Thanks to Palace Malice’s racing career, Blinkers Off has long focused on Curlin’s progeny.
Curlin, himself, has found his stride as a stallion. He had a breakout year last year. He had his first Champion, Stellar Wind. She, Curalina, and Keen Ice all joined Palace Malice as Grade I winners. He has Exaggerator on the Derby trail, and Stageplay on the Oaks trail.
The last few years have proven that Curlin can sire runners. However, this year will start to shed light on another question: what will Curlin’s impact be on the breed going forward?
This will be the first of two pieces looking at racing-age foals out of Curlin mares. Curlin’s first crop turned six this year. In 2016, there are ten registered horses of racing age who are out of Curlin mares — meaning we may see some Curlin grandbabies on the track this year. This looks at five of them, and a following piece will look at five more.
The series will then continue with the trio of Curlin babies set to make their stallion debuts in 2016.
Curlin is the broodmare sire of a single three-year-old: Westward Star. Westward Star is a Kentucky-bred son of Stephen Got Even, out of Thwindwhispersmary (Marianka, by Ascot Knight). Unsurprising for a filly who was bred at age two, Thwindwhispersmary never raced. Her dam Marianka was a stakes winner at Assiniboia Downs, and won at distances ranging from five furlongs to a mile on dirt. She produced three stakes winners, including Hendrie Stakes (GIII-CAN) winner High Button Shoes. That mare was by another Mr. Prospector line sire, Carson City. High Button Shoes, in turn, has produced two winners of three to start: Fashionable Freddy (Tiznow) won a route on dirt, and Buck Benny (Dynaformer) has won a pair of turf routes. Matt’s Broken Vow (Broken Vow), a son of Marianka, was a Canadian graded stakes winner at two turns on both dirt and polytrack. He has stood stud in Minnesota since 2010, and produced winners at both one and two turns against modest midwestern company.
Westward Star did not race at age two, and has not started as of January 20 of this year. He has never sold publicly, though he was shipped from the United States to Panama as a juvenile. Should he race, expect him to relish going long, given that influence from both sides of his family.
In addition, nine Curlin mares have recorded offspring who are two years old this year. Four of them are previewed here, with five more to come in the follow-up:
Astruggleforbeauty (Empire Beauty, by Empire Maker)
Astruggleforbeauty had a Florida-bred filly by Revolving in 2014. This filly was bred in Florida, and has not yet been named. Astruggleforbeauty’s second dam, Danzig’s Beauty, was as classy as it gets — a Grade II winner herself, and the dam of powerful sire Distorted Humor. Empire Beauty never raced; Astruggleforbeauty was her first foal. She has produced one racer so far: Western Conqueror (West Acre) graduated on debut in a maiden special weight dirt sprint at Delaware last year, but was off the board in five later starts in 2015. Astruggleforbeauty, like her dam, never raced. On the other side, Revolving was a lightly-raced son of A. P. Indy, half to Circular Quay. He won at third asking at three years old, going two turns on the grass, and never raced again. He now stands stud in Florida; this foal is part of his first crop. There is much unknown, given how lightly raced so many of the close relatives are, but enough class on both sides of the foal’s pedigree to hope she could be a nice one at two turns.
Current Event (Grand Merger, by A. P. Indy)
Current Event had a 2014 Florida-bred Noonmark filly, already named Untaken. Current Event, a member of Curlin’s first crop, raced four times at Aqueduct. Her best finishes were a pair of third-place showings at two turns on the inner dirt. Grand Merger was a stakes winner at two, going a one-turn mile against New York breds at Belmont. Grand Merger produced one winner, a hard-knocking dirt sprinter named Current Aquasition (Stormy Atlantic), as well as a “second-itis” type (11-0-5-1) named Keep Right (Street Cry) who also did his best going short. Noonmark currently stands stud in the Philippines, but stood in New York from 2010 through 2013. A sprinting son of Unbridled’s Song, Noonmark broke his maiden at 2, but continued to train through his five-year-old year, winning the Mr. Prospector Stakes (GIII) that year. His best runners have been sprinters, suggesting this filly could end up best as a sprinter (or at longest a miler), should she run.
Thwindwhispersmary – (Marianka, by Ascot Knight)
Thwindwhispersmary had her second foal in 2014, a Kentucky-bred colt by Sky Mesa. The dam-side discussion for Westward Star holds here, as they are out of the same mare. Sky Mesa, a precocious type who won at both one and two turns at two, has had classy progeny going both short and long. This colt did garner some attention at Keeneland September last year, selling for $80,000 to Grassroots Training and Sales. Expect him to be pinhooked, and show up in a two-year-old sale this year. It seems most likely that this colt will want to go a bit longer, but he could be any sort.
World Class (Highest Class, by Mineshaft)
World Class had a Quality Road filly in 2014. The filly has yet to be named. World Class, now six years old, had a very short racing career. She turned up twice in maiden special weights at Fair Grounds, once at the end of her juvenile year and again early in her three-year-old season. Her best finish was fourth — in a race won by Blue Violet, another daughter of Curlin. That came at two turns on dirt. She went to Keeneland November in 2013, in foal to Quality Road, and sold for $38,000. Highest Class won a pair of two turn races on dirt, and nipped about in stakes company at three, mainly through the early stages of the three-year-old series at Fair Grounds. Aside from All World, she has produced two to race. Chocopologie (Candy Ride) has won three times, all on dirt, between 7.5F and 8.5F. He is also Grade II placed, second in the nine-furlong Super Derby in 2015. She also produced Mick (Yankee Gentleman) — now three, not a winner yet, but stakes-placed at a dirt mile. One generation up, the dam of Highest Class is the With Approval mare Classic Approval — showing some turf lurking, as she has produced a pair of stakes winners on the grass. Quality Road’s third crop turned 2 in 2014. Quality Road himself did most of his best in dirt routes, though he also showed some versatility by winning the Amsterdam (GII), a six and a half furlong sprint. Hootenanny reigns as the best of his offspring so far; like his sire, he shown class at one turn and two, though on grass. All in all, this is another breeding that could turn out any type — two turns on dirt may turn out the most likely, given the presence of Quality Road, Curlin, and this Mineshaft second dam who has produced dirt runners, but it would be no surprise to see this filly do something else given the other influences close up.
These are five Curlin grandbabies, aged two and three, to watch for this year. Keep a look out for the second part in this series — five more two-year-olds who will be among the first to blaze Curlin’s trail as a broodmare sire!