Won at 3ARKANSAS DERBY
(gr. II , 9f , defeating Storm in May, Deadly Dealer, Delightful Kiss, Going Ballistic, Flying First Class, Officer Rocket (GB), Slew by Slew, Olympic Chief ).
Undefeated Curlin extended his record to three-for-three and capped off a highly successful weekend for trainer Steve Asmussen with a spectacular 101¼2-length victory in the April 14 Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park. The margin of victory was the largest in the 71 runnings of the race.
By saddling five winners on the day, Asmussen, who won the Oaklawn training title with 35 winners, presently leads the national standings in races won. On April 14, he enjoyed the most victorious day by a trainer in the 103-year history of Oaklawn.
In addition to winning the Derby with Curlin, Asmussen saddled the winners of the two $100,000 stakes on the undercard—Takedown in the Northern Spur Breeders’ Cup and Cream Only in the Instant Racing Breeders’ Cup.
Curlin, a 3-year-old son of Smart Strike, was first bought for $57,000 by Kenneth McPeek, agent, at the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale from Eaton Sales, agent. He was later purchased by a partnership headed by Padua Stables and Stonestreet Stables, for a reported $3.5 million in the days following a 123¼4-length victory in his seven-furlong debut at Gulfstream Park.
In his first start for his new connections, which also include George Bolton, and William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr.’s Midnight Cry Stables, Curlin won the March 17 Rebel Stakes (gr. III) at Oaklawn by more than five lengths.
The $600,000 Arkansas Derby winner’s share boosted Curlin’s earnings to $802,800. Both Asmussen and jockey Robby Albarado were winning the Arkansas Derby for the second time. Asmussen won the 2002 running with Private Emblem, and Albarado took the 2000 edition aboard Graeme Hall.
Curlin was bred in Kentucky by Issam Fares’ Fares Farm, which is located behind Keeneland near Lexington. Fares, an international businessman and former Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon, also owns two farms in Europe.
Among the most successful runners bred by his Fares Farm operation alone or in partnership are grade I winners Fabulously Fast, Sharp Face, and 1998 champion grass horse Da Hoss, a two-time winner of the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT).
Curlin is out of the Deputy Minister mare Sherriff’s Deputy, who was also bred by Fares. Though Sherriff’s Deputy was unraced, her dam, Barbarika, was a two-time graded stakes winner for Fares.
Curlin is the fifth reported foal and third winner out of Sherriff’s Deputy, who delivered a filly by Saint Liam Feb. 7. She is booked to Smart Strike.
Smart Strike is the sire of 47 stakes winners, including other 2007 added-money winners Super Freaky (gr. IIIT) and Twilight Meteor. Smart Strike stands for $75,000 at Will Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky.—E.M.
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