The Mighty Curlin has enjoyed quite a bit success at stud.
In his first crop, Palace Malice emerged as a top competitor. He won the Belmont in his 3-year-old year; then, came back at four to capture the Met Mile Handicap. During his career, he had wins at ages two, three and four, getting better with each season.
His second crop contained Diversy Harbor, who was a Grade II winner on turf, and Ride on Curlin, who gave Curlin his second son to run in the Kentucky Derby in as many eligible crops.
However, Curlin’s third year as a sire is when he really began to make his mark. Travers winner Keen Ice, multiple Grade I winner Curalina and Eclipse champion Stellar Wind were all fathered by the former two-time Horse of the Year.
This year looks to be more of the same. He has a talented 3-year-old filly in Off the Tracks, but, more importantly, another son to represent him in the Kentucky Derby — Exaggerator.
Barring any injuries, Exaggerator will give Curlin his fourth son to race in the Kentucky Derby in as many eligible crops.
The last horse I was able to find with a similar stat was the sire of sires, A. P. Indy. That horse was easily king of the breeding shed until he was pensioned, but, ironically, he, himself, never actually sired a Kentucky Derby winner.
In fact, his line was winless in the race until three years after he was pensioned!
What is even more ironic is that the horse that saved his line was California Chrome, sired by unheralded Lucky Pulpit. The Sire of Sire’s line owes its only Kentucky Derby victory to a rags to riches story — a colt that cost a grand total of $10,000 dollars, when, at one point, it cost $300,000 just to breed to A. P. Indy.
Curlin has begun to distinguish himself as a very versatile sire, but one very good at producing classic horses that get better and better with age; however, some of his foals are talented enough to do well at two years of age.
Exaggerator is a prime example of that. He was a multiple graded stakes winner at two, but wasn’t very consistent. He always had a way of finding trouble in his races and that followed him into his sophomore year… until the Santa Anita Derby.
On that day — the day where it was all or nothing in terms of points for the Kentucky Derby — Exaggerator put it all together. It was a similar effort to that of the San Felipe Stakes, but this time he relaxed instead of moving prematurely. This time, he sustained that powerful move.
This time, he won big.
Despite making it to the Kentucky Derby, not one of Curlin’s previous three sons was able to win a Kentucky Derby prep race. Palace Malice, like Exaggerator always found a way to end up in trouble. Ride on Curlin never could find the winner’s circle and Keen Ice didn’t quite hit his best stride until after the Triple Crown series.
Exaggerator has proven himself Curlin’s most precocious son and has now become his most accomplished at this point in his career.
It would be a shame to see a stallion as consistent as Curlin end up “cursed” like AP Indy. So, here is to hoping that Exaggerator keeps moving in the right direction.
Here is to hoping he keeps on improving right into the Kentucky Derby winner’s circle!