#1: the fourth annual Twelve Days of Curlin Babies

Welcome back to the Twelve Days of Curlin Babies, where we celebrate the twelve most memorable races from Curlin’s progeny throughout 2017.  Through all the hundreds of races in which they ran this year, these are the ones that keep reappearing in my mind.

#12: Stellar Wind Wins the First Beholder Mile
#11: Fireball Merlin Carries His Class to Fort Erie
#10: Irish War Cry Rolls Onto the Derby Trail
#9: Federal Agent Makes It Five Straight
#8: Horse-for-Course Captured Slips Under the Radar
#7: Good Magic Gives Curlin a Breeders’ Cup Win — and Solomini, an Exacta
#6: Handsome Franco Weathers Hurricane Maria
#5: Iredell Romps over Majestic Hussar at Laurel
#4: Curlinup and I Try Stakes Company
#3: Volgograd Debuts — Finally
#2: Whisper to Curlin Fights On In Chicago

#1: Keen Ice Upsets the Suburban

Keen Ice (Medomak, by Awesome Again) did not always win, but when he did, he did so when it looked an impossible task.

Even though he went off the favourite in a Churchill Downs maiden race in September 2014, he had eight lengths to make up on Tiznow R J and Starbound with a furlong to go.  Keen Ice got there.

The next year, in the Travers (G1), few thought Triple Crown champion American Pharoah could be beaten.  No one bothered to tell Keen Ice that, and he took command in the final sixteenth.

Antepost, most had already handed this year’s Suburban Stakes (G2) to Shaman Ghost.  The son of Ghostzapper had come closest to Arrogate in the Pegasus World Cup (G1), then followed that up with victories in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1) and the Pimlico Special (G3).  He had the form, the stamina, and the tactical ability to shine at a mile and a quarter in a field of five.  Among the few who thought Shaman Ghost could be beat, most of them leaned toward Matt King Coal, figuring he could just wire the field.

Keen Ice, dismissed at 5/1, had other ideas.

Read More »

#2: the fourth annual Twelve Days of Curlin Babies

Welcome back to the Twelve Days of Curlin Babies, where we celebrate the twelve most memorable races from Curlin’s progeny throughout 2017.  Through all the hundreds of races in which they ran this year, these are the ones that keep reappearing in my mind.

#12: Stellar Wind Wins the First Beholder Mile
#11: Fireball Merlin Carries His Class to Fort Erie
#10: Irish War Cry Rolls Onto the Derby Trail
#9: Federal Agent Makes It Five Straight
#8: Horse-for-Course Captured Slips Under the Radar
#7: Good Magic Gives Curlin a Breeders’ Cup Win — and Solomini, an Exacta
#6: Handsome Franco Weathers Hurricane Maria
#5: Iredell Romps over Majestic Hussar at Laurel
#4: Curlinup and I Try Stakes Company
#3: Volgograd Debuts — Finally

#2: Whisper to Curlin Fights On In Chicago

I’ve loved Whisper to Curlin (Whisperifyoudare, by Red Ransom) as long as I’ve known who he was — and, why wouldn’t I?  After all, Palace Malice got me into Curlin’s progeny in the first place, and there’s no Curlin baby so closely related to him as this Iowa-bred bay.  Whisper to Curlin’s dam, Whisperifyoudare, also produced Palace Malice’s dam Palace Rumor.

It took a while for him to break his maiden, but once he did, he had an excellent three-year-old summer culminating with a win in the 2014 Iowa Breeders’ Derby.  After one more start that year, however, he dropped off the map for over a year and a half.  He struggled in allowance and stakes ranks last year, but during his seven-year-old year he showed some moments of form in the claiming ranks, including a win and a second at Prairie Meadows.

This fall, he came to my home track.

whispertocurlinpaddock-2
Whisper to Curlin in the paddock before his race on October 18, 2017

Read More »

up close with an old friend

Whisper to Curlin (Whisperifyoudare, by Red Ransom) has long been one of my favourite Curlin babies.  It was inevitable…Palace Malice was why I started following Curlin babies in the first place, and there’s no Curlin baby so closely related to him as Whisper to Curlin.  Whisperifyoudare, his dam, is Palace Malice’s second dam.

whispertocurlinpaddock2

Read More »

#2: twelve days of Curlin babies

Welcome back to the twelve days of Curlin babies: a look back on twelve races during 2014 that stand out among races by Curlin’s progeny over the course of the year. They are races I keep returning to in my head, and ones that I am always excited to discuss. They will all have a story, a clear reason why they stand out among the hundreds of races in which I saw Curlin babies race this year.

#12: Federal Agent breaks his maiden
#11: Miss Frost wins the Tenski Stakes
#10: Curly Queen breaks her maiden
#9: Stopshoppingdebbie wins the Washington State Legislators Handicap
#8: J to the Croft, the longest shot on the board, breaks his maiden
#7: Moulin de Mougin wins the John C. Mabee Stakes
#6: She’s Curly, and the ad hoc match race
#5: Please Explain wins the Suncoast Stakes
#4: Golden Actor breaks his maiden
#3: Keen Ice breaks his maiden

#2: Whisper to Curlin wins the Iowa Breeders’ Derby

Earlier this year, when I started compiling my (aspiring-to-be) complete list of Curlin babies, I stumbled across a guy named Whisper to Curlin.  In addition to being a Curlin baby, he was closely related to Palace Malice.  Whisper to Curlin’s dam is Whisperifyoudare; she also produced Palace Rumor, who then produced my favourite racehorse ever to put on a saddle.  Thanks to that close connection to Palace Malice, I started to pull for him particularly strongly.

Read More »

this week in Curlin babies: 8.28.14

Welcome to another installment of this week in Curlin babies: all the news that’s fit to print about Blinkers Off’s favourite sire.  This week, Stopshoppingdebbie extended her record to a perfect nine-for-nine, and plans have emerged for her to test her mettle outside Emerald Downs for the first time.  Two Curlin babies, Sookie and Une Cherise, broke their maidens in absolutely dazzling fashion.  Coming up this week, Curalina becomes the first of Curlin’s third crop to attempt a Grade I, as the once-raced maiden takes a swing at the Spinaway Stakes (GI): the race which will be Tom Durkin’s final call as the regular announcer at the Spa.  Miss Frost gets a rematch against Granny Mc’s Kitten in the Riskaverse Stakes at Saratoga, and both Woelf Den and Shiva Curlin plan to run in the Monarchos Stakes at Gulfstream.

Without further ado, let’s see what Curlin’s runners have been doing on the track lately! Read More »

Whisper to Curlin tries the big boys…

The more I think about Whisper to Curlin’s run in the Edward J. Debartolo Memorial Handicap at Remington last night, the more I come away with just one thought: I’m so proud of this guy.

He had only raced away from Prairie Meadows once, an up-the-track finish at Oaklawn back in March.  After a string of second-place finishes, he finally broke through when switching to Iowa-bred company.  Two starts after breaking his maiden he won an allowance in dazzling fashion.  His next out he won the Iowa Breeders’ Derby: his first stakes win, in his first stakes attempt.

Read More »

this week in Curlin babies: 8.21.14

Welcome to another installment of this week in Curlin babies: all the news that’s fit to print about Blinkers Off’s favourite sire.  It is a bit of a short one, as last week’s covered a week and a half due to the Arlington Million delay.  Over the last few days Reversiontothemean acquitted herself well in her first attempt against winners; though she left herself too much to do late, her keen closing run suggests promise at the same level in future outings.  Coming up this week, Stopshoppingdebbie attempts to make it nine-for-nine in her career in Sunday’s Emerald Distaff, and Whisper to Curlin faces open — and older — company in Saturday’s Debartolo Handicap at Remington.

Without further ado, let’s see what Curlin’s runners have been doing on the track lately! Read More »