go west, young Curlin babies…

After a tough few days for the Curlin babies, two have scored allowance victories over the last two days.

Curlin’s progeny have not shown up too often in Grand Island, Nebraska.  Curl My Toes, a full brother to Danette, finished 2nd in the 2014 Baxter Stakes at Fonner Park in his first and only start.  Fifty Curls finished seventh in an allowance there this past Saturday; she was a maiden facing N3L company, a tough thing to ask.

But, Sunday, Cowboy Curlin (War Kill, by War Chant) made strong account of himself.

The four-year-old gelding has started eleven times before Sunday, with a frontrunning five-furlong win at Delta to his credit.  In his most recent start, he had been second, nailed just before the wire in a $15,000 N2L turf dash at Sam Houston.  That time, Cowboy Curlin showed a rate-and-rally gear.

In cutting back to four furlongs for an N2L allowance try at Fonner, Cowboy Curlin went right back to the sort of strategy with which he broke his maiden.  He did not break particularly sharply.  But, he found some space inside and soon eclipsed the one who did break on top, Don’t Claim Me.  Through the turn, Fried Rice pressed him, but Cowboy Curlin ran on.  He had a clear lead coming into the short stretch, but Illinois-bred Conbradulations made a race of it.  Cowboy Curlin’s lead diminished, but he made it to the wire with half a length to spare.

Four furlongs is a less than typical distance at which to see a Curlin baby win, but it’s hard to argue with results.  Cowboy Curlin had already done his best work at dash distances — so, why not try him even shorter, particularly on a bit easier circuit and in protected company.  The try paid off, and it will be interesting to see whether Cowboy Curlin turns back up at Sam Houston, or returns in another short (or really short) race at Fonner.

As one son of Curlin found success venturing away from Sam Houston, another found victory by going there.

Walk Out (Cheryl’s Sister, by Dixieland Band) had broken his maiden third time out, at age two, in a fourteen-length romp over the Indiana Grand slop last October.  On the shelf until January, the colt had then finished unplaced in a pair of sophomore allowances at Oaklawn.

It looked like he needed a class break from the likes of Cutacorner and Dazzling Gem.  Walk Out got that today at Sam Houston, in an N1X going a mile and seventy yards over the dirt.

Breaking from the outermost gate of six, Walk Out settled at the back of the pack going into the clubhouse turn, about half a dozen lengths off of Break Free’s early pace.  The field became even more strung out into the backstretch, but Walk Out began to improve position.  He put himself in touch with the pack, and kept pace as they began to cut into Break Free’s uncontested lead.

Through the far turn, Walk Out began to circle the field.  Near the quarter pole, he bore down on the pacesetter.  Break Free dug in, but could not match pace.  Walk Out gained command, and drew off in the final furlong to win by four widening lengths over that rival.

Monday’s win bodes well for Walk Out.  The class drop did him good, and he showed that he was not just a slop monster.  Though the first tentative steps down the Derby Trail proved a bit more than Walk Out could handle, he won decisively enough to suggest he may have more in reserve for his N2X condition and beyond.

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