Won at 3REBEL S.
(gr. III , 8.5f , defeating Officer Rocket (GB), Teuflesberg, Going Ballistic, U D Ghetto, Wannabeinclued, Xchanger, Flying First Class, Sumac ).
Even 2004 winner Smarty Jones didn’t win the Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park by as wide a margin as Curlin did March 17. Making just his second career start, Curlin captured the Rebel (gr. III) by 51/4 lengths as the 5-2 second choice. Smarty Jones, who went on to win the Arkansas Derby (gr. II) at Oaklawn and then the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I), won the Rebel by 31/4 lengths.
Curlin went into the Rebel following a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in a 123/4-length score Feb. 3 at Gulfstream Park. The race’s highest Beyer, a 107, belonged to Flying First Class, the 9-5 Rebel favorite who raced second in the Rebel before weakening in the stretch and finishing eighth.
Bred in Kentucky by Issam Fares’ Fares Farm, Curlin went through the 2005 Keeneland September yearling sale consigned by Eaton Sales, agent. He was bought by trainer Kenneth McPeek as agent for $57,000, which was below the sale average of $108,420.
Curlin began his racing career for Bill Gallion and Shirley Cunningham’s Midnight Cry Stable. Both men are Central Kentucky lawyers. A week before the Rebel, Brazilian-bred Einstein, who races for Midnight Cry, won the $500,000 Mervin H. Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds. Helen Pitts, a former assistant to McPeek, trained Curlin through the colt’s maiden score.
Following that win, a partnership consisting of Jess Jackson’s Stonestreet Stables, Satish and Anne Sanan’s Padua Stables, and George Bolton of San Francisco bought an interest in Curlin. Curlin then was transferred to trainer Steve Asmussen.
Padua, located near Summerfield, Fla., has raced a number of major winners, including three Breeders’ Cup winners. Cash Run was the first. She won the 1999 Juvenile Fillies (gr. I). The other two were Cajun Beat and Vindication. The former, raced in partnership, took the 2003 Sprint (gr. I). Vindication captured the 2002 Bessemer Trust Juvenile (gr. I) and was voted divisional champion.
Stonestreet, located near Lexington, raced earlier grade II winners Forest Music and Tiz Wonderful. Bolton’s previous stakes winners, all raced in partnership, include grade III winners Cymbala, Effectual, and Rare Gift.
Curlin is the fifth foal produced from the Deputy Minister mare Sherriff’s Deputy. Her 2007 foal, a filly, is from the first crop by 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, who died last summer. No decision has been reached as to a mate for Sherriff’s Deputy this year.
The Rebel, first run in 1976, has seen its share of winners go on to classic success. Temperence Hill, the 1980 winner, won the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) and was voted champion 3-year-old male. In 1983, Sunny’s Halo won the Kentucky Derby, and in 1992, Pine Bluff captured the Preakness. Victory Gallop, the 1998 winner, took the Belmont. Last year’s winner, Lawyer Ron, won the Arkansas Derby, but ran unplaced in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands.
Smart Strike, sire of Curlin, has sired 47 stakes winners, including additional 2007 added-money winners Super Freaky and Twilight Meteor. Smart Strike stands for $75,000 at William S. Farish’s Lane’s End Farm near Versailles, Ky.—D.S.
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