Reigning “Horse of the Year” Curlin returned to serious training after his recent victory in the $1 million Stephen Foster Handicap (Grade I) with an easy five-furlong work on Monday at Churchill Downs.
Stonestreet Stable and Midnight Cry Stable’s 4-year-old son of Smart Strike breezed around 6:30 a.m. (EDT) and covered the distance over a “fast” track in 1:03.80. Regular exercise rider Carlos Rosas was in the saddle as Curlin covered the distance in fractions of :13.20, :26.20 :38.80, and :51:20. The Steve Asmussen-trained champion galloped out six furlongs in 1:17.
“He looked good,” Asmussen said.
Asmussen plans to work Curlin over Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Turf Course next Tuesday, which would be a first step toward a possible trip to Paris for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Group 1) at Longchamp on Oct. 5. Curlin has not run on the turf in his 12-race career, but should the colt display an affinity for the surface in that work Asmussen has said he would look for a race over the surface in mid-July.
Curlin has a record of 9-1-2 in 12 races and has earned $9,396,800.
Also working on Monday for Asmussen was Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Pyro, the winner of the Louisiana Derby (GII) and Northern Dancer (GIII). The son of Pulpit breezed an easy four furlongs under Rosas in :53.60 under Roses. It was the colt’s first work since his Northern Dancer win at Churchill Downs on June 14. Asmussen has mentioned the $1 million Haskell Invitational (GI) at Monmouth Park as a likely spot for Pyro’s next race.
WORK TAB (Track: FAST) – Delightful Kiss, seventh to Curlin in the Stephen Foster Handicap, breezed four furlongs in :47.20 – the fastest of 55 moves at the distance – in a prep for Saturday’s Prairie Meadows Cornhusker (GII). …Dogwood (GIII) winner Acoma breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80. …Runaway Heart breezed four furlongs for trainer D. Wayne Lukas in :51 in a prep for a possible start in Saturday’s $100,000-added Debutante (GIII). Cameron Crazies, also a Lukas-trained Debutante hope, breezed a half-mile in :50.20. …Debutante candidate Songtress breezed four furlongs in :49.40. …Mineshaft Handicap (GIII) winner and Travers (GI) runner-up Grasshopper, fourth for trainer Neil Howard in the Stephen Foster, breezed three furlongs under exercise rider Annie Finney in :36.30 – the second best of 10 moves at the distance.