However, there is another aspect of Curlin babies having babies that is truly new for 2016: sons of Curlin in the stud barn. Between the fact that Curlin’s first crop is six and the fact that he had such a breakthrough year, Curlin’s blood has become as in-demand as possible. Curlin himself still stands at stud, of course — now at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, for the princely sum of $100,000.
Curlin, of course, is by Smart Strike, who has emerged a serious sire of sires. Curlin and English Channel are both well proven in the stud barn. Square Eddie and Lookin at Lucky are becoming more prominent. More regionally, Tenpins is a top-ten Louisiana sire.
This year, however, three sons of Curlin begin their tenures in the stud barn: Palace Malice, Conquest Curlinate, and Curlin to Mischief. They will begin to write the legacy of Curlin as a sire of sires, and we will look at them one by one.
Curlin to Mischief (Leslie’s Lady, by Tricky Creek) – $3,500 LF, Rancho San Miguel, San Miguel, CA
If you do not recognise Curlin to Mischief’s name from the racetrack, you are not alone — he never raced. If you do not recognise Curlin to Mischief’s name from the worktab, you are not alone — he was on the worktab as recently as his five-year-old year (2015), but under the name Head Quarters. He was named Head Quarters as recently as November of last year, when he sold for $20,000 as a racing or stallion prospect at Keeneland. However, the Jockey Club allows name changes as long as a horse hasn’t raced, and his new owners took advantage of that rule.
That may prove to be a wise marketing move. After all, though Curlin to Mischief’s name may not be familiar, his breeding rings a bell to anyone who has been following racing since 2007. Leslie’s Lady produced Into Mischief (Harlan’s Holiday). He was a Grade I winner at 2, a stakes winner at three, and has already marked himself a a successful stallion. His best progeny have been miler types — think Goldencents, Vicar’s In Trouble, Vyjack. Leslie’s Lady also produced Beholder (Henny Hughes). A champion at two, three, and five, Beholder has relished distances longer than her brother and most of her brother’s progeny, most brilliantly shown in the 2015 Pacific Classic (GI) at a mile and a quarter.
A full sister to Curlin to Mischief, Leslie’s Harmony, even made some headlines of her own. She sold for $1.1M at Keeneland September in 2014, and has been on the worktab since November. Of course, as we learned from Curlin to Mischief (née Head Quarters), works are no guarantee of a start.
Though there is no racing record to inform what Curlin to Mischief’s strengths may be as a stallion, his immediate family makes him an intriguing stallion prospect. Though his half-sibling at stud tends to sire runners who go a bit shorter, there are still indications that Curlin to Mischief may more often sire longer-winded types. Smart Strike line ties to stamina, after all, and someone (looking at you, Leslie’s Lady!) had to give Henny Hughes’s best daughter her stamina. It would be a dream for Curlin to Mischief to get a full book of durable racemares, ones who raced a few dozen times and remained competitive even late in their careers. With Curlin to Mischief’s class and their soundness, perhaps they could create some nice horses in California and beyond.
If he can impart the class of his breeding to his foals, he could be one of the most interesting unraced stallions in a long time.