Curlin’s Fox: down the hill, and into the winners’ circle

Three-year-old filly Curlin’s Fox (Foxysox, by Foxhound) had a bit of a buzz surrounding her at Santa Anita going into yesterday’s races.  She had been showing a lot in her two months of published works, including a pair of bullets from the gate.  Her trainer, Carla Gaines, had also trained her dam Foxysox — a five-time graded stakes winner who garnered five of her seven wins over the Santa Anita grass.

She debuted in a maiden special weight down the hill.  In addition to the good works, she had Mike Smith aboard.  The bettors decided she was ready to fly, sending her off at 3/5.

Curlin’s Fox broke from the 8 gate in a field of 12: an outside gate, but still okay due to the configuration of the downhill course at Santa Anita, and the orientation of the first sweeping turn.  She settled near the back of the main pack early, about half a dozen lengths off an early pace set by Mambo Tale and Revenue Virginius.  She chased comfortably from there through that early curve.

Approaching the cross over the dirt track, Curlin’s Fox kicked on strongly.  However, with a wall of horses in front, Mike Smith sent her very wide turning for home.  She was in the 6 path, but moving well enough that she still gained ground sharply.  Entering the final furlong she made a serious run at Revenue Virginius, who could not keep up.  Farther inside Emyvale Court kicked on best of anyone else, and gave Curlin’s Fox a run.  Still, Mike Smith knew exactly what he needed to get out of his mount.  Curlin’s Fox crossed the wire three quarters of a length ahead of Emyvale Court; it was another three and a half lengths back to Revenue Virginius.

From here?  It would be fun to see her stretch out.  Foxysox graduated at a mile, and won graded stakes going as long as a mile and a quarter.  She did the series of three-year-old turf stakes at Santa Anita for Gaines.  She won the China Doll Stakes, the Providencia (GIII), and the Senorita (GIII) at three.  She placed in the Honeymoon (GII), and tried the American Oaks (GI), too.  Later in her career she did get win going ten furlongs, taking the Santa Barbara Handicap (GII) at age five.  She continued to race, and win graded stakes, until age six.  Both her parents suggest distance, as well as an ability to develop with age.

Of course, Curlin’s Fox does not have to do exactly what her dam did, no matter how well her pedigree may suit it.  If anything, she has already proven that she has an affinity for the hill, another ace in the hole if she keeps running on turf out west.  Her path is for Gaines to decide, but wherever that path may go, it should be fun to see her get there.

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