In a span of two minutes, Curlin, the reigning horse of the year, almost doubled his career earnings with another powerful victory Saturday.
Toying with an international field that included stakes winners from four continents, the 4-year-old son of Smart Strike rolled to a 7 3/4 -length win in the $6-million Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.
Well positioned from the outset by regular rider Robby Albarado, the prohibitive favorite won for the eighth time in 11 starts and pushed his bankroll to $8,807,800 for majority owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen. Curlin is now third on the all-time North American list behind Cigar ($9,999,815) and Skip Away ($9,616,360).
He has won four in a row since finishing third in the Haskell Invitational last Aug. 5 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J.
Asiatic Boy finished second in the World Cup and Well Armed, a California shipper ridden by Aaron Gryder, was third.
Earlier, trainer Rick Dutrow Jr. and jockey Edgar Prado combined to win two races, taking the $1-million Godolphin Mile with Diamond Stripes and the $2-million Golden Shaheen with Benny The Bull. Other winners included: Royal Vintage ($2-million UAE Derby), Jay Peg ($5- million Dubai Duty Free) and Sun Classique ($5-million Dubai Sheema Classic).
Dutrow’s big day got even better later in Florida when favored Big Brown remained undefeated with an easy victory in the $1-million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park.
Becoming the first horse to win from post 12 going 1 1/8 miles since the Gulfstream main track was reconfigured some four years ago, Big Brown quickly assumed command under jockey Kent Desormeaux and was never challenged while winning by five lengths in 1:48.18.
The son of Boundary has won his three races by a combined 28 lengths. At this point, there is little doubt he and Pyro will vie for favoritism in the Kentucky Derby on May 3.
Salute The Sarge, one of California’s best 2-year-olds in 2007, made a successful return, rallying from last in a field of five to take the $78,000 San Miguel Stakes at Santa Anita.
Idle since finishing far back in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile five months ago, the Forest Wildcat colt won for the fourth time in seven starts while beginning what may be a rigorous campaign in the next several weeks. The tentative plan for Salute The Sarge is to return in the Lexington on April 19 at Keeneland, then on to the Kentucky Derby two weeks later.
Four races after the San Miguel, Niagara Causeway, a 9-1 shot, held on to defeat Church Service by a head in the $100,000 Tokyo City Handicap.