Curlin winning the Breeders' Cup Classic.
Sire Smart Strike
Grandsire Mr. Prospector
Dam Sherriff's Deputy
Damsire Deputy Minister
Sex Stallion
Foaled March 25, 2004
Country United States
Colour Chestnut
Owner Racing partnership:
Stonestreet Stables &
Midnight Cry Stables
Trainer 1) Helen Pitts
2) Steve Asmussen
Record 16: 11–2–2
Earnings $10,501,800
Major wins

Rebel Stakes (2007)
Arkansas Derby (2007)
Jockey Club Gold Cup (2007 & 2008)
Jaguar Trophy Handicap (2008)
Dubai World Cup (2008)
Stephen Foster Handicap (2008)
Woodward Stakes (2008)

American Classics / Breeders' Cup wins:
Preakness Stakes (2007)
Breeders' Cup Classic (2007)

American Champion 3-Year-Old Male Horse (2007)
Co-World Champion 3-Yr-Old (2007)
American Champion Older Male Horse (2008)
American Horse of the Year (2007, 2008)
World's Top Ranked Horse 2008
Timeform rating: 134

The Curlin Stakes at Saratoga Race Course
Horse (Equus ferus caballus)

Curlin (foaled March 25, 2004 in Kentucky) is an American Thoroughbred racehorse and the highest North American money earner with over US$10.5 million accumulated. His major racing wins include the 2007 Preakness Stakes, the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic, and the 2008 Dubai World Cup.

Curlin was sired by Smart Strike, a former star from the Sam-Son Farm racing team in Ontario, Canada, and is a half-brother of 1991 Canadian Triple Crown winner Dance Smartly. He is out of the mare Sherriff's Deputy, a daughter of Canadian Horse of the Year and two-time North American Champion sire Deputy Minister.

The colt was named for Charles Curlin, an African American slave from western Kentucky who fought for the Confederate Army in the American Civil War. One of his original owners, Shirley Cunningham, Jr. through his interest in Midnight Cry Stables, is Charles Curlin's great-great-grandson.

In August 2008, Timeform assigned a 134 rating for Curlin, calling him the best horse in the world on dirt.



Kentucky-based class-action lawyers William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr. bought Curlin for $57,000 as a yearling through their Midnight Cry Stable. They sold controlling interest (80%) in the horse in February 2007 for $3.5 million[1] to a group composed of Jess Jackson, founder of Kendall-Jackson wines; Florida software entrepreneur Satish Sanan's Padua Stables; and George Bolton, an investment banker from San Francisco.

Since August 2007, Gallion and Cunningham Jr. have been in a Boone County, Kentucky jail pending trial on charges of conspiracy, fraud, and forfeiture after they kept $64 million in misappropriated funds after representing 418 people in the suit over the diet drug fen-phen that resulted in a $200 million settlement.[2]

On November 1, 2007, Judge William Wehr ruled the 20% interest in the colt owned by Gallion and Cunningham Jr. would be turned over to the more than 400 persons involved in the fen-phen lawsuit.[3]

On November 6, 2007, Jackson and Bolton confirmed that they bought out the interest in Curlin controlled by their partner Sanan's Padua Stables (29%).[4]

On November 9, 2007, trainer Kenneth McPeek, who worked as a blood-stock agent and consultant for Midnight Cry Stable, filed suit in Circuit Court in Jefferson County, Kentucky alleging that the stable breached a contract calling for him to be paid a 5 percent finders fee commission on the purchase and selling price of Curlin and other racehorses, as well as other breeding rights.[5]

On December 20, 2007, Stonestreet announced the private purchase of George Bolton's 20% stake in Curlin.[6] The sale leaves Stonestreet Stables' Jess Jackson and his wife, Barbara Banke, as co-owners of 80% of Curlin and the balance held by Midnight Cry Stables, which is tied up in a legal battle involving 418 people suing the horse's original owners over a legal settlement.

On January 22, 2008, Senior Judge Roger Crittenden in a one-sentence statement overruled the foreclosure motion filed by the plaintifs against their former attorneys for alleged mishandling their settlement in the fen-phen lawsuit. The Blood Horse magazine further reported that according to attorneys representing Stonestreet Stable, they have "a first-right-of-refusal clause incorporated into the original sales agreement with Midnight Cry", should ever such a motion be ordered.[7]

Three-Year-Old Campaign


Curlin was conditioned for racing by Helen Pitts. Unraced at age two, in February 2007 Curlin won a seven-furlong maiden race for three-year-olds by 12 ¾ lengths at Gulfstream Park in Florida, after which he was purchased by a racing partnership headed by majority shareholder Jess Jackson of Stonestreet Farm. The partnership also included Padua Stables, George Bolton, and Midnight Cry Stables, Curlin's original owner. The new owners turned the colt over to trainer Steve Asmussen.[8]

Rebel Stakes and Arkansas Derby

Curlin went on to race at Oaklawn Park in Arkansas where in March, jockey Robby Albarado rode him to victory in the Rebel Stakes, and, in mid April, in the Arkansas Derby.[9]

133rd Kentucky Derby

Curlin was established as the morning-line favorite by Churchill Downs official handicapper Mike Battaglia at 7–2 in spite of the fact that no horse had won the Derby with only three prior starts since 1915 (Regret), and no horse had won with no two-year-old preps since 1882.[10] He was the second betting choice when the race went off. Breaking from post 2 in a full field of 20, Curlin finished 3rd to Street Sense and Hard Spun.

132nd Preakness Stakes

Curlin stumbled out of the gate and raced by the stands the first time in sixth, well off a hot early pace. As the leaders began to tire, Curlin made a bold run on the far turn, but entered the stretch four wide opening the door for a fiercly rallying Street Sense who was able to sneak by to his inside. With just one furlong to go, Street Sense had opened a length and a half lead and appeared to have the race won, but Curlin was not done. In one of the sport's most thrilling finishes, Curlin made a furious charge to the wire, catching the Kentucky Derby winner in the final stride. His final time of 1:53.46 tied the track record set by Tank's Prospect in 1985, Louis Quatorze in 1996, and unofficially Secretariat in 1973.

139th Belmont Stakes

Curlin was the even-money favorite in the Belmont Stakes. He engaged the champion filly Rags to Riches in a lengthy stretch duel, and lost by a head. Rags to Riches was the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in over a century.

Haskell Invitational

Curlin was sent off as the favorite in the $1 million Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on August 5, 2007, but placed 3rd behind Any Given Saturday and Hard Spun, paying $2.10 to show on a fast track. The winning time was 1:48:35.

Jockey Club Gold Cup

Ridden by Robby Albarado, on September 30, he beat Lawyer Ron by a neck in a stretch duel in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in a time of 2:01:20 with a Beyer rating of 114. As the Gold Cup is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race, the win earned him an automatic berth into the Breeders Cup Classic.

Breeders' Cup Classic

The first turn in the 2007 Breeders' Cup Classic.

On Saturday, October 27, 2007, Curlin went off as the 4th betting choice in the Breeders' Cup Classic, held at Monmouth Park Racetrack in Oceanport, New Jersey. The condition was listed as sloppy on the main track after several days of rain.

Emerging from about midpack in the field of nine, Curlin overtook the pace setter Hard Spun at the top of the stretch and drew away to win the 24th running of the Classic by 4¾ lengths over Hard Spun.

The race was the eighth time that a 3-year-old took the Classic. The colt covered the 1 1/4 mile distance in 2:00.59, which is considered a fast time on a sloppy track, earning a Beyer rating of 119. By comparison, the Monmouth track record is 2:00.40 set in 1962 by Carry Back.[11]

Eclipse Awards

After his three year old campaign, Curlin was honored as the 2007 Horse of the Year as well as Three Year Old of the Year, defeating rivals Street Sense and Hard Spun.[12]

Curlin repeated as the Eclipse Award American Horse of the Year for 2008, becoming only the fifth horse to do so and putting him in the company of the likes of Secretariat and Forego. He also was awarded the American Champion Older Male Horse for 2008.

Four-Year-Old Campaign

Dubai World Cup

Curlin began his four year old campaign in Dubai at the Nad Al Sheba Racecourse, running in the Jaguar Trophy Handicap as a preparation for the Group I Dubai World Cup.[13] He defeated a field of five by 2 ¼ lengths under a hand ride in 2:00.60[14][15]

Curlin was sent out as the odds-on favorite for the Dubai World Cup. Drawing post 12, he ran three-wide outside of the leaders for the majority of the race before clearing the field when they reached the straight, winning by 7¾ lengths. He also became the only horse in Dubai World Cup history to win from the 12th post position.[16] His official winning time was initially listed by the Dubai Racing Commission as 2:00.15, which would have been the third fastest in the race's history, behind Dubai Millennium and Invasor. However, that time has since been removed after an investigation by the DRC sparked by reports by The Racing Post that their timing experts showed multiple races on the card – including Curlin in DWC – as being slower than officially reported.[17] The Racing Post claims that five of the six Thoroughbred races, the Godolphin Mile being the exception, went a full second slower than the official timings.[18]

Stephen Foster Handicap

On June 14, 2008, Curlin won his third start of the year, the Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. He won by 4 1/4 lengths carrying 128 pounds (10 pounds more than the next highest weighted horse).

Man o' War Stakes

On July 12, 2008, Curlin finished second, two lengths behind Red Rocks in the Grade I $500,000 Man o' War Stakes at Belmont Park. The Turf race, with a field of seven, was at the distance of 1 3/8 miles. Curlin carried 116-lbs, as did Red Rocks, while 3rd place runner Better Talk Now, a previous Breeders' Cup Turf winner, toted 120-lbs. Curlin was sent off in this maiden turf run by punters as the odds-on 2–5 favorite and a crowd of 8,428 was on hand to watch the race.[19]

Woodward Stakes

On Aug. 30, Curlin won the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga by one and a quarter lengths.[20] However, after sprinter -fractions for the first mile, the final eighth of the race was run in a slower 14.01 seconds.

Jockey Club Gold Cup

On September 27, 2008, Curlin sent off as the 2–5 favorite and won his second consecutive Jockey Club Gold Cup, in a hand ride by three-quarters of a length over Wanderin Boy, earning a Beyer Speed figure of 111. The track was sealed and the final time was 2:01.93 was over a sloppy track.[21]

The victory vaulted him past Cigar to become the No. 1 all-time North American money earner as defined as having at least one North American start. Curlin is the only North American runner to have earned over $10 million USD.[21]

Breeders' Cup Classic

Curlin finished fourth in the 2008 Breeders' Cup Classic. Previously, trainer Steve Asmussen had expressed concern about running him in the Classic because of the Pro-Ride synthetic dirt at the 2008 host track, Santa Anita Park. Jockey Robby Albarado made what announcers described as an "early" move from near the back of the pack. Curlin blew by the frontrunners at the far turn but was overtaken in the stretch by eventual winner Raven's Pass, second-place finisher Henrythenavigator, and the late-charging Tiago.[22]

On November 21, Curlin's owners announced that he would begin his stud career in 2009 at Lane's End in Versailles, Kentucky, for an initial fee of $75,000. Curlin was retired and paraded at Churchill Downs on November 29, 2008.

Eclipse Awards

On Jan 26, 2009, Curlin won the Eclipse Award for older male horse of the year and for the second year in a row was named Horse of the Year. Curlin joined Secretariat, Forego, Affirmed and Cigar as the only horses to win the award consecutively since the Eclipse Awards began in 1971.[23]


Finish Race Distance Jockey Time Grade Runner up/Winner Track Notes
4th Breeders' Cup Classic 1 14 mi Robby Albarado 1:59.27 I Ravens Pass Santa Anita
1st Jockey Club Gold Cup 1 14 mi Robby Albarado 2:01.93 I Wanderin' Boy Belmont Park Win Surpassed Cigar in money earned
1st Woodward Stakes 1 18 mi Robby Albarado 1:49.34 I Past the Point Saratoga
2nd Man O' War Stakes 1 38 mi Robby Albarado 2:03.89 I Red Rocks Belmont Park
1st Stephen Foster Handicap 1 18 mi Robby Albarado 1:49.68 I Einstein Churchill Downs
1st Dubai World Cup 1 14 mi Robby Albarado 2:00.15 I Asiatic Boy Nad Al Sheba
1st Jaguar Trophy Handicap 1 14 mi Robby Albarado 2:00.60 II Familiar Territory Nad Al Sheba
1st Breeders' Cup Classic 1 14 mi Robby Albarado 2:00.59 I Hard Spun Monmouth Park
1st Jockey Club Gold Cup 1 14 mi Robby Albarado 2:01.20 I Lawyer Ron Belmont Park
3rd Haskell Invitational 1 18 mi Robby Albarado 1:48.35 I Any Given Saturday Monmouth Park
2nd Belmont Stakes 1 12 mi Robby Albarado 2:28.74 I Rags to Riches Belmont Park
1st Preakness Stakes 1 316 mi Robby Albarado 1:53.46 I Street Sense Pimlico Race Track Tied Track Record
3rd Kentucky Derby 1 14 mi Robby Albarado 2:02.17 I Street Sense Churchill Downs
1st Arkansas Derby 1 18 mi Robby Albarado 1:50.09 II Storm in May Oaklawn Park
1st Rebel Stakes 1 116 mi Robby Albarado 1:44.70 II Officer Rocket Oaklawn Park
1st Maiden 7 fur Rafael Bejarano 1:20.22 None Winstrella Gulfstream Park


Pedigree of Curlin
Smart Strike

bay 1992

Mr. Prospector

bay 1970

Raise A Native
chestnut 1961
Native Dancer
Raise You
Gold Digger
bay 1962
Classy 'N Smart

bay 1981

bay 1976
No Class
bay 1974
Classy Quillo
Sherriff's Deputy

bay 1994

Deputy Minister

bay 1979

Vice Regent
chestnut 1967
Northern Dancer
Victoria Regina
Mint Copy
dark brown 1970
Bunty's Flight

bay 1985

Bates Motel
bay 1979
Sir Ivor
Sunday Purchase
War Exchange
gray 1972
Wise Exchange
Jungle War


Curlin covered 131 mares in the 2009 breeding season.

The first foal by Curlin, a filly out of Zophie (Hawkster), was born January 12, 2010. Sadly she was euthanized less than a month later on January 29 after a paddock accident.[24]

Curlin was bred to the 2009 American Horse of the Year, Rachel Alexandra. During the broadcast of the 2011 Kentucky Derby it was announced that Rachel is expecting a colt, due around February of 2012.

See also

  • List of leading Thoroughbred racehorses


  1. ^ "McPeek sues over Curlin". ESPN. 2007-11-14. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  2. ^ Incarcerated Curlin Owners Will Argue for Release|
  3. ^ Judge Rules Interest In Curlin Turned Over to Plaintiffs |
  4. ^ Jackson, Bolton buy out Sanan’s interest in Curlin – Thoroughbred Times
  5. ^ Trainer sues jailed owners of Curlin over fee deal
  6. ^ Curb My Enthusiasm: Even More Curlin Ownership Changes: Jackson Buys-Out Bolton
  7. ^ Curlin Foreclosure Motion Denied |
  8. ^ Impressive 3-Year-Old Winner Curlin Sold|
  9. ^ Curlin Has Asmussen Dreaming of Derby Once More |
  10. ^ Curlin Moderate Morning Line Favorite for Kentucky Derby |
  11. ^ [1][dead link]
  12. ^ Horse of the Year Curlin stars at Eclipse Awards – Thoroughbred Times
  13. ^ Curlin Going to Dubai World Cup |
  14. ^ Curlin Romps in Dubai |
  15. ^ Emirates Racing Authority :: Track Records
  16. ^ Curlin crushes competition on global stage in World Cup – Thoroughbred Times
  17. ^ Time discrepancies reported on Dubai World Cup card – Thoroughbred Times
  18. ^ Horse Racing –
  19. ^ Curlin's turf experiment hits 'Rocks' – NTRA
  20. ^ Pedulla, Tom (2008-08-31). "Curlin prevails at the 'Graveyard of favorites'". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  21. ^ a b "Thoroughbred Racing |". 2010-10-18. Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  22. ^ "Curlin to Defend Breeders' Cup Title". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  23. ^ Wincze, Alicia (2009-01-27). "Curlin repeats as racing's Horse of the Year". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 
  24. ^ Shandler, Jason. "First Foal by Curlin Dies". Retrieved 2010-11-06. 

External links

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