Sunday, August 31, 2008

Professional Curlin

Standing at the rail just past the finish line watching Curlin was watching a true professional athlete at work. He knows how to win and won the Woodward at the Spa before 22,572 appreciative fans. I was never worried watching the race. Maybe some expected a complete romp, but I was happy with the performance, the time was solid and the Beyer figure was 112. Do I think he walks on water? No. But I am happy to watch the Horse of the Year continue his career as a 4 year old instead of running off to the Breeding shed. Was this enough to bring in new fans and label him a spectacular horse to save the industry ? No, but I can't blame Curlin for that. You can't blame NYRA for marketing the horse either (although most fans I spoke to at the meet disliked the tacky themed poster). They have to market someone and with Big Brown staying at the Jersey Shore this summer, Curlin is the horse NYRA had to market.

Having seem him run now 3 times in person, from the Belmont in '07, the Breeders Cup in '07 and now at Saratoga, you definitely see how this horse has matured and grown. Physically he is such a fit horse and beautiful to see in person.

As he came onto the track Saturday a splattering of applause begin on the clubhouse end of the track as people recognized Curlin. Then when Tom Durkin annouced the # 5 horse as Curlin more applause followed. When he came back to the winners circle after galloping out after his win, the crowd gave a warm applause. Here are some photos from the day:

Photographs waiting to get the perfect shot as the Gate is loaded for the Woodward

Curlin walking back to the Winners Circle after the Woodward Win

Curlin getting a hose down as the handlers are in the Winners Circle

Asmussen and Albarado in the Winners Circle

Offspring at the Rail--training him well


Nick said...

I thought it was pretty amusing how as soon as Curlin didn't crush the field people started coming out saying things like he hasn't shown he's a great horse and Big Brown could beat him. Gee, he just put up a 112 beyer on what seemed to be an off day for him... what was Big Brown's lifetime best again?

I fully expect to be reading a bunch of 'on second look, this wasn't that bad of a race' posts over the next few days, just like we had with Big Brown's last outing.

I'm quite jealous that you've been able to see him in person so many times. Not much chance of seeing many great horses here in Iowa, unfortunately. I think Benny the Bull is about the best horse I've been able to see in person. Anyway, thanks for sharing your pictures.

SaratogaSpa said...

Nick--Big Brown's best beyer was in the Kentucky Derby when he had a 109 beyer. He had a 100 in the Preakness, and a 107 in the Haskell. Thanks for reading.

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