It has been a very long time since my last update on the Curlin Babies…or, at least, my last update that has come in more than 140 characters. I have let this project pile up behind both non-racing life as well as other more immediate racing-related things like handicapping writing and recapping for specific races. For that, I know I have let you down, and I am sorry.
Consider this a highlight reel, with full updates to resume on schedule next Monday. Highlights include particularly sharp performances, stakes races, claims into new barns, as well as momentous occasions such as career debuts. This also includes touching upon the Curlin babies who are scheduled to race over the next week.
- Agawa (Silver Adventure, by Silver Deputy) – On November 28, Agawa raced for the second time in her new barn. She ran at Aqueduct, and was originally scheduled to go 1 3/8 miles on the turf. However, the race was washed off the turf, and went at 1 1/8 miles over a muddy track instead. The four-year-old filly still ran, and she tallied her second career win — and her first in eight starts this year. She settled into the early lead, stalked on her outside by favoured Lotsa Noodles throughout. Though that pursuer made a run at her through the far turn, Agawa got away turning for home, and won the race easily. The race was her second career run on the dirt; her previous start, a second-place finish behind America, had also been a wash out to the Aqueduct mud. Though the turf season at Aqueduct is over, this shows she has some dirt (or, at least, mud) skills; it will be interesting to see how she continues to run as the meet moves to the Aqueduct inner.
- Air Squadron (Air France, by French Deputy) – Air Squadron has raced twice since last we met, though unfortunately he has struggled a bit lately. He was seventh in an N2X allowance optional claiming race at 1 1/16 miles over the Hawthorne grass on November 15, and then returned to finish sixth in an open $20,000 claimer at the same distance over the Gulfstream grass on December 7. Both times, the race shape was similar: he attended close to the pace early, and weakened late. Still, that race at Hawthorne makes him the only Curlin baby to have raced in the Chicago area since the beginning of the Hawthorne meet. Furthermore, he was claimed out of the barn of Mike Maker in his last start. He is now owned by White Wabbit Wacing, and trained by Jorge Navarro. With those connections, it seems likely to see him continue racing in Florida.
- Anythingyoucando (Glorified, by Honour and Glory) – On November 29, Anythingyoucando finished 9th in a maiden special weight at six and a half furlongs over the Churchill Downs dirt. The two-year-old filly was making her career debut. She settled near the back of the pack early, and ran evenly throughout. She did not lose large amounts of ground, but she never really fired either. She is the first runner out of her dam, though Glorified did win first time out. Still, that win was not at age two — it was at three. The Curlin babies don’t tend to be the most precocious, though, so hopefully Anythingyoucando will figure it out sometime within her next few starts.
- Big Curlin (More Than Tempted, by More Than Ready) – Big Curlin, a three-year-old gelding bred in Kentucky but racing in Korea, won for his sixth time in nine starts on November 30, taking a 2000 meter Class 1 (foreign-bred) handicap over a sloppy track at Seoul Racecourse. He beat Hwanggeum Tap by half a length as the 3/1 co-favourite. The race was his third win in four starts this year, and his longest race to date.
- Blue Violet (Gasia, by Silver Deputy) – On November 22, Blue Violet finished sixth beaten eight lengths in the Treasure Chest Stakes, run at a flat mile over the Delta Downs dirt. The four-year-old filly was racing for the first time since winning the Lady’s Secret Stakes at Monmouth on September 1. She settled seven or eight lengths off the pace early along the rail, which is farther off than she tends to be in her better races. She closed up a few lengths of that into the far turn, but was unable to sustain that run or threaten the runners who hit the board. It was a disappointing race, though there is also some chance she did not like the track — running at a bullring can be a special skill, and it was Blue Violet’s first start on such a track. Hopefully she is sharper next out, second off the lay, wherever she runs.
- Bold Curlin (To the Brim, by Ascot Knight) – On November 15, Bold Curlin finished seventh beaten 12 1/2 lengths in the Richard W. Small Stakes, run at 1 1/8 miles over the Laurel dirt. It was the four-year-old gelding’s second start since winning the Northern Dancer Stakes in January; he had been fourth in an allowance in October. In the Richard W. Small he settled along the rail early, about eight lengths off the early pace. He started to advance into the far turn, but stalled out approaching the stretch. He has started once since then, finishing fourth beaten 18 1/2 lengths in a one-mile Pennsylvania-bred N2X at Parx on December 1. Near the back early, he did make a run coming into the far turn, but could not sustain it. Hopefully he finds his form again soon.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On November 22, Bold Shot won a $15,000-$10,000 conditioned claiming race at a mile and an eighth over the Churchill Downs dirt by 3/4 length. He was up for the higher tag. That win was the four-year-old gelding’s first time hitting the board in five starts since clearing N2L at Ellis back in August. He broke alertly, and tracked about three lengths off the early pace set by From Day One. He started closing that up through the far turn, in tandem with Bearly Specific, and the two bumped several times. Bold Shot went on with it in the final furlong, however, and edged ahead to best the closing run of Cry From The Heart. The rider of Bearly Specific lodged an objection against Bold Shot, but it was disallowed. This was Bold Shot’s third career win. Though it was at the same class level as his previous two starts had been, it was a bit longer distance — well befitting Bold Shot’s stamina-oriented breeding.
- Calamondin (Redaspen, by Bianconi) – On November 29, Calamondin had been entered in the Fabulous Strike Handicap at six furlongs over the Penn National dirt. However, he was scratched from that race, and instead ran in a six-furlong N3X allowance optional claiming race over the Parx dirt on November 30. The four-year-old gelding raced under the allowance condition — and prevailed by a decisive 2 3/4 lengths. He broke near the back of the pack, but was sent by his rider to stalk just outside pacesetter Glickman. Calamondin drew even near the quarter pole, and took control by the furlong pole. His stablemate Javerre tried to close in on him, but Calamondin had more than enough to sail to the wire alone on the lead. The race was Calamondin’s first since a tenth-place finish in the Laurel Dash Stakes on September 27; he had won his last three starts before that stakes try. Here he got a return to dirt as well as a bit of a class drop, and he returned to his winning ways.
- Captured (Alluring, by A. P. Indy) – On November 14, Captured won a $6,250-$6,000 N4L claiming race at a mile over the Penn National dirt. The three-year-old gelding was in for the higher tag. He settled near the back early in the race, almost a dozen lengths off the early pace, but started making up ground approaching the far turn. He circled wide, closed up ground sharply on the outside, and won by a widening length and a half. It was his fourth career win, and his third at Penn National. He returned to the track on December 5, appearing in a $7,500-$6,500 conditioned claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Laurel dirt. He was in for the lower tag. He settled far back early and attempted a similar wide move, but he did not have quite enough; he finished fourth beaten 5 3/4 lengths.
- Conquest Curlinate (Higher World, by Peaks and Valleys) – On November 15th, Conquest Curlinate finished fifth beaten two lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the polytrack at Woodbine. The race was the two-year-old colt’s career debut. He settled near the back of the pack early, about half a dozen lengths off the lead. He saved ground along the rail, and started to make up ground through the far turn. He edged ahead down the stretch, closing up the distance, but could not quite get to the three-way photo finish on his outside. Still, it was an interested and creditable effort for his first time out, and bodes well to build on next time out.
- Curlino (Comfort Zone, by Rubiano) – On November 29, Curlino broke his maiden. It was the two-year-old colt’s third start, and he won a maiden special weight going a mile and a sixteenth over the Churchill Downs dirt. Despite his 9 gate, he hustled out and settled just outside early pacesetter Bravo Charlie coming into the clubhouse turn. Coming into the far turn, while still under a hold, Curlino overtook Bravo Charlie on his outside. Fellow Curlin baby My Curby (My Baby Baby, by Bernstein) tried to give him a run for his money entering the stretch, but Curlino pulled away once urged by his rider. 63/1 shot Bravo Charlie re-rallied gamely along the rail, which was good enough for second, but Curlino won by 2 3/4 lengths. The aforementioned My Curby weakened to fourth, beaten five lengths, in his second start since moving from the Ken McPeek barn to the Stephen Lyster barn.
- Curlin’s Kid (Lucette, by Dayjur) – On December 6, Curlin’s Kid finished eighth beaten 23 1/2 lengths in the Jennings Handicap, run at a mile over the Laurel dirt. It was the three-year-old gelding’s first attempt in stakes company. He came into the race off a fifth-place finish in an N2X allowance optional claiming at a mile over the Laurel dirt on November 20, though he had cleared N1X over that same course two starts back. He was midpack after the break, but steadily lost ground off of Eighttofasttocatch’s pace. He lost touch with the rest of the pack after bumping some with D. C. Dancer, and finished with that one, just a nose out of last place. It seemed an ambitious placing, though part of it could have been the slop; the track was sloppy and sealed, conditions over which Curlin’s Kid had never won.
- Curlish Figure (Fi, by Langfuhr) – On December 6, Curlish Figure finished sixth beaten seven lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Tampa Bay Downs dirt. The two-year-old filly was making her career debut. She broke from the rail, and settled near the back of the pack, almost ten lengths off the pace. She took the turn for home a bit wide, and never really faded, but never made up ground to threaten either. All in all, it was an even effort: not terrible, but something upon which she will hopefully improve second time out.
- Federal Agent (Gwenjinsky, by Seattle Dancer) – On November 11, Federal Agent won a $15,000-$10,000 N2L claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Churchill Downs dirt. The four-year-old gelding had taken seventeen tries before breaking his maiden, but this was just his second attempt at the N2L condition. He settled early along the rail, near the back of a tightly-bunched pack. Down the backstretch he advanced down the rail, but coming into the far turn he split horses and angled outside for racing room. A 20/1 shot, Federal Agent caught up with 9/5 favourite Copse on the front end as the field turned for home. He got his head in front as the pair opened up daylight between them and the rest of the field, and edged ahead to win by half a length. That pair was much the best; third-place Niedermayer finished eleven lengths behind Federal Agent. Though it took a long time, it seems like Federal Agent may have figured out the racing thing, having won two of his last three after losing sixteen straight. He has worked back at Turfway since that race, suggesting he may be showing up there this winter.
- Golden Actor (Clever Actress, by Theatrical) – On November 22, Golden Actor finished ninth beaten 24 3/4 lengths in the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes (GIII), run at a mile over the Delta Downs dirt. The three-year-old colt was making his fourth start, and his second at Delta. He had convincingly won the local prep, the Jean Lafitte Stakes, on October 25. He settled near the back of the pack early, not in itself a bad thing given the early speed duel between Conquest Tsunami and Prime Engine. He was ridden fairly hard down the backstretch, but he never fired. He gradually lost ground, and finished ahead of only Conquest Tsunami, who had stopped badly. It was a disappointing effort, especially given his three sharp races leading into this. Hopefully he comes out of the race okay, regroups, and gets back on track next out.
- Jackie K (Casablanca Babe, by Horse Chestnut) – On November 15, Jackie K finished eighth beaten 20 1/2 lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Del Mar polytrack. The two-year-old filly was making her first start. She broke well, but quickly settled at the back of what was a tightly bunched pack early. She was never able to improve position, and gradually lost touch with the rest of the runners. It was a disappointing effort, but since it was only her first race, there should be room for improvement. She has been working well over the Santa Anita dirt since then, as well, leaving open the possibility that she will improve over dirt if she tries it at Los Alamitos or Santa Anita.
- Keen Ice (Medomak, by Awesome Again) – On November 29, Keen Ice finished third beaten eight and a half lengths in the Remsen Stakes (GII), at 1 1/8 miles over the Aqueduct dirt. The two-year-old colt was making his first start since a late-running fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland. The track was playing very well to inside speed that day; though Keen Ice is a dyed-in-the-wool closer, rider Israel Rodriguez knew to keep him on the inside, and it paid off nicely. He broke from post 8, but had the rail by an early point in the clubhouse turn. Down the backstretch, he was about ten lengths off the lead, still hugging that rail. He was advancing turning for home, and in shallow stretch had passed everyone but the three early frontrunners: Leave the Light On, Frosted, and Classy Class. Classy Class was dropping out of it, and Keen Ice had plenty of gas to get off the rail, evade him, and score the show. It was a strong showing particularly in light of how the track played that day, and only serves to bolster my opinion that he is one to watch on the Derby trail.
- Keening (Haka Girl, by War Chant) – On November 22, Keening finished sixth beaten 5 3/4 lengths in the Cardinal Handicap (GIII), at a mile and an eighth over the Churchill Downs turf. The four-year-old filly was trying graded company for only the second time in her career, and the first since the Mrs. Revere (GII) in November of last year. She settled near the back of the pack early, about a dozen lengths off I’m Already Sexy’s early pace, saving ground along the hedge. She made headway turning for home, improving her position, but stalled out a bit in the final furlong and never quite threatened the front. Still, it was a decent enough effort to show she belonged at that level. It seems about the time trainer Charlie LoPresti rests his runners for the winter, so it would not be a surprise to see her on the shelf until spring, but hopefully she comes back strong and competitive at five.
- Little Jennie (Jen’s Halo, by Halo’s Image) – On November 22, Little Jennie finished third beaten eight lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs on the Gulfstream dirt. The two-year-old filly was making her career debut. She settled far back early: over a dozen lengths off the pace, and eight or nine off her closest competitor. By the three-sixteenths pole she was back in touch, flying, and starting to pick off horses. By then she had left herself too much to do to catch Lastingfriendships or Mom’z Laugh, but was able to get between horses, pick off everyone else, and secure third. She has come back onto the worktab at Gulfstream since then, and can hopefully improve on that sharp first effort when she races again.
- Lynx (Silver Bird, by Lit de Justice) – On November 15, Lynx finished fifth beaten 4 1/2 lengths in the City of Laurel Stakes, going seven furlongs over the Laurel Park dirt. The three-year-old gelding was making his first start since an allowance win at Parx in October, and cutting back to a sprint for the first time since he was a maiden. He settled near the back of the pack early, near the outside, about eight lengths off the early pace. He angled off the rail, made up some ground in shallow stretch, and then set back against the rail. He improved to finish near the front of the main pack, but did not fire well enough to threaten the pace. It was an interesting experiment to cut him back in distance, especially since there was this chance to run him one more time against straight three-year-old company, but Lynx just may not be a sprinter.
- Measured (Added Time, by Gilded Time) – On November 29, Measured won a five and a half furlong maiden special weight over the Penn National dirt. The two-year-old colt broke his maiden at first asking. Trailing near the back early, Measured made a sweeping move around the field through the far turn, and confronted pacesetter Orbit in shallow stretch. Orbit gamely fought on, but could not quite hold off the run. Measured edged away in the final seventy yards, and prevailed by half a length. It was an auspicious start, and it would make sense to see him return in allowance company.
- Miss Frost (Allencat, by Storm Cat) – On November 15, Miss Frost finished ninth beaten six lengths in the Mrs. Revere Stakes (GII), run at a mile and a sixteenth over the Churchill Downs grass. It was her first start since moving to the Neil Howard barn. Unlike in the Valley View Stakes (GIII) in her previous outing, she got the firm turf she needed this time around. She was close to the pace early: fifth, but still not even two lengths off going into the clubhouse turn. Robby Albarado put her under a drive approaching the turn for home, but she did not have enough response to close up ground on pacesetter Kiss Moon. She ran evenly, got passed by a good portion of the field, and finished six lengths back of the surging Sparkling Review. It was a little disappointing given the firmer turf, but maybe this was just a cut above the competition she can handle at this point. She has not worked back since, so it looks likely that this race was her last one at three.
- Ol Donyo (Royal Tigress, by Storm Cat) – On November 1, Ol Donyo finished third beaten 2 1/2 lengths in the Sky Beauty Stakes, run at six furlongs on the Gulfstream Park West dirt. The four-year-old filly was cutting back in distance, after having won the Musical Romance Stakes at seven furlongs in her previous outing. She broke on top, but settled at the middle of a fairly compacted pack. Approaching the turn for home, she made an outside run at Merry Meadow and Best Behavior. She flung out very wide on the turn for home, losing some ground. She continued well enough to get up for third, but did not catch the two in front of her. She probably lost all chance for a better placing with how wide she went out, but it hardly appeared anyone’s fault but hers.
- Ostentatious Me (Gorgeous Me, by Big Spruce) – A lot has happened for Ostentatious Me recently. On October 22, he was third in a $15,000 maiden claiming race at a mile and an eighth over the Keeneland dirt. Out of that race, he was claimed by new owner and trainer Steve Asmussen, who took him south to Remington Park. Ostentatious Me returned in a maiden special weight at Remington on November 5th, and broke his maiden first off the claim. The three-year-old colt, in his eighth career start, prevailed by a length in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth over the Remington dirt. The race had originally been scheduled for turf, but was washed off. He broke from the outside and settled near the back early, but was still no more than half a dozen lengths off the pace coming into the clubhouse turn. He made up some distance in the backstretch, but still wisely sat off of a three-way speed duel in front of him. Approaching the turn for home some room opened on the inside, and Ostentatious Me got the rail. He caught up to the frontrunners, and got ahead of Financial Freedom in the last sixteenth. Ostentatious Me returned to the Remington dirt eight days later, in a $20,000 N2L claiming race at a mile over the Remington dirt, and finished second by just a head. Though he did not win, it was enough to justify him notching up to N1X allowance company on November 29th; Ostentatious Me was caught very wide, but still managed to get up and finish third behind Dontchangetrainers, beaten just a length and a half. The ship to Remington has been good for Ostentatious Me; he has found a circuit where he can compete.
- Pulling G’s (Torrid Affair, by Alydeed) – On November 1, Pulling G’s broke his maiden in his second start, prevailing by five and a half lengths in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Aqueduct. The four-year-old gelding showed an affinity for the slop; he sped to the lead on the inside, repelled early pressure from Flat Jack, and splashed home to win by a widening margin. He returned on November 29, finishing second beaten a neck in a six and a half furlong N1X over the Aqueduct dirt. In that race, he started just as he did last time: he did not break on top, but he was sent to take the early lead on the inside. Especially on this particular day, it was the place to be. Waco pressured him to his outside down the backstretch and into the far turn. Turning for home, he came off the rail, giving Soldier Inthe Rain a place to go and get an inside run on him. Soldier Inthe Rain was moving just well enough to edge ahead, and prevailed over Pulling G’s by a neck. He may not have quite run like a 4/5 shot should have, but it was still a creditable effort first off the maiden win, against far more experienced horses.
- Sakima (Queen of Kills, by Unbridled’s Song) – On November 30, Sakima finished fifth beaten 11 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at six and a half furlongs over the Churchill Downs dirt. The two-year-old colt was starting for the first time. He broke near the back, and trailed about a dozen lengths off the pace early. He started making up ground through the far turn, but by then had left himself too much to do to catch the leaders. Still, he improved position down the stretch, and finished with plenty of run. It would make sense, given his breeding, to see him stretch out for next time.
- Shiva Curlin (Cavan Thunder, by Jump Start) – On December 7, Shiva Curlin finished eighth beaten 20 lengths in the Aventura Handicap, run at a mile over the Gulfstream Park dirt. It was the three-year-old colt’s first start since finishing sixth behind Atreides in the Monarchos Stakes, over the same track. He stalked close to the pace early, only a length and a half off of early pacesetter Dudeman. He steadily lost ground, and dropped completely out of it in the stretch. Though it was his first race off a lay, the placing still seems a bit questionable; he has been running in mostly stakes company this year, but has not once been competitive against such a field. Hopefully he gets a confidence-builder soon.
- Solar Maximus (Solar Colony, by Pleasant Colony) – On November 5, Solar Maximus raced for the first time in over a year. He had been pulled up and vanned off in a $25,000 N2L claiming race at Indiana Grand in July of last year, but returned to the worktab and resurfaced in a $7,500 N2L going 1 1/16 miles at Churchill for new connections. He pressed just off the pace early, but faded to fifth beaten six lengths; though not earth-shattering, it was still a creditable effort after over a year off. He returned to the track on November 26th, in a $5,000 N2L at a mile over the Mahoning Valley dirt. He was near the back early, but made his way midpack through the clubhouse turn. He gradually made up ground through the backstretch, and struck the lead three wide on the far turn. Flashin the Bull tried to make an outside run at him, but Solar Maximus just pulled away; he won by 6 1/4 lengths. He was claimed out of the race; previously owned and trained by Conor Heaney, he is now owned by Richard H. McCall and trained by Joseph Poole. With this, it would make sense to see him keep racing at Mahoning Valley.
- Stellar Wind (Evening Star, by Malibu Moon) – On November 20, Stellar Wind finished third beaten 3/4 length in a maiden special weight at six furlongs on the Laurel dirt. This race was the two-year-old filly’s first start. She was rank at the break, and steadied, but made her way midpack fairly early. She steadily made up ground between horses, and had clear aim on the leaders turning for home. She drove up the rail and continued gamely, but missed catching Spotted Heart and was outfinished by Gypsy Judy on the outside. Still, it was a sharp effort for a two-year-old first-timer, and hopefully Stellar Wind can build on it.
- Struth (Star Number, by Polish Numbers) – On November 4, Struth won a maiden special weight at seven furlongs over the Parx dirt. It was the two-year-old colt’s second start. He was second in his September debut behind Nasa, who is now a stakes winner. In this race, he broke from the rail, and was up stalking just inside the lead of Blackwater Charly. He was passed on his inside by Tapit Like That, but still remained only about a neck off, in between horses. He got his head in front through the turn, outran Tapit Like That, and pulled away to win by 2 1/2 lengths over a re-rallying Blackwater Charly. He has worked once again at Laurel since that race, though not raced again. If the breeding looks familiar, that’s because it is; Struth is a full brother to another winning Curlin baby on the mid-Atlantic circuit, Smart Number.
- Une Cherise (Lady Cerise, by Honor Grades) – On December 6, Une Cherise finished fifth beaten nine lengths in the Willa on the Move Stakes, run at six furlongs over sloppy Laurel Park dirt. The three-year-old filly was making her first attempt in stakes company, and coming in off an N1X win going seven furlongs at Laurel on November 7. She was midpack early, on the outside due to breaking from the outermost gate of ten. She got an opening along the rail as the field went through the far turn, and she took it to save some ground. Still, she was unable to sustain any real challenge to lone speed — and runaway winner — Lady Sebelia. She was caught by the main pack, and faded back to fifth. It still seemed a good time to try her against this tougher company given how well she had been racing so far, and there is also some chance she did not love slop, as it was her first time racing in it.
- Wabel (Rockintotherhythm, by Broad Brush) – On December 5, Wabel finished second beaten 2 1/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at five and a half furlongs over the Los Alamitos dirt. The two-year-old colt was making his first start. He broke from the outermost gate of the field of eight, and stalked about a length off the early pace set by Discreet Prince. Wabel, under a ride, made it past Discreet Prince. However, The Gomper was flying on the outside, and passed Wabel near the sixteenth pole. Wabel held second, but was no match for The Gomper. Still, it was a creditable first time out, and hopefully he improves with practice, distance, or both.
- Waynesborough (Bloomy, by Polish Numbers) – Since last we checked in, Waynesborough has raced three times, and continued to be his old, consistent self. The four-year-old gelding was second beaten 3/4 length in a $25,000 starter allowance at a mile over the Parx dirt, racing just eight days after he had won an allowance at Penn National. He returned to Parx on November 18th, finishing second beaten 1 3/4 in an N1X allowance going a mile and seventy yards on dirt. Waynesborough moved back into the $25,000 starter ranks at Parx on December 6, and did one better than his last two performances: going a mile in the slop, he prevailed by a neck. He was in no hurry early; he settled in the back of the field of five, and was content to drop about ten lengths back. Waynesborough fired approaching the quarter pole, and shot down the stretch like a cannon. He splashed home to nail Wellington Wizard just in time. Waynesborough has been a very consistent runner since breaking his maiden. Since May, he has started thirteen times — finishing on the board in twelve of those starts, and winning four.
- Barbara’s Smile (Credenza, by Lord Carlos) – On December 12, Barbara’s Smile is entered in a $12,500 N2L claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Aqueduct inner dirt. The three-year-old filly drew the rail in a field of ten. She drops to the lowest level of her career, after two straight fourth-place finishes on the Aqueduct outer: one at $25,000, and one at $20,000. She won her debut in May, but has only hit the board once in nine starts since. Hopefully either the class drop, the switch to the Aqueduct inner, or both will help her move along.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On December 11, Bold Shot is entered to run in an open $18,000-$16,000 claiming race at a mile and an eighth over the Turfway polytrack. The four-year-old gelding drew the outermost post of eight, and runs for the higher tag. He won last out at this distance over the Churchill dirt, so stamina is not the question. It could be a bit of a class rise, though; the last race he won was conditioned, and here he races for a higher tag and among open claiming company. His affinity for poly also remains a question; he finished midpack in his only attempt over it, but the race was also his career debut.
- Copperplate (Verdana Bold, by Rahy) – On December 11, Copperplate will run in an N1X/N2L allowance at about five and a half furlongs over the Fair Grounds grass. The three-year-old colt drew the 5 gate in a field of eleven. This will be Copperplate’s first start since an allowance try at Keeneland in October, in which he finished a well-beaten sixth. He has put up two recent, sharp works at Fair Grounds, suggesting he is in form and acclimating well to Louisiana. Maybe the track change will spark some improvement on race day, too.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On December 11, Dyker Beach is entered to run in an N1X allowance at a mile and a sixteenth over the Aqueduct inner dirt. The four-year-old gelding drew the 3 gate in a field of seven. This will be his first start since November 12, when he finished fourth at this level on the Aqueduct outer track. Dyker Beach has not previously raced over the inner, and has not posted any published works since then. He has been doing mostly sprint races since his last win, with only one stretch to even a mile since then. He woke up and got his last win at a sprint distance, but it makes sense to try something a little different given his three straight fourth-place finishes at sprint distances.
- Kara’s Match Point (Home Court, by Storm Cat) – On December 12, Kara’s Match Point will run in an N1X/N2L allowance at six furlongs over the Aqueduct inner dirt. The four-year-old filly drew the outermost post in a field of twelve. She has not raced since May, but has been a regular on the worktab since mid-October. She won in her second start, in March of last year, but has not won since. She has hit the board several times, including a second-place finish and three third-place finishes this year alone. Still, there is a precedent for her to succeed at six furlongs on the Aqueduct inner; she broke her maiden at that distance over that track.
- Ol Sanish (Dimple Pinch, by Smoke Glacken) – On December 12, Ol Sanish will run in a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Turfway Park polytrack. The two-year-old filly drew the rail in a field of fourteen, and will be trying a synthetic surface for the first time. She finished second in her last start, a $50,000-$45,000 maiden claiming race at Churchill; she was up for the higher tag there, and was on her first drop to claiming. Though she goes back into special weight here, she also drops to a track that tends to be a bit softer company than Churchill. As a six-start maiden, trying something new is encouraging; hopefully the new track and surface help her along.
- Prince Curlin (No Small Wonder, by Capote) – On December 9, Prince Curlin will run in a $7,500 N2L claiming race at six furlongs over the Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding drew the outermost post of nine. He did win his only career race over the same track on April 1, though has only hit the board once in twelve starts at the N2L level, including nine at Parx. The one third-place finish was at this level three starts back. He was fourth last out, after some early trouble; hopefully he gets a better trip this time out, and can outrun what will doubtless be extremely long odds.
- Shesacurlinmytoes (Cafe Concerto, by Trempolino) – On December 10, Shesacurlinmytoes is entered in an N2L allowance at a mile over the grass at Turf Paradise. It will be the three-year-old filly’s first race at Turf Paradise, and her first race since a seventh-place finish in a starter allowance at Golden Gate in May. A turf mile makes sense, as she broke her maiden going a mile on grass at Golden Gate in January. She has been on the worktab since mid-October, first at Golden Gate, but at Turf Paradise since November 24. Hopefully she takes to the turf in sunny Arizona, and gets into good form this winter.
- Smart Number (Star Number, by Polish Numbers) – On December 9, Smart Number will run in an N1X Pennsylvania-bred allowance at Parx, going seven furlongs over the dirt. The three-year-old filly drew the 4 post of seven. She was third against similar company last out, going a mile over the Parx dirt. She does have a win under her belt over this course, though all three of her career wins have come at a mile. Still, with it being five starts now since her last win, trying a change like this seems wise, and hopefully she will respond.
- Starfire Mist (Misty Lady, by Lucky Roberto) – On December 12, Starfire Mist is scheduled to race in a $40,000 N2L starter allowance at a mile over the Golden Gate grass. The four-year-old filly drew the 3 gate of ten. She last finished fourth at this level on November 20, though it was at a mile and a sixteenth, and washed from the turf to the Tapeta. It was a good fourth; despite being hung wide, she was only beaten 2 1/4 lengths. Though her sole win was at a mile and a sixteenth, she does have a sharp effort at a mile under her belt; two starts back, she was second beaten just a nose at this level and distance.
- Wood Machine (Marquet Rent, by Marquetry) – On December 10, Wood Machine is on the also-eligible list for a maiden special weight at a mile over the Delta Downs dirt. The two-year-old colt will break from the outermost gate if he draws in; there are twelve including the AE list, but the race can accommodate a maximum of ten runners. He has raced once before, a third-place finish in a maiden special weight going a mile on the Indiana Downs turf, in which he finished 4 1/2 lengths behind Broughton Kitten. Were he to draw in, it would be his first attempt on dirt. He does have three works over the Delta Downs bullring, including a bullet five-furlong breeze on December 2.
- Ride On Curlin (Magical Ride, by Storm Cat) – Ride On Curlin had a long season. He debuted in June of 2013, and started twelve times between then and this year’s Belmont. He had no more than two and a half months between starts. After the Belmont, he got a long break at the farm, made longer by his having to recover from a popped splint. However, he is back in Billy Gowan’s barn, and targeting the series of races at Oaklawn leading up to the Oaklawn Handicap (GII). He arrived back at the barn in early October, and reappeared on the formal worktab with a three-furlong move on December 7. Oaklawn seems a good, logical place to send him: his last win was in an allowance over the track last January, and he hit the board in the Southwest Stakes (GIII), the Rebel Stakes (GII), and the Arkansas Derby (GI), all over that track.
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!