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This is the fourth in a series of notes and impressions about the new stallions in Kentucky for 2009. The horses will be reviewed alphabetically.

Curlin (2004 chestnut by Smart Strike out of Sherriff’s Deputy, by Deputy Minister)

Stands at Lane’s End for $75,000 live foal

The Horse of the Year in North America in both 2007 and 2008, Curlin is the star of the show among the sires entering stud in 2009. His race record is excellent, with victories in the Preakness, Breeders’ Cup Classic, Dubai World Cup, Woodward, and two runnings of the Jockey Club Gold Cup among his grandest achievements.

Nor does he seem less of a champion in the flesh. Curlin is a big horse, standing 16.2, but his exceptional balance makes him seem smaller until you’re standing next to him. Then the sheer muscular mass of the horse, his deep shoulders and broad chest, and the great power of his hindquarters dominate the space around this chestnut son of Smart Strike.

Curlin has a big, clear eye that adds distinction to his handsome head. His neck has good length but is not coarse or cresty. The round muscularity of his forearms is impressive, and his gaskins are more than 20 inches around. He has great length through the body and stands over an impressive amount of ground.

He is a right looking stallion.

His fault, if such matters in a racehorse of this exalted stature, is in the alignment of his forelegs. They weren’t perfect when he was a yearling, hence his sales price of only $57,000 at the Keeneland September sale when Kenny McPeek had the insight to make the purchase, and they weren’t perfect when Curlin won seven Grade 1 stakes and more than $10 million.

In type, Curlin shows a great deal of his broodmare sire, champion Deputy Minister, who was a top-class stallion and broodmare sire and has been a powerful influence in pedigrees for more than two decades. Curlin possesses the length, mass, and fine head of the best Deputy Minister stock, and the Horse of the Year may well add further luster by proving a sire equal to his looks.

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