Curalina splashes home in Shuvee victory
The Curlin filly stalked 4-5 second choice Carrumba, who set splits of :24.28, :48.59 and 1:12.75, throughout the nine-furlong affair. She took command entering the lane and easily drew off under jockey John Velazquez to stop the clock in 1:49.85 over the sealed, sloppy main track.
Curalina was favored at 4-5 and returned $3.80 for this win. Carrumba finished 3 3/4 lengths in front of Sweetgrass, who had 10 1/4 lengths to spare on Joint Return in last.
Curalina broke her maiden in her second start last year and two races later captured the Acorn Stakes (G1). She finished second by a nose in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) but was elevated to first via disqualification of the winner, then proceeded to run third in the Alabama Stakes (G1), second in the Beldame Invitational (G1) and third in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) to close out her sophomore campaign.
The Todd Pletcher trainee returned May 6 at Churchill Downs to romp by 7 1/2 lengths in the La Troienne Stakes (G1) and entered the Shuvee off her first unplaced finish when fourth in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park on June 11.
Curalina improved her career line to read 11-6-2-2 with the Shuvee triumph and has earned $1,375,940.
Bred in Kentucky by CASA Farms I LLC, Curalina sold for $125,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She is out of the Grade 2-placed Graeme Hall mare Whatdreamsrmadeof, making her a half-sister to Grade 3-placed Dream Spinner. Whatdreamsrmadeof is herself a half-sibling to Grade 2-placed stakes winner Ladyecho, and this female family also boasts Canadian Horse of the Year Uncaptured.
Curalina photo courtesy of NYRA/Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography
John Velazquez, jockey Curalina, winner: "It worked out pretty good. The only speed was Carrumba and myself, so I wanted to make sure that she didn't get away with an easy lead there. I stuck with her the whole way around. When I asked my horse, she responded very well.
"My horse had only run once in the mud first time out and I wasn't sure. It's just about if the horse likes it or not. Obviously, it didn't bother her."
Todd Pletcher, trainer Curalina, winner: "I think (Curalina) is a little bit of an underrated filly. Her record's quite good and I think she gets penalized a little bit for getting put up on a DQ last year (in the CCA Oaks). She was third in the Breeders' Cup (Distaff). Her first race back this year (La Troienne win) was really good. She's a good filly and I think she's getting better."
"On paper it looked like kind of a match race. It looked like Carrumba loves an off track, so we didn't want to let her get away. Assuming that (jockey) Jose (Ortiz on Carrumba) was going to go a little bit from the rail, (Johnny) decided when he wanted to turn the pressure up. It looked like when he did he had a lot of horse."