Street Life earned street cred at Saratoga Race Course July 27, rolling off a fourth-place finish in the June 9 Belmont Stakes (gr. I) to take the $100,000 Curlin Stakes for Magnolia Racing Stable and Hidden Brook Farm (VIDEO).
According to trainer Chad Brown, the 3-year-old son of Street Sense punched his ticket to the Aug. 25 Travers Stakes (gr. I) with a 1 3/4-length win over five other contenders in the 1 1/8-mile test.
"As long as the horse is okay and doing well, he'll be ready for the Travers," Brown said.
A question of whether the closer would have a solid pace to chase concerned Brown when two flighty horses, Politicallycorrect and Morgan's Guerrilla, scratched. But an honest enough scenario developed as Love to Run emerged from an early scramble for the lead, going a quarter in :23.64 while favored Easter Gift prompted and ranged up to poke a nose in front for a half in :47.68.
Street Life was settled at the back of the pack by jockey Jose Lezcano, then began to steadily advance as the frontrunners dueled through three-quarters in 1:12.24.
"It worked out beautifully," Brown said. "Jose rode a good race, kept him a little closer today, which we talked about. With that horse, if you give him the opportunity to be a little lazy, he'll take it. We're getting to figure this horse out and Jose executed it perfectly."
Coming off the turn, Street Life was fanned five wide to the center of the track, while Five Sixteen found a wide-open path on the rail and took a momentary lead. But Street Life easily collared that one near the eighth pole and drew off to a solid victory in 1:50.68 on the sloppy, sealed track.
"I was optimistic he would handle the mud," Brown said. "I've never breezed him in it, but he's had strong gallops. It seems like he has a little more focus; he's a little sharper in the mud when he gallops. So I was holding out hope he would handle it, and he loved it. So, it worked out."
Sent off as the slight second choice, Street Life returned $6.30, $3.90, and $3.10. Five Sixteen paid $11.40 and $4.80. Ever So Lucky, 2 1/2 lengths farther back in third, paid $4.40. Easter Gift, Reload , and Love to Run completed the order of finish.
"He was too rank today; he never settled," jockey Javier Castellano said of Easter Gift. "My goal was to cover up on the first turn, and we did. When he saw the daylight, he took off."
Street Life, bred in Kentucky by Mueller Thoroughbred Stable, is out of the Grindstone mare Stone Hope, improved his record to three wins in seven starts with earnings of $234.405.
The race was followed by the announcement of a name selected for a weanling colt sired by Curlin , 2008 Horse of the Year, from the champion Rachel Alexandra, the 2009 Horse of the Year. The colt will be named Jess's Dream for Jess Jackson, who owned both.