Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Horse For All Courses

There is always lot of wailing about quality thoroughbreds retiring the minute they show a degree of competence. So I want to take a minute to throw a shout out to Curlin.

The casual sports fan remembers Curlin as the beaten morning line favorite, and actual second choice, in the 2007 Kentucky Derby. He wrapped up the classics with a win in the Preakness and a thrilling loss to the filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont. My take on that Belmont is here.

Well, he has been a tear since then. Last autumn, he won the richest North American race, the Breeders Cup Classic in the slop- and followed that up with a crowning, dominating win over the best the world had to offer in the Dubai World Cup.

Curlin is the consensus best dirt horse in training. But rather than retiring to the breeding shed, his connections have sought out new challenges- which they ought to be commended for. His last start was last week in the Man O' War Stakes- taking him off dirt and onto grass- with an eye toward taking on the world’s most prestigious grass race: Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris,

Curlin finished second- an impressive achievement considering the last two Breeders Cup Turf champions- Red Rocks and Better Talk Now- were running too.

Anyway, the NYRA is very frugal with video- so I can’t find the Man O’ War- but here is the Dubai. "From the red, white and blue corner....":

... and the Classic. Frank Helps You Think It All Out loves the slop!

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