HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Sally’s Curlin rallied from last on the turn into the homestretch to roll to an eye-catching 2 ¾.-length victory in Saturday’s $150,000 Hurricane Bertie (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The Dale Romans-trained 4-year-old daughter of Curlin, who was making her first start of 2020, was ridden by Edgar Prado, who closed to within two wins behind fellow Hall of Famer Angel Cordero for ninth all-time with his 7055th career victory.
Owned by CJ Thoroughbreds, Left Turn Racing LLC and Casner Racing LP, Sally’s Curlin ($22.60) broke away from the gate a bit slowly and dropped several lengths behind the field along the backstretch as Blamed showed the way, stalked closely by Pauseforthecause and Lady Kate. Blamed set fractions of 22.13 and 44.61 seconds for the first half mile in the seven-furlong stakes for fillies and mares. Blamed began to shorten stride on the turn into the homestretch as Pauiseforthecause took the lead into the homestretch with Wildwood’s Beauty in hot pursuit.
Meanwhile, Sally’s Curlin, who launched a wide drive on the turn into the stretch, found her stride and produced an impressive stretch drive that overwhelmed her eight rivals on the way to a comfortable victory.
“She broke a step slow so I didn’t rush her, I just took my time. I’ve been watching all her races and it seemed like she has a very nice kick. I just let her settle and tried to pick them up and when I asked her, she rolled home,” said Prado after his successful first ride aboard the winner. “I didn’t want to be that far back, but because she broke a little slow I didn’t want to rush her to catch the group and then have her slow down. I was trying to make the right move. Around the turn I felt good when I started to see her getting closer and closer and I wasn’t really asking her. I was encouraging her but I wasn’t really asking for her best. I was like, ‘She’s got a good chance.’ I was looking for a place to go but the rail was taken so I went outside and she kept on going.”
Sally’s Curlin ran seven furlongs in 1:22.84. Wildwood’s Beauty, who finished second in the Jan. 25 Inside Information (G2), edged Pauseforthecause by a length for second money.
Sally’s Curlin came into her own last year, capturing three races in a row, following up a pair of option claiming allowances wins with a victory in the Chilukki (G3) at Churchill Downs in November. She finished off her sophomore campaign with an off-the-board finish in the 1 1/8-mile Falls City (G2) Nov. 26.
“We saw what she was made of at the end of last year. She had a little issue in her last race. I don’t think it was the distance,” Romans said. “We knew this was going to be her year.”
Romans said he would weigh his options for Sally’s Curlin’s next start.
“With this performance the sky’s the limit. The way she ran today – I didn’t know she was going to run that big; I knew she was going to run big – it might change things,” Romans said. “We might have to look for some bigger stuff.”