Curlin's Approval Streaks to Sixth Stakes Victory

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Curlin’s Approval cruised to a three-length triumph in Sunday’s $75,000 Ana T. Stakes at Gulfstream Park, setting up the multiple graded-stakes winner for a title defense in the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ race on the June 30 Summit of Speed program at Gulfstream.

“This race was really what we needed as a steppingstone,” said trainer Happy Alter, who co-owns his homebred 5-year-old daughter of Curlin with Bridlewood Farm. “Having that time off that she didn’t race, this was really the first step in going on to the Princess Rooney.”

Returning from a 3 ½-month layoff, the 5-year-old daughter of Curlin and jockey Tyler Gaffalione were always in control in the seven-furlong sprint for fillies and mares while comfortably pressing the early pace set by Ms. Scarlet Fever and drawing away to a convincing victory.

“As easy as it gets. Happy had her ready today,” said Gaffalione after riding his fourth winner of the day. “I was just a pilot.” 
Curlin’s Approval pressed fractions of 23.57 (seconds) and 46.66 before drawing clear to complete the seven-furlong distance in 1:22.72, showing no rust while returning from a layoff that clearly served her well.
“She really blossomed back to where she was when she won the Princess Rooney last year. Each breeze was dedicated to be a ladder back to the top,” Alter said. “The off weather kind of worried me because there were days we couldn’t go to the track and days when we just had to jog on the track, but those are conditions that trainers have to live with.”
Curlin’s Approval won three graded stakes at Gulfstream last year, taking the Hurricane Bertie (G3) and Royal Delta (G2) before earning a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1), in which she stumbled leaving the starting gate and finished off the board in the seven-furlong sprint at Del Mar Nov. 4.
“We’d like to have another chance without stumbling at the Breeders’ Cup, so we’re going to try to do that by winning the Princess Rooney two years in a row,” Alter said.
The Ana T. was the first stakes win of the year for Curlin’s Approval, who has won eight of 14 starts at Gulfstream, including six stakes successes. She was foaled and raised at Hidden Brook Farm.