Welcome back to the Twelve Days of Curlin Babies, where we celebrate the twelve most memorable races from Curlin’s progeny through 2019. Among all the hundreds of races in which they ran this year, these are the ones to which my mind keeps wandering back.
#12: Curlina Curlina Finds the Wire
#11: A Pleasant Surprise, Volgograd
#10 Ajaaweed Emerges as a Juvenile to Watch
#9 Lady Apple Trains On
#8 Tenfold and Cordmaker Stretch Out
#7 Chaos Theory Defies His Inexperience
#6: Global Campaign, Standard Deviation, and Curlin Grey Hit the Trifecta
Early in the year, three-year-old allowance dirt routes at Gulfstream Park draw attention. After all, they often contain a mix of class two-year-olds trying to move forward at three, as well as up-and-coming horses who had only begun to draw attention over the last month or two in Florida. Sometimes they feature Derby contenders; other times, they reveal horses who might not be ready for the Derby but who remain horses to watch through the rest of the year.
One such race on February 9, a mile and a sixteenth N1X with a $75,000 optional tag, drew a field of seven: including three Curlin babies.
Standard Deviation (False Impression, by A. P. Indy) was the old, familiar face among the trio in the race. The Chad Brown trainee, owned by Klaravich Stables, was making his first start since running a disappointing 13th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) the previous November. Though, Standard Deviation was ceding experience that day; it was only his third start. He had romped on debut in an off-turf maiden special weight at Saratoga in August, then come back to run third behind Knicks Go and Signalman in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland.
Global Campaign (Globe Trot, by A. P. Indy) was the hot new face, the talk of the town. Unraced at two, he debuted on January 5 of this year, romping to win a seven-furlong maiden special weight at Gulfstream. Global Campaign was bred to be a good one. His dam, Globe Trot, had produced two other starters: Bolt d’Oro (Medaglia d’Oro), a multiple G1 winner, and Sonic Mule (Distorted Humor), a multiple stakes winner who is three times graded stakes placed. Globe Trot is also a half-sister to Need: the dam of Recruiting Ready (Algorithms), Global Campaign’s G3-winning stablemate in the Stanley Hough shedrow. That’s not the only link between the two. Sagamore Farm owns Recruiting Ready outright, and owns Global Campaign in partnership with WinStar Farm.
A bit lost in the shadow cast by these two rising stars was Curlin Grey (Surf Light, by Malibu Moon). Trained by Ken McPeek for Fern Circle Stables, he was the most experienced among the three sons of Curlin, with six starts before this February allowance. He had finally broken his maiden in the sixth of those starts. That had come January 9 at Gulfstream, though it had taken a drop into a $50,000 claiming race for him to get off the mark. He still had class to prove, but it was a light-on effort in which he settled well off the pace in a field of six, swept past and drew off by four and three quarters lengths.
Global Campaign soon led along the inside, with Standard Deviation attending closest; Curlin Grey, just as he did in his maiden victory, found no reason to hurry. Longshot Blue Steel pulled keen to the lead outside of Global Campaign past the seven-eighths; Global Campaign was briefly keen to follow suit, but Luis Saez kept him under a hold, wrangling him back to track the pace inside of Irad Ortiz and Standard Deviation.
Nearing the five eighths, Global Campaign encroached upon Blue Steel right in, with Standard Deviation advancing in tandem to his outside. Standard Deviation soon settled just behind them, though Global Campaign took the battle to Blue Steel and edged away from the three eighths. Standard Deviation, by then driven, gave chase. Curlin Grey, with just five sixteenths of a mile remaining, remained in last though he was taking closer order.
Global Campaign turned into the lane in the clear, daring Standard Deviation to catch him. Standard Deviation kept on, well behind the leader, but clear of the rest. Curlin Grey, urged by jockey Brian Hernandez to take advantage of the sharp pace that had unfolded before him, was rolling through horses.
Eased up late, Global Campaign crossed the wire two and a quarter lengths clear of the chasing Standard Deviation. Curlin Grey picked off everyone else, crossing the wire another length and a half back, to complete the Curlin trifecta.
Due to some foot issues, Global Campaign made three more starts through the course of the year. Fifth behind Code of Honor in the Fountain of Youth (G2), he then went north to New York, won the Peter Pan over eventual Belmont (G1) winner Sir Winston, then ran third behind stalwarts Tax and Tacitus in the Jim Dandy (G2). Plans are to race him in 2020, possibly even at Gulfstream.
Standard Deviation moved forward from that allowance race, going 2-for-7 on the year. Though, all his best form came on the grass, including victories in the Tale of the Cat Stakes and the Jersey Derby. In the Jersey Derby, he topped a Curlin exacta, winning by three quarters of a length over Current. He also added a pair of graded stakes placings to his resume as the year drew to a close, running third in both the Hill Prince Stakes (G1) and the Hollywood Derby (G1).
As for Curlin Grey, his year turned out a little tougher. After running off the board in both the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway and an optional claimer at Keeneland, he sold for $75,000 to Centennial Farms Niagara at the Keeneland April sale. Moved to the barn of Ravendra Raghunath, Curlin Grey struggled in five starts at Woodbine for his new owner, then was claimed to the barn of Martin Drexler for new owner 1569389 Ontario Inc. However, he had his brightest moment since his maiden win for his first start in the Drexler barn: he visited Fort Erie, got back on dirt, and made a smart last-to-first rally to win a N2L allowance there. Though his season ended with an off-the-board finish at Woodbine, the Fort Erie race was encouraging, suggesting Curlin Grey just wanted to be back on the dirt.