There was precedent for Curlin babies from the family of Curlin’s Approval (Withmom’sapproval, by With Approval). She is one of three registered Curlin foals from her dam, though the first to start. Her unraced four-year-old sister Curlin’s Daughter has been bred to Congrats; her two-year-old sister Curlin’s Mistress has yet to appear on the track.
There are more Curlin babies Withmom’sapproval produced Image of Mom, who produced Curlin’s Princess. Curlin’s Princess was the first member of Curlin’s third crop to start, and three weeks later became the first of that crop to win. Image of Mom also produced Curlin’s Image, a three-year-old filly who made her debut last month.
But, enough about the family of Curlin’s Approval. What about her racing career?
That is going well so far.
Curlin’s Approval made her debut on June 5 of this year, and made quick work of a maiden special weight at six furlongs over the dirt. It was enough for trainer Martin Wolfson to send her right into stakes company. On July 2, she went out in the Azalea Stakes, a seven-furlong race for sophomore fillies. It proved a bit too much too soon, and she ran an even fifth.
Next out, Curlin’s Approval suggested it may have been the inexperience and not the extra distance that proved her undoing in the Azalea. Notched back to N1X allowance-optional company on July 22, she showed extended-sprint promise there. She stalked, pounced, and won that six and a half furlong race by five easy lengths.
It was enough to justify a step back up into stakes company. This time, Curlin’s Approval was a bit more seasoned. She would try even furlongs again, but the waters were a bit deeper: the Azalea consisted of three-year-olds only, but Sunday’s Added Elegance Stakes included older fillies and mares. Miss Hollywood, a four-year-old who went off the clear favourite, had easily won the Monroe Stakes over the same course and distance on July 31. In six career starts, she had never missed the money. Four-year-old Moment of Delight was a last-out stakes winner against Florida-bred company, and prevailed easily enough to justify taking a shot against open stakes runners. Kiss to Remember, a five-year-old stablemate of Curlin’s Approval had serious back class. She was Grade I placed at the distance by virtue of finishing second in last year’s Ballerina.
Curlin’s Approval rose to the challenge.
Moment of Delight sent to the front. Curlin’s Approval stayed on her outside flank, stalking Moment of Delight down the backstretch. Curlin’s Approval turned up the pressure through the turn, though Moment of Delight had enough fight to keep her head in front. Approaching the stretch, however, Curlin’s Approval made it to even terms, then poked her head in front.
Moment of Delight kept trying, but Curlin’s Approval had more than enough to answer her. She edged clear in the final furlong, and crossed the wire a length and a half clear of Moment of Delight.
As a three-year-old Curlin baby with only four starts under her belt, Curlin’s Approval has plenty of time and upside to improve. Sunday’s stakes win is a sign that she is moving in the right direction…but she could still be any sort. Will she stretch out to a route, or find her home as a six and a half, seven furlong specialist? Will she stay on the Gulfstream circuit, or broaden her horizons?
It will be fun to find out.