Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Curlin Show is Closing

Big surprise. Though it was a gesture of great sportsmanship, it was ultimately a mistake to run him in the Breeders' Cup. The interesting part is that Big Brown probably would have won that race, considering the winning speed figure of Raven's Pass and the nature of the racetrack. What might have been?

In any case, Curlin retires now as the richest Western Hemisphere racehorse in history. This is quite the feat, as he did so in only 16 starts and in a very similar purse structure to Cigar. Despite never running over a 119 Beyer, he retires as one of the most impressive animals I have seen. His races in the Dubai World Cup (where I am fairly sure a Beyer rating would have had him at about a 122-124) and Stephen Foster stick out as his most impressive. The former because of the sheer force he was while peaking, and the latter considering the shipping and curse of previous Dubai winners in that very same race. Also, the Preakness was a brilliant showing over a rival that proved to be just a notch below him, the radiant Street Sense.

Curlin was great for racing. Hopefully he adds to the sport what Jess Jackson has been hoping: strength, scope, soundness and stamina to a breed going in the opposite direction on all accounts. The Curlin show is closing, but every time a big horse leaves, an equal emerges from the dust. Here's hoping.

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