Why Curlin Will Run in the Classic

Actually, I have nothing concrete to back that up other than a line from a movie. And it sounded like a good head. But, really, when Jess Jackson opened the door after the Woodward, saying he’s going to have trainers like Dick Mandella keep him informed about the Santa Anita surface, it gave racing fans a ray of hope that maybe it could happen.

With the Classic door now ajar, I can’t help but think of a line in the Academy Award-winning picture “In the Heat of the Night.” Bear with me on this one; I’m taking a circuitous route to get where I’m going.

Police chief Gillespie (Rod Steiger) all but forces Philadelphia homicide detective Virgil Tibbs (Sidney Poitier) to leave Sparta, Miss. after an unsolved murder, because he’s black and a heck of a lot smarter than they are. When Gillespie is told by the mayor, who is pressured by the victim’s wife, to make sure Tibbs stays on the case, Steiger tracks him down at the train station and tries different methods, but is unable to convince him to stay. Finally, he says to him:

“I’m tellin’ you that you're gonna stay…because you’re so damned smart. You’re smarter than any white man. You’re just gonna stay here and show us all. You could never live with yourself unless you could put us all to shame. You wanna know something, Virgil? I don't think that you could let an opportunity like that pass by.”

The more I think of that passage, the more I wonder if Jess Jackson can pass up showing IEAH Stables and Rick Dutrow. Will he be able to live with himself if he doesn’t at least attempt to “put them all to shame” after Dutrow’s brazen comments and being called out by Mike Iavarone. To quote Gillespie -- just substituting names: “You wanna know something, Jess? I don’t think that you could let an opportunity like that pass by.”

Hey, it worked for Gillespie.

I’m not even saying Curlin should run in the Breeders’ Cup. I respect whatever decision Jackson makes and can understand his not wanting to run in the Classic this year. The fact is, neither horse is ducking the other; it’s just a difference in philosophy, nothing more. Each one wants to run against the other but on their terms – Big Brown’s people want the Breeders’ Cup; Curlin’s people want a traditional dirt race. Neither is right and neither is wrong. With that said, would I like to see Curlin in the Classic? Heck, yes, just like everyone else. Considering that Curlin didn’t exactly have jaws dropping over his performance in the Woodward, maybe a switch to synthetic actually would be something he would relish. Who knows?

Look, the bottom line is Curlin won the Woodward, which is the most important thing. But now comes the question: is this as good as he is right now or did he need the Woodward after a seven-week layoff and a 1 3/8-mile turf race to set him up for a scintillating performance in the Jockey Club Gold Cup? Another performance like the Woodward, in which he closed his final eighth in :14 to defeat a 40-1 shot who was coming home his last three-eighths in almost :40, and a switch to synthetic might start looking more attractive.

And what better way to end his career than to knock off Big Brown, possibly Commentator, the best synthetic track horses in the country, Japan’s Casino Drive, and a powerful arsenal from Europe, including Aidan O’Brien’s dynamic duo of Duke of Marmalade and Henrythenavigator, who have won nine Group I stakes this year between them, and English Derby winner New Approach. As Iavarone said, “That would be electric. He has to run in the Classic.”

Well, Jackson doesn’t have to do anything, but when decision time comes, can he let an opportunity like that pass by? What if in Curlin there is a super duper synthetic specialist just waiting to emerge? By the way, Virgil Tibbs did stay and got the job done. And it all ended with an Eclipse, I mean Academy Award.

Jackson has announced that the Jockey Club Gold Cup will be Curlin’s next start, but didn’t mention anything beyond that.

If Jackson does reject the Virgil Tibbs theory, he has basically one option, unless he’s serious about taking a huge gamble and going for the Japan Cup Dirt over a track that normally is like a sandbox. That option is to commit after the Gold Cup to meet Big Brown in the Clark Handicap, which has been suggested here before. That still seems like the most natural place to decide Horse of the Year, even though it’s not as glamorous as the Breeders’ Cup Classic. And even if both horses do run in the Classic, there is no reason why they can’t have a rematch in the Clark four weeks later to settle matters on the dirt.

As for the possibility of sending Curlin to Japan, it is worth noting that 13 horses from the U.S. have competed in the Japan Cup Dirt and 11 of them have finished out of the money. The only winner, Fleetstreet Dancer, won by a nose on a sloppy track. To send a horse who has already traveled to Dubai this year for an extended stay all the way to Japan for a race on Dec. 7 (gee, that date sounds familiar)) to run on such a deep track, that would seem as much or even more of a gamble than trying a synthetic surface.

Curlin Strategy Room

Could it be that the Woodward strategy employed by 40-1 longshot Past the Point provided the formula on how to be competitive with and possibly even defeat Curlin?

First, let’s look at Curlin himself. He is a physical monster – an imposing horse with a massive stride that enables him to run his opponents into the ground. He can just gallop you to death. In the Woodward, that stride wasn’t evident in the stretch. The long extension was missing, and he won the race on will and class more than anything. So, what happened?

Well, here is one theory. Excluding the Preakness, which I’ll get to later, these are Curlin’s previous six-furlong splits: 1:12 3/5, 1:13, 1:12 2/5, 1:15 2/5, 1:12 1/5, 1:12, 1:13 4/5, and 1:14. In last year’s Haskell, in which he finished a dull third, he ran his three-quarters in about 1:11, substantially faster than his other races. In the Woodward, he ran his three-quarters in 1:10 4/5, some three full seconds faster than he ran in his previous two races, and again, substantially faster than all his other races.

So, is Curlin more effective when he doesn’t have to run a fast split for the first three-quarters? When you go slow early, it bunches up the field and puts Curlin within striking distance, which enables him to lay all over you and merely out-pace you to the wire as he did in the Dubai world Cup and Stephen Foster. He just keeps coming and coming, and that’s when he draws off and wins by daylight. It’s just too difficult to match strides with him. Rags to Riches did in the Belmont, but who knows how much the Triple Crown grind combined with a lack of an early racing foundation affected him.

When you run fast early and stretch out the field, it makes Curlin come from farther back and at the same time make a longer and quicker run than he’s used to. Instead of one-pacing you into submission, he is forced to use his speed and make a long sustained run just to make up the ground you’ve put between you and him. That in turn could very well take some of the starch out of his stretch run. If Past the Point, a horse who had only run in one stakes in his career, could almost pull off the upset, what would have happened had a top-class stakes horse with good speed and staying power used those same tactics; one who could have come home in :13 or even :13 2/5 instead of :14 1/5.

In the Dubai World Cup Curlin was right up near the pace in a bunched up field and had an extremely long stretch to draw off from his opponents. That is Curlin’s kind of race. In the Foster, he sat two lengths off a 1:13 2/5 three-quarters and drew off in the stretch. In last year’s Jockey Club Gold Cup, he was able to sit three lengths off a 1:11 3/5 three-quarters, still putting him in his 1:12 1/5 comfort zone. If Lawyer Ron had stretched out the field and made Curlin run a 1:10 4/5, as he did in the Woodward, sure he wouldn’t have as much left at the end, but neither would Curlin. And Curlin would then have had to make up seven lengths instead of three lengths.

This is not meant as a knock on Curlin. He is an exceptional horse who has done exceptional things. But most every major star has a certain weapon or weapons they use, and it’s the job of the opposition to takes those weapons away if possible. Past the Point was able to take Curlin’s main weapon away by blazing a hot trail in front of him and almost pulled off a monumental upset. Yes, Curlin had a rough trip early, which cost him position, but by the backstretch he was out in the clear and running well in hand. He just was given more to do than he likes because he was running faster early than he likes.

This is not to say Curlin can’t beat you staying close to a fast pace, it’s just that he’s never done it before. And I’m just throwing a theory out there based on his past fractional times. In last year’s Preakness, they went 1:09 4/5, with Curlin running a 1:11 1/5. This was the one instance where he won despite going faster than he likes. But that pace cooked Hard Spun, who got stirred up down the backstretch when steered to the outside and took off, making a premature move to the lead. He pretty much collapsed in the stretch, finishing a distant fourth. Curlin was left having to beat another closer in Street Sense and ran the race of his life to rally late and win by a head. In my opinion that is still the best race he’s ever run. It’ll be interesting to see if he can win in that manner again.

One final note: According to the New York Post, there wasn’t a single breakdown on the Saratoga dirt track all meet. The only breakdown of the entire meet occurred on the grass. So, congratulations to NYRA and the track maintenance crew for that. Meanwhile, according to the North County Times and DRF, eight horses died on the Polytrack at the recently concluded Del Mar meet – five in the afternoon and three in the morning…an increase of two from last year.

Off to Kentucky Sunday. See you in a couple of weeks.

116 Comments

Leave a Comment:

JordanA

Hey Steve have a great time in Kentucky. Pet the retired horses you visit and buy us all a good one (my check for my share is in the mail)

Like a bunch of us have said, there hasn't been enough research on the synthetic and like Zito said, why can't we make a dirt surface safe, we (the powers that be) just proved they can.

I think your title may eventually read: "Why Curlin Will Run in the Classic Is The Reason Big Brown Won't" Not sure that's correct grammar but you get my drift.

04 Sep 2008 5:48 PM
EKrueg

I think it's time for him to run on the synthetics. I have a feeling he'll like it....

04 Sep 2008 6:14 PM
Donny_S

Curlin is a confirmed off-pace type and the Belmont proved that. My 2 dollar wager says that Hard Spun is the one most likely to hit the stud book 15 years out. Curlin has only got the older male Gr-1 par twice which hardly puts him in up there with Spectacular Bid. More hot air from a dead guy who doesn't understand pace analysis.

04 Sep 2008 6:18 PM
Wanda

I want to see him run. You want to see him run. A million other people want to see him run. Well maybe he who we don't name... but everybody else. I said this a month ago that I thought maybe just maybe Mr Jackson will change his mind.Work on the guy and see if you pull any weight with him.

04 Sep 2008 6:21 PM
Clay

I was getting the same feeling Steve about Curlin running in the BC, but it had nothing to do with Jess's statement. If they've got that surface right and horses do seem to working well on it, why not give it a shot, Japan is a long way off. This could set up to be the greatest BC showcase in history. Also like I've said before, Curlin is a grinder and 1&1/8 miles is too short as Asmussen admits also. Many 1&1/8 mile horses cannot go 1&1/4 miles, classic distance horses are just a different breed.

I'm also ecstatic that no horse broke down at Saratoga, maybe now the synthetic craziness will slow down.

04 Sep 2008 6:28 PM
Monica V

Steve,

I've had a little trouble here trying to post a comment.  This is my third attempt.  Don't know what the problem is but here goes again!

Your observations are very astute as always.  I think he's been too far back in his two last races.  His incredible DWC was run just stalking the pace although his classic win was run from pretty far back on a sloppy track.  I still think he did a heck of a job in the Woodward as he has not been running much.

I am getting the feeling that Mr. Jackson is not exactly against running Curlin in the classic.  Things I've heard so far are positive about the

SA surface and Curlin running in the JCGC will be a great prep for him as it was last year.  I think if he can run in that slop, he can run on synthetic.  Mr. Jackson also made a comment that Curlin might be retiring to stud and if that is the plan, he really should run him in the classic. I believe the goal was to beat the earnings record, that will be achieved when he wins the JCGC.  I say when because I know he will win it.  I have that much faith in him.  I think if he runs at the BC it will be the biggest and best BC ever.  There will be more interest than ever.

I even wrote to Mr. Jackson last month asking him to reconsider his decision not to run Curlin in the BC classic.  I emailed it to his assistant, thanks to Mr Mitchell from the Bloodhorse.  I don't know if he ever read it but I was glad I wrote it.  It doesn't make sense to me not to run him in a race where the other stand out horse will be running.  It will be great fun to watch them run against each other.  I mentioned to him about the last time there was a great rivalry, Sunday Silence and Easy Goer and how riveting it was to watch those two.  Now that was exciting!  Can you imagine watching Curlin and Big Brown run in the classic?  Wow!  Let's hope it happens.

04 Sep 2008 6:41 PM
Gail

Why does he have to run in the Breeder's Cup? Why does he have to run against Big Brown? The powers that be have fiddled way too much with the Cup. The two days is fine but not moving all the fillies and mares to Friday, that is not fine. I am in a oposition to take the day off to watch, alot of people are not. The surface is another question. Forcing people to accept is not the way to do things. No year end championships should be decided on at these races. Some very good horses HATE this surface. I applaud the owners and trainers that have said NO. Curlin is a great horse with nothing to prove to anyone. Big Brown, whether his connections will admit it or not is not the same horse. I would be looking at the foreign horses that are used to these surfaces and race with no medication. They will be the ones to beat this time, I'm looking forward to them.Isn't it teling that our horses bought and taken over there to run can compete with the best, but trained here and then taken there don't do so good

04 Sep 2008 6:52 PM
Cgriff

Steve,

I read those Jackson quotations and thought to myself that he was on the fence more than he'd been regarding the Classic.  Thanks for putting it on the "blog table" for us to ponder!  I still think it's the right thing for him to do - you run the biggest race against all comers and let the chips fall where they may.  That's sport!

BTW - love the old movie tie ins!  If you can somehow work "Citizen Kane" or "Double Indemnity" into a future blog - I will totally call you "most creative blog ever!"

04 Sep 2008 6:57 PM
Vincent

Both horses are coming off so-so performances, so both horses have to step up their game. If Big Brown loses at Monmouth, there is a good chance neither horse would run in the classic although Curlin definitely would not. There really wouldn't be any reason to as he has won it already. I know everyone wants him to run against Big Brown because of Dutrow and IEAH's comments, but that just feeds into them. I would commend Jess Jackson and much rather see him run in the Japan Cup for the exact reason Steve states above, it's one of the most difficult things to accomplish. To achieve greatness, you have to put yourself in the position to be great. Defeating Big Brown in the classic is not that.

04 Sep 2008 7:14 PM
Fast Horse

Curlin ran a 112 beyer in the Woodward. Faster than Big Browns wildest dreams.

04 Sep 2008 7:56 PM
Clay

Gail and Vincent, The reason it would be great to have these two match up is that it would be great for the sport. Every venue that shows this race will be jam packed.

I think this idea should not be regarded as revenge from the rants of BBs connections, rather a reward for the die hard thoroughbred fans that want this match up to happen.

04 Sep 2008 7:58 PM
Johnny

I personally don't see the big deal with Curlin going to the Breeders' Cup again. That doesn't mean I feel it lacks significance for him, but just that the JCGC (where he's apparently pointed next) would seem a better springboard to the Japan Cup Dirt (if he goes there), and perhaps the horse's last conquest. To have won big races on three continents would be a wonderful achievement, and certainly establish his racing legacy for a very long time.

I've been a racing fan for five years now, and in those five years, the best horse I've ever seen run was Invasor. And he won on three continents. He was a true "Horse of the World," which Curlin should be, if he isn't already. Going to Asia and winning would validate this.

This is my opinion for what it's worth.

04 Sep 2008 8:36 PM
MikeM

I too think that the way the race unfolded and played out just reinforced what a special animal Curlin is. Even when a race does not play to his strengths he just keeps coming.Did you notice what happened to Devine Park after running down the back stretch next to Curlin?

04 Sep 2008 9:08 PM
MMM

Steve, as always your commentaries are brilliant. Thank you again for sharing!

04 Sep 2008 9:09 PM
Draynay

The facts are simple... after the poor performance put in by Curlin in the Woodward he HAS to show up or Big Brown wins the Breeders Cup and becomes HOY.  Curlin beating a weak field in the Woodward by a length and winning the Jockey Gold will not be enough to stop Big Brown should he meet the best and win at the Breeders Cup.  Since nearly everyone has said the new surface is fantastic Jackson has little choice. If he fails to show he is dodging Big Brown plain and simple.  And let me tell ALL OF YOU something you don't know... Curlin cannot beat Big Brown not at Santa Anita, not on turf and not on dirt.  There is no doubt in my mind at all Big Brown is simply a better closer and with all his shoes firmly on his feet no one has ever caught him from behind.

When you see Big Brown crush former graded stakes winners on turf next week you will begin to see the real talent of Big Brown a champion that can win on dirt, turf, and Poly...unlike Curlin who has only shown talent on dirt.  It seems he is simply a one trick pony.

04 Sep 2008 9:17 PM
The King of the Derby

Steve; You make a very cogent argument. My interest in this years Breeders Cup is diminished because its being run on Poly, but this certainly would put some Pizzazz in the Race. I also think you handicapping of Curlins Performance is acurate too. Not sure what the field looks like but with potentially Commentator, Well Armed and others in there is could really be a speed filled and unwieldy finish.

04 Sep 2008 9:18 PM
smartysgal

While Curlin has not run in a RACE over polytrack, he HAS exercised over it.  Case in point:  In April when Asmussen had his horses at Keeneland (Pyro was prepping for the Blue Grass).  Every Monday morning Curlin went out to exercise, and I never heard any reports that he didn't like it.  

04 Sep 2008 9:23 PM
Ruffian67

I hope Curlin runs in the BC. Can you see all the money he would take and the odds on the others being inflated. Whew! Money will be made....

04 Sep 2008 9:34 PM
Racingfan

Did anyone notice Mr Jackson's comments in the Bloodhorse article after the Woodward?  He said a perfect scenario would be the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Breeder's Cup and the Japan Cup.  I found that quite interesting since I had thought the Breeder's Cup was not in the picture?

04 Sep 2008 10:15 PM
Josh

Curlin will run because after his lack-luster performance has put Horse Of The Year in jeapordy. Why? Because if you watch Timber Reserve run 2 days prior WHO was more impressive winning. If that horse looks more impressive then wouldn't you say Curlin isn't the same horse after Dubai. The proof is the clock not the Beyer of 112 in the Woodward, what a joke! If Big Brown wins the cup and that is a BIG IF, how do you deny him Horse Of The Year.

  Everyone bashes the track. Fact, Nick Zito in 2003 said he would never run a horse in California and Every track was dirt. Hey Zito don't run for 5 Million. Also in 2003 a healthy Mineshaft didn't run for the cup and I don't remember anyone up in arms over that or blaming the surface. Curlin shouldn't be considered great because I will name just 2 horses that would beat him everytime that have ran in the last 3 years Invasor, Bernardini, and Red Rocks! Oh sorry that was 3!

04 Sep 2008 10:19 PM
John's Call

I too would like to see Curlin/BB run against each other.  Preferably on dirt as that is the apparent "A" game for both.  

But on a different note, a comment above said "This could set up to be the greatest BC showcase in history".  I agree that it would be great, but personally, I thought it was pretty special when Invasor beat Bernardini in the 06 Classic.  Everybody wanted that match too...and we got what we wanted.

04 Sep 2008 10:40 PM
KatintheHat

It was posted on another racing site several days ago that Mr. Jackson was also contemplating the Goodwood at Santa Anita and then the BCC.  Given Curlin's preference for a prep race on a surface (which in this particular case would seem even more likely to be set up that way), I interpreted the news of Curlin running in the JCGC being indicative of the decision not to go to the BCC.

04 Sep 2008 11:39 PM
Johnny

"One trick pony?" Oh brother! I guess that makes Man o'War a "one trick pony." I guess that makes Citation a "one trick pony." I guess that makes Exterminator, War Admiral, Seabiscuit, Whirlaway, Tom Fool, Native Dancer, Bold Ruler, et al, et al, all "one trick ponys."

Give me a break.

04 Sep 2008 11:39 PM
BIGHORSEFAN

Josh, Well the track seems fine, did last year too before the rain and the drainage problems, you live in Cal? Between Del Mar and SA last year it made a mess of racing out here. LOTS of trainers don't want to run here, even some that used to and like Baffert said about DM either they like it or you have to take them elsewhere. Also the issues with tax, wc etc not just the surface. It's different here because of the moisture from the ocean at DM and from the 'it never rains in So Cal' rain.

Draynay,  As far as BB running on Turf, he's run on it once as a 2y.o. so who knows what will happen. Why are Monmouth officials saying now "IF" he runs? BB hasn't run on synthetic either and Iavarone thinks Turf is a prep for synthetic. USED to be folks said horses that ran well on turf ran well on synthetic but don't hear that so much anymore, maybe there are too many differences in the variety of sythetics.

Draynay and Josh, do you have the winning numbers for the lottery? If you can be that certain about BB then you must have ESP, because boys let me tell you there is no such thing as a SURE THING or a FOREGONE CONCLUSION, maybe you should find out how it tastes to eat a big piece of crow, ask your hero about it. Of course maybe you guys are just as obtuse and oblivious as he is only difference is you don't have any fall back horses in YOUR BARN.

04 Sep 2008 11:48 PM
BIGHORSEFAN

P.S.

Before you say I'm a Curlin fan, wrong. Personally I hope Zenyatta runs and takes them both out.

04 Sep 2008 11:49 PM
ttimsan

I'd love to see Curlin race in the BC to see him hook up with Casino Drive. CD has a ton of class and the staying power to make it an awesome matchup!

Loved the way Curlin gutted out the Woodward after a hot pace. That horse doesn't know the meaning of quit! Haven't had this much fun following a horse since Alysheba.

04 Sep 2008 11:56 PM
The Deacon

Curlin has nothing to prove to anyone. Last years 3 year old campaign was brutal. He ran against arguebly the best crop of 3 year olds in a long time, including Rags to Riches. Whether he wins or loses he is always right there. He is truly a champion. Big Brown is just another nice colt in a line of nice colts who won the Derby and Preakness, but lost the Belmont. This years crop of 3 year olds and handicap horses is below average. Curlin doesn't need the Classic, the Classic needs Curlin. I personally think Colonel John and Zenyatta (if she runs) are the horses to beat. Big Brown will be out of the money...............  

05 Sep 2008 12:17 AM
Bradgm

All this trash talk about BB just makes me want a Zenyatta to win the Classic. Or better yet Colonel John, who according to Draynay, couldn't find the finish line at the unimportant Travers with a road map. Guess he got a GPS. All of this blathering trash talk in the style perfected by BB's fearless leader and mimicked by his followers, demeans the REAL Big Brown fans and the horse himself. Draynay, come out here to Cal for the BC if your horse even makes it here, if he loses I'm sure you already have your excuses lined up.

Steve great play on the classic movie for the Classic race. Your opinion please, if BB flubs on grass and doesn't show, do you think Curlin will?

05 Sep 2008 12:29 AM
The Deacon

The more I read Draynays comments the more outragrous I laugh. Watching Big Brown stagger down the stretch in the Haskell was a real thing of beauty. Big Brown has 2 chances of beating Curlin and slim isn't looking so good. I will be surprised if Big Brown wins this especially designed for him turf race. Why didn't Big Brown run in the Travers or Woodward, because the connections knew he wouln't win. They are hoping that Curlin really dislikes the polytrack so they will have a chance in the Classic.

05 Sep 2008 1:06 AM
Tiz@Colonial

interesting theory on curlin's 6f splits. you can't really debate the pattern. but while curlin's woodward certainly wasn't his typical eye-catching performance, he got the job done, regardless of the circumstances, and that is the mark of true champion.

curlin will show up for the BC Classic. for one, a Classic win over synthetics would add yet another dimension to his legacy and his breeding potential. and secondly, jess jackson is not only a horse owner, but also a racing fan. a match-up with Big Brown, Go Between and the best of Europe. this has the chance of being one of the deepest classics in recent years. he wouldn't let this opportunity pass, would he?

quick thought on Big Brown. facing older horses for the first time next weekend, and from the looks of the nominations, a decent field of turfers. his workouts haven't been spectacular and we all saw his Haskell. Really interested to see who takes him on. I think Brown goes down, maybe even finishes out of the money all together. Man how that would change the Classic picture! just remember ya heard it here first.  

05 Sep 2008 1:09 AM
Rick

How does the NYRA hold the premier meet on the country and not have 1 breakdown on it's dirt track? Yet, Del Mar with it's Polytrack has 8 fatal breakdowns, could it be that these synthetic surfaces aren't what they're cracked up to be. I'll bet all these people who are touting the synthetic surfaces are either ignoring these figures or are pointing fingers elsewhere. If you have outstanding track supers who know the ins and outs of dirt racing, you'll have a safe track.

As for Curlin, he doesn't need to prove himself on a untested track at Santa Anita. Jess Jackson, keep Curlin safe and running where you and your trainer feel is in the horse's best interested. To all the trainers and owners out there remember, synthetic surfaces do not make championship races.

05 Sep 2008 1:57 AM
Josh

Mr. Bighorsefan, I never said BB was going to win. I said "what if" he wins. I feel the best horses run in Europe. Curlin and BB in the scheme of the history of horseracing are tremendously over-rated, period. I wouldn't care if Curlin shows-up.

05 Sep 2008 3:33 AM
JOSE93

I hope Curlin turns up, but there is one great horse missing from this race who could have made a massive impact in it - Heatseeker.

05 Sep 2008 4:31 AM
MikeM

Steve,

You did an excellent job pointing out that a great horse is able to get the job done EVEN when the race does not play to his strengths. I can't wait until BB proves that he is capable of the same. He has not done it yet as evidenced by his sorry Belmont performance.

05 Sep 2008 7:16 AM
da3hoss

I want to see the 2 meet, I, too, am in a dilemma on where it should be...both parties need a surface they are confident on, that's only fair...

One of the problems, to me, with the BC is that it has become the defining race of the year... that if you win it, none of your other (good or bad) performances for the entire year really matter...so you have to be 100% for that one day...this is not fair to the betting public if other races are merely "preps" for the BC and you are "saving" the horse or merely using a race to "tune up" for another race. Not right.

05 Sep 2008 8:25 AM
da3hoss

I believe that dirt tracks can be as safe as any synthetic and/or grass...

05 Sep 2008 8:27 AM
Fish Boy

Curlin has nothing to prove, he ran against some great horses like Street Sense,Rags To Riches,Lawyer Ron, etc,etc.As for BB who did he beat?If they were to meet Curlin would show BB some class.

Mr Jackson is doing whats safe for the greatest horse we have seen in awhile.I say lets see how BB make out on the turf then we will see if he could handle the field against horses like Colonel John, and the euros. WOULD LOVE TO SEE ZENYATTA IN THEIR.      

05 Sep 2008 9:17 AM
Clay

Johns Call, I was refering to the greatest BC showcase in history as being a race with more than 2 great horses. The horses that are being thrown around is impressive.

If Curlin and BB run, it will be the most popular of ALL BC races ever run.

And referring to Zenyatta running against that crew - you gotta be kidding. Can she go 1&1/4 with the best in the world? No she can't. Connections need to stick to the Ladies Classic and get their heads out of the clouds.

05 Sep 2008 9:23 AM
Frank J.

I personally think Draynay should be put on mute til BB retires, what nonsense!! Like everyone was chanting at Belmont park Draynay...."OVER-RATED"

05 Sep 2008 9:26 AM
mg

Ladies & Gentlemen. All the speculation over Curlins appearence in the BC may well be mute if the Ballydoyle Yard sticks to skipping the Arc and gearing up Duke of Marmalade for the Classic. In which case, the entire American contingent could be running for second place money. That boy is a tried and proven Grade 1 monster.

That being said I belive only one horse can beat the Duke - Curlin.  

05 Sep 2008 9:56 AM
Steve Haskin

Wow, anytime the names Curlin or Big Brown come up, the same battle is fought over and over. These are basically the same Curlin vs. Big Brown comments from the last time I mentioned them. This is like an equine version of Obama vs. McCain. Here's a new twist, why can't we root for both horses to keep winning and give them the credit they're due. Then if they do meet, you can take sides and hope for a good race in which both horses perform to the best of their ability. If either one runs up the track when and if they meet it's not going to boost the reputation of the other. They have to both run their best race. If Alydar had run up the track in his races vs. Affirmed, would it have enhanced Affirmed's reputation? There would have been no rivalry to define both horses' greatness. Until they meet, why keep trashing them? They're horses, not politicians; there's nothing to hate. They are both terrific horses with super records and have turned in exceptional performances. Choose your favorite and enjoy both, and then if they do meet you can take the gloves off and have fun with it.

In regard to the Goodwood, Jackson does not want to run Curlin on a surface that's only been in use for three days. All the horses running on that big weekend are pretty much guinea pigs. Curlin not running on that track has little to do with him not running on it four weeks later when everyone will have a better idea what they're dealing with.

Brad, whether Curlin runs in the Classic or not, Big Brown is not part of the equation. Big Brown's performance on the grass has no bearing in the slightest on what Curlin does. And Big Brown will run in the Classic regardless what he does at Monmouth, as long as he's OK physically. If Big Brown doesn't show up in the Classic for whatever reason and Curlin does, it will have nothing to do with Big Brown either way. Believe me, these two owners want to race against each other, but as I said, on their terms.

05 Sep 2008 10:05 AM
rich loughrey

Gillespie still won the Oscar not Tibbs and Curlin will win the Horse of the year award. Big Brown 's race in the Haskell does not compare to Curlin's Woodward. I seriouly doubt that Big Brown will beat older turfers next week.

05 Sep 2008 10:10 AM
Brian A.

 Everyone is talking about Big Brown and Curlin meeting in the classic like it will be a showdown between just the two of them.  If the European horses are sent over (Henrythenavigator, Duke Of Marmalade, and Japanese Casino Drive who is still a total mystery) and Go Between, Well Armed and all the rest of the synthetic specialists come to the classic, it won't be between Big Brown and Curlin.  It will be between Curlin and the Europeans.  Big Brown has no experience running against that caliber field.  Maybe he would place, but in the end Curlin and all the rest are just better. (with the possible exception of Casino Drive)  

Go Curlin!!

05 Sep 2008 10:34 AM
Steve Haskin

In regard to the Oscsar, I was referring to the film, not the actors. If Tibbs doesnt change his mind then there's no movie; that's the end. And no Oscar.

05 Sep 2008 10:43 AM
Bradgm

Steve,

This battle has been going on since back on the TC Talk of Jason's. Some serious throw downs, excuses and hate were handed out over there, that's why emotions run so high. It's not been just a my horse is better than yours, it is serious trash talking. Lot's of exclamation points, Caps etc which us long time boarders know mean the person is emphatic, screaming at you and is REALLY p.o.'d  (I'm sure you remember from your now infamous blog). One blogger in particular, who is mellow on your board got a major war going over on the other blogs. Might be an interesting read.

Thanks for your thoughts. I just  wondered because it almost seems that Jackson's been called out so much this is his response. Course the big bucks don't hurt, although it's chump change to him.

GREAT CHOICE of movie analogies. The history of the one guy on here that I called on to actually come and SEE a race would have me saying my favorite line from Sudden Impact. If he started mouthing off I'd tell him in my best Clint Eastwood "Go ahead, make my day." I guarantee I wouldn't be alone, Monica, Wanda etc, my back up.

05 Sep 2008 10:54 AM
Brian

If Colonel John wins the Classic with Big Brown in the race, he will steal the 3yo Championship from him. That would be funny.

Note: Colonel John won't win if Curlin is in the race

05 Sep 2008 10:55 AM
Clay

Hey, come on guys lay off Dray. He's the one that adds spice to these blogs. If he can take take the verbal abuse so be it, it's his opinion. Personally, I get laughs out of it, he takes a lick'n and keeps on tick'n. But like Steve says, lets lay off this feud for a while and hope these horses meet up with no losses. Can you imagine the excitement if they do meet? Then we can take the gloves off and have some fun.

05 Sep 2008 10:57 AM
JordanA

Josh, Yes those Euros have just knocked us dead in the Classic, win after win.

Tiz@Colonel

While I agree with you it's not where I heard it first. Try 3 blogs back on other blogs, earlier in the comments here and since the day they manufactured the race, even before the noms were announced.

Whereas Curlin wasn't terribly impressive at Saratoga, they don't call that track the Graveyard of Champions for nothing. I hope all the parties involved run, however it would start whole round of excuses etc for other camps. I watched Asmussen a few times and you can just see him chomping at the bit to run Curlin against BB. Remember HE's the one who has to put up with the stuff day to day.

Clay as far as Draynay, he thrives on the hate thrown his way, why deprive him of his jollies. I think if the two colts meet there will still be the polarization between the two camps but a lot of us will be cheering for the underdog lesser knowns.

And Steve, I know you'll be thinking about us as you're enjoying yourself in Kentucky, the serenity of the countryside and the horse farms (lucky you). Are you really going to sit through 5500 hip #'s? Wow you could write another book in that amount of time, a good birthday gift for my buddy Brad.

05 Sep 2008 11:20 AM
Wanda

YoYo Bradgm, got your back homie. I totally agree with you bro. I'm still laughing over the Visionare comment.

Mr Haskin as always your rundown on races is right on. I agree with your comments about Curlin being taken out of his game last start.Like someone else said look what happened to Divine Park when he tried to stay with him.That horse is a pretty nice hide but he folded like a cheap suitcase.Curlins like an Eveready batterey he keeps on ticking.

05 Sep 2008 11:30 AM
BIGHORSEFAN

Steve,

If it was just the horses, no big deal we'd all be cheering them on. And even though Draynay thinks no horse should have a trainer, that's impractical to say the least. Since horses are on the scene for such a short time frame, it's the human element that's affected the whole thing. To me it's just which group of human connections I like the least, that's why I'm being a true American and rooting for the underdog. As far as the Euros, Aidan I admire him, but this thing about breaking the rule of aiding a stablemate. Oh well guess if we had nice, kind, gentle by the book connections the world of fans used to totally unreal 'reality' shows wouldn't watch racing.

05 Sep 2008 11:43 AM
MikeM

It's not a coincidence that the absence of catastrophic breakdowns happened after NYRA changed the track superintendent. It also might have to do with not sealing the track every night regardless of the weather forecast.

05 Sep 2008 11:50 AM
Wanda

MikeM: May I offer an opinion on sealing a track? It's not the sealing of it that makes it hard, it's what you do with it after you open it.It depends on how deep you cut it,if you just scratch it yes it will be hard . I don't know the make up of that track so I'm going out on a limb here.

05 Sep 2008 12:28 PM
Monica V

Bradgm,

You are so right!  I choose to ignore the infamous blogger.  It makes no sense to get into an argument there.  These blogs are terrific and so many great comments and one blogger who says the same thing over and over.  

Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Absolutely!  I just don't care to have someone else's opinion crammed down my throat.  I don't want to engage in the Curlin VS BB debate.  It's been overdone already.

I would just love to see them face off in the Classic.  It would be great and throwing into that mix, the best from Europe and CD from Japan.  There are no guarantees.  It could be anyone's race not a place to make the comment that one of them will win by 5.  It's a new surface, lots of really good horses coming to compete.  You cannot make a prediction here.  WE know of 2 outstanding ones but let's see what happens.  It will be so exciting if it does happen.

05 Sep 2008 12:31 PM
Monica V

I just happened to have remembered something I thought appropriate to mention.

So many people have mentioned the slow closing time of the Woodward and what a lackluster performance that was for Curlin.  Well, back in 1989, Sunday Silence won the KY Derby on a track likened to peanut butter by Pat Day and did it in a slow time of 2:05.  One of the TV interviewers was talking to Charlie Whittingham and asked him about that really slow time.  Charlie's comment was "What does it matter?  All the rest of the horses were behind him".

I sure miss Charlie!

05 Sep 2008 12:46 PM
Steve Haskin

Brad, I thought "Go ahead, make my day," was from Dirty Harry.

Mike, the NYRA track super is still there. He doesnt leave until sometime in the fall, and they're still sealing the track.

Monica, I coluldnt care about slow final times, but closing in :14 on a fast track on which they just ran 7f in 1:21 2/5 is a different story. As I said, it just may be he was in need of the race, so I'm not making too much of it this time. He just wasnt extending his stride like he normally does. The Gold Cup will tell us a lot regarding where the horse is right now in his career. With no red-hot Lawyer Ron and a mediocre bunch of older horses I'm expecting a huge effort.

05 Sep 2008 12:58 PM
Wanda

I guess it's still sort of on the subject, I'm talking about the nomination list for the Monmouth Stakes. Very nice lineup. Red Rocks,Silver Tree,Out of Control,Proudinsky etc. I've been waiting for this horse to hook older horses,guess my wish came true.

05 Sep 2008 1:55 PM
MikeM

I wonder if the incoming super had any input.It still seems like a bit of a coincidence. I do know that many of the trainers had a problem with the current super and felt like the track was sealed way too much.

05 Sep 2008 2:40 PM
The Deacon

Where is Street Sense and Hard Spun when you need them?

Great blogs Steve, you sure know how to fire up the patriots. One thing for sure, it is nice to see that the passion and love for this great sport has not waned. Final thought, I believe that all tracks should be a dirt surface. If I am not mistaken Del Mar had a few fatalities again this summer while Saratoga did not have any. Make the playing field the same. Put this great game back to the way it was in the 50's, 60's, and 70's.

05 Sep 2008 2:48 PM
Monica V

Actually, Steve, I wasn't thinking of you when I put that quote on the blog.  That was more for someone else who shall remain nameless.  As I watched the Woodward I was surprised at the fact that Curlin didn't fly by them as he usually does, he did fly on the far turn going for home, left the rest in his wake but didn't finish that way.  I think he needed the race.  

05 Sep 2008 3:31 PM
BROWNGOINDOWN

I am both a BB and Curlin fan, it appears to me that after both of their last races, they both appear to be looking tired.  BB is off steriods and doesn't appear to be the same horse everyone saw earlier in the year. Curlin, who I don't believe is on steroids but no one really talks about whether he does take them or not, is game for any race and does appear to be better fit for the BCC.  It would be a very exciting day for racing fans if they both showed up with Col.John, Zenyatta, CD,Commentator, Go Between,Henrythenavigator,etc!  Thanks for the blog, it keeps things exciting here on bloodhorse.com.

05 Sep 2008 3:32 PM
Curlin

    As others have said, it's the human connnections behind the horses that many of us tend to link to the horses themselves that cause us to either hate or love them.  Unfortunately for Big Brown, he has connections that many people love to hate.  No one can deny the fact that Big Brown is a very nice horse.  Up to this point, he has raced solely against 3 year olds and I've said this over and over, it's not his fault that the overall talent of this class is subpar.  We will finally get to see him tackle older horses for the 1st time and if he succeeds, even though I'm a Curlin fan, I would be inclined to say Big Brown is a better horse, ON TURF!  As for the dirt, the "one trick pony" would beat Big Brown plain and simple.  Synthetics is an entriely different playing field and as unpredictable as the weather here in the midwest so who knows who would win, but it would be fun to watch.

    Now for Curlin, I still don't understand why draynay calls Curlin a one trick pony, but thinks Big Brown is as versatile as they come.  If it's because Big Brown has won on turf in his maiden debut, then I say Curlin is just as versatile since he won his maiden debut going 7f on the lead the whole way not going 1 1/8 from 5 or more lengths back.  The horse is where he needs to be in just about every race and it has worked well so far.  If it's not broken, don't try to fix it.  Very interesting point about the 6f splits for Curlin Steve.  However, 2 of the 3 races you mentioned where Curlin had to run faster than what he likes for his 6f split, he still won and the other (Haskell), I would contend that the dull effort wasn't so much to do with the fractions, but more with Curlin simplying needing more time after the Belmont Stakes.  He did run a hard fought 3rd in the Derby where he had a not-so-perfect trip and then had 2 hard fought, photo finishes in the Preakness and Belmont.  I know the Big Brown fans are going to say that Big Brown was able to win the Haskell after tackling the TC trail, but I would disagree that it was the same.  Big Brown didn't have as physically demanding races in the Derby and Preakness and then only ran about a mile in the Belmont.

  For my last point, and I would like to hear what others think, but is it possible and I know this is a big IF, that if Colonel John can somehow win the Classic and Big Brown falters next weekend at Monmouth and then subsequently at the BC Classic, that Colonel John would win the 3 year old title?  Wouldn't that be something to have a horse who many believe is the frontrunner for HOY to go from that to not even winning the Eclipse in his own division in 2 races?

05 Sep 2008 4:57 PM
WWSTP

Clearly Jess Jackson is looking for every possible venue that will give Curlin the opportunity to go down in history as one of the greats.  Beating Big Brown may satisfy everyone's appetites who are into this 2008 contentious obsession with such a duel, but that wont ensure Curlin's greatness and that kind of focus would only take him off course.  On the other hand, simply winning the BC two years in a row could put him on that history page, as could winning the Japan Cup.  I just don't see how a duel between BB and Curlin, just for the sake of it, fits into anything that could give Curlin the opportunity to step up even more.  How great is Curlin, really?  We'll have to see, but I cannot see Big Brown being the one to determine that.

05 Sep 2008 5:17 PM
Wanda

Curlin: How can you say that BB is a better turf horse? His only start on turf was a maiden win. Curlin took on BC Turf winners in his first start on grass. Ask any horseman and they will tell you that a second in a Grade One Stake is way more impressive than a maiden win.

05 Sep 2008 6:19 PM
da3hoss

Curlin, I don't think there's a prayer for any other 3 year old colt to beat BB out of that category...he's won 4 Gr 1 races, including 2 legs of the TC: Kentucky Derby, Florida Derby, Haskell, Preakness....it's pretty hard to beat that. Colonel John has, I think, 2 Gr 1's, so even with the BC can't top BB's accomplishments, along with the fact BB's beat him, sentiment, etc.

05 Sep 2008 6:45 PM
Monica V

Curlin,

That is a very interesting thought! I don't know what would happen if what you say came to be.  Big Brown was brilliant in his four sprint races and he did win two classics.  I'm not sure of Colonel John's record.  I know he won the SA Derby and the Travers but I do tend to think that if he pulls off the BC classic, he may have a chance but only the ones qualified to vote can decide that.  Big Brown has a huge following because of his spring campaign.

WWSTP You are probably right about the BB vs Curlin thing but it would be so fun to watch!

05 Sep 2008 7:18 PM
Bradgm

Steve, I'm not especially big on action movies but Go ahead, make my day." is a phrase written by Joseph C. Stinson and said by the character Harry Callahan (Dirty Harry/Clint Eastwood) from the 1983 film Sudden Impact. Courtesy of Wiki. I don't have you pegged for a action, murder, shootem up guy either. Your writing is too deep. I just like the line from the movie, always wanted to use it on someone.

At this point in time, I just wish the race would get lined out and be run already. I would say all the pub is good for racing but not many outside racing are discussing it. Not a warm fuzzy feeling with any of these guys.

I have to say that I envy you going to Keeneland, the sale the pre fall, wow, lucky dog. Like Jordy said we know you'll have us on your mind(ha). I don't know about 5500 in a sale, I'd be more confused than I already am.

Right back at my board buddies Wanda and Monica, lot of water under the bridge by now, lots of drowned co-commentors we've left behind in the Nay wake. Stay strong ladies.

05 Sep 2008 7:23 PM
russell maiers

Steve, you stirred it up again and reading your article and all the fan comments is one big reason I love horse racing! I love Big Brown, still I believe if they run Curlin in the classic it would totally be for the fact that no horse has won the classic, the world cup, and then the classic again. Throw in the surface and it would make Curlin placed amongst the greatest if he won. Big Brown is a three year old who needs to beat the older guys. Then do something like win the world cup to get close to stamping him with the greats. I never was a big Curlin fan (hard spun)but he has prooved with out a doubt that he is close to greatness and desearves the attention and aclamation. Big Brown is a level below on accomplishments and hopefully is around to get the chance to be great. I also really liked your article after Curlins grass race, your fine adjustments to his running stlye were right on. I have been shocked how the media and some fans thought hes not a grass horse after that race. His compitition and being the first time, I thought it was absolutely fantastic and would not be afraid to run him again against the best.

Your information on the track surface breakdowns is surprising and I am glad this information gets out. The horse industry had many many years to get it better for the horse and aside a few good things,failed miserablely. So I hope you and all keep an open mind to synthetics, because it is about the one who has no say, the horse.

05 Sep 2008 8:42 PM
ByeByeToga

I love this Blog!! Everybody needs to relax. Yes Curlin is great! Big Brown is great! But look; the 3 year olds this year are less than stellar and Curlin beat a speedy Hard Spun and Street Sense in the same race. Now he looks unstoppable physically despite not running that much this summer. Big Brown is nice but no chance on dirt(the real surface of horseracing for centuries)So good for you J. Jackson (if you stick to it)

05 Sep 2008 8:48 PM
Ranagulzion

The Jockey Club Gold Cup would be the ideal meeting place for Big Brown and Curlin  both in terms of the time of year when the best 3yos are mature enough to tackle the best older horses and on the dirt where excuses relating to surface would be eliminated.  Nevertheless the prospects of a clash in the BCC is still mouthwatering.  Big Brown is likely to be the fresher horse as Curlin could be a bit jaded after two long seasons unless his next start shows that he is actually thriving on the hard campaigning  amongst the best horses.  If both horses meet it will be the race of this millenium so far.  

05 Sep 2008 10:47 PM
nan

mr.haskins:  in your recent colmun

in the aug.23 issue of bloodhorse

you mentioned that bbrown wouldn't

want to return to belmont after

loosing the belmont stakes the way

he did and "especially" after what

happened to him in the holding barn

prior to the race... now just what

did happened to him there...this is

the first time that i have heard that something had happened to him

05 Sep 2008 11:19 PM
Frank

Say no to the synthetic surface Mr. Jackson!

05 Sep 2008 11:45 PM
Curlin

    Wanda, I guess you didn't read my entire post.  I said I would say Big Brown is a better turf horse if he succeeds next weekend at Monmouth and finally beats older horses.  I believe Red Rocks is pointed to that race (at least he's pre-entered) amongst others, so if Big Brown wins and beats Red Rocks, then I would think one would be willing to say Big Brown is better on turf based off his impressive maiden win and then triumph over older horses.  I'm not saying Curlin can't run on turf, I would just have to say Big Brown is at least a bit better on turf if he succeeds next weekend.

    da3hoss, right now, I would definitely agree that Big Brown is a lock for 3 year old of the year.  But if Big Brown loses his next two and Colonel John could somehow pull the upset in the Classic, I think it would be a toss up for 3 year old of the year.  Their resumes would look something like this, Kentucky Derby, Preakness, Florida Derby and Haskell winner versus Classic, Travers, Santa Anita Derby & Sham winner.  You can toss Colonel's John Derby and Big Brown's Belmont.  If Colonel John would win the Classic, then that would mean they have a head to head record of 1-1 and Colonel John would have done what Big Brown hasn't; beat older horses.  I just think if the scenario I mentioned came to light, the 3 year old horse of the year would be a toss up or at least much closer than anyone would have expected 3 months ago.

05 Sep 2008 11:45 PM
Steve Haskin

Brad, you have me pegged right. I don't like action movies at all. I will watch some movies in general on TV, but I rarely go to the theater. I've probably gone to see one movie in the past three years.

06 Sep 2008 3:15 AM
Stuart

Nice read, Steve.

Loved the Heat of the Night analogy.

You may be onto something with the Curlin pace comparison. One factual

correction however:

You said that Hard Spun finished a distant fourth in the Preakness after being moved prematurely. While I will agree HS moved into the teeth of that pace far too early, he finished THIRD, not a distant fourth. He was beaten by 3 lengths by Curlin and SS who moved as soon as HS did (only they moved from the back).

Hard Spun's time from last year's 3rd place finish was faster than BB's win in the Preakness this year. However, they did not fully crank BB in that race.

I think a showdown in the BC Classic would be great. BTW, Red Rocks is now listed as "possible" for the 13th at Monmouth against BB on turf. After that, given the depth of talent pointing to the BC Classic, if BB wins at Monmouth and then beats the other top 2 horses in the world (Duke of Marmalade and Henry the Navigator) in the BC Classic, BB will win HOY regardless of what Curlin does, because Curlin has beaten NO horse of the caliber this year of Henry the Navigator or the Duke.

Think about it...how can camp Curlin just allow that to possibly happen?

06 Sep 2008 7:56 AM
da3hoss

Curlin, I agree, it would be very close, but I can't imagine the winner of two legs of the Triple crown, along with other Gr 1's, being beat out by anybody.

I think the 3 year-old division has been won, at least in the last decade or so, by colts that won at least one of the legs of the TC, though Tiznow (my absolute "in my day" favorite) did it to Fusaichi Pegasus... and I love Colonel John of COURSE, LOL, but he has to show he's the calibre as a late blooming 3 year-old like his dad big time to wrest the 3 yr-old title from BB.

As a side note: Tiznow raced 9  times as a 3-year old, FP 8 times, both won 4 graded stakes, can't remember how many were Gr 1's, but Tiznow was so dominant against older horses in big races, plus defeating FP when they met...but that it a different scenario than this year, both colts have only raced in their age group.

Interesting, though, if your scenario plays out.

06 Sep 2008 8:16 AM
Draynay

You all need to STOP ! Col. John like last year beat NOBODY in the Travers.  Like last year no one showed up for it.  If Col. John wins the Breeders Cup I will never post another thing on Bloodhorse the rest of my life.  He has the same odds of winning the race as McCain does of winning his. Curlin now has no choice he has to stop making excuses and he has to meet Big Brown at the Breeders Cup because if he does not then he is the chicken everyone thought he was and Big Brown wins HOY when he wins the Breeders Cup.  Curlin is going to lose whether he runs the race or not.  There is no horse that can stop Big Brown from winning the Cup.

06 Sep 2008 8:22 AM
MikeM

With an underwhelming turn of foot, I'm actually amazed at the success/dominance that Curlin has had. He just might be the greatest plodder of all time.His pysical attributes,class and heart make him the horse that he is.

06 Sep 2008 8:22 AM
da3hoss

Draynay, I have always supported yours, and any one else's, right to say how you feel about horse racing...please do not drag politics into this blog...I come here to get away from the "real" world.

Please and thanks for understanding.

06 Sep 2008 8:59 AM
da3hoss

MikeM, I think your teasing us...he plodded so well he tied the record for the Preakness in his 5th start, plodded on a muddy (putting that mildly) BC track in 2:01.59, faster than Invasor, Saint Liam, Tiznow, Awsome Again, Sunday Silence, Unbridled, Alysheba... plodded from the 12 post (never done) to draw away 7+ lengths (biggest margin) in the WC...but then, as has been pointed out, he's just a "one-trick" pony...Oh, Lord, may I have a one-trick pony like him! LOL in good humor!

06 Sep 2008 9:16 AM
MikeM

Draynay

Why did BB duck all those nobody's in the Travers?

06 Sep 2008 9:46 AM
Wanda

Curlin: I stand corrected. Your right. I read it but didn't absorb it all.However if all the big name horses show up in the Monmouth Stakes and he beats them I will agree with your comment. If he gets beat up then I guess he's a one trick pony.

06 Sep 2008 10:44 AM
Bradgm

Steve, I figured as much. Don't go to the theater either.  I read your books (and others) watch DVD's at the same time. That's why I like the live action at the track, people watch in between. I'm a Cal guy,mellow and hyper at the same time, make sense?

Draynay, No dude, YOU need to STOP. People have differing opinions, just because you like one horse and they like another doesn't make either of you right or wrong. Let's just say that YOU

have worn the subject out. The politics, there's enough politics in racing without bringing up something like that. Go to another board, even if some may agree with you it's inappropriate. There's a name for a disease that people have when they're unable to filter what they say, apparently you have it you should have someone monitor your writing.

06 Sep 2008 11:00 AM
JordanA

Ranagulzion, THE race of the millennium, man I want some of whatever you're drinking. A thousand years? Guess War Admiral vs. Sea Biscuit or Alydar Vs. Affirmed, reeked. Now if you're talking about the NEW millennium, maybe, but even that would be iffy, especially based on their recent performances.

I  say let's just run the race already alright.

06 Sep 2008 11:28 AM
MikeM

da3hoss- ok maybe I went overboard a little with the plodder reference. However,he does not have that quick burst. He just sort of grinds it out with that long stride. I wouldn't include  last years BC classic as he obviously loved the slop. By the way no need to remind me of his accomplishments as I have been following Curlin since Oaklawn and have seen all of his races.

06 Sep 2008 12:50 PM
Wanda

Stop with the caps please, it gives me a headache! Everybody listen up. You can handicap a day a month a year all you want, but thats why they load em'and pop the latch cause they don't hand out purses based on odds or pp's.

06 Sep 2008 1:08 PM
Bradgm

Wanda,

Some things require caps to try and get thru to some people who pound us with their inaneness (is that a word?). But there's a difference from a listen up cap and a screaming at all you idiots cap the way 'he who must not be named' does.

Like I've heard before, don't bronze em and put em in the infield, they still have to run the race. I think the most exciting thing we could see would be BB and Curlin run and one of these 'lesser' males or better yet females jump up and beat em both, now that would be some good watching.

06 Sep 2008 2:03 PM
Helen

Interesting analysis of Curlin's racing style (it sounds like a recipe to defeat the mighty Curlin).  I wonder if little Da'Tara couldn't use that strategy successfully against him to win on the front end, or set him up to be defeated by a sharp closer.  As I was reading it, I was thinking that the "old" Big Brown could have defeated Curlin in this manner, with his fast early speed.

Steve, will you please use your considerable influence to steer Mr. Jackson away from this crazy notion of running Curlin in Japan?  Is it really considered a prestigious race?  I remember Star Over the Bay died on their stupid track, and Lava Man had the bottom of his feet sanded down to the point where they were bloddied.  

The Preakness probably was Curlin's best race.  Like you Steve, I am a huge Street Sense fan, and I believe Street Sense lost the Preakness more than Curlin won it.  Every time I watch a replay of that race a part of me is expecting to see a different outcome.

Enjoy Kentucky Steve.  Now that Lava Man will reside there (god willing he will arrive safely), I will have to make a trip out there myself.  I hope he loves his new home and they treat him like a king.

06 Sep 2008 2:08 PM
Steve Haskin

Nan, he was acting up quite a bit in the barn, according to Iavarone, and basically was not a happy camper. Some horses do not like the hectic envirnoment in that barn and they lose their cool. He was keyed up going in there, so being there just made it worse.

06 Sep 2008 3:15 PM
Steve Haskin

Helen, Jess Jacskon does what he wants. He listens to you, but he's pretty steadfast in his decisions. He's read this blog in the past, so maybe he'll read it again. And I mentioned it to him after the Travers.

06 Sep 2008 3:18 PM
Wanda

Yo Brad I hear you. I like your comment about the infield is that Cal trash talk?

Mr Jackson: I hope you read this blog as Mr Haskin says you do, here goes nothing. I'm a racing fan ex owner,breeder,trainer of 25 years. I understand what you want to do with this horse, I want to see him that way to. He's everything that the Sam-Son farms breeding program tried to produce. If he can run on grass he can run on poly. Give Dance Smartly's nephew a shot at BC. Curlins got a million Canadian fans just because the way he's bred. I see your trainer was on hand at Woodbine the other day. What does he think of running on poly? Please sir give it some more thought and I hope you come to the right decision. Thanks for listening to a Curlin fan.

06 Sep 2008 4:00 PM
Bradgm

I think it was either Lukas or Baffert that said that. Really sounds more like a Lukasism less like a Baffertism. Said it about a KY Derby winner going into the Preakness, I think. Another trainer said they aren't machines.

I just think just like some of us have bad days and there isn't always an excuse for it, so do most horses.

If Mr. Jackson is reading this, he probably thinks there are quite a few strange fans. Except me and thee and I'm not too sure about thee. LOL (just kidding about thee of course)

I just want them to do what's best for the horse. I can see the temptation for running in the Japan Cup though, those fans are really into it. Have you ever watched a race from there? Crazy, just like their Baseball games.

06 Sep 2008 5:30 PM
KatintheHat

In regards to the Woodward, I heard the Saratoga track described as "dead" and "tiring".  In curiousity, I went to the Forego and took a look at the quarters and final furlong vs the Woodward.  The Forego went 22.53/22.08/23.88/      13.06

22.8/23.4/23.41/25.72   14.01

went the Woodward.  The first 1/2 mile went faster as one would expect in a 7f race (yes?).  I found it interesting that the 3rd quarter was slower in the shorter race and then slowed down even more in the last furlong.  It seemed to me that both races had the same pattern and looked like it could validate the "tiring/flat" track description.  In addition, I went back and looked at Commentator's Whitney, which was described as a "dull" time at first report, although he later was given a year topping 120 BSF for the race.

Whitney  final 150.23

24.16/23.57/24.07/25.22/ 13.21

Woodward  final 149.34

22.8/23.4/23.41/25.72/  14.01

Although I wouldn't want to compare tracks on different days, the ratios of the quarters to each other certainly doesn't look wildly different (obviously the first quarter is the pivotal one in numerous ways).  Commentator set the times (on the lead) while Curlin had to make the time up on a sweeping move three (?) wide around the final turn (after being pushed out 5 wide on the first turn by Divine Park).  I'm having trouble seeing where this is a "bad" race. Curlin's tough guy was a horse  that was coming off a previous exceptional performance (for that horse) on the same track and clearly on the upswing (not unlike BB/Coal Man).  Kudos to owner/trainer of PTP for a fine race.  Let's hope Curlin benefits/sharpens from this race,  a lot of people are enjoying the ride!

06 Sep 2008 6:24 PM
Wanda

Thou art one of many the see the light. Do thee truly feel we may make a case of our convictions? Pray tell what of the non believers? Do we slay them out of hand or let them live to spew their vemon unto others.

Okay enough so I liked english in high school.

KatintheHat: Nice research on the times, I'm impressed.

06 Sep 2008 7:36 PM
Bradgm

Wanda,

Out, da**'d spot! out, I say (etc)

Act 5 Scene 1 Macbeth (spot=he who must not be named)

Man, they better run this race soon I'm quoting Shakespeare.

But truthfully I'm bracing myself for the barrage of excuses if BB doesn't run well. Curlin's team really doesn't make too many that I've heard, so far anyway. Of course I'm still hoping for Zenyatta.

May wander over to SA to see how the surface looks and how they're traveling over it. But the afternoon is just so different here.

I know Steve is KY bound but I wonder if he thinks this race will have an * next to it. If there's much more of the Del Mar fiasco it may end up a reversal to dirt with the super at Saratoga in high demand.

06 Sep 2008 9:45 PM
MonicaV

Hey Brad,

I'm thinking of going over to SA one morning to watch the works.  I'm only about 6 miles from there.

Funny how the competitors in the Travers were a bunch of nobodies when Col John beat them but were all grade 1 winners when BB beat them in the Spring.  

Wanda, good to see you again!

07 Sep 2008 2:37 AM
LDP

Steve,

    Nice thinking on the splits, i think your onto something. Now this is just me, but ever since you wrote this blog i have been watching some of Bernardini's old races. I think i may have found his weakness. Bernardini ran his best races when just off the leaders or on the lead, then allowed to sprint away from them just before heading into the stretch. In the Preakness you will notice he made a huge sweeping run in the turn, and still won. When i watched the race it looked like to me he was a little more tired, than in his previous races, and not bounding home with as much left. Then we have the BCC. He made another sweeping move, but this time when he started to tire he wasn't against just the three year olds he greatly outclassed, he had to contend with Invasor. With a tired Bernardini, against a fresh and talented Invasor, Invasor got the better of him and won. As for my analysis, Bernardini did not big sweeping runs, then having to sustain them, he liked to wait until just before the stretch then sprint away from his opposition. Basically it seems he's Curlin's opposite, and more like Big Brown, who also likes to wait till the stretch before unleashing a massive turn of foot and sprinting away.

Back to Curlin, now that Steve mentions it i think that if Curlin does take to the surface than the BCC is his race to loose, because synthetics do normally tighten up a field and produce slower splits, allowing Curlin to sit wherever he wishes, then during the turn just turn on the heat and run his opponents into the ground, with his huge sustained runs. Against BB, if Curlin takes to the surface, the winner will be Curlin, the one trick dirt pony.

07 Sep 2008 8:06 AM
Karen2

wow, I go away for a few days and all he** breaks lose. Steve, I completely agree that both horses are exceptional and both have accomplished so much. I'm not sure how a true horse racing fan can actually dislike a horse so much as people dislike BB. I understand having favorites, but to actually dislike a horse? What could one of these innocent horses actually have done to cause such feelings? I was looking back over the past year and trying to remember a time when BB may have acted arrogant. Maybe he looked into the camera in that "I'm am so much better than those other horses" sort of way. Maybe it was the way he would stand in his stall and look at the media with an almost "not sure what is going on here expression". It must have been those big, beautiful expressive eyes. I can see how that alone can upset so many people. He was clearly using his eyes to intimidate and heckle the others. Maybe it's time to separate the horse from the trainer.

07 Sep 2008 7:33 PM
Matthew W

If Zenyatta points for The Classic then Curlin HAS to run! She's the dark horse for HOY---also don't criticize Big Brown for his road to BC--he has the feet---I just think Zenyatta HAS a chance, she doesn't look like a filly and has a monster kick!

07 Sep 2008 7:34 PM
Karen2

Wanda, you have a good memory....; )

07 Sep 2008 7:35 PM
Karen2

Actually, Wanda you probably do have a good memory however that comment was suppose to be for MonicaV is reference to her last post. sorry.

07 Sep 2008 7:37 PM
Bradgm

Karen2,

I think you made a similar comment on a blog way back when you changed your handle from Karen to Karen2. All He** hasn't broken loose. I don't think one person has said they hate BB or hate Curlin. Well maybe a couple. same ones who have been preaching it all along.  I think what people dislike in BB's case is the human element. The few fans that disrespect others opinions showing their support for him make us dislike that person, not the horse himself. Curlin, the same type people show their disdain for other fans by disrespecting him. I think you are just a little off base 'scolding' the majority of people, there are a couple that deserve it and a bunch of us have been trying to point that out. Also giving human qualities to a horse, that's a bit of a reach IMHO. They are unique in their own equine way.

08 Sep 2008 10:24 AM
Monica V

Karen2,

I don't dislike Big Brown, that comment was in answer to another who keeps up a constant blather about another horse who is a "one trick pony".  I like Big Brown and think if he wins the Classic he should be HOY, absolutely.  I just don't care for the bashing that someone on here keeps doing against every other horse.  I just believe that credit should be given

when it is due and not constantly belittling every other horse who isn't BB.  No bashing of BB either.

08 Sep 2008 10:55 AM
Wanda

Thanks Karen2.

Hey MonicaV nice to hear from you. I like your comment about these horses beating nothing. If they are Graded stakes winners they should be respected for that. They lose nothing when they get beat.

08 Sep 2008 11:25 AM
Karen2

Bradgm are you being a little over sensitive? I don't remember addressing your post specifically. I was looking at the comments in general and yes, BB has actually been disliked as a horse. I wasn't scolding everyone, just those it applies to. If it doesn't apply to you, it wasn't directed at you. I did change my post name because there were so many Karen's posting it was confusing. That simple. Perhaps I have posted similiar comments in the past, I guess I'm consistent. The human like qualities I was referring to in my post were sarcastic. However, how unfortunate for you to not be able to apply human qualities to our fellow equine friends. If you spend any time with a horse you will quickly discover the human like qualities. That's what makes them amazing animals.

12 Sep 2008 8:20 PM
Karen2`

Monica: I know you never said you didn't like BB. I didn't say you did. My comment about your good memory was the comment you made in your last post that was clearly directed at one individual on the board. I remember when that comment was made. That's all.

12 Sep 2008 8:24 PM
Bradgm

Karen2,

I wasn't criticizing you changing your handle, just making a point. Also when you address in generic terms you are condeming anyones point that doesn't match yours, board rules. Just didn't care for your condescending tone, my comments were innocuous about the horses themselves, just not your bud Draynay. As far as being around horses and giving them human qualities, I'm around a ton of trainers and most of them talk about personality or quirks but they don't give them human characteristics. They may say stuff like they know the camera is on them etc. I also am a supporter of a few rescuees, don't really mess with them much, but I do go see them once or twice a week just to make sure they're getting good care.  What I find fault with in your post is this holier than thou and judgemental thing. Like because we have disagreeing points "all h**l is breaking lose(sic)" We're posting our views. Steve doesn't like the blogs that get mean and nasty. Me, I find fault with people who do these drive by postings 5 days later.

13 Sep 2008 10:57 AM
Karen2

Bradgm: My bud Draynay?? your funny. Holier than thou judgmental thing? All H**l breaking lose was a figure of speech. You clearly have a problem with me and my posts from some time ago and you can't seem to get over it. My post was not directed at you however you took it personal. For whatever reason is only known by you. That's o.k. that you and your trainer buddies don't apply human qualities to a horse. Some of us can and do. I guess I could say you are being a little judgemental yourself about that. I just lost a horse last night that I adopted from the TRF. He had many human like qualities in my eyes. I loved him dearly. He was a part of my family. Is it o.k for you to find fault in people that do what you consider "drive by " posts five days later? Some of us don't have all day every day to sit at the computer and blog. Is this another board rule? Exactly what point were you trying to make by pointing out my post change? There really isn't a point there, is there? Did you make up the board rules? If so, please feel free to post them so all the bloggers can follow your rules. Like I said, my post was not directed at you, unless of course it applies to you. If it does, then it was and that is my opinion. Drive by post or not. See you next time I make it back to the boards... peace...

13 Sep 2008 11:37 PM
Karen2

By the way... nice race today by BB on the turf! I guess he wasn't a no show.

13 Sep 2008 11:44 PM
Bradgm

Karen,

I saw you lost one of your adoptees, sorry to hear that.

I guess guys see things differently as far as the human qualities. I see them as beautiful creatures with personalities and quirks.

As far as board rules, well there IS a certain kind of protocol. Maybe the fact that I've been a board monitor, blogger and commentor on other boards I apply that same protocol.

My problem is the fact that you seemed to condemn people for writing their opinions, that is what a board is, period, no interpretation needed. I do recall your posts and they weren't the most kind or pleasant that I have read and you have been a supporter of the worst offender on this board for insulting people, mostly on Jason's board because Steve doesn't appreciate it and most of us don't either.  In the past I have tried to be a peacemaker because a lot of people HAVE left the board due to constant criticism

and condemnation and a lot of them were racing industry folks who had some insight that most of US don't have. I actually have met a couple of them.  I try to be fair and not name call or make others feel stupid or that their opinions are not valid and those are usually the ones I call out in response. I don't tell people that the board has gone to heck in a handbasket, that's demeaning to them. Like saying they are a bunch of children out of control, even if it's true. Like I've said, we are not the blogger, Steve is, we are just giving an opinion on the subject matter. Drive by posting IS something where people come on infrequently, give demeaning opinions usually after people have stopped posting on the site. And yes there is a general board etiquette, particularly on a board as mellow as this one normally is. As I have said before, I have no problem with BB, it's the human representation who call people stupid and crazy just because they don't agree with the opinion of others.

14 Sep 2008 9:13 AM
Wanda

Bradgm: Thanks for the low down on board etiquette. I'm a newbie from this spring and I constantly worry that I'll say or do something wrong....

14 Sep 2008 5:18 PM
Karen2

Bradgm: My posts have not been mean in the past. Perhaps when someone doesn't see things your way, you consider them unkind? When did I condemn someone for writing their opinions? Please do not say that I have been a defender of Draynay and his insults. What I have defended about Draynay is his right to have an opinion and I have admired his dedication to BB.  I don't have the same posting style as Draynay and in fact we have locked horns a time or two but I have said in the past that you take it for what it is and don't get worked up about it. You seem to get worked up over Draynays posts. Furthermore, you stating that "drive by" posters having "demeaning" opinions is not a good representation of yourself and the peace you are trying to create and you lose credibility when you say things like that. It makes others feel that you think your opinion is the only one that matters. I guess according to your definition of a "drive by" poster, in this case, mine would not qualify as I posted on the 7th and there were still many others still posting. You state you try not to make people feel like their opinions are not valid, but you attacked my post even though I never addressed you specifically.  I agree there is a certain board protocol and I try to be decent. Sometimes I can be passionate about my opinion but I am also very open minded. I am not some Johnny come lately. I have been posting for some time now and enjoy it. I get so much insight and information from everyone on this board. I have stated numerous times that it is awesome to come to a place where there are horse crazy nuts like myself who truly love the industry. Draynay is not a bad guy. He just expresses himself differently than most.Once you get past the "foregone conclusion" of his posts, you may even get a laugh or two out of it. Lighten up Bradgm.... we all come here for the same reason so we all have something in common. Thank you for your words about my adoptee. I appreciate it. It's been a rough weekend.

Wanda: I don't think you should worry about saying or doing something wrong. I have read your posts, you seem very knowledgeable and seem to respect others opinions. It's no fun if you have to worry about offending someone or breaking some board rule that someone else has decided applies. E-mailing and blogging is tough communication. Sometimes words get taken out of context or something gets interpreted wrong (this blog case in point). So keep posting away...we all look forward to it!

14 Sep 2008 8:15 PM
Wanda

Karen2: Thanks for the kind words. I'm from the old school, racetrack as well as being raised that way. I found these blogs very interesting and really injoy talking to people as well as the one on one with the board monitors. Sometimes we get to caught in our covictions but on the whole everyone is very pasionate about horseracing. That's a good thing!

15 Sep 2008 10:36 AM
katsan

Karen, I've always found Brad to be very kind and honest. He doesn't seem to like people attacking others or being condescending and yes he always seems to want people to get along. I was sorry to hear about your adoptee. I had a couple of tragedies myself in the last week or so, unimaginable to most, life changing for me. Made me realize and be thankful for the kind, gentle peacemakers like Brad and how those who aren't might want to reconsider how blessed they are.

16 Sep 2008 4:36 PM
Bradgm

Kat, I read on Jason's blog. Can tell you are upset so happy you consider us your friends. Whatever it is and I can tell it's very bad, just know the buddies you've made on here are thinking of your and praying for you.

16 Sep 2008 8:51 PM
Karen2

Katsan: I don't know Brad and if he is a peace maker than bless his heart. I don't have issues with Brad. It was him who addressed me and my post. I would say we all get along on these boards. We may not always agree, but for the most part opinions are respected and in a lot of cases, very eye opening and create an open minded atmosphere where we can all get something out of all posts. Yes, even Draynays...I am sorry for your tragedies. It is important that we put our lives into perspective and be thankful for the many blessings we have..including the ability to share on this blog.

17 Sep 2008 12:40 PM
katsan

Brad, thank you I appeciate your kind thoughts. We did get a bit of good news today, finally. The brother in law may survive his illness, keeping our fingers crossed. Lost two of the girls in our family to different things.I think their children will be okay, we all love them and they know that, one still has his Dad. They are resillient back in a routine and seem okay.

Karen Thanks for your words, they mean a lot. I don't know anyone on here personally but feel like I certainly do. We all have one thing in common, we love our horses.  

17 Sep 2008 7:57 PM

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