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 is the first of a two-part Curlin babies update; with Breeders’ Cup (and then Breeders’ Cup recovery), I have gotten a little behind on the updates. A batch of them are here — but if you don’t see your favourite, don’t fret. Another batch of Curlin Babies updates goes up later this week, with the goal of getting this feature back up to date. The highlights of this edition include a game run by Danette in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), an impressive stakes win for two-year-old Golden Actor, Franklyididitmyway making it four wins out of his last five starts, and Graceful Gal breaking her maiden against the boys.
Lane’s End, where Curlin stands, must be fairly happy with how Curlin’s babies are doing on the track. In 2014, Curlin’s stud fee was $25,000. For next year, it has been notched up to $35,000. It is not the highest his stud fee has ever been: his initial fee was $75,000, but that required correction due to the tough stud market in the late 2000s and early 2010s. However, the thoroughbred racehorse market is getting better, and the Curlin babies are showing themselves to have some real runners in their ranks.
Speaking of the racehorse market: typically, sales results are discussed in these updates. However, with all of the action at Fasig-Tipton November and Keeneland November, recent sales results involving Curlin babies will get their own entry once Keeneland November has concluded.
Without further ado, let’s see what Curlin’s runners have been doing on the track lately!
- Agawa (Silver Adventure, by Silver Deputy) – On October 2, Agawa finished second beaten 6 3/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile and an eighth over the Aqueduct dirt. The race had been originally carded for a mile and three eighths over the turf — something generally more Agawa’s bag — but was washed off. It was not just her first attempt on mud, but her first attempt on dirt at all. She settled early near the back of the pack, still only about three lengths off the pace. She broke away with 1/5 favourite America on the far turn, and was close turning for home, but could not match her late kick. Still, she was 11 1/4 lengths clear of the third-place runner. This was the four-year-old filly’s first race in New York, and her first for new owners Wachtel Stable and new trainer Chris Englehart. She had previously been campaigned as a Sam-Son farm homebred, in the Malcolm Pierce barn.
- Barbara’s Smile (Credenza, by Lord Carlos) – On November 10, Barbara’s Smile finished fourth beaten six lengths in a $25,000 N2L claiming race at a mile over the Aqueduct grass. The three-year-old filly was making her first attempt over that course. She broke well, and tracked about a length and a half off the first flight early. She angled off the rail and moved to take the lead entering the far turn — an early move. She was overtaken approaching the furlong pole, and had no answer for the closing kick of the top three. She won at first asking in $40,000 maiden claiming company, but has been struggling at the $25,000 N2L level in her last three starts. It may be worth trying her at this level once more at Aqueduct, possibly cutting her back to a sprint (her lone win was at seven furlongs), though it is also possible that the NYRA circuit may be a bit over her head.
- Baroness Rose (Sandra’s Rose, by Old Trieste) – On October 29, Baroness Rose finished third beaten 1 1/2 lengths in an N2X allowance at a mile over the Churchill Downs grass. The three-year-old filly was racing for the first time since finishing fourth in the TaWee Stakes at Indiana Grand, and facing a solid allowance field here. She broke from the rail, and stalked about two lengths off the pace along the backstretch. She angled out turning for home, but could not quite close up the distance between her and wire-to-wire winner In My Time, or the fast-closing Helen Kathleen. She was still able to keep her neck in front of Hatoof Stakes winner Annulment to hold the show. Though she did not win, she was solidly competitive, and it is good to see her keep showing better form than she had earlier this year.
- Bishop’s Pond (More for Me, by More Than Ready), Trensita (Trensa, by Giant’s Causeway) – On November 9, Bishop’s Pond and Trensita both raced in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth on the Aqueduct grass. Bishop’s Pond, a two-year-old filly in the Chad Brown barn, was making her career debut. She settled at the back of the pack early, nine or ten lengths off the pace. She chased evenly throughout: never gaining significant ground, but never losing significant ground either. She passed a few tiring horses by virtue of not fading, and finished eighth beaten nine lengths. Hopefully this will teach her a bit, get her more fit, and she will run better second out. Trensita, a two-year-old Michael Matz filly starting for the third time, fared better. She tucked into the second flight, chasing about three lengths back early. She fired going through the far turn, and made a run. She angled out turning for home, but closed the distance between her and Lismore a bit too slowly. She finished second, a length and a half beaten, but still 2 1/2 lengths clear of third. It was another good outing, though, and her second second-place finish in three starts.
- Blisstering Strike (Brief Bliss, by Navarone) – On October 26, Blisstering Strike finished second beaten a head in a $25,000 N2L claiming race at six furlongs over the inner Belmont grass. The three-year-old filly was claimed out of the Karl Grusmark barn, and into the Kelly Rubley barn. (Her new owners, Ninety North Racing, posted some pictures of her the day after they claimed her.) Blisstering Strike broke midpack, but made her way to a stalking position entering the turn. She angled out and gradually made up distance on pacesetter Lakeview Lady, but missed by a diminishing head. Still, it was the first good race she had run in New York, and the first time she had hit the board other than in her maiden win in July at Penn National. Hopefully this is the beginning of good things to come, and she blossoms in her new barn.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On November 5, Bold Shot finished fifth beaten ten lengths in a $15,000-$10,000 conditioned claiming race at a mile on the Churchill Downs dirt. He was up for the higher tag, and not claimed out of the race. The four-year-old gelding settled near the back of the pack early, but the pack was tight — he was not even four lengths off the lead. He made a move through the far turn and threatened for the lead, but was unable to sustain his run turning for home. Winner Forty Four North, stalking close early, drew away to win by 8 1/2 lengths. Bold Shot was fifth, but in the main pack, and just a length and a half out of second. It was a bit easier field than he had been facing, which was good. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here: the same class may make sense since he was not terribly far from second, though facing a bit easier would give him a confidence builder since this was his fourth stab at clearing N3L.
- Curlinator (Tap Your Feet, by Dixieland Band) – On October 25, Curlinator finished seventh beaten 14 1/4 lengths in a $15,000 maiden claiming race at five furlongs over the Retama dirt. That was the four-year-old colt’s fourth race, and his second off a fifteen-month lay. He settled at the back of the pack, over a dozen lengths off the early pace. He held the rail, saved ground through the turn, and made up a bit of ground coming down the stretch, but it was only quite enough to pass some tiring runners late. He was well-beaten for the win, but still only four and a half lengths out of third. Trainer Dewey Smith wheeled him back a week later, on November 1, against $7,500 maiden claiming company going six and a half panels. This time out, Curlinator broke sharply — but was happy to then settle back about fifteen lengths off the pace. He fired up the rail through the turn and into the stretch, but was far too late to catch Tiger’s Shot, who had drawn away. He finished 7 1/2 lengths behind that winner — but another 6 1/4 lengths in front of the third-place runner. This suggests the drop to $7,500 company was a good thing, and it would make sense to see him back there next out.
- Curlin Crush (Secret Source, by Mineshaft) – On October 22, Curlin Crush finished fourth beaten 10 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth over the Keeneland dirt. It was the two-year-old colt’s second start, and his first on dirt. He was hustled out of the gate, but settled midpack along the rail. He chased from midpack, in no hurry to challenge the slow pace being set by Jack Tripp. He lost ground through the far turn, but started to feel some sort of impetus to run turning for home. He picked off about half the pack, but was no match as Jack Tripp drew away. Still, the effort was an improvement over his first out, and suggests he should possibly try dirt again.
- Curlin Iron (Double D Appeal, by Successful Appeal) – On October 30, Curlin Iron finished fifth beaten six lengths in a $20,000 maiden claiming race at a mile on the Santa Anita dirt. The three-year-old colt was racing for the third time, and the second time on dirt. This was also a class drop; he had previously raced in $40,000 and $50,000 company. He settled between the two large groups of horses early, about six lengths off the leaders. He made a move along the rail entering the far turn, but stalled out about halfway around after encountering some traffic. He chased evenly down the stretch to hold fifth, but did not make up further ground. The class drop was something he needed, and it would make sense to try him again against similar, to see how he does without traffic trouble.
- Curlin N Twirlin (Bluff for Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – On November 8, Curlin N Twirlin finished sixth beatne 3 3/4 lengths in a $16,000 N3L starter allowance at six furlongs on the Parx dirt. The four-year-old filly was dropping from allowance optional ranks at Penn National from her previous out. This time out, she chased near the back of the pack throughout, but still never more than about five lengths out of it. She closed up a bit late, but never really threatened the leaders. It was an even effort. Though she was last of six, it was not a well-beaten last, and did not suggest she badly needs a class drop next out.
- Curlino (Comfort Zone, by Rubiano) – On October 22, Curlino finished second beaten a neck in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth over the Keeneland dirt. The two-year-old colt was racing for the second time, and had finished third after a wide trip in his debut. This time out, he broke from the rail and went to the front, but was dogged early by Blue Cap. Blue Cap faded as the field turned for home, but had softened Curlino up just enough to get passed by Royal Burgh late. Curlino fought gamely along the rail, but was just outfinished. Still, it shows he has talent and belongs at the level, and it would make sense to see him in another maiden special weight dirt route next out.
- Curlin’s Kid (Lucette, by Dayjur) – On October 30, Curlin’s Kid won an N1X allowance at a mile over the Laurel dirt. The race had originally been carded for turf, but was washed off. The three-year-old gelding got to the rail despite his outside draw, and set the early pace. He opened up about a length approaching the far turn, and was ahead two in shallow stretch. The stalking Consistency gradually ate into that lead approaching the wire, but Curlin’s Kid dug in and kept a 3/4 length advantage at the wire. This was a good sign all around for Curlin’s Kid: after taking 11 tries to break his maiden, he passed N2L on just his third try. Also, it was on a bit of a class rise — after two third-place attempts in $25,000 company, he cleared the condition in protected company. That also showed some level of versatility — he broke his maiden on grass, and won that on dirt. In short, it looks like the light is on with Curlin’s Kid.
- Curls in Place (Pola’s Place, by Out of Place) – On October 30, Curls In Place finished second beaten 3 3/4 lengths in a $25,000-$20,000 maiden claiming race at seven and a half furlongs over the Indiana Grand grass. The three-year-old filly was up for the higher tag, and hit the board for the first time in four starts. She was bumped at the start, but still managed to get a decent spot midpack, only about two and a half lengths off the early pace. She moved in around the turn, looking like she was going to make a run, but wasn’t quite able to threaten Sea Myrtle, who moved far more strongly late. However, she was still another four and a half lengths clear of third place. It was a significant improvement from previous starts, and this suggests she deserves another shot at this class level.
- Danalin (Danaway, by Giant’s Causeway) – On November 7, Danalin finished fourth beaten 3 1/2 lengths in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile on the Gulfstream Park West turf. The three-year-old filly was in under the allowance condition, and was racing for the first time since August. Danalin got the early lead, and set honest though not blazing early fractions. She was overtaken by the stalking Jackie’s Daughter turning for home, and though she did not drop completely out of it, she lost a little steam late and was passed by two closers on the outside as well. Still, it was not a dull effort given how long she had been off, and she stands to be sharp at this level second off the lay.
- Danette (Sugar Britches, by Dixieland Band) – On November 1, Danette finished fifth beaten 1 1/2 lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI), run at a mile and a sixteenth over the Santa Anita dirt. The two-year-old filly came in still a maiden, but off of a third-place finish in the Grade I Chandelier over the same track and distance. She settled dead last early, almost a dozen lengths off the pace. She made a long, sustained run up the rail, though, going against the speed bias that prevailed early in the day on that track. She just flattened out in that final sixteenth, though, getting passed outside by Top Decile, Wonder Gal, and Feathered all within a length of her. Still, it was a respectable run against tough company, and hopefully she will put it all together and break her maiden soon.
- Diversy Harbor (Motokiks, by Storm Cat) – On October 25, Diversy Harbor finished second beaten 1 1/4 lengths in the Autumn Miss Stakes (GIII), a mile over the Santa Anita grass. The three-year-old filly was racing for the first time since a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Del Mar Oaks in August. This time out, she was near the rear early, and completely unhurried. She was still next to last as the field turned for home, but she fired big time. She shot down the centre of the track, but had left herself too much to do. She caught everyone but Queen’s Plate winner Lexie Lou, who only had to close from midpack. Still, it was a good race, especially given that a mile is almost certainly shorter than she wants, and that she was coming in off of a rest of over two months.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On October 24, Dyker Beach finished fourth beaten five lengths in an N1X allowance at six furlongs over the Belmont dirt. The four-year-old gelding was taking a notch up in class from the starter company he faced last out, but running at the same distance at which he won at the Spa back in August. He settled in almost ten lengths back early. He gradually made up some ground through the turn, and broke away from the caboose crew coming down the stretch, but had too much to do late to catch the top three. He finished two lengths out of third, but still closed to finish 5 3/4 lengths out of fifth. He is pointed to a race at similar distance and level at Aqueduct later this week (see Running Soon section), and should be competitive.
- Federal Agent (Gwenjinsky, by Seattle Dancer) – On October 22, Federal Agent finished seventh beaten 7 1/4 lengths in a $25,000 N2L claiming race at seven and a half furlongs over the Indiana Grand turf. The four-year-old gelding was making his first attempt against winners, after breaking his maiden on his seventeenth try. He trailed early, about ten lengths off the early lead. He made up a few lengths of that ground over the course of the race, and passed the tiring early speed duellers late, but did not ever truly threaten to hit the board. It was a fairly ambitious placement for a horse who broke his maiden in $15,000 claiming company, and he is pointed on November 12 to race against more reasonable $15,000-$10,000 competition.
- Franklyididitmyway (Company Binness, by Seattle Dancer) – On October 25, Franklyididitmyway won a $5,000 N4L claiming race by 1 1/4 lengths at a mile and seventy yards over the Finger Lakes dirt. The three-year-old gelding took eight tries to break his maiden, but this race was his fourth win in five starts. He settled along the rail near the back of the pack, three or four lengths off the early pace, content to chase. Along the far turn, he fell to last, but he angled out and circled the field turning for home. Despite the fact that the pace absolutely crawled late (the fourth quarter-mile ran in 28:90, slow for even this level of racing!), he overtook everyone and won going away. Franklyididitmyway has been on fire since shipping to Finger Lakes earlier this year, though it will be interesting to see what he does next since N4L is the highest conditioned $5,000 claimer in their book. There’s an open $5,000 as well as a $5,000 starter allowance coming up; either one would make sense given how well he has been running and how efficiently he has risen through his conditions this year.
- Golden Actor (Clever Actress, by Theatrical (IRE)) – On October 25, Golden Actor won the Jean Lafitte Stakes, at a mile in the Delta Downs dirt, by 4 1/4 lengths. This race is the local prep for the Delta Jackpot (GIII), and the two-year-old colt was supplemented in after breaking his maiden at Gulfstream Park West just twelve days before the Jean Lafitte. Golden Actor broke well, but settled in along the rail near the back, about three lengths off, going into the clubhouse turn. He advanced to midpack down the bullring backstretch, but got boxed in approaching the far turn. Approaching the midway point of the turn Control Stake finally got off the rail, and Golden Actor wasted no time getting through and running away with the race. Twenty-one days before this, Golden Actor finished second in his debut at Gulfstream as a 30/1 bomb: since then he has posted two impressive wins. He is now headed to the Jackpot, and it will be interesting to see what he does against tougher company.
- Graceful Gal (Cloon, by Lure) – On October 29, Graceful Gal ran away with a New York Bred maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth on the Aqueduct grass, winning it by 5 3/4 lengths. The three-year-old filly was racing for the fourth time, and for the first time at Aqueduct. She was wide in the middle of a strung-out pack early, almost half a dozen lengths off the lead. She made up ground, swung outside around the field, and kicked away down the stretch. She had run three previous times against state-bred fillies and mares, all of which were on grass and the last two of which were turf route. This time out she faced the boys, but it was clearly no hindrance. Given that performance and her breeding (being out of a Lure mare), an allowance-level turf route would be a logical next step.
- Inmyfathersimage (Friendly Michelle, by Artax) – On November 7, Inmyfathersimage finished sixth beaten 7 3/4 lengths in a $35,000 claiming race at seven furlongs over the dirt at Aqueduct. (In trivial matters, the course record for this distance is held by none other than Inmyfathersimage’s damsire, Artax.) The four-year-old gelding was dropping out of protected company in his last five starts; he had not run for a tag since June. He chased midpack, hung outside of For the Luv of Lil, about five lengths off the pace. The race was over a sealed, muddy track, so there is some chance he did not like the surface; he has never w0n or even hit the board on a track rated worse than good.
- Inspired By Grace (Harve de Grace, by Boston Harbor) – On November 1, Inspired by Grace finished eighth beaten six lengths in the Sparkler Stakes, run at five furlongs over the Gulfstream Park West turf. The three-year-old filly was making her first attempt in stakes company, and coming in off an allowance win at five and a half furlongs on the Laurel grass. She broke from the rail, and settled midpack, three or four lengths off the front. She did not kick on coming down the stretch, and lost position to finish eighth. She was not far up the track, but she never actually threatened to hit the board. It could not be faulted to try her here, since she had been doing as well in turf dash allowances as she had been, but it would be a surprise to see her in a stakes next out, unless she absolutely could not find another allowance condition to clear.
- Lin Marie (Coy Cat, by Hold That Tiger) – On November 1, Lin Marie finished fourth beaten three lengths in an N1X allowance at six furlongs on the Penn National dirt. The three-year-old filly was running for purse money only, since her gate doors were slow to open and she was thus declared a non-starter for wagering purposes. She hung near the back of the pack early, having conceded a few lengths of ground due to her gate opening late, but angled out around the turn for home and charged in to finish fourht. It is hard to tell whether she would have won had she been allowed to break better, but she did lose a chance by the gate not opening, and the stewards were correct to declare her a non-starter.
- Une Cherise (Lady Cerise, by Honor Grades) – On November 7, Une Cherse won an N1X allowance at seven furlongs over the Laurel dirty by 1/2 length. The three-year-old filly was racing for the fourth time, and for the first since being beaten at Keeneland by Enchanting Lisa. She settled midpack on the outside early, never more than about two lengths off the lead. Though wide early, she made it to the rail for the stretch drive, and began to edge clear of Printasticat after a protracted battle. This bodes well for several reasons: not only is it her second win in four starts, but it also shows she can gamely guy out a win, and does not need it to be a romp like her maiden win was.
- Woelf Den (Gorgeous Goose, by Mongoose) – On November 9, Woelf Den finished fifth beaten 12 1/4 lengths in a $16,000 N1X allowance optional claiming race at a mile on the Gulfstream Park West dirt. The three-year-old colt was racing under the allowance condition. He broke well, and chased with the main pack about half a dozen lengths off of Horsin’ Around’s early lead. He stayed with the pack through the far turn, gaining a bit as Horsin’ Around faded, but had nothing to answer the late kick of None Like Nolan or (to a lesser extent) Beidermeier. He tried to keep on, but stalled out a bit late, finishing an even fifth — 6 3/4 lengths out of fourth. This was a bit disappointing, since Woelf Den’s only career win so far was in muddy conditions at a mile, though at Laurel and not Gulfstream Park West. He has struggled lately, having failed to hit the board in his last six starts. He has had a barn change in the meantime (this is his second start for the Jose Garoffalo barn), but something else will need to change to hopefully kick him back into gear.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On November 12, Dyker Beach is scheduled to race in an N1X/N2L allowance at six furlongs over the Aqueduct dirt. The four-year-old gelding drew the rail in a field of six. He comes into this race off of two fourth-place finishes, the last of which being in an October 24 allowance at Belmont. He has been entered in a race on November 6, but was scratched. (See Other News section below.) As much as he has raced in New York, this will only be Dyker Beach’s second attempt at Aqueduct. Last year he raced in a maiden special weight there, going a mile. He finished…you guessed it…second.
- Federal Agent (Gwenjinsky, by Seattle Dancer) – On November 12, Federal Agent is entered in a $15,000-$10,000 N2L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Churchill dirt. The four-year-old gelding drew the 5 gate in a field of 12, plus one also-eligible entry. This will be his second try against winners. On October 22, he was seventh in $25,000 company at Indiana Grand. Here he stretches out an extra furlong, and moves back to dirt: a seemingly wise move, as he broke his maiden going eight and a half panels on dirt.
- Garden Games (Garden Gloves, by Stormy Atlantic) – On November 12, Garden Games runs in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Remington dirt. The two-year-old filly drew the 8 gate in a field of nine. She has raced five times before, hitting the board in three of those runs. Last out she was second, going this same distance on this same track. She is showing good progression, and getting better as she stretches out. This seems a logical place to put her, and hopefully she graduates.
- Wise Minister (Take a Check, by Touch Gold) – On November 12, Wise Minister races in a $25,000 N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile over the Penn National dirt. The three-year-old colt drew the rail in a field of ten, and races under the allowance condition. He cleared the N1X condition two back at a mile and a sixteenth over this same track, but faltered last out and finished 9th in his first N2X attempt next out. He has not worked back since that last race on October 22, which seems a bit odd.
- Calamondin (Redaspen, by Bianconi) – On October 25, Calamondin had been entered in an allowance at seven furlongs over the Great Meadow turf. However, he was a trainer scratch from the race. The four-year-old gelding would have been getting a welcome bit of class relief, having last finished tenth in the Laurel Dash Stakes in September. He has not raced back yet, but has shown up on the worktab twice since that scratch.
- Curlin N Twirlin (Bluff for Bluff, by Pine Bluff) – On October 22, Curlin N Twirlin was entered in a $35,000 N3L starter allowance at six furlongs over the Laurel dirt. However, the four-year-old filly was a trainer scratch from the race. She did work back on November 5, breezing a bullet three furlongs in 36.00 at Pimlico, and raced on November 8 as detailed in the Race Results section.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On November 6, Dyker Beach had been entered in an N1X allowance at seven furlongs on the Aqueduct dirt. However, he was a trainer’s scratch from the race. He has been re-entered in a six furlong N1X next week, as detailed in the Running Soon section.
- Lin Marie (Coy Cat, by Hold That Tiger) – On October 25, Lin Marie had been entered in an N1X allowance at six and a half furlongs over the Parx dirt. However, the three-year-old filly was a veterinarian scratch from the race. There were a lot of vet scratches that day: in a field of nine, five were vet scratches. As for Lin Marie, she did enter back at Penn National on November 1, as detailed in the Running Soon section.
- Miss Frost (Allencat, by Storm Cat) – Miss Frost has not raced back since the Valley View (GIII) at Keeneland, in which she finished eighth after disliking the softer going. She had been entered as hip 2734 in Keeneland November, but was declared out of the sale. She is still owned by Dogwood Stable, but has switched barns. Previously under the care of Tom Albertrani, she now races for Neil Howard. Hopefully things will remain all systems go for the Mrs. Revere, and she will get the firmer turf she needs.
- Sookie (Island Escape, by Petionville) – Sookie had been entered in a Pennsylvania-bred N2X allowance at a mile over the Parx dirt on October 27. However, the three-year-old filly was a vet scratch from the race. She has not raced back since then, though she has returned to the worktab at Fair Hill twice since that scratch.
- Une Cherise (Lady Cerise, by Honor Grades) – On November 6, Une Cherise had been entered in an N1X allowance at a mile and an eighth over the Laurel turf, though the race was eventually moved to dirt due to weather conditions. Une Cherise was scratched from the race, since trainer Graham Motion opted instead to send her in a race the next day. She did end up heading postward that next day, as detailed in the Race Results section.
- Woelf Den (Gorgeous Goose, by Mongoose) – On October 25, Woelf Den had been entered in a $16,000 N1X allowance optional claiming race at seven furlongs on the Gulfstream Park West dirt. However, the three-year-old colt was a veterinarian’s scratch. He did not work back after the race, but he did re-enter on November 9 and run, as detailed in the Race Results section.
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!