Welcome to another installment of this week in Curlin babies: all the news that’s fit to print about Blinkers Off’s favourite sire.
In the very first edition of this week in Curlin babies, I mentioned a two-year-old colt who garnered some attention after a fast breeze at the OBS March sale of two-year-olds in training, and sold to Stonestreet (who campaigned none other than the mighty Curlin) for $320,000. His name was Ocean Knight. He debuted on the track this week, and he did not disappoint: he was much the best in a maiden special weight at Aqueduct, suggesting nothing but promise for the future. Ol Donyo, already a multiple stakes winner, also added her first career graded stakes placing over the last week, with a fast-closing third-place finish in the Grade III Sugar Swirl Stakes. Blue Violet also achieved another stakes placing this weekend, finishing third behind Honey’s Ryan and Diva’s Diamond (an Illinois-bred, to connect to another particular interest here at Blinkers Off!) in the She’s All In Handicap at Remington.
Without further ado, let’s see what Curlin’s runners have been doing on the track lately!
- Barbara’s Smile (Credenza, by Lord Carlos) – On December 12, Barbara’s Smile finished sixth beaten 11 1/4 lengths in a $12,500 N2L claiming race at a mile and seventy yards over the Aqueduct inner track. She had been running for owner Johnny Lall and trainer Gary Sciacca, but was claimed out of that race by owner/trainer George Weaver. Breaking from the rail, she settled into the lead going into the clubhouse turn. Charming Eyes had been stalking about a length off her the entire way. She passed Barbara’s Smile through the far turn. She briefly tried to stay with her, but folded in the final three-sixteenths. She started out promising, winning at first asking in May, but has had a difficult time putting it back together since, and finished no better than third after being claimed by Sciacca in July. Hopefully her new trainer will be a better fit.
- Birthday Girl (Birthday Wire, by Birdonthewire) – On December 14, Birthday Girl finished tenth beaten 9 3/4 lengths in a $75,000 maiden claiming race at a mile over the Gulfstream Park grass. It was the two-year-old filly’s career debut. She settled off the pace early, inside, about five lengths off the rail. She gradually lost ground, fading toward the back of the pack down the backstretch and into the far turn. She then angled out, and started to make up some ground on the outside. However, her run was interrupted by Jademarie, who bumped into Lagrats — who was then forced into Birthday Girl — turning for home. That stopped her up, and she finished only evenly. Still, it was just her first race, and she encountered trouble; it would make sense to see her back against similar, and see how she does with more seasoning and possibly a better trip.
- Blue Violet (Gasia, by Silver Deputy) – On December 14, Blue Violet finished third beaten 6 3/4 lengths in the She’s All In Handicap, run at a mile and seventy yards in the Remington Park dirt. The four-year-old filly was returning for the first time after finishing sixth in the Treasure Chest Stakes over the Delta Downs bullring last out, but had won the 1 1/16 mile Lady’s Secret Stakes at Monmouth two starts back. She was ridden fairly hard out of the gate, but settled just midpack as the field went through the clubhouse turn. The track was playing well for speed after a rainstorm. Honey’s Ryan had assumed that position, with Diva’s Diamond just off her — and the others (including Blue Violet) strung behind, separated by daylight from the leading two. Blue Violet inched ahead along the rail, assuming a stalking place about four lengths off the pace. She moved off the rail coming into the far turn, but stayed on well. Though Honey’s Ryan and Diva’s Diamond stayed 1-2 throughout, Blue Violet kept her neck in front of closers Hung the Moon and Lady Haddassah, holding third. It was a good outing given how well the wet track was playing for speed, and she stayed game and interested.
- Bold Shot (Soul Search, by A. P. Indy) – On December 12, Bold Shot finished fourth beaten 8 3/4 lengths in a $18,000-$16,000 claiming race at a mile and an eighth over the Turfway polytrack. the four-year-old gelding was up for the higher tag, and not claimed out of the race. He broke in the middle of a compacted early pack, was wide around the clubhouse turn, and settled in to stalk about a length and a half off the pace. Through the far turn he made a three-wide move and got within a head of the lead. At that point he was between Thunder Affair and Shakeyogroovething, but he was bumped around by Thunder Affair turning for home. He dropped quickly out of contention after that, and was passed by late-running Ridge City to lose the show. The distance should not be a problem for him; he had won at nine furlongs in the dirt in his previous start. It was only his second race on poly; he was a flat sixth over the Turfway track in his debut. It still seems too soon to judge whether he actually likes this surface yet, and it would make sense to see him return in a similar race.
- Copperplate (Verdana Bold, by Rahy) – On December 11, Copperplate finished fourth beaten 6 1/2 lengths in an N1X allowance at Fair Grounds, going five and a half furlongs on the grass. The three-year-old colt was racing for the first time in close to two months; last out, he had been sixth in a dirt sprint allowance at Keeneland. He broke well, was briefly on the lead, but settled a length or two off pace along the rail. He attempted to angle out to get around Brother Jimmy Ray, but got caught in a bit of traffic trouble instead. He eventually did get around the horse in front of him, but had neither time nor track to threaten the charging victor Voodoo Spell. Still, it was not a bad effort first off the lay, and it seems to be right where he belongs. He broke his maiden on grass, and seems to run better there.
- Danette (Sugar Britches, by Dixieland Band) – On December 13, Danette finished sixth beaten nine lengths in the Starlet Stakes (GI), a mile and a sixteenth over the Los Alamitos dirt. The two-year-old filly is still a maiden, but was racing in her third straight Grade I event. Shortly out of the gate, she had to take up a bit when Feathered moved ahead of her from outside. She was taking up the rear by the time the field entered the clubhouse turn. Midway through the far turn she was still last, but in better touch: only about five lengths off of Take Charge Brandi’s early fractions. Coming into the far turn Danette mounted an outside run. She closed up some ground, but flattened out on the turn for home. As well as she had run in her last two races, it was a bit disappointing. Still, she was against tough company, and had a bit of a setback early. It will be interesting to see what trainer Keith Desormeaux does from here — if she will rest or run again, and if she will continue against stakes company or try maiden special again. It seems anyone’s guess.
- Dyker Beach (Favorite Feather, by Capote) – On December 11, Dyker Beach finished fourth beaten 7 1/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at a mile and a sixteenth over the Aqueduct inner track. The four-year-old gelding, most notorious for his propensity to finish second, has now finished fourth in his last four races, all at this level. He settled early into a back pack of three, but was swung wide into the clubhouse turn by Giant Fox, about half a dozen lengths off the pace. He got the rail down the backstretch, and started making up ground approaching the clubhouse turn. He angled out to try to make a stretch run, but had too much to do to catch the top three runners by then. Still, he finished with interest, and was well clear in fourth. It was his first attempt on the Aqueduct inner, and it will be interesting to see how he does if he gets a less-wide trip next time out.
- Federal Agent (Gwenjinsky, by Seattle Dancer) – On December 14, Federal Agent finished fifth beaten 8 3/4 lengths in a $40,000 N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Turfway Park polytrack. The four-year-old gelding raced under the allowance condition. He settled near the back of the pack early, inside, about half a dozen lengths off the pace. He joined the main pack approaching the turn for home, making up a bit of ground, but could not mount a serious challenge to pacesetter Taken by the Storm or closing Bell by the Ridge. It was his first race since November 12, when Federal Agent cleared N2L in $15,000 company at Churchill. Though he was well-beaten, he was still only half a length out of third, and it was a good showing against far tougher company that he had previously faced.
- Kara’s Match Point (Home Court, by Storm Cat) – On December 12, Kara’s Match Point finished fifth beaten 6 3/4 lengths in an N1X allowance at six furlongs over the inner track at Aqueduct. It was the four-year-old filly’s first race since a sixth-place finish at the same level and distance over the inner turf at Belmont back in May. She broke from the outermost gate in the field of eleven and settled at the back of the pack early, about eight lengths off of pacesetter Atlantic’s Smile. She started to pick off horses through the turn, but had to swing six-wide going into the stretch. She was no match for Atlantic’s Smile, but neither was anyone else — that victor finished 5 3/4 lengths ahead of second-place Privately Speaking. Kara’s Match Point was in a three-way photo for third, but just got the worst of it. Still, it was a good effort given the outside post and the layoff of six and a half months.
- Ocean Knight (Ocean Goddess, by Stormy Atlantic) – On December 13, Ocean Knight won a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the Aqueduct inner track. The two-year-old colt was making his first career start, though he had been showing up on the worktab periodically over the last few months. He broke well, but was content to settle on the rail in fifth, several lengths off the pace early. Coming through the far turn, he swept outside. He circled four wide, got his cue passing the three-sixteenths pole, and fast opened daylight between him and the rest of the field. He was moving so much better than everyone else that rider Irad Ortiz, Jr. geared him down in the final sixteenth, and he still won by 4 1/2 lengths. He looks promising, and neither an upper-crust allowance nor a stakes race would be a surprise for his next outing.
- Ol Donyo (Royal Tigress, by Storm Cat) – On December 13, Ol Donyo finished third beaten 1 1/4 lengths in the Sugar Swirl Stakes (GIII), run at six furlongs over the Gulfstream Park dirt. The four-year-old filly was racing in only her second career graded stakes, and achieved her first graded stakes placing. She settled near the back of the pack early, seven or eight lengths off the lead — farther off than usual, though she is typically an off-pace runner. She started making up ground wide, and really fired passing the furlong pole. She made it far enough to catch fading pacesetter R Free Roll by the wire, but missed the place by a diminishing head behind Wildcat Lily. It was particularly an admirable effort at six furlongs, given that she typically does her better work going seven furlongs or a mile.
- Ol Sanish (Dimple Pinch, by Smoke Glacken) – On December 12, Ol Sanish finished third beaten 2 1/2 lengths in a maiden special weight at six furlongs on the Turfway Park polytrack. The two-year-old filly was trying a synthetic surface for the first time, and notching back up to protected company after finishing second in $50,000 company at Churchill last out. She broke from the rail, and stalked inside and close to the pace. She was inside, with four across, and may possibly have gotten a head in front turning for home. However, Nomenclature almost immediately got past her, and Urtheoneeyelove pressed on and eclipsed her for second by a head. Still, it looked like a good level for her, and she appeared to handle the poly well enough to try again if her connections choose.
- Prince Curlin (No Small Wonder, by Capote) – On December 9, Prince Curlin finished fourth beaten fourteen lengths in a $7,500 N2L claiming race at six furlongs on the sloppy Parx dirt. The four-year-old gelding was returning to this level after a fourth-place finish on November 18. He broke alertly, on top and outside, but quickly settled several lengths off the pace. He had dropped to the back of the pack of six, about half a dozen lengths off, by the time the field went into the turn. He never challenged the runners who hit the board, but at least he kept going with some interest, and got back up for fourth by the time the wire hit. These last few races, though he has been somewhat well beaten in both, have been an improvement on most of his races earlier in the year. It makes a bit of sense; his sole career win did come over the Parx oval back in April, in a $10,000 maiden claiming race going six and a half panels there.
- Rebe Curlin (Re Re Be Be, by Sheikh Albadou) – On December 11, Rebe Curlin finished seventh beaten 37 3/4 lengths in a maiden special weight at five and a half furlongs over the Laurel dirt. The three-year-old gelding was making his career debut. He broke a step slow, and was never in touch with the pace. He was 36 lengths back by the first call, and stayed in that vicinity for the whole race. Hopefully he comes out well, and it will be a learning experience for his next time out.
- Shesacurlinmytoes (Cafe Concerto, by Trempolino) – On December 10, Shesacurlinmytoes finished sixth beaten 8 1/4 lengths in an N2L allowance at a mile over the Turf Paradise grass. The three-year-old filly was racing for the first time at the track, and for the first time since a seventh-place finish in starter company at Golden Gate in May. She settled along the rail near the back early, just about half a dozen lengths off the pace. Her lone career win was off the pace, but not quite that far off. She never really fired from there, though she did not lose large amounts of ground either. Still, it was her first race in over seven months, so hopefully she will run more sharply next out.
- Smart Number (Star Number, by Polish Numbers) – On December 9, Smart Number finished third beaten two lengths in a state-bred N2X at seven furlongs over the sloppy Parx dirt. The three-year-old filly was running for the first time since October 27, when she finished third at a mile at the same level and track. She chased a few lengths off of Endless Ride’s early pace, along the rail. She edged within about a length as the field turned for home, though she could never catch up to that rival. She was also outfinished by Sea Shadow, who closed on the outside to win, but she was game, interested, and not completely outclassed here. It would make sense to see her back at a similar level and distance soon.
- Starfire Mist (Misty Lady, by Lucky Roberto) – On December 12, Starfire Mist finished eighth beaten seven lengths in a $40,000 N2X starter allowance going a mile on the Golden Gate Fields Tapeta. The four-year-old filly had raced on the Golden Gate Tapeta before, though had only ever hit the board on grass. She broke okay, and settled midpack, typically her place to be. She made up some distance on eventual winner Emerald Miss turning for home, but evened out quickly. It would be nice to see her return to turf, as she runs better there, but they do not run on grass this time of year at Golden Gate Fields.
- Wise Minister (Take a Check, by Touch Gold) – On December 14, Wise Minister finished sixth beaten 34 1/4 lengths in a $25,000 N2X allowance optional claiming race at a mile on the Parx dirt. The three-year-old colt was in under the allowance condition. He broke a touch slow and settled near the back, not in itself strange since he had won from the back before. Still, he was quickly out of touch with the pack, and gradually lost touch with everyone but fading early leader Bluegrass Chat. He cleared open N1X at Penn National in September, but has struggled significantly in his three races since, against N2X company. A mile in the dirt makes sense, since two of his three wins have been at that distance, but hopefully he either gets a rest or takes a step forward soon.
- Curlin’s Gold (Harlow Gold, by Orientate) – On December 18, Curlin’s Gold is entered in a $16,000 N1X allowance optional claiming race at six furlongs over the Gulfstream Park dirt. The three-year-old filly drew the 4 gate of ten, and is in under the allowance condition. Curlin’s Gold has won in allowance optional company before at Calder, but is eligible under the condition here because she was running for the $50,000 tag in that win. This will be her first race since a sixth-place finish in a $75,000 N1X AOC at Gulfstream back in July, so this stands to be a bit easier company. She has been working regularly since early November, though, so there is a good chance she will be fit to run well.
- Franklyididitmyway (Company Binness, by Seattle Dancer) – On December 17, Franklyididitmyway is entered to run in a $10,000-$9,000 claiming race at about seven and a half furlongs over the Turf Paradise grass. The three-year-old gelding drew the rail in a field of seven. Last out he finished a well-beaten sixth at the $8,000-$7,000 level at a mile at Turf Paradise. That was his first race since shipping over from Finger Lakes, and his first off-board finish in nine starts on the year. Still, it was a class rise, and this is a notch up yet. Hopefully he runs well second off the ship, though he still may be finding his place out west.
- Larrymoeandcurlin (Sally Bowles, by London News) – On December 16, Larrymoeandcurlin will race in a $5,000 maiden claiming race at six furlongs over the Mahoning Valley dirt. The three-year-old gelding drew the outermost gate in a field of nine. It will be his first race at Mahoning Valley, and his first outing since a fifth-place finish at this level at Belterra on October 16. It will also be his first race since moving to the barn of trainer Daniel O’Hallaron. He has been working at Fairmount, so it remains to be seen how he will take to the new track at Mahoning.
- Sound Studio (Brilliancy, by Exchange Rate) – On December 19, Sound Studio is entered in a $15,000 maiden claiming race at six furlongs over the Fair Grounds dirt. The two-year-old filly drew the 5 gate in a field of eight. She returns to this claiming level after finishing third in a seven-furlong race at Churchill last out; it was an improvement on her performances against tougher company, suggesting this may be a better fit. She has posted two works at Fair Grounds, suggesting she may be getting a handle on the track. The cut in distance is interesting, given that both her parents preferred a route of ground, but her damsire was a graded stakes winner at a sprint distance — suggesting it may be worth trying her a bit shorter than ever.
- Stellar Wind (Evening Star, by Malibu Moon) – On December 18, Stellar Wind will run in a maiden special weight at one mile over the Laurel dirt. The two-year-old filly drew the 4 gate in an eight-horse field that features another Curlin baby: Wasatch. Stellar Wind has only raced once before, a third-place finish in a six-furlong maiden special at Laurel on November 20. She stretches out here, which makes sense given that both of her dam’s wins came going a route of ground.
- Tres Hermanas (Pretty Meadow, by Meadowlake) – On December 17, Tres Hermanas is entered in a $35,000 claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth over the Gulfstream turf. The three-year-old filly drew the 9 gate in a field of ten. She races for the first time since November 1, when she finished fifth against N1X allowance optional claiming company at Gulfstream Park West. She does have one win in three starts over the Gulfstream grass; she defeated $30,000-$25,000 N2L company at a mile over the course in July. Allowance company there this summer was a bit over her head, but this level stands to suit her well, and hopefully she will improve.
- Wasatch (Judith Basin, by Danzig) – On December 18, Wasatch is entered in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Laurel dirt. The two-year-old filly drew the rail, and the eight-horse field includes fellow Curlin baby Stellar Wind. Wasatch has started twice before. She was sixth in her debut going six and a half furlongs in the Keeneland dirt, and then was third last out going a mile in the Laurel dirt. Since then, the Graham Motion trainee has posted a bullet work at Fair Hill, suggesting she may be ready to run here.
- Oxford Babes (Spring Awakening, by In Excess) – Oxford Babes is one Curlin baby we will not likely see on the track again. The four-year-old filly is entered in the Keeneland January sale as a broodmare prospect. Oxford Babes only raced four times. She was third last August in a maiden special weight at Indiana Grand, and then broke her maiden in March in a maiden special at Turfway. She was unplaced in two allowance starts, one at Keeneland and one at Indiana Grand; she most recently started in March. She is half to Walk Close, a three-year-old Tapit filly who won the Wild Applause Stakes this past June at Belmont, and who finished fourth behind Curlin baby Miss Frost in the Tenski at the Spa. She is also from the same female family as 2003 Hatoof Stakes winner Cat’s Cat and 2014 Skip Away Stakes (GIII) winner Micromanage.
- Top Billing (Parade Queen, by A. P. Indy) – On December 12, Top Billing returned to the worktab for the first time since he injured his right front cannon bone in a workout on March 8. He went three furlongs in 38 seconds flat over the Payson Park dirt, fourth of ten at the distance. The three-year-old colt had been on the Triple Crown trail, finishing third in the Fountain of Youth (GII), but the Shug McGaughey trainee suffered that setback while preparing for the Florida Derby. There is no clear word on a race to which he is pointing, but it is exciting to see that he has recovered well enough to train.
- Wood Machine (Marquet Rent, by Marquetry) – Wood Machine had been entered in a maiden special weight at a mile over the Delta Downs dirt. However, he was on the also eligible list, and did not draw into the race. It would have been the two-year-old’s second start; he finished third behind Broughton Kitten in a turf mile at Indiana Grand on September 30. It would have been his first try on the dirt. He worked back with a sharp move the day after he was scratched, though, so hopefully he will be fit and in a race soon.
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!