Four weeks are now passed since the build up to the Triple Crown collapse of Big Brown and if anything has come out of that, we know that horses are not machines and have the propensity to throw a “Clunker” sometimes. The good news there is that Big Brown is training well and is being pointed for the Haskell Invitational in early August. Just a little historical note, there was a Triple Crown hopeful in 2002 that ran poorly in the Belmont named War Emblem that made this same move and…won the Haskell in his next start.
But frankly, in light of the recent retirement of Southern California “Star” Heatseeker and the fact that Lava Man seems to be just a step slower than last year, we DO have Curlin as a national star. 2007 Horse of the Year, Curlin is undefeated so far this year, capturing the Jaguar Trophy, The Dubai World Cup, and the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill.
This morning, Curlin worked 7 Furlongs on the Turf at Churchill Downs, an effort that allowed his connections to see how he feels on the Turf. There has been talk that the Prix l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp Racecourse in France is the end goal for the year (NOT THE BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC AT OAK TREE). Curlin’s next start then may be on turf with the Arlington Handicap at Arlington Park or the Man ‘O War at Belmont Park as two possibilities for the turf debut. In discussing his charge’s next start, trainer Steve Asmussen said,
“We have to see if he can compete at the same level—a nice work is not a graded stake. If he can compete at his level on the turf and we get the race that we expect, we will map out how to win the Arc with him.”
Both the Man ‘O War and The Arlington Handicap are July 12 so in two weeks we may see Curlin, our latest hero, run.