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Curlin beats Street Sense in Preakness

5/20/2007

BALTIMORE -- Curlin nipped Kentucky Derby winner Street
Sense by putting his head in front on the final stride, winning the
Preakness Stakes in a riveting finish Saturday and ending any
chance for a Triple Crown this year.


Street Sense seemed to have the race won after another of his
patented rallies, taking the lead in the stretch. But the colt was
unable to hold off Curlin's late charge thanks to an incredible
ride by Robby Albarado.


Three races earlier, Albarado was thrown from his mount but
walked away unhurt and came back for the ride of his life.


Curlin came into the Preakness with just four career starts,
including a third-place finish in the Derby just two weeks ago.
Still, trainer Steve Asmussen was confident in his lightly raced
colt, and believed the 3-year-old son of Smart Strike would improve
after his first defeat.


Did he ever.


Curlin won his first three races by a combined 28½ lengths, and
was well back in the field of nine. As Hard Spun swung into the
lead with a three-wide move, Street Sense started to roll under
Calvin Borel.


Street Sense went to the outside in the stretch and moved into
the lead, and the crowd began to cheer in anticipation of a Triple
Crown bid in the making.


But Curlin came flying along the far outside, and took dead aim
at the Derby winner. He caught him on the final jump and, just like
that, Street Sense was a beaten horse.


Just barely.


"I thought I had a different horse the first quarter of mile,"
Albarado said after his first Preakness victory. "He started a
2-year-old and finished a 5-year-old."


Curlin, who did not race as a 2-year-old, was purchased after
his first race -- a 12½-length romp at Gulfstream Park in February.
The price was a reported $3.5 million by a group that includes
Kendall-Jackson Wine owner Jess Jackson, Padua Stables, George
Bolton and Midnight Cry Stables.


The colt hit a $650,000 jackpot by winning the 1 3-16th-mile
second jewel of the Triple Crown, boosting his career earnings to
$1,652,800.


The winning time was a lightning-quick 1:53.46. The record time
is listed as 1:53 2/5, which converts to 1:53.40. The record is
shared by Louis Quatorze in 1996 and Tank's Prospect in 1985.


Borel, who was so masterful in guiding Street Sense past 19
rivals and a Derby victory by 2½ lengths, thought he had another
victory when he broke clear of the field.


"I thought I was home free," Borel said. "He came and got me.
No excuses."


Curlin actually stumbled out of the gate, and remained in
seventh in the early stages.


"We beat a champion in Street Sense, but Curlin is going to be
a champion, too," Jackson said.

Pimlico Race Course, 12th Race - May 19, 2007