Belmont Stakes day got off to a good start for Curlin babies, with Connect posting an authoritative allowance win. Connect, of course, proved that was no fluke this past Friday when he returned to win the Curlin Stakes.
Two others who raced on Belmont day did not fare quite as well. Curalina (Whatdreamsrmadeof, by Graeme Hall) went off the betting favourite in the Ogden Phipps (GI), off her sensational La Troienne victory. She could only muster fourth place. Later in the day, Preakness winner Exaggerator (Dawn Raid, by Vindication) went off favoured in the Belmont Stakes (GI), but had nothing late and finished eleventh out of thirteen in the field.
Both Curalina and Exaggerator returned today, trying to put their Belmont Day disappointments behind them.
It’s almost here — my favourite race of the Triple Crown, the Test of the Champion, the Belmont Stakes. Over at Picks and Ponderings, Paul Mazur and I go point-counterpoint on the entire field of thirteen.
The horse in the field who has my #CurlinBabies heart is of course Exaggerator. It would be so much fun to see
But, particularly without Nyquist in the field, Exaggerator will be short-priced to the point of underlay. That hits especially strongly given Exaggerator’s closing style, something that typically does not suit the Belmont so well.
So, though my heart may be with the Preakness winner, my head says to focus on others who present far more betting value.
After a couple of nights to sleep on it, we still woke to find it still was not a dream: Exaggerator won the Preakness. Curlin himself accomplished that feat in 2007, and now he has a son who has done the same.
In four crops, Exaggerator is the second son of Curlin to see the starter in the Preakness. The first did well for himself, too. Ride On Curlin, coming back from a seventh-place finish in the Kentucky Derby, rallied for second behind a dominant California Chrome.
Beyond the facts that each made a solid but not quite winning Kentucky Derby try, and the fact that the Preakness was each horse’s fifth start at age three, Exaggerator’s path to Preakness glory hardly resembled his sire’s.