2007 Horse of the Year Curlin captured the $6 million Dubai World Cup on Saturday with a 7 3/4-length victory in the at Nad al Sheba racetrack, in the Untied Arab Emirates. The win boosted his earnings to $8.8 million and places him third behind Cigar, with $9.9 million, and Skip Away, with $9.6 million, among all-time leading race earners. Cigar won the inaugural Dubai Cup in 1996.
“Curlin is like a limousine and I am just along for the ride,” said Robby Albarado of the Smart Strike colt trained by Steve Asmussen for Stonestreet Stables. The winning margin topped Dubai Millennium’s 6-length record in the 2000 running of the Dubai Cup.
It was Curlin’s fourth consecutive victory. His 2007 wins included the Preakness Stakes, followed by the Jockey Club Gold Cup Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Classic. On February 28, he claimed a handicap at Nad al Sheba in preparation for the Dubai Cup.
Curlin came to prominence on April 14, 2007 with a record 10 1/2-length win in the Grade 2 Arkansas Derby. It was his third career start. He had won his first two by overwhelming margins, as well. Although he was a public favorite coming into the Kentucky Derby, handicappers were skeptical because he had not raced as a 2-year-old. The last horse to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced at two was Apollo in 1882. The last horse to win the Derby with only three previous starts was Regret in 1915.
Curlin didn’t win the Derby. He placed third behind Street Sense. But he came back to upset Street Sense in the Preakness Stakes, ran second in the Belmont Stakes, and is within striking distance of Cigar’s hallowed record.