Curlin Reminds Asmussen Stable Preakness Much More Than A ‘Consolation Prize’

Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC’s Midnight Bourbon, sixth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), had another routine gallop Saturday morning shortly after the Churchill Downs track opened for training in preparation for a scheduled start in next Saturday’s Preakness Stakes (G1). The Steve Asmussen-trained colt is scheduled to have an easy half-mile work on Monday before shipping to Pimlico Tuesday. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount.

The Asmussen stable has a special fondness for the Preakness, the first Triple Crown race that the Hall of Fame trainer won when Derby third-place finisher Curlin wore down Derby winner Street Sense by a head in 2007. Two years later, the filly Rachel Alexandra led all the way to defeat the late-running Derby winner Mine That Bird by a length in the Preakness. Rachel Alexandra, who in her prior start won the Kentucky Oaks (G1) by 20 lengths, was the first filly to capture Preakness since 1924 and came mere days after going to Asmussen upon her sale to the late wine mogul Jess Jackson.

Curlin became the 2007-2008 Horse of the Year, followed by Rachel Alexandra in 2010.

Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s chief lieutenant at Churchill Downs, said the Preakness is a tremendous race in its own right.

“It’s by no means a consolation prize. It’s a stallion-maker, a champion-maker,” said Blasi. “Classic example is Curlin. He drew the inside at the Derby, wasn’t where we wanted him. He closed to be third and the Preakness was the stepping stone for who he became. That’s when everybody started taking him seriously, and you see what kind of stallion he’s turned into. It was a big deal for us. Rachel’s Preakness was probably one of the most stressful races, just because we hadn’t had her that long. There was so much pressure. I was actually happy when she drew the 13 hole (staying clear of traffic), and she was good enough to overcome it.”

The post Curlin Reminds Asmussen Stable Preakness Much More Than A ‘Consolation Prize’ appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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