- As Curlin prepares for the Belmont, his sire, Smart Strike, had a very nice weekend indeed. Two of his sons won graded stakes on Saturday; Strike Softly won his second stakes in a row when he won the Grade 2 Nassau at Woodbine. And Fabulous Strike, who had blasted through three straight stakes at Mountaineer, romping with Beyers of 115, 118 and 119, passed a test for class by easily beating a decent Grade 3 field in the Aristides at Churchill. He was nursed through the six furlongs by Ramon Dominguez in a tidy 1:07.64, just .05 seconds off the stakes and course record for six furlongs set by Kelly's Landing in 2005. Next up is Calder's Summit of Speed, and gee, maybe he'll even make Watchmaker's Top Ten sprinter list one of these days.
Meanwhile, the media week leading up to the Belmont here kicks off with a front page article by Joe Drape of the NY Times reporting on Curlin's owners, a story which has the same warm and fuzziness quotient as this:
William J. Gallion and Shirley A. Cunningham Jr., the colt's original owners, who still retain a 20% share in the horse after selling the balance for $3.5 million to a couple of other millionaires, were determined to have defrauded some 400 victims of the diet drug fen-phen whom they represented in a class action suit, to the tune of $64.4 million. And those victims feel that they should be standing in the winner's circle with the colt too.
“We own part of that horse — there’s about 400 of us,” Mr. Carter said. “We may not have our names on the papers, but it’s our horse. He was bought with our blood money.”In fact, attorney Angela Ford, representing the aggrieved plaintiffs, believes that they should own the horse in its entirety.
She contends that Mr. Gallion and Mr. Cunningham originally purchased the colt with ill-gotten gains — they paid $57,000 for the colt at the 2005 Keeneland September Yearling Sale — and had no legal right to sell 80 percent of the horse for $3.5 million, as they did in February.Don't expect to see anything resembling an Alex's Lemonade Stand at Belmont this weekend.
“If the court determines that Curlin was originally purchased with money that belonged to my clients, then the entire horse belongs to my clients and clear title could not have been conveyed,” Ms. Ford said.
- And bookmakers in the UK did not have a very good weekend. It was bad enough when heavily favored Authorized won the Epsom Derby on Saturday. But when Frankie Dettori also rode Lawman to victory in the French Derby the next day despite some heavy partying the night before ("My wife put me in a taxi about 1.30am"), the losses were compounded.
VC Bet’s Neal Wilkins said: "The huge losses incurred over Authorized’s brilliant Epsom Derby victory have already been well documented, but Frankie’s fantastic ride in France really rubbed salt into the wounds.Lawman is by Invincible Spirit (Green Desert/Danzig), out of a Gulch mare, and he's a half-brother to the Group 1, and U.S. stakes winner Latice.
"A large number of clients had the Frankie double this weekend and although we had a very good mark for the winner and went 4-1 when 11-2 was available elsewhere, Lawman was still a very expensive loser." [Daily Mail]