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Breeders' Cup 2017

Ever So Lucky Faces Street Life in Curlin

Ever So Lucky wins his debut
Eight 3-year-old colts and geldings hoping to step up in the division will assemble at Saratoga Race Course for the $100,000 Curlin on Friday, the first of two “Party at the Spa” afternoons at the track. First race post time is 2:30 p.m., with the Curlin scheduled to go off at 6:22 p.m.


Run one day prior to the Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy, the 1 1/8-mile Curlin nonetheless has a short but impressive list of graduates, including eventual Eclipse champion Blame (2009), Winslow Homer (2010) and recent Grade 1 United Nations winner Turbo Compressor (2011).


Heading the field at 5-2 on the morning line is Magnolia Racing Stable’s Street Life, most recently fourth in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes. The Street Sense colt will be making his fourth straight graded stakes appearance, having also finished sixth in the Grade 1 Resorts World Casino New York City Wood Memorial and third in the Grade 2 Peter Pan.


With Jose Lezcano in the irons, Street Life drew post position 3.


Having regrouped with a 7 ½-length allowance victory at Delaware Park last time out, Ever So Lucky steps back into stakes company with John Velazquez aboard for the first time.


A $600,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Mid-Atlantic 2-year-olds in training sale, Ever So Lucky had a sparkling debut at Churchill Downs in November and next was second to Gemologist in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club. A brief foray onto the Triple Crown trail this spring ended when he finished 10th in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.


“He didn’t beat much in his last race, but he did everything beautifully,” said Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard, knowing for allowing runners to develop at a more leisurely pace than most trainers. “It’s kind of exciting to have a 3-year-old with a lot of natural speed in the barn.”


Ever So Lucky, the second choice at 3-1 on the morning line, will leave from post position 2.


Hall of Famer Nick Zito will be represented by Easter Gift, who is making his fourth career start for owner Robert LaPenta. Having broken his maiden in April at Gulfstream Park, the Hard Spun colt was a 2 ½-length allowance winner at Parx Racing next time out and most recently rallied to finish second by a neck to Le Bernardin in the Grade 3 Pegasus at Monmouth Park.


“He’s only made three starts, but obviously, Saratoga’s the spot, so the Curlin’s the spot,” said Zito, who will give a leg up to Javier Castellano.


The third choice at 7-2 on the morning line, Easter Gift drew post position 5.


Also making the fourth start of his career is the Phipps Stable’s Reload, who has one win and two seconds this year. Another son of Hard Spun, Reload broke his maiden at second asking in May, and last time out missed by a neck facing older horses after having to check hard at the start.


“We always thought he had some talent,” said Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. “The first couple of times he was a little green. Then the other day, when the horse broke outward and he had to check, I thought he really ran a great race. That was what made my mind up to give this a whirl.”


With Eddie Castro aboard, Reload drew post position 4 and was listed at 5-1 on the morning line.


Completing the field, from the rail out, are Grade 3 Ohio Derby runner-up Politicallycorrect; Five Sixteen, fifth in the Belmont Stakes; Love to Run, making his stakes debut after beating older allowance horses at Belmont Park, and Morgan’s Guerrilla, third in the Grade 2 Dwyer last time out.


The field for the $100,000 Curlin:








Politicallycorrect (KY)

J Rosario


W A Ward



Ever So Lucky (KY)

J R Velazquez


J E Sheppard



Street Life (KY)

J Lezcano


C C Brown



Reload (KY)

E Castro


C R McGaughey III



Easter Gift (KY)

J Castellano


N P Zito



Five Sixteen (KY)

R Napravnik


D A Schettino



Love to Run (KY)

J Alvarado


J C Kimmel



Morgan's Guerrilla (KY)

R A Dominguez


M J Maker




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