Woodward Victory for Curlin
The “Graveyard of Champions” legend of Saratoga Racecourse did not apply to Curlin on Saturday, 30 August 2008, as he soared into the lead to win the Woodward Stakes. Winning the Woodward Stakes not only reaffirmed his champion status, but pushed him into second place for all-time horse racing career earnings. It was the first time that Curlin had raced at the Saratoga Racecourse, making the Woodward a highly anticipated race.
The four year old Curlin, 2007 Horse of the Year, showed his discomfort on turf when he finished in second place at Belmont Park Racecourse in the Man O’War Stakes. Back on dirt in the Woodward Stakes, he was comfortable and unchallenged all the way. With career earnings of $9 796 800, he is second to Cigar, who holds the earnings title with $9 999 815. Curlin has won ten of his fourteen career starts, including events such as the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Stephen Foster Handicap, Rebel Stakes, Breeder’s Cup Classic, Preakness Stakes, Arkansas Derby and the Dubai World Cup.
As the field for the Woodward Stakes leaped out of the starting gates, Curlin settled down into fourth position. Leading the seven horse contender field was Past the Point and Wanderin Boy, but as the horses started to take the last turn for the home stretch, Curlin and his jockey Robby Albarado began to move towards the outside to pass third place contender, Divine Park, and chase down the race leaders. At the sixteenth pole, Curlin surged forward to take the lead and win the race by over a length, with Past the Point finishing in second place, Wanderin Boy in third and A.P. Arrow in fourth. Loose Leaf crossed the wire in fifth position followed by Divine Park and Out of Control in seventh.
Curlin proved once again that he is a formidable force on dirt, and showed why he is considered one of the best horses in the world. Trainer Steve Asmussen and owner Jess Jackson expressed their excitement at Curlin’s victory, but were unable to confirm his next start. Fans will have to wait patiently until his following start is announced and the horse racing powerhouse can be seen in action again.