Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Late Friday morning, thoroughbreds Ashado and Curlin
will take their place among the racing legends set to be enshrined with
the Class of 2014 in the Hall of Fame. On Thursday, their trainers
reflected on the careers which landed them the sport's ultimate honor.
in partnership by Starlight Stables, Paul Saylor and Johns Martin,
Ashado won 12 of 21 career starts and banked $3,931,440 in purse
earnings from 2003 to 2005, and was voted the Champion Three-Year-Old
Female of 2004 and Champion Older Mare of 2005.
daughter of Saint Ballado, seven of Ashado's wins came in Grade 1
races, including the Spinaway at Saratoga in 2003 and Kentucky Oaks and
Breeders' Cup Distaff in 2004. She won three times in five tries at the
Spa, adding the 2003 Schuylerville and 2005 Go for Wand.
quite an accomplishment for any horse or person to make it to that
level, so we're proud of her for being able to do that," said her
trainer, Todd Pletcher. "She was second in the Breeders' Cup as a
2-year-old, so she was one place away from being a champion three years
in a row.
was very good at 2, very good at 3 and very good at 4, and I'm sure had
she raced at 5 she would have been good then, too. She was very
consistent, and for me, she was the first Kentucky Oaks winner, first
Breeders' Cup winner, and now first Hall of Fame inductee. It's pretty
cool that she's the first one to accomplish all that."
wine magnate Jess Jackson purchased Curlin following his impressive
maiden victory at Gulfstream Park in February 2007 and moved him to the
barn of trainer Steve Asmussen. The Smart Strike colt would go on to
earn four Eclipse Awards in two years, including back-to-back Horse of
the Year titles in 2007 and 2008.
of one of the best 3-year-old crops in recent memory, Curlin was third
in the Kentucky Derby, won the Preakness and was second in the Belmont
Stakes in 2007 before reeling off wins in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and
Breeders' Cup Classic over older horses. In 2008, he captured the $6
million Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster, Woodward and Jockey Club Gold
Cup - all Grade 1 - and was second in the Grade 1 Man o' War on turf and
fourth in the first Breeders' Cup Classic run on a synthetic surface.
He retired as North America's all-time leading earner with $10,501,800 in purses, winning 11 of 16 starts.
think how he responded to difficult situations is what separated him
from anything I've ever been associated with," said Asmussen. "For him
to get done what he did in the year that he did, against a very fast
group of horses that put up tremendous numbers; to have only started
your career in February, run in all three Triple Crown races and then
beat older horses with everybody still being around in the Classic at
the end of the year, you just don't do it.
only did he do that, but he goes to Dubai the following year, wins the
World Cup and then was one of the few horses to come back and still
maintain a Grade 1 level. He built on what he did instead of chipping
away at what he did."