x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Curlin prepares for BC Classic

The American horse put in his third workout on the Santa Anita's new synthetic surface, breezing four furlongs in 49.60 seconds.

Curlin is the strong favourite going into Saturday's BC Classic at the Santa Anita race track.
Curlin is the strong favourite going into Saturday's BC Classic at the Santa Anita race track.

ARCADIA, California // Curlin put in his third workout on the Santa Anita's new synthetic surface, breezing four furlongs in 49.60 seconds in preparation for this weekend's the Breeders' Cup Classic. Curlin will defend his title in the US$5 million (Dh18.3m) race on Saturday. He comes in as the North America's all-time leading money winner with earnings of more than $10m. "We don't feel like he owes us something," the trainer Steve Asmussen said. "You just want him to run his race, and what a stage this is."

Curlin has been at the Santa Anita since Sept 28, testing himself over the synthetic surface, something he's never raced on before. He'll be rode on Saturday by Robby Albarado, who's been aboard for all but one of Curlin's 15 career starts. Curlin's main rival, Casino Drive is well-rested since his last race but handlers of the unbeaten chestnut realise it will take a monumental effort to beat Curlin in the upcoming Breeders' Cup Classic.

"It will be very tough competition against the champion Curlin and other Group I winners," Nobutaka Tada, the manager for owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto, said. "It will not be easy. But we look forward to the challenge." The three-year-old colt from Japan cantered one lap around the track at Hollywood Park to prepare for Saturday's showdown with Curlin. The Kentucky-bred Casino Drive has raced only three times but reached the winner's circle in each outing, including a dominating five-and-a-half-length victory in the Grade II Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont Park earlier this year.

The colt's only race since the Peter Pan in May was an allowance victory at Santa Anita on Oct 12. "He's not too tired from his last race and getting fresh now," said Tada. *AP