Yesterday did not start off on the best foot with the Curlin babies, when Air Squadron lost rider Jose Lezcano at the start of the first race at Gulfstream yesterday. Curlin’s Gem righted the ship three races later, when he broke his maiden. Later in the day, down at Oaklawn, Ride On Curlin got his four-year-old year off to a rollicking start with a thrilling allowance win.
The final Curlin baby to race yesterday was Captured (Alluring, by A. P. Indy). The four-year-old gelding has been a fairly consistent runner in the claiming ranks, with four wins in fourteen starts going into yesterday, plus a first and a second. He finished second in open $6,250-$6,000 company at Laurel on January 3, going a mile and seventy yards. Yesterday saw him back at his home track, Penn National, where he had already won three times. He returned to that mile and seventy yards on the main track, but notched down to $4,000 open claiming company for that start.
All but one of Captured’s previous wins had come from the back of the pack early, and this race was no exception. He had the outside gate in a field of seven, and settled near the back early. Captured hung three wide entering the clubhouse turn, but he had the back all to himself by the time the field entered the backstretch. Content to lope about nine lengths off of Irish Moon’s unpressured early pace, he started to pick up the pace approaching the far turn. Captured swung outside, circled the field, and had a run at Irish Moon and the stalking Cherokee’smoonbeam as the field turned for home. Meanwhile, Sleeping Tiger was making a run of his own along the inside. Into the final furlong, Irish Moon was fading. Cherokee’smoonbeam stayed on, with Captured and Sleeping Tiger bearing down from each side. Cherokee’smoonbeam managed to stay a head in front of Sleeping Tiger — but Captured’s outside rush was just too much, just in time.
Captured won by a neck, making him the third runner sired by Curlin to win yesterday.
He also switched hands via the claim box for the first time since his debut at Fair Grounds last February. Previously trained by Timothy Hooper and owned by Winners Circle Partners X, he is now trained by Ron Rozell and owned by Kenneth B. Evans. Ron Rozell does not appear to have run a lot of horses within the last year, but he has done all of his recent running at Penn National — suggesting that Captured will have a chance to remain a horse for that course.