Stephen Foster's Lawn Care

Curlin might not be the King of Pop, but he is the King of Romp. I am determined to go to Churchill Downs Saturday to watch the ruling power of the race course in the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr. I).

It is also the fact he is racing against other favorites of mine that I am excited about, Einstein and Brass Hat! Not to mention Thorn Song, another favorite, has raced against Einstein a few different times and just won this past weekend at Churchill Downs. He just happened to beat Obi Wan Kenobi in his Churchill Downs race. In the race before, Thorn Song finished off the board behind Einstein in the Woodford Turf Classic (Gr. IT) on Derby Day.

Einstein by Anne M. Eberhardt
Caption: Einstein after Woodford Reserve Turf Classic
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

Now, like old friends in various touring bands, they get to play together in the same venue. I will continue to state how much I love turf racing, way more than dirt. But to see the royalty of the racing world against good competition on the dirt...even though it is a week late, that is a birthday present worth accepting without a doubt. The significant revelation made to me about this race is that Einstein is leaving the grass to play in the dirt.

How will the turf oriented power house run against the versatile Brass Hat and the ever dominating Curlin? I want to see how well he does. What a great thing it would be to see Einstein prove himself on the dirt and hit the board!

Brass Hat is a grade I winner on dirt, a stakes winner on Polytrack and grade II-placed on turf. I first heard his name when I started at Blood-Horse last July. Then followed his name and career through today.

Truth be told, Einstein may not race in the Stephen Foster, but one can hope and pray. He was ready to race in the June 7 Manhattan Handicap (gr. IT) prior to the whole liscensing issue a week or so ago. So if he is ready, let's let him greet Curlin at the starting gate.

Read up on Churchill Downs release on the race here.

Video: Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (Gr. I) 2008

Video: FAIR GROUNDS, 2007-03-10, Race 7


Woodford Turf Classic - May 3, 2008 (as seen on youtube video):
Maker's Mark Mile - April 11, 2008:
Gulfstream Turf S. - Feb. 23, 2008:
Muniz H. - March 10, 2007 (same as youtube video):
Gulfstream BC Turf:

I could just as easily not mention the videos of Curlin or Brass Hat, but you can find their races on YouTube or also.

Thong Song by Amanda Duckworth
Caption: Funny Typo in Thorn Song's Paddock Sign Prior to Woodford Turf Classic
Photo: Amidala


Curlin Expected to Make Stephen Foster (Preview) 

Three Derby horses are also set to run in the Northern Dancer. Pyro, Recapturetheglory, and Visionaire are listed.


Leave a Comment:

Karen in Texas

I think the ESPN site reported that Steve Asmussen is not happy with Curlin's weight assignment and that he may be taken out of the race. My thought is that Curlin is a true classic distance horse--since last fall he is only starting to roll at 1 1/8 miles. Steve has managed him beautifully and will do what he believes to best.

10 Jun 2008 12:23 PM

This race is amazing quality. I am so glad to see all these horses put some strength back into racing; much less one race. It sounds like Asmussen will put Curlin in regardless of the 128, which is great. He can handle it. Einstein and Curlin are among the most consistent and best horses in racing right now ...

10 Jun 2008 12:36 PM
Frank J

Adam, assuming Curlin wins, he would need one more race to pass Cigar's money record, correct?? Can't wait to see Curlin back in action. Is this race going to be televised? Thanks.

10 Jun 2008 1:10 PM

I love Brass Hat.  We may not see the 3-year-olds run as 4-year-olds, but watching the old vets throughout the year can be a close second.  And what a roster:  Evening Attire, Better Talk Now, Perfect Drift, Cloudy's Knight, Lava Man, Silverfoot, Brass Hat and on and on.  Evening Attire is 10 years old now and I believe a ten-year-old has never won a graded stakes.  He finished second last week in the Brooklyn.  John Henry, The Tin Man and others won at 9, but never 10.    I don't doubt that Curlin will win on Saturday...but having a course record-holder like Brass Hat in the mix makes it very interesting!

10 Jun 2008 1:24 PM

After talking with Scoop Novak, it appears the race is only on HRTV at this point. They have it listed on their schedule and no press releases have stated coverage elsewhere that I have seen so far.

It would be sweep if ESPN would pick it up, for the world to watch Curlin.

10 Jun 2008 1:43 PM

I was too busy rooting for Rags to Riches, Hard Spun, and Street Sense to ever get into Curlin last year, but I have now started to appreciate what a talented race horse he is.

I wonder if Old Friends would be interested in Evening Attire when his career is over. He would be a beautiful addition. He appears to still be competitive, but I always worry about the older horses. I hope his connections know when it is time to call it quits.

10 Jun 2008 2:23 PM

Have been on the Curlin bandwagon since last years Derby. Love all the older stars and am frustrated at the current trend towards the breeding shed after barely proving themselves. Watched Lava Man last weekend and was more excited about that than the Belmont debacle. Still love Big Brown but highly doubt he will thrill us next year with any racing action.

10 Jun 2008 3:19 PM

Evening Attire and (On the subject of old campaigners) Perfect Drift both have great owners. Horses tell you when they're done. As evident from his latest race, Evening Attire is still in it to win it. He'll be fine :)

10 Jun 2008 3:52 PM

I find it odd that Asmussen kind of gets this additional purse money out of Churchill to add to t he race, then he complains about the high weight.  Curlin IS the reigning Horse of the Year, and is the Dubai World Cup winner of the current year.

I think it would oddly serve Churchill Downs right if they didn't get Curlin, but instead Student Council.....

Churchill is desperate to get ANYONE of name in that race, and it looks like they set themselves up just royally this time to be squelched again.....

10 Jun 2008 4:28 PM

curlin is THE horse!  theres no one better right now.  saw him at Belmont last year, and even tho he lost, he showed just how great he is.

10 Jun 2008 4:32 PM
Melissa G

I kind of forgot about Curlin after he ran second in the Belmont then finished third in the Haskell.  Then he came back into the spotlight when he won the JCGC and the BC Classic.  We should thank our lucky stars and Jess Jackson that we have such a talented horse that has not been whisked off to stud like all of his contemporaries from last year.  Unfortunately I will not be able to watch him race this weekend because I don't have HRTV.  Can we lobby ESPN/ESPN2 to cover more G1 and G2 races?

10 Jun 2008 4:39 PM

Melissa G: I am absolutely all for lobbying ESPN.

10 Jun 2008 4:59 PM
Five Star Farm

This is a bit off topic- but when can we expect to see some of the "also ran" 3 year old Derby favorites (I'm thinking specifically of Pyro) start to show back up in these stakes races? Adam, I also love Brass Hat and Einstein, but have to keep rooting for Curlin in this one. Finally, has anyone come up with a good address to contact ESPN about the race?

10 Jun 2008 5:09 PM
Karen in Texas

There is a programming question/request area at after clicking on "contact us" at their website.(Re:Five Star Farm's question)

10 Jun 2008 5:42 PM
Bellwether / james satples

well lobby don't just say you will...@ least call them & let them know as i have been doing just that for seven years...the folks @ espn do listen & they are getting into Horse Racing more & more...Long Live The King!!!

11 Jun 2008 12:43 AM


The seventh running of the $175,000-added Northern Dancer (GIII) is expected to draw three runners from this year’s Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI) in Recapturetheglory (5th), Pyro (8th) and Visionaire (12th).   - from the Churchill Notes

Pyro also worked:

Date: June 9, 2008


Distance: Four Furlongs

Time: 50:80 Breezing

Track Condition: Fast

Surface: Dirt

Rank: 19/26

11 Jun 2008 8:36 AM

I can't wait to see Curlin storming down the stretch to another victory!!  He's #1 in the entire world.  Glad Big Brown lost the Belmont, otherwise he probably would have taken Horse Of The Year away from Curlin, if they didn't meet up and Curlin whopped him.  Go Curlin!!

11 Jun 2008 12:16 PM
Julie L.

Anxious to see Curlin in the Stephen Foster this saturday I will have to watch it on the television set though but hopefully if all goes well I will get to see Curlin in this year's Breeder's Cup as I live in the Los Angeles area so I will be at the Cup at Santa Anita. Not sure if there is any horse in this Stephen Foster field that can handle Curlin if he runs like he should. As we learned in the Belmont nothing is a sure thing in horseracing.

11 Jun 2008 1:14 PM
Five Star Farm

Adam- thanks for the quick update on the Northern Dancer. I have a soft spot for Pyro and hope he can regain some of his form.

11 Jun 2008 1:28 PM

Thanks for the ESPN contact info Karen In Texas.  I sent them a request to show this race as well as future top races.  The reason the networks don't televise most of these races is they don't think there are enough fans to make it worthwhile.  Why don't we all let them know that isn't true?!!  Go Curlin!  Hope to get to see you run!

11 Jun 2008 11:02 PM

You're welcome for the update Five Star Farm. I wrote ESPN yesterday asking them televise this race and asked to follow Curlin.

12 Jun 2008 8:23 AM

I think the Stephen Foster should be a tremendous race, a lot of quality in there. I am rooting for Curlin but 'weight can stop a freight train'.  Hopefully he can overcome it.

13 Jun 2008 7:50 AM

I agree with Steve on the weight issue. I think 128 is too much especially considering the layoff. That and this absurd idea that somehow the Stephen Foster is more prestigous race than the world cup. 126 is fine and that is where it should stay.

Having said that I don't think the weight will stop him if he's ready for the comeback. A win here, would leave no doubt what so ever that Curlin is the best Horse in the wolrd on conventioanl dirt.

13 Jun 2008 12:12 PM
b. graham

i so hope that curlin goes unbeaten this year.maybe that would inspire people to run there good horses more than there 3yr old season.

14 Jun 2008 10:17 AM

Tom I believe John's Call won a grade one at ten years old,correct me if I'm wrong.

15 Jun 2008 10:10 AM

What are your thoughts Adam on the news about Arravale retiring? It was a real shame that she got such a bad trip in the mare's BC Turf last year.The soft turf was to her liking and I was on her team cause she's Canadian eh.

15 Jun 2008 11:42 AM

Long live the Greatest Horse in the world on Dirt still running.....Curlin

15 Jun 2008 3:05 PM

I would like more horses to race to older ages, but there is lots of money in Breeding these days. I hope that people would be more secure with racing them later, with a decently sound Pedigree.

Arravale was taken out of the BC Turf race due to bad training of Somply Perfect for the race.

Apparently Simply Perfect's trainer never rounded the course when working out on the turf and went around the track and then off the track, not rounding the turn.

So Simply Perfect did what she was use to for the week, in the race.

That took Arravale and Precious Kitten out of the race.

Here are some video links:

16 Jun 2008 9:30 AM

Curlin is awesome.  This horse is the real deal.  However,  bringing him to France for the Arc will be a HUGE mistake.  He's not bred for that type of racing, and don't they run clockwise over there.? This is not a good idea, and I don't see how he can overcome all the diversity that will be thrown at him all at once.  This will be an entirely new experience for Curlin, and I do not think it is a good idea.  IMO,  I think his connections are insane to attempt this, and Jesse Jackson must be trying to impress his wealthy friends by having an Arc trophy on the mantel. Why else would he want to run Curlin in the Arc.  I doubt he cares if the people of France get to see Curlin or not, so there must be a specific underlying reason why he wants to do this.  I don't see how this will work out by taking Curlin completely out of his element. This is craziness, and pure insanity.

16 Jun 2008 11:24 AM
Karen in Texas

Mr. Jackson wants Curlin to be a classic horse in every way from the sound of his comments. I think running him at Woodbine would be enough to accomplish this, plus a few grass races in the U.S. No one questions Secretariat's credentials, and that's the path he took. Curlin is now an American treasure.

17 Jun 2008 10:07 AM
Melissa G

On the contrary, I think that Curlin deserves a chance on the turf.  The Curlin camp is going to play it smart with the Arc.  They’re not just going to throw the horse on a plane to Paris two weeks before the race.  First Asmussen said he plans on trying him on a grass race over here.  Then if all goes well he may potentially prep in a grass race in France before the Arc – kind of what they did in Dubai with the Jaguar Trophy.  

After the Stephen Foster, Curlin really has very little to prove on the dirt against American horses.  Do you really think Big Brown has much of a chance against this monster?  Please.  A matchup between the two would leave us feeling sorry for Big Brown.  As for Jess Jackson, what’s wrong with wanting a little glory for his horse?  The way this sport is trending, we may never see a horse with Curlin’s caliber race past 3.  Jackson is making a financial sacrifice with the insurance he has to pay keeping Curlin in the races.  

On a side note, has anyone else noticed how Curlin cocks his head to the inside when he races?  Maybe it’s just me or the camera angle, but if you look at his Dubai World Cup you can definitely see it in the close-ups.

17 Jun 2008 10:19 AM

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