09/05/2013 1:53PM

Churchill Downs: Ride On Curlin brings buzz to Iroquois

Coady Photography
Rise Up won the Mountaineer Juvenile in his last race.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – There’s been plenty of drama involving a 2-year-old named Ride On Curlin, and that’s after just two races. The colt was so impressive in two starts that his connections were absolutely besieged with big-money offers, and yet after exhaustive wrangling a deal never was consummated, leaving him still with owner Dan Dougherty and trainer Billy Gowan.

Now comes a third career race, the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes on the Downs After Dark card Saturday night at Churchill Downs, and Ride On Curlin will be looking to add another chapter to his interesting story. The colt is part of a full field seeking a Win and You’re In berth to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita in November, and Gowan is confident the colt will ably handle the big jump in class and stretchout to 1 1/16 miles.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

“He’s the real deal,” said Gowan. “We had to scratch him from the race in Iowa [the Aug. 10 Prairie Meadows Mile] because he had a shin bothering him a little, but he’s 100 percent now. We’re ready to see how he matches up with some of these good horses.”

Hall of Fame jockey Calvin Borel is the regular rider of Ride On Curlin, who was assigned post 9 as one of the logical favorites in the 32nd running of the $150,000 Iroquois.

A handful of others give the race real depth, including Rise Up (post 3, Rosie Napravnik), a 4 3/4-length winner of the Mountaineer Juvenile last out for Tom Amoss; Tapiture (post 4, Ricardo Santana Jr.), who exits a key race at Saratoga; Honorable Judge (post 6, Joe Rocco Jr.), owned by the Cash Is King partnership made famous by his sire, Afleet Alex; and the uncoupled Kelly Breen duo of Solemnly Swear (post 7, Joe Bravo) and Jimmy Connors (post 8, Elvis Trujillo), both impressive last-out winners at Monmouth Park.

Tapiture is a maiden, but that won’t keep some fans from backing him with confidence. The chestnut Tapit colt was second in his lone outing, an Aug. 17 maiden race at Saratoga behind Strong Mandate, who wheeled back to win the Grade 1 Hopeful last weekend.

“After watching Strong Mandate win the Hopeful, I went from wondering if we should run in the Iroquois to really hoping we’d get in,” said his trainer, Steve Asmussen.

The Iroquois directly follows its sister race, the Pocahontas, as the seventh of 11 races. Post time for the race is 9:05 p.m. Eastern.

ashley_jessica1 More than 1 year ago
like Margaret responded I'm impressed that any one able to earn $6195 in 4 weeks on the computer. have you read this site link....w­w­w.b­a­y­8­7.c­o­m
Mark Thomas More than 1 year ago
Lets see one of the small guys do good ( Gowan) , give the rest of us hope Good luck Billy
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Glad to see Curlin producing well in the breeding shed.All time favorite horse. Him and Cigar arr my standard when it comes to grade one racing NO Excuses and run everywhere that's what they did. I Hope this colt gets it done. Surprising because curlin never ran at two. Cant wait for the Curlin and Rachel Alexandra colt Jess dream.
AndrewD More than 1 year ago
This horse is a beast. His race at Ellis on July 13t was spectacular! His first race at Churchill in June were he missed the break and railed on the outside to finish second was good too. As for Borel looking around and opening up the rail, I don't think you have to worry about that. Kentucky Derby or Bust for Ride on Curlin!
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
I wouldn't of left Borel on after the show boating he did last time. I'm sure he wouldn't like to be on the other side of that and in a big race hopefully he wont be showboating again. I landed on a lot of the same horses mentioned above. There is a ton of early pace in here. I'd go with a horse who already routed. My longshot to hit in the super is the 1. Watch out live one.
JDS0810 More than 1 year ago
Jay, how much can you possibly write about a horse that has raced twice? He won, then they tried to put together a deal that fell through, now he faces tougher. The article was written fine to me. My money is on Tapiture anyhow.
Perl More than 1 year ago
You could describe his races and what was so impressive about them, given that the headline is about this particular horse. If you want to generate buzz as a writer, that is the way you would go about doing it. It's just lazy journalism.
jay More than 1 year ago
This is a terribly written article that is not worthy of being in the DRF. If you're going to write how impressive Ride on Curlin was in his first two starts, at least tell us something about those races. Very lazy reporting.
iknownothing114 More than 1 year ago
Wesley Wright More than 1 year ago
I agree, McGee din no do a good job.
Old timer More than 1 year ago
this was my thought exactly. I kept reading thinking when is he going to tell us what makes this guy so impressive, but it never came!