Once and for all, all now know that Curlin is a special racehorse. He remains undefeated in three starts, going from a soft-paced front-running maiden win at seven furlongs, to an off-the-pace authoritative score in a Grade 3 at a different racetrack and into a whole new dimension yesterday, a drawing-away nine furlong tour-de-force in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby.
Curlin now has won three lifetime starts by an aggregate 28-1/2 lengths. It was the most dominating Kentucky Derby prep performance since Bellamy Road decimated the Wood Memorial field two years ago in New York.
In the Toyota Blue Grass, meanwhile, all Street Sense lost was a horse race. In fact, the margins separating the first four finishers; Dominican, Street Sense, Zanjero and Teuflesberg were a nose and two heads, respectively. All ran very well, Great Hunter, stopped cold in midstretch, notwithstanding.
And so Dominican jumps onto everyone's Derby radar with a strong-finish score coming from last off laughably slow fractions. (More on Keeneland's Polytrack surface later this week). Derby newcomer, trainer Darrin Miller, needed a big performance from his horse which lacked sufficient graded stakes earnings. That's no longer an issue.
Only next weekend's Lexington Stakes remains as a viable Derby prep. It might produce another starter, depending on who starts, how he performs and--the most significant variable--how he comes out of the race.
Twenty days. And counting.