Wednesday, September 24, 2008
CURLIN ARRIVES AT BELMONT PARK
Stonestreet Stable’s Curlin, the defending Horse of the Year, arrived at Belmont Park Tuesday afternoon after a “very uneventful” van ride from Saratoga Race Course.
With a victory in Saturday’s 90th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup, the 4-year-old Smart Strike colt will become American racing’s all-time leading money winner and the first American Thoroughbred to reach $10 million in career earnings. The winner’s purse of the Jockey Club Gold Cup is $450,000.
Curlin arrived at Belmont Park at 1:15 p.m. and was in his barn 15 minutes later. After some time in his stall and one turn around the shedrow, he was given a bath. Playful in the autumn air, Curlin’s dappled chestnut body lit up underneath the September sun.
Curlin breezed an easy half-mile in 51.85 on the Oklahoma Training Track at Saratoga Race Course on Monday.
“It was a nice, easy half-mile, typical Curlin,” Blasi said “Everything went perfect.”
Curlin is expected to gallop on the main track here Wednesday at 6:30 a.m., and every day leading into the race. He will school in the paddock during Thursday’s second race as he prepares for the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a race he won by a nose over Lawyer Ron last year.
Should he win the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Curlin could again nail down Horse of the Year honors, and join Mad Hatter (1921-’22), Dark Secret (1933-’34), Nashua (1955-’56), Kelso (1960-’64), the mare Shuvee (1970-’71), Slew o’Gold (1983-’84), Crème Fraiche (1986-’87) and Skip Away (1996-’97) as the only repeat winners of the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Firethorn won it in 1935 and as a five-year-old in 1937.
By winning the Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga Race Course on August 30, Curlin moved ahead of Skip Away and into second place behind two-time Horse of the Year Cigar as American racing’s all-time leading money-earner. Cigar, the 1995 Jockey Club Gold Cup winner, earned $9,999,815. Curlin’s total stands at $9,796,800.
“One of the goals from early in the year was to beat Cigar’s earnings’ record,” Blasi said. “To win this race for a second year in a row and to be compared to those horses would be a great honor.”
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