Sunday, June 15, 2008

Curlin the Marvelous

It is nothing short of an absolute pleasure to watch Curlin go about his business. He is the consummate professional. What a racehorse! No disappointment when he runs. Steve Asmussen must wake up with a smile every morning that Curlin is in his barn. I am very glad for him and his family. While I never got to know Steve I had the privilege of working for his family at their El Primero Training Center in Laredo. I can't imagine a harder working more deserving family of horsemen and women. It just makes me feel good to know how truly appreciated Curlin and Steve's accomplishments are back there.

Curlin seems to know exactly what he has to do every step of a race. You can feel the communication, trust and faith between him and Robby Albarado. He won the million dollar version of the Stephen Foster Handicap (gr.I) by four lengths but it could have been much more. When asked (quietly) he pulled away from Barcola, who set soft fractions of 25, 49.28, 1:13.41 and 1:37.39. He does what he has to, does it easily, saving that extra ability and energy for the day another horse may tempt fate and decide to try to look him in the eye. If that day comes there will be no quit in this horse, or Robby Albarado. While I wasn't a fan of racing in the seventies, so I can't claim first hand experience of comparing him to Secretariat or Seattle Slew, I can say unequivocally, that since I have been a race fan he is the best I have ever seen. It is a honor to watch this horse run. While I can go on interminably about him I think my friend said it as well as it could be said in her article, Curlin: An Arabian Knight. I will just add an echo of her sentiment that this horse is what racing needs.

It was also a welcome sight to see Pyro back in the winner's circle. In winning Saturday's Northern Dancer Stakes (gr.III) he ran back to his pre-Blue Grass, more expected form. He ran patiently, sitting closer than in the past and was able to draw away when urged by Bridgemohan. I heard TVG commentator, Simon Bray say that he still believes Pyro may have distance limitations. I didn't see any sign of that limitation today. He finished well and seemed to gallop out strongly. He [Simon] was responding to a question about Pyro's next possible race being the 1-1/4 mile Travers. Simon thought, and I believe correctly, that the Jim Dandy is the next most obvious race. In my opinion Simon Bray is TVG's best asset.
All in all it was another memorable day for racing fans and Steve Asmussen.

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