History has been made. For the first time since Cigar pulled off the feat in 1995-96, we have another repeat winner for Horse of the Year as Curlin has secured the honor once again over the undefeated distaffer Zenyatta.
Curlin received 153 votes to 69 votes for Zenyatta. Big Brown came in with 13 votes.
“This is an honor beyond the dreams of somebody that dreamed he would someday own a champion racehorse since I saw Seabiscuit run,” majority owner Jess Jackson said. “To be ranked with the John Henrys, the Kelsos, the Foregos, the Secretariats. The greats of the industry. He’s now among what I consider to be the greats of the industry.”
When Curlin first took Horse of the Year honors for his 3-year-old campaign in 2007, he was a raw specimen getting by more on talent than his knowledge of the game. Early in 2008, it became obvious the son of Smart Strike had matured into a powerful force as he cantered his way to victory in the Jaguar Trophy in Dubai and then turned the $6 million Dubai World Cup into the world’s richest workout.
The taxing journey took little out of Curlin, however, as he returned in June to notch a handy 4 1/4-length win in the Grade I Stephen Foster Handicap at Churchill Downs. Curlin won two more Grade I races after that in the Woodward and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the latter of which allowed him to break Cigar’s North American record for earnings.
Now retired to stud at Lane’s End, Curlin finished his career with 11 wins from 16 career starts and earnings of $10,501,800.