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HRN Original Blog:
Dead Heat Debates

Breeders Cup Classic: Curlin, King of the Titans

It was cold, it was wet, and it was dank during the 2007 Breeders' Cup World Championships, held at Monmouth Park. Despite the damp chill in the air, that weekend will not be remembered for its dreariness, but rather the electricity that permeated the air. Race after race, horse after horse, the audience was given performances that made them rise to their feet and stare in awe. While there were many performances that left the crowd in awe none did so more than the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
 
It was a clash of titans. It was a race that would decide the outcome of Horse of the Year, and not one horse went into the race with a decisive edge. All had shown brilliance, all had shown speed, all had shown stamina, and all had shown their determination and indomitable spirit on several occasions.
 
Lawyer Ron entered the Classic as the leading older male. He was in the spotlight as a three year old on the Triple Crown trail, but he did not peak until July of 2007. In the Whitney Invitational he quite literally burst onto the scene with a scintillating score, in record shattering time. He followed his Whitney up by thrashing the Woodward field into submission by over eight lengths, before falling just a head short in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.
 
While Lawyer Ron was a dominant older male, it was the three year olds that stole the show. The slight favorite among them was Street Sense. He put his name on the map with a record breaking score by, 10 lengths, in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at two. He then became the first horse in history to win the Juvenile at two then take the Kentucky Derby at three. If that wasn’t impressive enough, after a heartbreaker in the Preakness he came back with an impressive score in the Jim Dandy, before prevailing in a desperate, nose to nose stretch duel in the Travers. That win mad him the first horse since 1990 to win the Kentucky Derby and Travers. In his final prep, however, he fell just short one of his three year old rivals, Hard Spun. That loss, however, did not seem to deter the fans.
 
Curlin, Hard Spun, and Any Given Saturday completed the quartet of brilliant three year olds. Curlin drew attention to himself by taking the Preakness over a dead game Street Sense, in only his fifth start. He also was the horse that nailed Lawyer Ron in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Hard Spun, tough as nails throughout the Triple Crown was coming into the Classic on a two race winning streak. One was a nail biter in the Kings Bishop, while the second was a score over fellow three year old Street Sense in the Kentucky Cup Classic. Any Given Saturday was coming into the Classic off three impressive performances, the Dwyer, the Haskell where he trounced Hard Spun and Curlin, and the Brooklyn where he defeated his elders.
 
Completing the order were grade two winners Awesome Gem and Diamond Stripes, European love George Washington, and Santa Anita Derby winner Tiago.
 
As I sat on my couch, eyes glued to the television screen, I couldn’t take my eyes of my favorite, Curlin. I wanted so much for him to win, and get the respect I felt he seemed to be lacking. As they completed loading the star studded field into the gate I edged forward, leaning closer to the screen, then BRINGGGGGG!!!!! The gates flew open and they were off!
 
My eyes first searched for who had gone to the lead and found that Hard Spun had beaten Lawyer Ron to it, and was intent on setting a blistering pace. I then searched the field for Curlin and found him racing stride for stride with Street Sense, far back off the lead.
 
The quarter went up in a quick 23 flat, the half in a blistering 45 and four. The positions did not begin to change until shortly after the field passed the half mile marker, as the field completed six furlongs in a scorching 1.10 and three. By then it was obvious that Lawyer Ron, Any Given Saturday and George Washington were unable to keep up, but as they began to falter, Curlin and Street Sense made their runs simultaneously.
Around they turn they came and as they hit the quarter pole both Street Sense and Curlin were coming under a full head of steam with their sights dead locked on Hard Spun. Turning for home Street Sense began to flatten out, leaving Curlin and Hard Spun.
 
By now I was standing and shouting my encouragement. I can still remember the call. Even now, thinking back I can still feel my heart in my throat, chest tight with excitement. As they turned into the stretch Curlin wrested the lead from Hard Spun and from there as Trevor Denman so aptly put “And Curlin is POWERHOUSING home! In the Race of the Year, for Horse of the Year, it’s all Curlin, in an absolutely STYLISH performance!” Curlin soared under the wire, the winner by over four lengths, proving his dominance.
 
In the Clash of the Titans, in a rematch that would decide it all, Curlin prevailed. It was supposed to be a desperate finish, but Curlin turned it into a complete runaway. He had gone from maiden to Triple Crown race winner, to Breeders' Cup Champion in 10 months. In a year of brilliance, in a year of greatness he was crowned king.
 
Photo Courtesy of Alex Evers 

 

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Older Comments about Breeders Cup Classic: Curlin, King of the Titans...

ruffian75, thanks for the comment concerning Flat Out. Somehow it slipped my mind how well his progression has gone. Mott is one of my favorite trainers.
I like you and this website, footy. Latest news is here, and some people are dead serious-you know who :)
Mary Z.- I used he as a universal, like ils in French. I don;t know i AoR is a man or woman actually. As far as the comments about the site in general, I do have to say there were some that rang true, at least in my experience. But, I don't come here for serious information either. There are people here that I enjoy and people I don't, just like in life. You are one of the enjoyable people. Tried to comment earlier, but got shut out by the site maintenance. Anyway, I have to go finish a painting. Have a good night.
He? I thought AoR is like a 53 yo woman with the hots for you footy. My mistake. He? Really? Yah, Your comment was okay, footy. Hers was gossipy. He? You're puttin' me on.
that comment was for Mary Z., just to be clear.
he responded to me as I thanked him for his comment, which you must realize if you read the BH blog comments. I brought the subject up. And there are points of his that are valid. But you are always liked by me.
Another thing is, I wouldn't dream of offering such silliness for that particular BH blog as you did.
You pissed me off, AoR, and that takes some doing. I happen to like this blog writer's unbiased approach about facts. One does however allow for opinion.
And if you think it's such an Amateur Hour around here, well?
Annoyingly haughty username. Go ahead and "yell" at me and tell me how people don't like me. Ouch.
I read all of your gossipy crap at BH, AoR. Way to stick to the subject, and I do not agree with your perceptions, btw. Now I have no shame about having my pets, though, so thanks for the freedom.
Ruffian75, good to hear from you and I hope all is well. I’ve always been hard on Flat Out in the past, sometimes probably justifiably so and at others probably without justification. I don’t think Flat Out was thought of as being an upper echelon horse early on in his career, but here he is, a back-to-back winner of what was once America’s premier fall race. When he’s on and when he is positioned properly in a race he can run with any horse that’ll probably be entered in the BCC. Two things to consider: how will he run in California as opposed to his favorite track back east; and if the track is hard, which it might be, how will it affect his feet? As for Mott, IMO and for many other’s as well, he’s as good or better than any trainer in America and has been for years so you can bet he’ll run in the race properly prepared and with the right running strategy.
Age of Reason, I read some of those responses. My answer to them is probably best described by good old Forrest Gump: “stupid is what stupid is”. These people shouldn’t in any way be described as knowledgeable. They’re bandwagon jumpers who just like to jump on the next bandwagon that comes along.
I'll butt in with a big like for Flat Out and Bill Mott. Agreeing with ruffian75 to watch out for a better finish than last year for Flat Out--I'm adding that part. I gotta use G.O.D. on top in the BCC, too, though.
Hi, Laz. I know you were discussing horses that are on the shelf for a long period of time, and then begin to resume their career. One horse that I would like to throw into that debate, is Flat Out. He was on the shelf for an extended period time in the midst of his 3-year-old campaign. He resumed his career, and has shown up at times. The owners decided to turn him over to the guidance of William Mott. Mott's had (I think) three races with him. If everything is going according to plan with Mott, he might be showing up at Santa Anita for his best effort? Anyhow, that's my best for the prognostication game. Watch out for Flat Out.
I'm through with this argument, and only commented originally because I felt Footlick had been singled out merely for using the comments page as it was designed--to disagree. If you want a good argument, head over to BloodHorse and read the brilliant article by Steve Haskin, in rebuttal of Beyer's piece at DRF which argued that the American thoroughbred is in decline. The first commenter was from Europe, and referred to "second-string horses like Rachel Alexandra [and] Zenyatta", so I'd say the fight is on...
That hill is already blazing fast, Laz. I expect a record in the Turf Sprint. Have to see how the turf races go this weekend on the regular course.
I agree about Animal Kingdom. Even though his biggest win was at 10F I truly believe that he’ll excel in that Mile Turf race. He is a very powerful horse with a good burst of speed, IMO qualities that are necessary to win at a mile. I believe that he, along with Wise Dan, give us our best chance to win this race in quite some time. And that’s not to say that another N/A horse couldn’t step up, especially on the Santa Anita course which should be lightening fast.
No decision yet on AK's jockey, but they should try to get Dominguez or offer some incentive to get Velazquez off of Wise Dan. AK might be pulling with his mouth wide open after all the time off.
Yah, in general, I don't like sparingly,Laz, but then I have had favorites that had gaps due to injury/layoffs. Maybe I'm thinking of things that make one go, inh, but on a much slower/lesser scale, such as Pool Play coming along and rather embarrassing stakes fields with his "upset" long shot wins. About Animal Kingdom in the BC Turf, while I'm for the Cali turf milers on their "home" course, there is something about the power that comes through in the photos and videos of AK since he's been in training again at Fair Hill. Not saying he'll win, but that he belongs in the Mile field. Different kind of works in those Fair Hill fields.

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Meet Laura Pugh












 

For as long as i can remember I have always loved horses and writing. The first race I ever watched was War Emblem's Preakness Stakes, but I didn't really start to get into racing until the next year where watched and cheered Empire Maker through the Derby, and yes, the Belmont.

I didn't begin writing until a few years later, when I created my own blog Horsin' Around. It didn't take long for me to realize that my niche was stirring the pot and creating heated debates, especially during the time of Big Brown vs Curlin and Rachel Alexandra vs Zenyatta. I was a Curlin and Rachel fan.

Now I am here under the name of Dead Heat Debates, and hoping to live up to that name. Have fun and let the opinions fly!