Curlin prevailed today easily in his first real trip around the Nad Al Sheba racecourse in Dubai in the $175,000 Jaguar Trophy Handicap. The colt broke well and was involved a bit more than usual early on. He was only racing against 5 competitors and this wasn’t considered a very stiff test for the reigning 2007 Horse of the Year Eclipse Award winner.
I think everyone knows by now how strongly I feel for the colt, so it’s worth it to level set a bit here and say that the race didn’t really show us much. It was impressive to see Curlin win without really being asked for anything, but the competition should be much fiercer when he faces off against the world’s finest next month in Dubai World Cup. Still, I think it’s worth tooting his horn a bit when you consider that he’s been off since the end of October and has travelled thousands of miles to race in Dubai. In other words, maybe he just makes it look easier than it really is. It certainly didn’t seem that he was pressed at all in today’s trip.
What I saw was a fit horse that still has those giant trademark strides. There’s just something about how this horse runs that I find mesmerizing, even when he’s doing so effortlessly. It truly is a sight to behold watching him “pick ‘em up and put ‘em down” as he travels the track. It’s this quality that I think first made him so attractive to me and got me whispering things that horseplayers usually keep fairly tight lipped, such as “he’s the best I’ve seen.” Such statements won’t win you many friends when you’re talking with folks that are just as passionate about great horses from previous eras, and I usually end up having to explain that I simply wasn’t around to see them.
Up next for Curlin is the Dubai World Cup for $6 million on March 29.
I rather fancy ending my Curlin posts these days with a fitting quote. If nothing else, he’s 1 for 1 now when I do so, and who am I to break from such obviously successfully tradition?
For today’s post, what came to mind was a quote from the battle of Sterling in Braveheart, even though the film adaptation lacked the requisite bridge that made the actual battle so dramatic. My message to Curlin and his crew regarding the upcoming Dubai World Cup is simply:
“Send the horse……full attack!”