Ride On Curlin had a long campaign, running steadily from the summer of his two-year-old year through the Belmont Stakes (GI) last June with just one two and a half month lay. He got a well-deserved break after being eased in the Belmont. Though he was originally going to race again in 2014, he popped a splint and took time to recover form that before coming back to the racetrack. He returned to the worktab in December, and has been a regular presence at Churchill and then Oaklawn in the mornings.
Thursday, Ride On Curlin returns to the starting gate.
He returns in a logical and reasonable spot: a six-furlong N2X allowance optional claiming race for four-year-olds and up. Ride On Curlin drew the 6 slot in a field of 12.
Seeing him back at Oaklawn is encouraging, because his performance at Oaklawn was consistently solid at age three. His last win was in a six-furlong N1X for three-year-olds over that same course on January 12 of last year. He then hit the board in all three Derby preps at Oaklawn: third in the Southwest (GIII), third in the Rebel (GII), and then second in the Arkansas Derby (GI).
How well will he run off the lay? That remains to be seen since he has not raced in seven months, but there is an encouraging sign. His next longest layoff was a two and a half month break he had late last fall, and that Oaklawn allowance win came first off that rest.
Here’s hoping that Ride On Curlin carries on the Curlin babies’ tendency of improving with age, and that this is the beginning of a strong four-year-old season. Go, Ride On Curlin!