Alexander Barkoff

Curlin to Gulfstream Before Dubai

Asmussen trainee ships from Fair Grounds to Gulfstream, will fly to Dubai Feb. 16.

Stonestreet Stables’ Curlin, Horse of the Year in 2007, arrived at Gulfstream Park Feb. 15 after taking a Tex Sutton charter flight from Fair Grounds race course in New Orleans, La. The Smart Strike colt will spend the night with trainer Steve Asmussen’s south Florida division before proceeding to Dubai Feb. 16.

Plans call for the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I) to run in a 1¼-mile prep race in Dubai Feb. 28 in preparation for the $6 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) over the Nad Al Sheba track Mar. 29. 

Curlin’s only equine travel partner on the Tex Sutton charter was Poncho, the pony belonging to assistant trainer Scott Blasi. Blasi and Poncho will accompany Curlin on the flight to Dubai, with a stopover at Stanstead Airport in England before a final seven or eight-hour flight to their ultimate destination.

"We had a good trip to Florida," Blasi said after arriving at Gulfstream, “He’s a great traveler. I'll be with him the entire time. When we get there, he'll have three days in quarantine before going to the track. He’ll have just one more work before the prep race.

"Steve will be over for the prep and then come back for the World Cup," Blasi continued. "[Curlin] has really matured. We’re pleased with the way everything is going. He’s gotten the work in that he needs and is on schedule. One thing’s for sure, he knows he’s going somewhere to do something."

Curlin began his career last year at Gulfstream with a sensational debut victory at seven furlongs, scoring by 12 ¾-lengths Feb. 3 for trainer Helen Pitts and Midnight Cry Stable. The imposing chestnut was sold privately shortly thereafter for a seven-figure price and sent to Asmussen. He finished third in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), won the Preakness Stakes (gr. I), and finished second in the Belmont Stakes (gr. I) before running third in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) and scoring back-to-back wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (gr. I) and Breeders' Cup Classic.