07/01/2017 7:08PM

Curlin's Approval punches ticket for BC Filly and Mare Sprint

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Jim Gluckson
Curlin's Approval paid $11 in winning the Princess Rooney at Gulfstream on Saturday.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Curlin’s Approval proved she’s back in top form - earning an all-expenses-paid, guaranteed berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in the process - in drawing away to a convincing 4 1/2-length victory over Distinta in Sunday’s $250,000 Princess Rooney at Gulfstream Park.

Lightstream, the 6-5 favorite, finished another half-length farther back in third.

After turning in dominating performances to win the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie and Grade 2 Royal Delta here earlier this winter, Curlin’s Approval failed to live up to expectations in her two subsequent starts, finishing off the board as the odds-on favorite in both the Grade 2 Inside Information and Grade 3 Matron. Owner-breeder Happy Alter, who oversees Curlin’s Approval’s training in the morning, brought his filly back to Gulfstream Park after the Matron, put a couple of stiff works into her to hone her speed for the “Win and You’re In” Princess Rooney, and the strategy paid major dividends.

With Luis Saez back in his regular seat following a one-race absence, Curlin’s Approval raced forwardly placed from the outset of the seven-furlong Princess Rooney, stalking the early pace of Kinsley Kisses. Curlin’s Approval readily took control entering the stretch and was never seriously threatened thereafter while steadily increasing her advantage to the wire. Distinta, idle since upsetting the Inside Information 3 1/2 months earlier, outfinished Lightstream by a neck to be second.

The victory gave trainer Marty Wolfson his fifth Princess Rooney victory.  The 4-year-old homebred daughter of Curlin paid $11.00 after negotiating the distance over a fast track in a lively 1:21.68.

“After her brilliant breeze (June 20) to get ready for the race, to put the speed back into her with the 57-and-change work, I predicted she was going to be back in the winner’s circle after this race,” said Alter, who owns Curlin’s Approval in partnership with Bridlewood Farm. “Some people might have thought she was off form, but I was just looking to freshen her with light training, and we were able to catch up with the three sharp breezes. She’s got a lot of heart, and we’re really proud of her, a homebred brought up on Bridlewood farm.”

Alter said the focus now will be to get Curlin’s Approval to the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar on Nov. 4, and that he would sit down with his partners in the near future to discuss what path they will take to accomplish that goal.