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No plans yet for Horse of the Year Curlin’s next start

Horse of the Year Curlin returned to the track on Monday morning, breezing on the Oklahoma training track at Saratoga Race Course. The four-year-old Smart Strike colt finished five furlongs in 1:03.09 on a track rated as fast, ranking ninth of 11 horses at the distance. It was his second breeze at Saratoga since finishing second to Red Rocks (Ire) in the Man o’ War Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in his turf debut. He covered a half-mile in :51.47 on July 21.

“He looked the same as he always does. He’s easily recognizable,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “I thought
that he went very well. “The fabulous thing about Curlin is, you watch him come back and he doesn’t give you any indication whether he worked or walked or jogged or galloped. He’s got that air about him that really separates him.”

Majority owner Jess Jackson and his wife were on hand for the workout. Jackson and Asmussen remain non-committal on where or upon what surface Curlin will run, next other than saying that all options remain open. “I think them coming here today indicates [they are] thinking about where we’re at,” Asmussen said. “We’ve just got to worry about what we have control over, and that’s Curlin—his physical condition, how he’s doing, and how he feels.”

Two possible spots at Saratoga are the Sword Dancer Invitational Stakes (G1) on turf on August 16 and the Woodward Stakes (G1) on dirt on August 30.

The Pacific Classic Stakes (G1) on August 24 at Del Mar is another option. “There’s four or five that he’s nominated to now,” Asmussen said. “We haven’t let any pass.” As he did last year, when Curlin worked over the training track throughout the summer and fall prior to victories in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (G1) and the Breeders’ Cup Classic Powered by Dodge (G1), Asmussen prefers to keep the horse with his string at Saratoga. “It’s the comfort level,” he said. “This time of year, with the cool mornings, it’s how comfortable I am with the training track and just a feeling of how good he did last year. He put in serious training, put his head in the game, and got down to business after the Haskell [Invitational Stakes (G1)] and shipped from here the week of the Jockey Club.

“He stamped his readiness that day as far as who he is and what was to come. We were able to get that accomplished here, so that’s obviously what we’re looking for—that feeling you had walking over knowing what you felt like he was thinking about and what he had done.”

WHERE DOES CURLIN GO NEXT?

Curlin, 2007 Horse of the Year, is currently training in Saratoga, New York after a successful test on a grass course where he came in second. During the downtime, Jess Jackson – majority owner of Curlin, wants to know, “Where do you think Curlin should go next?”

“Curlin is not only a hero to me and my family but also to thousands of fans,” said Mr. Jackson. “With so many people supporting Curlin and his future I am asking all racing fans where they think Curlin should go next.”