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Horse or human, it’s hard to imagine either having better days than Curlin or Richard Dutrow had last Saturday. Of course CURLIN dominated his competition and earned the title Best Horse in the World in winning the Dubai World Cup at Nad Al Sheba racetrack, while trainer Richard Dutrow won two of the undercard races in Dubai and the Florida Derby with freakish BIG BROWN.

First about Curlin. After a remarkable 3-year-old campaign that culminated in Horse of the Year honors, he was shipped to Dubai early in order to run in a Feb. 2 prep race over the desert course. He hardly broke a gallop that day and was tuned up perfectly by trainer Steve Asmussen (and assistant Scott Blasi) for the Big One. He stalked from his outside post and burst away when set down by Robby Albarado after the field straightened away at the top of the stretch. The winning margin was a record 7 3/4 lengths while winning in a time of 2:00.15, third-fastest of 13 World Cups. If Curlin isn’t a great horse already, he’s getting very close. He will join the pantheon of greats if he can come back home and have a dominating second half of the year, especially after the long and grueling trip to the Mideast.

Now about Dutrow. Has any trainer in history ever had a better day? First a win by DIAMOND STRIPES in the $1 million Godolphin Mile, followed 75 minutes later by BENNY THE BULL running down IDIOT PROOF in the $2 million Golden Shaheen sprint. As if that wasn’t enough, BIG BROWN ran to the hype (or shut up the skeptics, depending on how you look at it) with his tour de force in the $1 million Florida Derby. Drawn in the 12-hole, with only two previous starts under his belt (including an off-the-turf allowance win against four overmatched foes 24 days earlier), ‘BROWN was the wise guys’ “bet against” horse of the year. After a clean break and some early hustling from Kent Desormeaux, ‘BROWN was in the 2-path before hitting the backstretch and simply toyed with the field, winning off by five lengths in 1:48.16, just .37 off the track record. So, in a five-hour span, Dutrow-trained horses took down $4 million in purses. (I always like to do the math in these situations: let’s see, assuming the winners’ share was 60%, and the trainer gets 5% of that, Dutrow grossed a cool $240,000 on the day.)

As for the Kentucky Derby in four weeks? Unless COLONEL JOHN or EL GATO MALO come up with huge efforts in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby (Georgie Boy is out with a muscle pull if you hadn’t heard), this might be the coldest two-horse Derby in memory. Big Brown or Pyro, Pyro or Big Brown…no one else comes close.

NOTES: Wrapping up Dubai: another tough beat for California-bred IDIOT PROOF, who ran a huge race but was run down by the ‘BULL in the late stages, reminiscent of his runner-up try to MIDNIGHT LUTE in the BC Sprint…whose idea was it to put SPRING HOUSE on the lead in the Sheema Classic? After finally learning to relax for trainer Julio Canani and coming off a sharp win in the San Luis Obispo at SA, ‘HOUSE inexplicably was the Sheema pacesetter. Who knows how he would have fared against this tough field, but he had no chance given the strategy.

I like the recently approved CHRB rule change that protects a horse returning from a 180-day layoff or more (and returning for a claiming price equal to or higher than its last race) from being claimed. Any owner/trainer that has turned out a horse, shown the patience and paid the bills, deserves “claim free” status in that first race back…the board also approved a rule that would fine trainers $1,000 or the scratch of a horse that has not been properly reported as a first-time gelding. We started pushing for that rule months ago, so it’s nice to see it finally happen. Now if we can just get proportional payoffs for dead-heats in Pick 4 and Pick 6 races, and consolation payoffs (Pick 4) in the event of a scratched horse, all would be right in the parimutuel world. Oh, did I mention a stop to the late odds drops that continue to erode the confidence of bettors?

Finally, it looks like The Derby restaurant in Arcadia has replaced Madison Square Garden as the home for championship-caliber fights. Months ago we reported on trainer Jennie Green’s table-turning tirade at the upscale restaurant. Last Sunday night, jockey Alex Solis apparently followed suit with some unseemly anctics, including reportedly breaking a window of his wife’s car. Solis took off his two mounts on Monday due to “illness” but was plenty healthy enough to participate in an HRTV segment following the races which included, among other topics, Solis toasting and promoting his new wine. Why do I have a feeling the vino may have had something to do with the previous night’s dustup?

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Comments

3 Responses to “Curlin, Dutrow Kings of the World”

  1. Beau Juliun on April 8th, 2008 12:45 am

    Please note Dutrow and Asmussen have been in trouble for dopeing up their horses in the past. I hope their horses pass the drug tests that were given in the country of DUBAI.If caught again they should be banned for LIFE!

  2. Free Idiot Proof Diet on January 31st, 2009 6:47 pm

    Great stuff dude.. I was really impressed.

  3. Domino on October 9th, 2009 4:56 am

    I think you made some valuable points in this post

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