Sunday, May 20, 2007

Its Curlin!

I have ranted that the horse blundered in Kentucky Derby and the jockey did a poor navigational job which only saw Curlin rattling home for 3rd. The second leg of the Triple Crown saw Curlin show its true colours. A depleted field meant little traffic problem this time for Curlin. Curlin nipped Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense by putting his head in front on the final stride, winning the Preakness Stakes in a riveting finish Saturday and ending any chance for a Triple Crown this year. Street Sense seemed to have the race won after another of his long rallies, taking the lead in the stretch. But the colt was unable to hold off Curlin's late charge thanks to a much better ride by Robby Albarado.

Curlin came into the Preakness with just four career starts, including a third-place finish in the Derby just two weeks ago. Curlin won his first three races by a combined 28½ lengths, and was well back in the field of nine. As Hard Spun swung into the lead with a three-wide move, Street Sense started to roll under Calvin Borel. Street Sense went to the outside in the stretch and moved into the lead, and the crowd began to cheer in anticipation of a Triple Crown bid in the making. But Curlin came flying along the far outside, and took dead aim at the Derby winner. He caught him on the final jump and, just like that, Street Sense was a beaten horse.

Curlin, who did not race as a 2-year-old, was purchased after his first race: a 12½-length romp at Gulfstream Park in February. The price was a reported US$3.5 million by a group that includes Kendall-Jackson Wine owner Jess Jackson, Padua Stables, George Bolton and Midnight Cry Stables. The colt hit a US$650,000 jackpot by winning the 1 3-16th-mile second jewel of the Triple Crown, boosting his career earnings to US$1,652,800. The winning time was a lightning-quick 1:53.46. The record time is listed as 1:53 2/5, which converts to 1:53.40. The record is shared by Louis Quatorze in 1996 and Tank's Prospect in 1985.

The likelihood now is Curlin will win the final leg, the Belmont Stakes as well. Even though its no Triple Crown, its amazing for a horse in his fourth start to achieve what he did, and it looks like Curlin is still learning to race well. The pity is that after the upcoming Belmont Stakes, there is a high chance that he might not run again to save him for stud duties. Thats because its difficult to have an entire (not gelded) that has won significant races. Colts are usually gelded to improve their performance, particularly if they perform badly in its first few races. Well, if somebody who can do horse talk lets them know their fate, I think they would try harder.

Curlin can basically print money by having sexual encounters day in day out. No more danger of running around the track on wafer thin legs, with the possibility of shattering any one of the legs everytime it runs - and then have its nice little brains blown to bits. The owners are unlikely to risk the horse by running him a few more times. Curlin can probably get US$25,000 to US$50,000 per successful mating. Why would you want to risk running him on the track? Plus if its early sons and daughters perform well on the track, Curlin's stud fee later on could balloon to even US$100,000. Of course, his stud fees would fall if its progenies fail. Currently some common stud fees for guaranteed live foal for some popular studs:
A.P. INDY , 1989 Seattle Slew--Weekend Surprise, by Secretariat
2007 Stud Fee: US$300,000 Live Foal
ARAGORN , 2002 Giant's Causeway--Onaga, by Mr. Prospector
2007 Stud Fee: US$30,000 Live Foal
DIXIE UNION , 1997 Dixieland Band--She's Tops, by Capote 2007 Stud Fee: US$50,000 Live Foal
DIXIELAND BAND , 1980 Northern Dancer--Mississippi Mud, by Delta Judge
2007 Stud Fee: US$50,000 Live Foal
GULCH , 1984 Mr. Prospector--Jameela, by Rambunctious
2007 Stud Fee: US$30,000 Live Foal
MINESHAFT , 1999 A.P. Indy--Prospectors Delite, by Mr. Prospector 2007 Stud Fee: US$100,000 Live Foal
ROCK HARD TEN , 2001 Kris S.--Tersa, by Mr. Prospector
2007 Stud Fee: US$50,000 Live Foal
SMART STRIKE , 1992 Mr. Prospector--Classy 'n Smart, by Smarten
2007 Stud Fee: US$75,000 Live Foal

The most popular in southern hemisphere is Zabeel with a fee of NZ$100,000 a pop. But the top gun is Redoutes Choice who gets A$250,000 per serve. His sire Danehill was A$210,000 and that was a private fee. But why would people pay so much. well, the 35 Redoute’s Choice sold last year for an average of A$710,000.

Of course, first Curlin has to win the Belmont Stakes. If anyone knows horse talk and tells him what's in store should he win the Belmont Stakes as well, I bet he'd run like he has never ran before! Incentives, man!

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