It’s official! Today Curlin’s majority owner Jess Jackson announced that the top horse in the nation was stepping onto the world stage. It’s time for Curlin: the World Tour! Well, perhaps that’s a bit of a stretch, but the reigning Horse of the Year champion is shipping to Nad Al Sheba in Dubai on February 15 to prepare for a series of races overseas.
The journey will give Curlin 2 full weeks to get used to his new surroundings while he tunes up for his first prep race of the year. Curlin’s first test will be a $150,000 handicap covering the same 2000 meter distance he will face later on in the prestigious Dubai World Cup. Trainer Steve Asmussen has learned a thing or two in his time with Curlin, including that he seems to benefit from getting a feel for a track once prior to unleashing his biggest performances.
During his 2007 campaign, Curlin lost in his first attempts at Belmont Park in NY, and Monmouth Park in NJ prior to running some of his most celebrated races. Curlin lost to the filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes, and then returned to defeat top older male Lawyer Ron in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. At Monmouth Curlin ran the worst race of his career in the Haskell before returning to run arguably the best race of his career in the Breeder’s Cup Classic.
“The second time he ran at Oaklawn, the second time he ran at Belmont, the second time he ran at Monmouth- the second time he has always done things better” Asmussen said.
Of course, the main target of this whole master plan is to point Curlin towards a March entry in the insanely rich $6,000,000 Dubai World Cup. Last year Invasor took the Dubai Cup and it was enough to garner him serious consideration for Horse of the Year honors despite Curlin’s achievements. Read the rest of this entry »