Curlin to make turf debut at Belmont

Kentucky Derby hopeful Curlin nibbles at the hand of hot walker Juan Gonzales as he gets a bath outside Barn 38 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky., Monday, April 30, 2007. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The time has arrived for Curlin to test
the turf.
The reigning Horse of the Year will make his debut on turf
Saturday in the $500,000 Man o'War Stakes at Belmont Park.
Curlin has won nine of 12 career races on the dirt, including
the Preakness and the Breeders' Cup Classic last year and the Dubai
World Cup in March. After his last victory, in the Stephen Foster
Handicap on June 14, trainer Steve Asmussen said the 4-year-old
colt would be pointed to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in Paris on
Oct 5.
Curlin, owned by Stonestreet Stable's Jess Jackson, had a
productive workout on the turf course at Churchill Downs on July 1,
working seven furlongs in 1:31.20. He breezed four furlongs in
50.80 seconds over the dirt at Churchill on Monday.
The Arc, run on the turf, is considered the premier race in
"I think this is about the horse's legacy," Asmussen said on a
national conference call Tuesday. "To have won the Breeders' Cup
Classic in such a strong running ... winning the Dubai World Cup. I
think that international racing is going to be very strong in the
future and they want Curlin to be in the forefront of that
Asmussen chose the 1 3/8th-mile Man o'War over Saturday's
Arlington Park Handicap at Arlington Park near Chicago.
Curlin's bid at the Arc is rare for an American-based horse, but
not unprecedented. Carry Back, the 3-year-old champion colt in
1961, finished 10th in the 1962 edition, while Tom Rolfe's
3-year-old championship season ended with a sixth-place finish in
Curlin is also seeking to become horse racing's all-time money
leader. He currently is third on the list with earnings over $9.3
million, trailing only Skip Away ($9.6 million) and Cigar ($9.9
Asmussen said he plans on shipping Curlin to New York on

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