06/27/2007 12:00AM

Still running up the numbers at 13


Proven Cure made his debut on May 7, 1997 at Churchill Downs, four days after Silver Charm won the Kentucky Derby. The gelding made his most recent start on May 28 at Canterbury Park, three weeks after Street Sense won the 2007 Derby.

That would be notable, given that few horses race in parts of 11 years. What makes Proven Cure even more notable is that, after some research, it has been determined that he is just one of eight horses 10 years old or older to get a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 or more.

Now a 13-year-old, Proven Cure is the only one in that group to have gotten a triple-digit Beyer Figure more than once, and his 106 on Oct. 28, 2004, two days before the Breeders' Cup at Lone Star, is the best ever by a double-digit-age horse. It was also the best Beyer of Proven Cure's career, which is probably another record. Really, what horse gets his best Beyer as a 10-year-old?

By the way, the horse, ridden by Jerry Bailey, was 10-1 on the day he got the 106, coming off a 100 at Retama in his prior start. Incredibly, Proven Cure got a 104 Beyer in his first start as an 11-year-old. It was the 13th and last triple-digit Beyer of Proven Cure's career.

This son of Cure the Blues has raced 89 times with 21 wins, 18 seconds, and 7 thirds for career earnings of $748,081. He has gotten triple-digit Beyers on fast tracks, muddy tracks, and on the grass. He has not run on a synthetic surface (yet), but has run at Churchill, Arlington, Turfway, Ellis, Prairie Meadows, Hawthorne, Keeneland, Saratoga (10th and last in the 2000 Forego Handicap at 49-1), Houston, Lone Star, Remington, and Canterbury.

Proven Cure has 11 wins on fast tracks, 8 on grass, and 2 on off tracks. This year, Proven Cure has raced just twice, a second at five furlongs on the grass at Lone Star and a fourth, also at five furlongs on turf, at Canterbury. He got an 82 Beyer at Lone Star and a 79 at Canterbury in a minor stakes race.

It should be no great surprise that Proven Cure is owned and was bred by Dr. William A. Reed's Stonecrest Farm, the owner of $4.6 million-earner Perfect Drift. As with Perfect Drift, Murray Johnson has trained Proven Cure for the vast majority of his career. When it was determined that there might not be enough of those five-furlong grass sprints in Kentucky, he was sent to John Locke in Texas.

"He's a wonderful horse, not a very aggressive horse, almost a little bit feminine, really," Johnson said. "But just a very talented horse, ran every year, stayed sound and happy, always ran at the top level against some very good horses. Bet on Sunshine beat him a couple of times.

"There were several times when he was second or third and they set a track record. Just a great horse to be around. He always got his little wintertime break and came back and ran good. One year, he won more money than any Kentucky-bred at the Churchill meet. Always gave it his best."

According to Johnson, Proven Cure's dam, Lady Brigand, was one of Reed's first yearling purchases. Johnson trained Lady Brigand, but she never made it to the races.

Well, her son Proven Cure made it to the races. His next start will be No. 90.

Proven Cure was entered several times in claiming races, but, Johnson said, "We weren't too comfortable with that," even though it was for $50,000 and $62,500 during the horse's 9-year-old and 10-year-old seasons. Not a likely spot for somebody to drop a claim slip.

If somebody had, he could have been aboard for that 106 and for nine Beyers between 91 and 98. Incredibly, it would have been money well spent, as the horse has won nine times in 22 races since May 12, 2004, when he was in that $62,500 claiming race. During one stretch, Proven Cure won five straight five-furlong grass races at three different tracks.

After the Canterbury race, Proven Cure is back in training at Lone Star. He worked five furlongs in 1:04 on June 20. You might want to put Proven Cure in your Stable Mail.