x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Curlin gets into stride quickly

The four-year-old arrives at Santa Anita in top order ahead of his possible Breeders' Cup Classic bid on Oct 25.

SANTA ANITA // Curlin has arrived at Santa Anita in top order ahead of his possible Breeders' Cup Classic bid on Oct 25. The four-year-old smashed through the US$10million (Dh37m) career-earnings mark with victory in Saturday's Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Stakes at Belmont and was promptly taken to California. "He shipped very well. He ate a lot and drank a lot of water," said the assistant trainer Scott Blasi. "He'll walk here at the barn for two days, and then he'll resume training.

"This works well because he would normally walk two days after a race anyway, and this way he's already here and he'll have a chance to hydrate himself real well and then have a normal training week." The majority owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen had previously expressed some doubts about running Curlin on a synthetic surface such as the one in place at Santa Anita. "[Curlin] was really strong in the test barn after the race and he cooled out great," Blasi said.

"The Classic is what we showed up for, but he's got to train well to run. If he's going to run, we want Santa Anita to be his home for the next 30 days." Asmussen added: "What we decide will only matter according to how he is on that racetrack. We're going to work him and nothing past that." Curlin could clash with this year's Kentucky Derby hero Big Brown in the Classic, although trainer Rick Dutrow Jr does not expect his runner to make the cross-country trip from New York until a few days before the Breeders' Cup meeting kicks off. He said: "Big Brown is doing good. I was happy to see what I saw with Curlin, and I can't wait to get out there and put [Big Brown] in the gate."

* With Agencies