Horse Racing: Curlin, the highest North American earner Thoroughbred

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  • Horse Racing: Curlin, the highest North American earner Thoroughbred

Horse Racing: Curlin, the highest North American earner Thoroughbred

Foaled on the 25th of March 2004 in Kentucky, Curlin, the American Thoroughbred racehorse, gained popularity after he showcased brilliant performances and won the 2007 Preakness Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Classic and the 2008 Dubai World Cup.

The legendary stallion won the 2007 and 2008 Horse of the Year Awards. This is the most prestigious title adorned to horses in American horse racing.

The talented racehorse was named after an African-American slave Charles Curlin, who belonged to western Kentucky and struggled for the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.

On the basis of his performances in the field, the stallion was given a 134 rating by Timeform – a publishing company that caters to fans, bettors and others in the horse-racing industry – in 2008 (which translates to an above-average group 1 winner) and thus was declared the best racehorse on dirt in the world.

Curlin was bought by William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr, two lawyers based in Kentucky, for $57,000 through their Midnight Cry Stable, while he was still a yearling. The controlling interest of the racehorse was then sold in February 2007 for $3.5 million to Jess Jackson and his associates. Jess Jackson is also the owner of Rachel Alexandra (2009 Horse of the Year).

The Thoroughbred stallion started his athletic career at the age of three. He made his maiden start in February 2007, when he won a seven-furlong-long race that was open for racehorses of age three. The race took place at Gulfstream Park in Florida and the great horse took over the field by 12 ¾ lengths. After this successful meet, Curlin was bought by a racing partnership that handed over the stallion’s training responsibility to Steve Asmussen, who won the 2008 Eclipse Award for Outstanding Trainer.

The skilled stallion then stepped into the Oaklawn Park in Arkansas in mid-April and the Rebel Stakes in March the same year (2007). He ran under jockey Robby Albarado, who returned victorious in both meets.

The next race that Curlin contended in 2007 was the 133rd running of the Kentucky Derby. He came in third, losing out to Street Sense and Hard Spun respectively. Curlin started from the 2nd post in a field of 20 competitors.

On 19th of May, Curlin met the Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense again at the 2007 Preakness Stakes. The latter was defeated by Curlin who finished the race in a time of 1 minute and 53.46 seconds.

The thoroughbred stallion, however, was beaten by Rags to Riches in the 139th running of Belmont Stakes.

On the 5th of August 2007, Curlin came in third at the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. He finished the race behind Any Given Saturday and Hard Spun. Curlin finished the race in 1 minute and 48.35 seconds.

Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup that took place on the 30th of September 2007 at Belmont Park was finished by Curlin in a time of 2 minutes and 01.20 seconds with a Beyer Speed rating of 114. Curlin won the race and confirmed a spot for himself at the 24th Breeders’ Cup Classic, which took place on 27th October 2007 at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey.

Curlin was sent off as the 4th betting choice on a track that was sloppy after several days of rain. The thoroughbred held off the champion pace-setter Hard Spun and settled 4 ¾ lengths ahead of him. It was the eighth time that the event was won by a 3-year-old racehorse. The 1 ¼ miles race was finished by Curlin in 2 minutes and 00.59 seconds. He earned a Beyer Speed Figure rating of 119.

Having defeated his main competitors Street Sense and Hard Spun, Curlin was declared Horse of the Year at the end of 2007.


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