Asmussen plans to dispatch the son of Smart Strike for a half-mile move at the Fair Grounds, where the colt has been based since late November. Curlin already has been out for a couple of “two-minute licks” around the track during the holiday season.
While Asmussen said the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-gr. I) is the next logical major target, it still is not clear whether Curlin will remain in training or be retired. When asked what he viewed the chances of making the world’s richest race, slated for March 29 at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, Asmussen said: “There is no way to know.”
Despite the uncertainty, Asmussen is continuing to look ahead at the possibility Curlin will race for another season. He plans to nominate Curlin for races that could be significant Dubai World Cup preps, such as the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) Feb. 2 at Gulfstream Park and the $150,000 Mineshaft Handicap (gr. III) Feb. 9 at the Fair Grounds.
Invasor used the Donn as his launching pad to success in the 2007 running of the World Cup.
Asmussen noted that Cigar’s career earnings record of $9,999,815 could be within reach if goals such as the World Cup and a return engagement in the Breeders’ Cup Classic can be met with success.
“All he would have to do is duplicate what he did last year and he would be there,” Asmussen said of the hallowed record established more than a decade ago.
While winning three grade I events in 2007, the only season he has raced, Curlin earned $5,102,800 in compiling a record of six wins, one second and two thirds in nine starts.