06/08/2008 11:00PM

Curlin breezes, but still on fence for Foster


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Curlin had what would be his final prep for the Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap - if indeed owner Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen decide to run - when he breezed a half-mile in 49 seconds early Monday over a fast Churchill Downs racetrack.

 With regular exercise rider Carmen Rosas aboard, Curlin went to the track at about 6:20 a.m. Working without company, and after getting a full head of steam to the half-mile pole, he went through fractions of 12.60 seconds, 24.60, 37, and 49, galloping out five furlongs in 1:02.80.

 Asmussen, who watched from the frontside, said he was pleased with the breeze but added that he is not fully committed to running Curlin, the 2007 Horse of the Year, after the colt was assigned 128 pounds in the 1 1/8-mile Foster, which is set for Saturday at Churchill.

“He’s prepped for the race, but I don’t like the weights at all,” said Asmussen. “I thought 126 would have been enough.”

Curlin, a 7 3/4-length winner of the March 29 Dubai World Cup in his last start, would be a heavy favorite in the Foster. The colt has worked every Monday at Churchill since April 28.

Owned primarily by Jackson’s Stonestreet Stable, Curlin is the reason Churchill announced last week that the purse for the Foster will be $1 million if the winner of a Grade 1 race starts. The base purse is $750,000.