Horse of Year Curlin takes Dubai World Cup

  • Associated Press
  • Saturday, March 29, 2008 11:22pm
  • SportsSports

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — All it took for Curlin to win over the world were a few powerful strides in the stretch of the $6 million Dubai World Cup.

The Horse of the Year rolled on from there to a record-setting 7¾-length victory in the world’s richest race at Nad al Sheba racetrack on Saturday, and now rules thoroughbred racing.

“What a horse,” marveled winning rider Robby Albarado. “Curlin is like a limousine and I am just along for the ride.”

Curlin’s win comes five months after the sensational colt wrapped up a championship 3-year-old campaign with a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the richest race in North America. After a prep race in Dubai last month, Curlin looked better than ever in dispatching 11 rivals without exerting himself.

The winning margin topped the six-length win by Dubai Millennium in the 2000 World Cup.

“He’s thriving when he is running,” Curlin trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He’s a tremendous animal. He’s spoiled us with who he is.”

The World Cup was the showcase event on the world’s richest day of racing, with seven races worth $21.2 million.

After stalking the leaders into the stretch, Curlin, under little urging from Albarado, blew past Well Armed and Asiactic Boy and cruised to the win. After Curlin crossed the finish line, Albarado raised an index finger to the sky.

The 4-year-old son of Smart Strike was the 2-5 favorite, and did not disappoint thousands of fans who wanted to get an up-close view of America’s top-rated horse.

“My horse has run a marvelous race and he fought and fought to get his second place,” Asiatic Boy’s jockey John Murtagh said. “The winner is a monster.”

Curlin became the fourth horse to win the Breeders’ Cup Classic and then take the World Cup the following year. The others were Cigar, Pleasantly Perfect and Invasor.

Curlin’s final time for the 1¼ miles was 2:00:15, the third fastest in 13 runnings of the World Cup.

Curlin, who won the Preakness Stakes after finishing third in last year’s Kentucky Derby, now has a four-race winning streak. After finishing a close second to the filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes, Curlin took the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the BC Classic and the Jaguar Trophy Handicap.

A.P. Arrow was fourth, followed by Great Hunter, Lucky Find, local favorite Jalil, Gloria De Campeao, Premium Tap, Sway Yed, Kocab and Vermilion.

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