debut at Kentucky Downs, and Federal Agent taking an ambitious jump in class after his runaway maiden win.
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 28, Air Squadron finished tenth beaten 14 1/2 lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile on the Churchill Downs grass. The four-year-old colt was in under the allowance condition. He started very awkwardly, and quickly spotted the field several lengths. He never recovered from the poor start, and only passed one fading runner on the far turn. In his better efforts he has tended to be near the lead; he doesn’t need to be right on the front, but he is not a deep closer. Between that and the downright bad start, it was no surprise this race didn’t happen for him. Hopefully next out goes better with a better start.
- Barbara’s Smile (Credenza, by Lord Carlos) – On September 20, Barbara’s Smile finished sixth beaten 6 1/2 lengths in a $25,000 N2L claiming race at seven furlongs on the Belmont grass. The three-year-old filly was taking a class drop from $40,000 company last out, and also a cutback in distance from eight and a half furlongs in that race. She broke from the rail, and chased midpack from that inside position. She ran evenly through the far turn, losing position as others fired. She briefly looked like she was improving near the furlong pole, but stalled out, and finished near the back of the pack. It was a disappointing effort after her decent fourth against harder last out. Still, it would make sense to see her get at least one more try at this level.
- Baroness Rose (Sandra’s Rose, by Old Trieste) – On October 4, Baroness Rose finished fourth beaten 3 1/4 lengths in the TaWee Stakes, run at a mile on the Indiana Grand turf. The three-year-old filly was attempting stakes company for the first time, and moving up from an allowance win at seven and a half furlongs over the same course last out. She broke near the back, but was midpack (though wide) coming into the clubhouse turn. She advanced clearly down the backstretch, joining the front flight and getting within three lengths of Kiss Moon’s lead. She didn’t fire powerfully or ever seriously threaten the lead, but ran evenly with enough steam to stay ahead of a few tiring horses near the front. It wasn’t a great effort, but it wasn’t a bad one either — the race was a class rise for her, and she showed serious improvement from her flat efforts earlier in the season. It was better than I was expecting to see from her in this spot, and hopefully she can build on that run.
- Bold Conquest (One for Jim, by Distorted Humor), Keen Ice (Medomak, by Awesome Again) – On October 4, both Bold Conquest and Keen Ice raced in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at a mile and a sixteenth over the dirt at Keeneland. Bold Conquest, a two-year-old colt, finished third beaten twelve lengths. He was coming in off of a second-place finish in the Iroquois Stakes (GIII) last out, behind stablemate Lucky Player. He was near the back of the pack on the clubhouse turn, but advanced along the rail through the backstretch. He was caught in a bit of traffic approaching the far turn, but it opened up as the field turned for home. He had no answer for either Carpe Diem or Mr. Z, but was able to push ahead of the main pack and gain the show. It was a creditable run, and he finished with good energy, though he was no match for the winner. Keen Ice, also a two-year-old colt, was stepping into stakes company for the first time after a hard-fought maiden win last out. This time, he was far back early: a distant and unhurried last, almost half a dozen lengths out of touch with his closest competitor. He rallied along the rail down the backstretch, regaining touch with the pack as the field approached the far turn. He got caught in some traffic, but jockey Corey Lanerie wove him around horses well enough that he improved to fifth come the wire, beaten thirteen and a half lengths. Like his fellow Curlin baby Bold Conquest, he did not challenge the top two. Still, given his trailing early position and how well he weaved through horses late, it was a good effort and a race that will help him mature.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On September 24, Bold Shot finished tenth beaten eight lengths in a $25,000-$20,000 open claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Kentucky Downs grass. He raced for the higher tag. The four-year-old gelding was racing there for the first time, and facing tougher company than he had faced back at Ellis. He settled mid-pack early, chasing. He dropped back through the turn for home, though, and faded to last. It was not a distant last, as there were two others not even a length in front of him. However, he just lost steam. The field was probably a bit difficult for him, and it would make sense to see him return to conditioned claiming company on the grass at Churchill or Fair Grounds soon.
- Blisstering Strike (Brief Bliss, by Navarone) – On September 20, Blisstering Strike finished fourth beaten 2 3/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at five and a half furlongs over the Laurel turf. The three-year-old filly was racing at Laurel for the first time, and against winners for the second time. She was bumped out of the gate, and relegated to the back early — often a death knell in a dash. She edged ahead along the rail, but had to angle wide through the turn to get racing room. Coming down the stretch she ran strongly, and was a very clear fourth: though she did not catch the leaders, she still finished three lengths ahead of her closest competitor, and well given all the early trouble she encountered. Another attempt at this level would make sense, though instead her connections are moving to a tougher circuit and dropping her for a tag (see Running Soon section).
- Calamondin (Redaspen, by Bianconi) – On September 27, Calamondin finished tenth beaten seven lengths in the Laurel Dash Stakes, run at six furlongs over the Laurel turf. The four-year-old gelding had been on the also-eligible list, but drew in with the scratch of Night Officer. It was his first attempt at stakes company. He broke from the outside gate in the field of ten, and was quickly taking up the rear. He never really fired, and though he closed up some ground, he never threatened the leaders. The back-of-pack position did not suit his style; in his three wins, he had stalked fairly close to the front of the pack early. It was a big class jump for him — warranted, in that he had won his last three races, but it turned out to be a bit over his head. Hopefully they find a good race in allowance company that suits him, though that may be getting hard with two open allowance wins.
- Captured (Alluring, by A. P. Indy) – On October 3, Captured won a $7,500 N3L claiming race at a mile over the Penn National dirt. The three-year-old gelding was dropping back in after a ninth-place finish in allowance company last out; he had cleared N2L at the $12,500 level at Penn two back. Breaking from the rail, he settled at the back early, four or five lengths off the lead. He fired coming through the far turn, splitting horses and angling out to pass. Turning for home he bumped around with Zip It Carson, but straightened up in the final furlong. He pushed ahead to challenge Big Apple Brit, and nailed him just in time to win by a neck. He likes the surface at Penn National; in three starts there he has won twice, and only faltered when placed over his head in the allowance. It would makes sense to see him come back in another claiming race there, a step up in the conditions.
- Curlinator (Tap Your Feet, by Dixieland Band) – On October 3, Curlinator finished eighth beaten 10 3/4 lengths in a $15,000 maiden claiming race at five furlongs over the Retama turf. The four-year-old colt is lightly raced; this was only his third start, and his first since July of last year. Both previous starts were in special weight company at Lone Star, and both resulted in eighth place finishes as well. This time out, he settled near the back of the pack early, a dozen, then twenty lengths off the lead. He improved position late, but never threatened. He did have a fairly long slate of works leading up to this race, though all were fairly slow. One can hope he will be a bit fresher next out, and it seems lower-level maiden claiming is where he ought to be if he is to keep running.
- Curlin Iron (Double D Appeal, by Successful Appeal) – On October 2, Curlin Iron finished sixth beaten ten lengths in a $50,000-$40,000 maiden claiming race at six furlongs on the Santa Anita dirt. The three-year-old colt was racing for the second time; he had been fourth in $40,000-$35,000 company over the Del Mar poly in his debut. He broke in the middle of the pack, but quickly dropped back to last on the outside. Approaching the far turn, he had completely lost touch with the pack. He gained a bit of ground late, and got his neck ahead of two tiring horses by the time the wire hit. Still, it appears this company is a bit too tough for him, at least at a sprint distance. It would make sense to see a change next out, either an attempt at a route, a change of surface, or a class drop.
- Curlin N Twirlin (Bluff for Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – On September 25, Curlin N Twirlin finished fifth beaten 12 1/2 lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs over the Penn National dirt. The four-year-old filly raced under the allowance condition. She was midpack on the outside early, only about two lengths off the lead. However, she was just outrun; the rest of the field quickened, and she could not keep up. She passed one tiring horse late, but never actually threatened. It was a step up in class for her; last out, on August 7, she had finished second at the $12,500 level. She was claimed, and this was her first start for new trainer Mary Eppler. It would make sense for her to settle back down to a more reasonable class level after this ambitious placing.
- Danette (Sugar Britches, by Dixieland Band) – On September 27th, Danette finished third beaten five lengths in the Chandelier Stakes (GI), run at a mile and a sixteenth over the Santa Anita dirt. The two-year-old filly is still a maiden, and was making her first attempt on the dirt, but clearly validated trainer Keith Desormeaux’s confidence in her. She settled near the back of a mostly compact pack early, about five lengths back along the rail. She fired well down the stretch, though didn’t quite have enough to catch Angela Renee or the chasing Conquest Eclipse. Still, she finished a clear third, 2 1/4 lengths ahead of her closest adversary. She showed that she can run well on dirt, and takes to the Santa Anita track well. Where she will go next is not set in stone yet, but trainer Desormeaux is considering sending her to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On October 4, Dyker Beach finished second beaten two lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile over the Belmont dirt. The race had been originally carded for turf, but he got in when the race was washed to the dirt. The four-year-old gelding was making his second straight start in straight allowance company after winning a starter allowance at the Spa in August. He chased on the outside early, about three lengths off the lead. Through the far turn, he circled four wide with a run. He cut into wire-to-wire leader Iron Power’s lead late, but the wire came too quickly, and Dyker Beach was second…again. This marks his tenth second-place finish in 21 starts, suggesting that place bets on Dyker Beach are definitely the way to go. All jokes aside, though, it was good to see him improve over his fifth-place finish in allowance company last out.
- Garden Games (Garden Gloves, by Stormy Atlantic) – On October 2, Garden Games finished third beaten 7 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at six and a half furlongs over the Remington Park dirt. It was the two-year-old filly’s fourth career race, and second straight third-place finish. Coming down the backstretch she chased midpack, four or five lengths off the lead. She was caught in traffic through the far turn, but started to gain ground after angling outside in early stretch. There was not enough time to catch the top pair, but she got safely in for third. She has nice closing form; hopefully she gets a bit more pace to run into next out.
- Golden Actor (Clever Actress, by Theatrical (IRE)) – On October 4, Golden Actor finished second beaten 3/4 length in a maiden special weight at seven furlongs over the Gulfstream dirt. The race was the two-year-old colt’s career debut. He settled near the back early, almost ten lengths off the pace. Through the turn he fired, and started picking off horses around the outside. He missed catching lone speed Charlie’s Brother, but made a strong run to get second given the relatively slow fractions for the distance. He should be well set to run well next out — and will probably not go off at the 30/1 odds of his debut.
- Inmyfathersimage (Friendly Michelle, by Artax) – On September 27, Inmyfathersimage finished fifth beaten 4 1/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at six and a half furlongs over the Belmont dirt. The four-year-old gelding was midpack early, but advanced close to the pace approaching the far turn. Approaching the stretch, he was just a head off on the outside. He could not sustain the run late, and was overtaken in the final furlong. He was taking a class rise after faltering last out in a starter allowance at Parx, but definitely did better than the last time his connections sent him into allowance company. It’s an encouraging sign, and hopefully he runs well next out.
- Inspired by Grace (Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor) – On October 3, Inspired by Grace won a conditioned allowance optional claiming race by half a length at five and a half furlongs over the Laurel grass. She raced under the allowance condition. The three-year-old filly was trying Laurel for the first time, and had just cleared the N1X condition two starts back. This time out she settled midpack, just about two or three lengths off the pace. The front-end pace was very hot, though giving her something to attack. She did just that, splitting horses to lead with about a furlong and a half to go. Though Royal Renege closed well, Inspired By Grace had enough to prevail for her third career win.
- J to the Croft (A to the Croft, by Menifee) – On September 26, J to the Croft finished second beaten 1 1/4 lengths in an allowance optional claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth on the inner turf. The three-year-old colt was not up for the tag. He settled midpack early, letting Roman Approval get to the lead and others stalk him more closely. He chased along the rail, starting to close up ground approaching the far turn. He got just about even, but early leader Roman Approval sedged away. J to the Croft was still a clear second, a length ahead of Request. This race was his first since his sixth-place finish behind Tourist on July 18 in the Sir Cat Stakes. Though the bettors let Roman Approval go off as the only double-digit longshot in the field, he does have some back class; Roman Approval frequently battled Oklahoma Derby winner Tonito M. back at Camarero, even nailing him once in an allowance. It was still a good run from J to the Croft after over two months off.
- K. D.’s Girl (Private Pursuit, by Private Account) – On October 4, K. D.’s Girl finished eleventh beaten 27 lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Keeneland dirt. The tw0-year-old filly was making her career debut. She was almost a dozen lengths back early, and never improved; she steadily lost ground, and finished only ahead of Pinata Cat, who had to steady on the backstretch. She has two things suggesting against her precocity: the fact that Curlin babies tend to improve with age, and the fact that trainer D. Wayne Lukas is not the best first-out conditioner. Hopefully, she shows more next out.
- Larrymoeandcurlin (Sally Bowles (SAF), by London News (SAF)) – On October 1, Larrymoeandcurlin finished sixth beaten 11 3/4 lengths in a $15,000 maiden claiming race at a mile over the Indiana Downs grass. The three-year-old gelding was starting for the ninth time, and has missed the board every time he has raced. He broke decently, and settled midpack, about four lengths off the lead. Coming down the stretch he didn’t have enough to go with the front runners. He finished almost seven lengths out of fourth, but still almost ten lengths out of sixth. Seeing him not bring up the rear was encouraging, but this still continues to leave open the question of whether Larrymoeandcurlin is all that crazy about being a racehorse.
- Liberated (Lady Melesi, by Colonial Affair) – On September 20, Liberated finished seventh beaten 13 1/4 lengths in the Pink Ribbon Stakes at seven furlongs on the Charles Down dirt. The four-year-old filly was returning for the first time since an allowance optional claiming win at Ellis in July, and facing stakes company for the first time since a rather ill-advised run in the La Troienne on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. She was slow out of the gate, and settled in last as the field approached the clubhouse turn. She stayed a bit outside near the back of the pack throughout the race, and was really only able to assert her place at the head of the back pack of four. After her allowance win this was not a completely bizarre place to try her, but it still ended up a bit over her head. She should probably try a somewhat easier spot; hopefully, she turns up in some sort of allowance company next out.
- Liza Doolittle Day (Miss Doolittle, by Storm Cat) – On September 26, Liza Doolittle Day finished fifth beaten 8 1/2 lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs on the Laurel dirt. It was the three-year-old filly’s third race, and her first loss. Last out she had cleared N1X over the same course and distance; she broke her maiden at Delaware Park at first asking back in July, finishing ahead of fellow Curlin baby Une Cherise. She had sharp speed early, stalking just off of early leader New Zone. She briefly got in front on the far turn, but was overtaken by eventual winner Who’s In Town and eventually faded back. Coming down the stretch she faded out of it, though there was a clear reason why: she bled. She was racing on Lasix, which makes her bleeding particularly worrisome. Hopefully she comes out of it okay, and her trainer will decide whether she is sound to keep training or should step back. I hope she can continue to train, because her first two races showed such promise, but it all ought to depend on how she feels.
- Lord of the Realm (Danceroftherealm (GB), by King of Kings (IRE)) – On September 28, Lord of the Realm finished eleventh beten 13 1/2 lengths in a $5,000-$4,750 N2L claiming race at six and a half furlongs over the Fort Erie dirt. He broke well, and was only about two lengths off the pace early. However, he steadily lost ground, and faded along to last. The four-year-old colt had gotten to a decent start at Fort Erie earlier in the summer, but has faltered and been off the board in his last four races. As Fort Erie has now closed down for the winter, hopefully Lord of the Realm gets a little rest.
- Manchurian (Mrs Williams (GER), by Monsun (GER)) – On October 3, Manchurian finished third beaten 6 1/4 lengths in a a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth over the Belmont dirt. This was the two-year-old colt’s career debut. He broke well, and settled early about a length and a half off of Wild Dynaformer’s early pace. He lost a bit of ground approaching the turn for home, but persevered. He was no match for the breakaway pair of Combat Diver and Gold Shield, but fought ahead to garner a clear third. His only other half-sibling to win needed several races to get the hang of it, so hopefully Manchurian will improve next out.
- Moulin de Mougin (Cambiocorsa, by Avenue of Flags) – On September 27, Moulin de Mougin was entered in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (GI), at a mile and a quarter on the turf. She was making her first Grade I attempt, and her first start since her win in the John C. Mabee (GII) at Del Mar. She was at the back of the pack early, but not hopelessly far: about half a dozen lengths back, and making up ground approaching the far turn. She angled outside and was making a mighty move on the outside, but coming through that turn she clipped heels and fell. Fortunately, both Moulin de Mougin and jockey Mike Smith came out of it okay: Smith returned to win the Awesome Again on Shared Belief, and trainer Richard Mandella said Moulin de Mougin came out of the race okay, with just some scratches on her shoulder. It sounds like the Breeders’ Cup is still the plan with her — as well it should be, as long as she is sound after her fall. The move she was making looked like a serious challenge, and as long as she is happy and ready to run, this fall should not derail her having another crack at the country’s best turf mares.
- My Curby (My Baby Baby, by Bernstein) – On September 24, My Curby finished second beaten 2 lengths in a maiden special weight at six and a half furlongs over the Kentucky Downs grass. The tw0-year-old colt was making his career debut. He settled near the back of the pack early, but fired nicely down the stretch. With the pack with a furlong to go, he was on the far outside, firing nicely. He could not catch the favoured Crown the Kitten, but bested everyone else to garner the place. It was a strong first time out, and suggests that he should be back on the turf in maiden special weight company next out.
- Ol Donyo (Royal Tigress, by Storm Cat) – On September 20, Ol Donyo won the Musical Romance Stakes at seven furlongs over the Gulfstream Park dirt. It was only the four-year-old filly’s second start this year; she won an allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs over the same track on August 7. She settled midpack along the rail early, splashing through the slop in good stride. She was about four back early, but closed that up approaching the far turn. She was briefly bottled up behind early leader Horsin’ Around, but got space down the rail through the far turn, and ran easily past. Though she drifted all the way to mid-track coming down the stretch, it was no matter: she won by 3 1/2 lengths, and it could not have been easier. This race was Ol Donyo’s second stakes win; she annexed the Zaftig Stakes at a mile over the Belmont dirt last year.
- Shirleys Curls (Weeks, by Ghazi) – On October 1st, Shirley’s Curls finished third beaten 4 3/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at five and a half furlongs over the Laurel Park grass. The two-year-old filly was making her career debut, and was (at 83/1) the second longest shot in the fourteen-horse field. She was near the back early, a good ten lengths off the lead. Still, she made her way up to the big main pack coming down the stretch. Even though she didn’t quite have enough to challenge Shimmering Cara or Grecian Star, she was very well in stride late, and nailed early leader Justlookatmenow for the show. Hopefully she can build off this performance; it would make perfect sense to see her back in special weight company next out, though not at such astronomical odds.
- Sir Nicholas (Emily Ring, by Fit to Fight) – On September 24, Sir Nicholas finished fourth beaten 7 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at seven and a half furlongs over the Indiana Grand grass. The three-year-old gelding was starting for the third time, but the first time in special weight as opposed to claiming company. He was near the back of the main pack early, but still only five or six lengths off the lead. He improved position down the stretch, finishing a nose ahead of his flight, but did not threaten the top three. All things considered, he was not completely out of it for maiden special at Indiana Grand, and it would not be out of place to see him there again.
- Smart Number (Star Number, by Polish Numbers) – Smart Number raced twice since the last update. On September 20, Smart Number finished third beaten 3 1/4 lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile and aseventy yards on the dirt. She acquitted herself well for a 24/1 long shot: she stalked just a couple of lengths off the early pace, and came within a length of Primo Via’s lead in shallow stretch. There was some bumping around, and both were overtaken by closer Catch My Drift, but she finished a very clear third. She returned on October 4 at the same level at a mile over the Penn National dirt. In that race she was fifth, beaten 4 3/4 lengths. She ran a fairly similar race shape early, a few lengths off the early pace. She was just about a length off the pace turning for home, but lacked the kick of the top four down the stretch, fading out of contention. That more recent race was her first time at Penn National since a fourth-place run in her second race; she had actually cleared the N1X condition at Parx at a mile over their dirt back in June. Hopefully she will get a little break after two races this close together; it would make sense to see her turn up in allowance company somewhere along the mid-Atlantic soon.
- Sound Studio (Brilliancy, by Exchange Rate) – On October 5, Sound Studio finished eighth beaten 21 3/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at 1 1/16 miles over the Keeneland dirt. The two-year-old filly was making her career debut. She broke a bit slow and settled back, though stayed off the rail despite her inside gate. She stayed far out of it, only finishing ahead of My Alex Alexandra, the hopelessly in-over-her-head Dorochenko (yes, the same trainer as Curlin baby Baht…) trainee. As this was her career debut and Curlin babies are not exactly known for their precocity, there is some chance she was just not sure what to look for; hopefully she will improve next out.
- Stopshoppingdebbie (Taste the Passion, by Wild Again) – On October 4, Stopshoppingdebbie finished fifth beaten 9 1/2 lengths in the L. A. Woman Stakes (GIII) at six and a half furlongs over the Santa Anita dirt. The four-year-old filly was defeated for the first time in ten career races; this was her first attempt away from Emerald Downs. She was slower out of the gate than most, and about half a dozen lengths back coming down the backstretch. Through the far turn she was being asked, but did not respond, and faded down the stretch. My thoughts on this race, as well as on what her next plans may be, are discussed in longer form here.
- Sunset District (America America, by Mister Baileys (GB)) – On September 20, Sunset District finished finished seventh beaten 12 3/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at seven furlongs over the Parx dirt. The three-year-old colt was racing for the second time since breaking his maiden in July, and for the first time away from Monmouth. He quickly settled far off the pace, almost a dozen lengths from the front. He saved ground along the inside and started to fire in the far turn, but was only running well enough to pick off a few tired horses in the back. He did break his maiden from the clouds, but left himself too much to do and didn’t fire powerfully enough to get where he needed to go. This was his first start in about two months, so hopefully he comes back fresher next out.
- Thats Our Princess (Princess Ruckus, by Bold Ruckus) – On September 28, Thats Our Princess finished sixth beaten 7 3/4 lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at seven furlongs on the Woodbine grass. The four-year-old filly was starting for the third time this year. She settled near the back of the pack early, and never really fired. She ran evenly, and passed a few tired runners late, but never challenged for the lead or even a spot on the board. This filly had shown versatility of pace — she has won once from the lead, and once from dead last early. There was enough in front of her that pace should not ahve been the problem. Hopefully, she finds her stride again and improves next out.
- Timeless Pleasure (Salty Sal, by Cox’s Ridge) – On September 28, Timeless Pleasure finished third beaten 6 3/4 lengths in a conditioned (non-winner since April 12, 2014 or N3L) allowance optional claiming race at six and a half furlongs over the Emerald dirt. She was in under the allowance condition. The three-year-old filly trailed significantly early, but started closing up significant ground through the far turn. She came in on the inside and got as far as third, but was not quite able to catch the two who pulled away: Stopshoppingdebbie’s adversary Blueberry Smoothie and standout Washington-bred sophomore Chu And You. Those two pulled away…but even though Finding More lived up to her name, Timeless Pleasure was just able to repel her run and hold the show. As that was the closing weekend of Emerald Downs, and she is owned by Northwest Farms (who typically only runs at Emerald unless there are extenuating circumstances, as with fellow Curlin baby Stopshoppingdebbie), she will likely be off the racetrack until Spring.
- To Dare (At Risk, by Dixie Union) – On September 27, To Dare finished fourth beaten 3 3/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at seven furlongs over the Belmont dirt. The two-year-old colt was making his career debut. He settled in along the rail near the back, about eight lengths off Instructor Kunu’s early pace. He got off the rail approaching the turn for home, and really only started rolling come the three-sixteenths pole. He came between horses, started picking them off, and was really running nicely in the last sixteenth. He fell just a head short of third. He looked very good down the stretch, and it seems a bit more distance may suit this colt 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 inner Belmont turf. The two-year-old filly was starting for the second time, after having been caught very wide en route to a sixth place finish in her debut. She broke well, but settled in midpack along the rail down the backstretch. Coming through the turn, she gradually advanced. She angled off the rail to let the fading One And Done by, but had a new adversary to catch: Path, who had fired hard on the outside. Trensita was coming well down the stretch, and gradually closing in on Path, but the wire came just too soon. Still, this shows that she is a talented horse who was probably done in by her wide trip first out, and bodes well for her to return to maiden special next out.
- Waynesborough (Bloomy, by Polish Numbers) – On September 23, Waynesborough won a $25,000 N2L starter allowance at a mile on the Parx grass by a neck. The four-year-old gelding was wheeling back just eight days after a second-place finish at taht level, at a mile and seventy yards on dirt. He broke slowest of all, and settled outside near the back of the pack. He gradually improved his position, but swung wide turning for home. He closed hard, and flew in on the outside to nail It’s Time To Reign and Doubly Smart just in time. This was his seventh start against winners, and he had hit the board in all of those starts since breaking his maiden. It was great to see him fire that way, and hopefully he shows that tenacity going forward.
- Whirl (Shag, by Dixieland Band) – On September 27, Whirl finished eighth beaten 11 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at seven furlongs on the Churchill Downs dirt. The tw0-year-old filly was racing for the second time, having finished a similarly well-beaten eighth in her six-furlong debut earlier that month. This time out, she settled along the rail near the back early. She had to angle off the rail on the far turn to let the fading Voyage Beyond by, but she just did not fire. Hopefully, she improves soon — maybe on a different track or surface? No matter what…she is a gorgeous horse, as I learned firsthand since I was at Churchill that day.
- Wood Machine (Marquet Rent, by Marquetry) – On September 30, Wood Machine finished third beaten 4 1/2 lengths in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Indiana Downs grass. The two-year-old colt was making his career debut. He broke sharply, though settled in midpack approaching the clubhouse turn. He chased down the backstretch in a line of three, about two lengths off. He made his move through the far turn, and was about equal with Zambian turning for home. Zambian kicked away, though, and Broughton Kitten came from the clouds to nail Zambian just in time. Wood Machine held a clear third. It was a decent debut, and hopefully he comes back stronger second out.
- Blisstering Strike (Brief Bliss, by Navarone) – On October 9, Blisstering Strike will race in a $50,000 N3L claiming race at seven furlongs over the Belmont grass. The three-year-old filly drew the 5 gate in a field of nine. She raced her first two times at Belmont, faltering in a maiden special weight and then a maiden claiming race there. However, both of those were on dirt — so this will be her first try on their grass. The fact that they are placing her in an N3L baffles a bit, since Blisstering Strike has only won once. She has improved since switching to turf, and finished a strong fourth in allowance company at Laurel last out. Still, the move to Belmont combined with the skip of a condition makes this look a tough test for Blisstering Strike.
- Federal Agent (Gwenjinsky, by Seattle Dancer) – On October 8, Federal Agent will race in a $25,000 N1X allowance optional claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Indiana Grand grass. The four-year-old gelding drew the 5 gate in a field of twelve, plus two also-eligible entries, and runs under the allowance condition. He broke his maiden last out by a whopping 12 1/4 lengths in a $15,000 maiden claimer — in his seventeenth start. That race was his first at Indiana Grand, but was also over dirt. It was the same distance, and originally carded for turf, but was washed off. It seems an interesting move trying him on turf here, as he finally woke up over the dirt at Indiana Grand. Still, hopefully the maiden win means the light came on, and he outruns his 30/1 morning line odds.
- Kulik Lodge (Kulik Cat, by Giant’s Causeway) – On October 10, Kulik Lodge will race in a $62,500 allowance optional claiming race at a mile and an eighth over the Santa Anita grass. The lightly-raced four-year-old colt drew the 7 gate in a field of eight. He is racing for just the second time this year, and the fourth time in his career. He graduated at Gulfstream last November, sat on the shelf for nine months, and returned with an N1X win at Del Mar on August 9. The next step up in conditions makes sense, as does the stretch-out. Both his wins have been at a flat mile, but being by Curlin out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, his pedigree screams distance. He has been working frequently in the ensuing two months, and trainer Tom Proctor should have him ready to go.
- Lin Marie (Coy Cat, by Hold That Tiger) – On October 8, Lin Marie will race in an N1X/N2L allowance at five and a half furlongs over the Laurel grass. The three-year-old filly drew the 7 gate (though is saddle cloth #8) in a field of fourteen. She was fourth beaten two lengths over the Presque Isle Tapeta last out, going six and a half furlongs. The level makes sense, as does the distance cutback since she broke her maiden going six furlongs. The question, however, is the surface; this will be Lin Marie’s first attempt going over the green stuff.
- Lynx (Silver Bird, by Lit de Justice) – On October 11, Lynx races in a N1X/N2L allowance race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Parx dirt. The three-year-old gelding drew the 2 gate in a field of eight. This will be his second start since his second-place finish behind Coltimus Prime in the Prince of Wales Stakes. Last out, he finished third at this level and distance as the overwhelming favourite. Hopefully he improves on that here. He has shown the ability to run well at Parx; last out he did rally decently late, and he broke his maiden over the track in May, over highly regarded (and heavily favoured) Chad Brown trainee Sassicaia.
- My Curby (My Baby Baby, by Bernstein) – On October 8, My Curby races in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Keeneland grass. The two-year-old colt drew the 10 gate in a field of twelve, plus two also-eligible entries. He will be racing for just the second time; his first race resulted in a sharp second-place finish in a maiden special over the Kentucky Downs turf. That race was at six and a half furlongs, but trying a mile makes perfect sense given his breeding.
- Prince Curlin (No Small Wonder, by Capote) – On October 7, Prince Curlin will run in a $7,500 N2L claiming race at five and a half furlongs over the Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding drew the 5 gate in a field of 12. This will be his first race since a sixth place finish in $10,000-$8,000 company last out, and he stretches half a furlong longer here than he went last out. In that last race, he finished a well-beaten sixth out of seven. The class drop makes sense, though he has run against this level several times and not broken through. He broke his maiden at Parx on April 1, but has not hit the board in nine starts since.
- Une Cherise (Lady Cerise, by Honor Grades) – On October 8, Une Cherise runs in an N1X/N2L allowance at about seven furlongs over the Keeneland dirt. The three-year-old filly will be racing for the third time, and for the first since breaking her maiden at Delaware Park last out. That win was on August 28, going six furlongs on the dirt, and she pulled away to an easy eight-length win. She was second in her debut, but the horse she finished behind, fellow Curlin baby Liza Doolittle Day, vindicated that by clearing N1X in her first allowance try. Une Cherise is facing the toughest group of her career, but if she handles the track at Keeneland as well as she handles it at Delaware, she should be well set here.
- Baht (Belladia, by Silver Deputy) – On September 20, Baht had been entered in a $10,000 maiden claiming race at 1 1/16 miles over the Churchill Downs dirt. The three-year-old gelding was, however, scratched by his trainer. His last start was an eighth-place finish in a $30,000-$25,000 maiden claimer at Churchill; given his struggles this year, the class drop would have been a welcome move. He has started three times this year, all at the maiden claiming level, and missed the board in all starts. Since the scratch, he has neither been reentered nor returned to the worktab.
- Copperplate (Verdana Bold, by Rahy) – On Septmember 30, Copperplate had been entered in an N1X allowance at five furlongs over the Indiana Grand grass. However, he was a veterinarian’s scratch the morning of the race. It would have been the three-year-old colt’s fifth start, and his second since graduating at Ellis. It also would have been a class drop from the company against which he finished second at Kentucky Downs last out. He has worked back once from that scratch. On October 2 Copperplate breezed four furlongs in 48.80, seventh of 43 at the distance.
- Lin Marie (Coy Cat, by Hold That Tiger) – On September 20, Lin Marie had been entered in an N2L allowance at a mile and seventy yards over the grass at Delaware Park. The three-year-old filly was a trainer scratch on race day. She has neither re-entered nor worked back from that outing. That would have been her longest race to date and her first outing on the turf. Given that she hasn’t quite gotten it together since her maiden win, trying something new made sense, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her try something similar soon.
- Reversiontothemean (Jet Setting, by Forestry) – On September 25, Reversiontothemean had been entered in a $25,000-$20,000 N3L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the grass at the Meadowlands. However, the racing card that day was cancelled due to inclement weather. It would have been her first race away from Suffolk Downs since May. She broke her maiden in a dirt sprint, but cleared N2L in an allowance at a mile over the turf. It would have been her first time dropping in for a tag since a few maiden claiming attempts at Delta and Fair Grounds over the winter, but it made sense, as the competition at Meadowlands tends stiffer than that at Suffolk. She was then entered for another race at Meadowlands on October 4, at the exact same distance and level. However, there was more wet weather, and that race was cancelled as well.
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!