01/06/2008 12:00AM

Curlin credited with first official workout

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NEW ORLEANS - Curlin was given his first official workout since winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Sunday morning at Fair Grounds, as he went four furlongs in 53.40 seconds. The presumptive Horse of the Year looked sharp and business-minded as he turned his third two-minute lick since resuming training in a time that qualifies as a recognized work.

Trainer Steve Asmussen has given Curlin steadily more to do in the mornings, and brought him out to the track at 6:20 a.m. Curlin worked as dawn broke over the Fair Grounds.

“That's just a step, as easy as can be for him," said Asmussen. "He's progressing beautifully. We gave him time off and he came back great. His mind is still where it was."

Although there are no set plans for Curlin‘s 4-year-old season, he appears to be training for a return to the racetrack rather than a new career as a stallion.

“Today it was 53 and two-fifths, and we'll look to add to it, probably on January 12," said Asmussen.

Just before Curlin‘s work, Asmussen sent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Pyro to the track. He went four furlongs in 58.80 seconds, slower than the 54.80 necessary to quality as an official workout.

Though slower, Asmussen seemed pleased with the effort. "He's been real aggressive," said Asmussen. "He was off real easy and galloped out. I got him in 54 and three-fifths from the three-eighths pole to the seven-eighths pole."

Asmussen indicated that he also plans Jan. 12 as the next serious training date for Pyro, who is being pointed to the Feb. 9 Risen Star at Fair Grounds.