‘Perfect’ Curlin Has World at his Feet

Curlin - Thursday, March 27 (Photo Credit: Michele MacDonald)As racing fans and participants from around the world gathered at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse on Thursday for "Breakfast with the Stars," there was one name that seemed to be on everyone's lips: Curlin.

People from Australia to Europe to South America to Asia all wanted to see the American Horse of the Year with their own eyes, to gauge how good he might really be before he races for the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) on Saturday.

"The race is for second place," declared Naohiro Goda, a television commentator and racing publicist from Japan.

As Curlin sauntered past the grandstand in a calm walk beside his pony companion Pancho, he looked every inch the star of this show. Ears pricked, he surveyed the masses with the curiosity of one who knows he is the center of attention.

Once past the crowd, Curlin picked up a jog as he traveled up the stretch chute to visit the starting gate for another schooling session that has been part of his regular drill under the orders of trainer Steve Asmussen.

"He was perfect," assistant trainer Scott Blasi reported. "He stood and backed out. We let him be comfortable."

When exercise rider Carlos Rosas turned Curlin around and pointed him down the stretch toward the finish line, the muscular son of Smart Strike took on a whole different demeanor. His neck arched, his ears back in concentration, and his mouth wide open as he asserted himself with Rosas, Curlin galloped past the crowd like a fireball in the searing sun.

It was that zeal to do what he was born to do-run-that has been sharpened into an emphatic point for Saturday that led Blasi to skip his planned visit to the walking ring with Curlin. Since the colt already is familiar with the small enclosure, having paraded there before his winning race in February and also schooled there on another race night in addition to morning visits, there was no need to place him there next to the Breakfast with the Stars commotion of hundreds of people, long buffet food lines and loudly amplified interviews with trainers.

"It was just too much," Blasi said.

Curlin completed his mile gallop without incident and cooled out well.

"Everything went great," Blasi declared as he awaited the arrivals in Dubai of Asmussen and jockey Robby Albarado.

Only two more mornings to get through before Curlin can be freed to really run across this stage in front the whole world.


Leave a Comment:

christy tate

i hope curlin wins  saturday. i'm keeping my fingers crossed. go big red!

27 Mar 2008 1:59 PM
Gregg Anderson

 Your updates are fantastic!!

 A great job Michelle!!

 Looks like a place I might want

 to visit 1 day

         GO BIG RED

27 Mar 2008 2:36 PM

Does anyone know if there will be TV coverage of Saturday's Dubai races? Locally (Albany, NY) or nationally?

27 Mar 2008 2:49 PM
J. Carson Black

I don't just love this horse's physical prowess, but also his mind. When you think what he did last year, how quickly he learned, how hard he'd come back (the Derby truly showed his mettle), the way he learned to change gears three or four times in one race--his story is truly phenomenal!  He is exceptional in every way.  Any horse can be beaten on a given day, and he still has to run the race. But for so many reasons, he is one of the best I've ever seen.  

27 Mar 2008 3:55 PM

Curlin sure has me at his feet, and for a while to. When I saw his amazing rebel i thought wow, nice horse, then I saw the him making the other choke on his dust next by 10 lengths and said this horse is my favorite. Go Big Red, go show the world that your a force to be reckoned with!

27 Mar 2008 4:00 PM

I know Curlin has what it takes to win. I just pray that he'll be safe and can retire and be happy.

27 Mar 2008 4:14 PM

The race will be televised on HRTV 12:30 PM EST.

27 Mar 2008 4:35 PM

The races will be shown on ESPN360.com.  Most internet providers support it so you should be able to watch it there for free on Saturday morning.

Good luck my darling Curlin.  Vermillion will be tough but Curlin wins this.

27 Mar 2008 4:40 PM
Brian Appleton

Unbelievable, this horse is raw power!!  Theres no way he'll lose, I can't wait to see how he wins!!  GO CURLIN!! (What great coverage!  Thank you!)

27 Mar 2008 4:41 PM

Curlin looks great and would look even better if he raced in that lovely brown leather bridle you see him training in and not that hideous white bridle!  

27 Mar 2008 4:54 PM

ESPN360.com will show the races live, HRTV on taped delay.

Can anyone explain the bit Curlin is wearing?  Is it a Springsteen or Norton? I assume it is designed for a bit more control..

27 Mar 2008 5:11 PM

Good Luck Beautiful Boy Curlin, I'm already getting a bit nervous for you.

I'm glad you were able to get rid of some of those pesky photographers the other day. Being that you are extremely talented & absolutely gorgeous, you are just gonna have to smile pretty for the camera beautiful one!!  :>)

Love U Curlin,


27 Mar 2008 6:22 PM

TVG is broadcasting at 10:30am EST.

Thanks TVG! I was beginning to wonder if I was going to get to watch it.

Go Curlin! Gotta love it! It's not very often that we get to see the star 3 YOs still running at 4 anymore. My thanks to the owner.

27 Mar 2008 9:10 PM
Brenda M

Go gettem' big boy!!!  We will all be watching you on saturday.

28 Mar 2008 1:21 AM
Vanessa G

I read on the Daily Racing Form that ABC will have an hour delay broadcast of the World Cup at 2:30 pm.  I'm assuming that is eastern time.  Also, both HRTV and TVG are broadcasting the race live.

28 Mar 2008 8:54 AM

i hope curlin wins so easy otherwise what have we been watching?

28 Mar 2008 9:32 AM
frank pochis

too bad there's no wagering available, i'd love to have a two dollar win ticket on him to go along with the one i have on " AFFIRMED"

28 Mar 2008 9:59 AM

One of the greatest trainers of our lifetime, and one who is probably the most respected trainer in the country by his peers, 79 yr old Hall Of Famer H. Allen Jerkens, was asked after the BC Classic what he thought of Curlin. He replied..."he is not one in a million, he's one in a zillion". Enough said. For a horse to brake his maiden then do what he did in the span of only 9 months is nothing short of amazing. Could very well end up being one the best ever.  

28 Mar 2008 10:05 AM

Curlin is the Man. No doubt. But let us never lose sight of the accomplishment of the filly "Rags To Riches" when she literality "laid it down" to win the Belmont Stakes. A performance for the ages. Can hardly wait to see results of her mating With "Giants Causeway". I certainly could find a stall for that foal.

28 Mar 2008 12:08 PM

Just a quick comment regarding these World Chanpionships (Breeders Cup and Dubai World). It is my belief and hope that getting together for an old fashion horse will lead to the normalization of human relationships all around the world. "WORLD PEACE CUP". Got a nice ring to it.

28 Mar 2008 1:03 PM

Not to take anything away from Rags to Riches...she was a great filly...but she all the advantages and breaks in the Belmont. She was well rested for 5 weeks, while Curlin had run two grueling races in the Derby and Preakness in that time. She carried 5 lbs less than Curlin. But most important and overlooked...Curlin was pinned down on the rail for the first time in his brief career. All his wins were  runaways or when he was able to run down foes on the outside...think Preakness, Gold Cup and Breeders Cup. If he was outside of Rags in the Belmont stretch, he would have beaten her in my opinion.

28 Mar 2008 1:55 PM

Depending on where you live, you can wager on the Dubai World Cup.  Most, if not all horse racing venues are taking the simulcast as well as OTB sites.

28 Mar 2008 2:09 PM

Curlin looks to be in excellent shape.

The Jaguar Cup was more than solid considering Robby never really took his foot off the brakes.

He can win and I hope he does win. However, I'm having this bad feeling that he might not win.

Of course, it would be a worldwide shock if he didn't hit the board.

This field is most impressive.

And, although the post is not ideal, it’s the size of the field that concerns me.

In particular, the owners and trainers with multiple entries could be trouble.

Not necessarily because those horses are better than Curlin, but the idea of that 'target on his back' as one writer put it.

Its nothing new.

Many races set up this way.

When you're number one, everybody's gunning for you.

One eye on the finish line and one eye on Curlin.

Everyone wants to win, but there's the added incentive and bragging rights of being the 'spoiler'.

I'm just a novice pointing out a few very obvious potential issues.

A clean break. A speed duel. Robby balances keeping the sand out of his face and wide path.

I hope Curlin crushes them in the final quarter.

Its you against the world buddy, and it’s certainly the world against you.

Get 'em.

28 Mar 2008 2:30 PM

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