Horse of the Year Curlin to Parade Saturday at Churchill Downs

Nov 23, 2008 Darren Rogers

(November 23, 2008) – Stonestreet Stables LLC’s Curlin, North America’s reigning Horse of the Year and the continent’s richest racehorse of all time with earnings of $10,501,800, will be paraded one final time at Churchill Downs on Saturday, Nov. 29 – closing day of the 26-day Fall Meet.

Curlin, the brilliant winner of seven Grade I events including Churchill Downs’ $1 million Stephen Foster Handicap in June, is scheduled to be paraded on the main track between the fifth and sixth races on the Nov. 29 program. A special salute in the paddock and/or winner’s circle will follow.

The fifth race that day is scheduled for 1:28 p.m. (all times Eastern), and the first of 12 races will be at 11:30 a.m. Grandstand admission gates will open at 10 a.m.

Stonestreet Stables owner Jess Jackson, founder and proprietor of Kendall-Jackson Vineyard Estates, and Curlin’s trainer Steve Asmussen permitted the parade to give area horse racing fans perhaps their final opportunity to see the champion before he is retired to stud duty in 2009. He will stand for $75,000 at Mr. and Mrs. William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky.

“We’re thrilled to have another opportunity to showcase Curlin in front of his many fans in Kentucky,” Asmussen said. “For the past two years, he’s given our entire team numerous thrills and great memories. We’ve always considered Churchill Downs to be his ‘home’ track, and we’ll always remember that standing ovation he received after winning the Stephen Foster.”

The 4-year-old son of Smart Strike out of the Deputy Minister mare Sherriff’s Deputy won 11 of his 16 starts with two seconds and two thirds, and is the only horse in North American racing history to earn $5 million in back-to-back seasons. His prize money haul included $5,102,800 in 2007 and $5,399,000 this year.

At age three, Curlin captured a trio of Grade I races that led to Horse of the Year and Champion 3-Year-Old Male honors: the Preakness Stakes, the Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He also suffered a narrow loss to the champion filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes (GI) and finished third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (GI), which was only the fourth start of his career.

Committed to an aggressive 4-year-old campaign that showcased Curlin to an even greater worldwide audience, Jackson and Asmussen sent the chestnut colt to the United Arab Emirates to win two races, including an emphatic 7 ¾-length score in the Group 1 Dubai World Cup – the most lucrative race in the world with a $6 million purse.

In addition to the Dubai World Cup and Stephen Foster, Curlin’s headline-grabbing 2008 campaign included victories in the Woodward Stakes (GI) at Saratoga and a second straight triumph in the prestigious Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes (GI) at Belmont Park. His only two defeats this year came on surfaces other than dirt: a second to 2006 Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) champ Red Rocks-IRE in the Man o’War Stakes (GI) at 1 ½ miles over the Belmont Park turf course and a fourth-place finish behind European stars Raven’s Pass and Henrythenavigator in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI), which was contested over the Pro-Ride synthetic surface at Santa Anita.

Despite galloping daily at Churchill Downs, it appears that the Breeders’ Cup Classic was the final start of Curlin’s odds-on first-ballot Hall of Fame career.

Churchill Downs’ Nov. 29 closing day program also will double as Stars of Tomorrow II. Staged for the fourth consecutive year, Stars of Tomorrow II will be entirely devoted to races for rising 2-year-old stars. The co-featured races are the open $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) and Golden Rod (GII) for fillies. The distance for both races is 1 1/16 miles.

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