Monday, September 29, 2008
HORSE OF THE YEAR CURLIN ARRIVES AT SANTA ANITA
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 28, 2008)—Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin arrived from New York at Santa Anita Park at 5 p.m. today to defend his title in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, to be run at Oak Tree at Santa Anita on Oct. 25. The 4-year-old colt by Smart Strike was flown by Tex Sutton charter from New York to Louisville, Ky., where another Breeders’ Cup Classic candidate, Student Council, was loaded and flown to Ontario/Los Angeles International airport. The pair was then vanned to Santa Anita, where Curlin will reside at Barn 27.
Scott Blasi, assistant to Curlin’s trainer Steve Asmussen, accompanied Curlin, who won yesterday’s Gr. I, $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park. He will oversee his training at Santa Anita.
Blasi said that the decision to ship this morning to California came with short notice. “Mr. Jackson (majority owner Jess) instructed us to fly out this morning about 30 minutes after the race. He was really strong in the test barn after the race and he cooled out great. Robbie (jockey, Albarado) took care of him and just hand rode him through the stretch.”
Blasi noted the intention is to run in the Classic with one caveat.
“The Classic is what we showed up for, but he’s got to train well to run,” he said. “If he’s going to run, we want Santa Anita to be his home for the next 30 days.
Blasi said that a team of four people was assembled to tend to Curlin this week. “His regular exercise rider is Carlos Rosas. He stopped in Kentucky to pick up his clothes and he’ll be here tomorrow. Steve (Asmussen) told me to buy some new clothes here.”
In winning yesterday’s Gold Cup, Curlin picked up $450,000 and surpassed Cigar as racing’s all-time money-winning horse, with $10,246,800 in career earnings.
Should Curlin run in the Classic, it would set up an epic showdown with this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown and would definitively determine 2008 Horse of the Year honors.
Breeders’ Cup XXV, to be run on Oct. 24 and 25, will mark the fourth time the event has been conducted at Oak Tree. For ticket information, call (626) 254-1300.
Read more articles in the Santa Anita category.