09/03/2008 11:00PM

Curlin a go for Jockey Club Gold Cup


The reigning Horse of the Year, Curlin, will make his next start in the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 27, his majority owner, Jess Jackson, announced on Thursday.

A win in the Jockey Club - a race Curlin won last year - would enable him to surpass Cigar and become Thoroughbred racing's all-time leading money earner. Curlin has earned $9,796,800, just $203,015 behind Cigar's record of $9,999,815.

"The Jockey Club Gold Cup was selected for Curlin in order to continue his legacy as one of America's greatest Thoroughbreds," Jackson said in a press release. "We are steering Curlin towards all the renowned competitions and certainly the Jockey Club Gold Cup is one of America's most prestigious races.

"In the past, many of America's top Thoroughbreds sealed their honors by competing in this race," Jackson added. "Also, this contest is in New York state, where Curlin has seen much success and received an outpouring of support. Both factors weighed heavily in favor of our decision to compete again at Belmont."

This will be Curlin's third consecutive race in New York. In July, he finished second in the Man o' War. his first start on turf. Last Saturday, Curlin won the Grade 1 Woodward Stakes in his Saratoga debut. Curlin has twice run previously on Belmont's main track, finishing second to Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes before knocking off Lawyer Ron in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Curlin will attempt to become the ninth horse to win back-to-back runnings of the Gold Cup. Some of the ones who have done it before him include Nashua (1955-56), Kelso (1960-64), the mare Shuvee (1970-71), and most recently, Skip Away (1996-97).

A spokesperson for Jackson said no decision has been made on the Breeders' Cup.