For two dramatic seasons, CURLIN established his greatness on the track. Now, the two-time Horse of the Year is beginning to do it in the breeding shed.
Widely regarded as the most exciting freshman sire of his class, CURLIN concluded 2012 ranked 4th on the Freshman Sire List by winners (15) and was a Top 10 sire by earnings.
Not surprisingly, his babies really came on later in the year.
In late November, CURLIN’s exciting daughter Liberated finished an excellent third in the G2 Golden Rod S. at Churchill Downs. The Lane’s End sales graduate, coming off a smart maiden victory under the Twin Spires, unfortunately lost all chance after being pinched back at the start and left some 10 lengths off the leaders, and she caboosed the nine-horse field through the opening six panels. But Liberated showed her class with an eye-catching move on the far turn–she was forced to go “brutally wide,” noted track announcer Mark Johnson–and though she flattened a bit in the stretch, she still finished a fine third to Seaneen Girl and CITY ZIP’s Gal About Town.
CURLIN kept it rolling in December. At Gulfstream Park, Cross Sabres farm’s Jay Eye See powered home a 7 1/4-length winner in a six-furlong maiden special weight for trainer Marcus Vitali. The bay colt earned a smart 95 BRIS fig for the win. French Curls, a daughter of Lion Heart’s graded-winning sister French Satin, broke her maiden at Betfair Hollywood Park, while Stonestreet Stables homebred Countess Curlin lived up to 1-5 advanced billing by easily romping in a maiden special at Retama for trainer Steve Asmussen . Also in December, the 2yo filly Curlamorous, bred and sold by Stonestreet, captured a 5 1/2-furlong allowance race at Laurel.
Here are some other CURLIN youngsters to keep an eye on:
• Savanna La Mar, a 2yo Kirsten Rausing homebred filly who finished a strong second in the Listed Weatherbys Vat Services Star S. at Sandown Park. Previously, Savanna La Mar won a seven-furlong maiden at Chester for the Sir Mark Prescott stable.
• Palace Malice, a 2yo colt who made his mark at the prestigious Saratoga meet. The heavily backed colt lived up to his 1-5 odds in an $80,000 MSW, rallying powerfully to a 3 1/2-length victory. Bred by Lane’s End’s Will Farish and trained by Todd Pletcher for Dogwood Stable, the $200,000 KEEAPR graduate had earned a gaudy 102 BRIS figure running second to the highly regarded Carried Interest on debut at Belmont July 5. “He is the only CURLIN that we have, and we are very fond of this colt,” said Pletcher of Palace Malice. “We expected him to run well like he did first time out and maybe improve, but you never take anything for granted in this business. He’s still learning, and we were happy to see him win like this. It’s exciting to see a colt that is bred the way he is to show the kind of speed that he has, and you would think he would only improve as the distances stretch out.”
• Watrugonnadorosie, a 2yo filly owned by St. Elias Stable and West Point Thoroughbreds. The $700,000 Keeneland September yearling made her second start a winning one for the Bill Mott barn at Belmont Oct. 19. She won off by 2 1/4 lengths in a $73,000 maiden special going 1 1/16 miles on the main track. Ron Gilbert and Highgrove Stud bred Watrugonnadorosie, a daughter of Tears I Cry (Chester House).
• Lady of Luck, a 2yo filly who won by 2 1/2 lengths in her track debut in a maiden special weight at Ellis. Bred and owned by Fares Farm, who also bred CURLIN, and trained by Kellyn Gorder, Lady of Luck has a solid black-type pedigree. Her dam is the two-year-old stakes winner Lunarlady who is a sister to stakes winner Lunargal and a half-sister to Grade 3 winner and Preakness S. third Astrology, as well as to Grade 3 winner Lunarpal.
• Flash Forward, a 2yo filly who also got into the win column for CURLIN at Belmont Oct. 19. A $180,000 September yearling, the MEB Racing-owned, Dominick Schettino-trained miss asserted to take a $50,000 seven-furlong maiden by 3/4 lengths. Flash Forward was bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings.
• Pin Oak homebred Evolutionary graduated in her second career start in a six-furlong maiden special at Remington Park Oct. 18. Hammered down to even-money favoritism, 2yo filly rallied from seventh and drew off to a clear win for trainer Donnie Von Hemel.
• Stopshoppingdebbie, a 2yo filly who rocketed through fractions of :21 4/5 and :44 4/5 and won off by seven lengths in an Emerald Downs maiden special. The Northwest Farms homebred is from a family that has enjoyed plenty of success with Lane’s End sires. Her three-parts sister Smarty Deb, by SMART STRIKE, was a three-time stakes-winning juvenile who some might remember finishing fifth in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies in 2007 at odds of 8-1. Another sister, Shampoo, by GULCH, was a five-time stakes winner.
CURLIN is also the sire of two winners in Russia. The 2yo colt Lucky First, bred by Becky Winemiller, won his career debut at Rostov-on-Don Hippodrome. Then Zimniy Dvorets, another juvenile colt by CURLIN, won the Summer Prize S., a Group 2 event in Russia, at the Central Moscow Hippodrome. He was bred in Kentucky by Aaron and Marie Jones.
CURLIN is already off to a rousing start in 2013, and his 3yos have made their presence felt from Aqueduct to Gulfstream. The aforementioned Flash Forward captured an allowance at Gulfstream by 2 1/4 lengths on Jan. 3. On the 4th, Blue Violet was second in a maiden special weight at Fair Grounds. And on the 5th, Dyker Beach, bred by Hermitage Farm, was second in a maiden special weight at Gulfstream, while Curlin N Twirlin, a LE sales grad, was also second in a maiden special weight at Aqueduct.
The leading freshman sire by average and median in 2011, CURLIN was once again hugely popular at the sales in 2012. In fact, some of CURLIN’s best-bred yearlings will be hitting the track in 2013. Koji Maeda, for instance, went to $390,000 for a CURLIN filly out of MGSW Baghdaria (Royal Academy), a half-sis to Shackleford and Lady Joanne and a daughter of Broodmare of the Year Oatsee. Juddmonte Farms paid $300,000 for a CURLIN half-brother to leading young sire and G1SW Into Mischief and G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies S. winner Beholder.
Other yearlings by CURLIN realized $215,000, $175,000, $150,000 (3x), $130,000, $125,000, $100,000 (3x), etc.
Mares in foal to CURLIN at the bloodstock sales, meanwhile, included the $190,000 Magnetic Miss (Artax), a MSW of $460,000 who was hammered down to Margaux Farm, agent.