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Oct 17, 2008

Curlin set to defend Breeders' Cup Classic



Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Reigning Horse of the Year Curlin tops a list of 180 horses who have been pre-entered for next week's 25th annual Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Santa Anita Park. The two-day event is scheduled for Friday, October 24 and Saturday, October 25.

Curlin, owned by Stonestreet Stables, can join Tiznow as the only thoroughbreds to capture consecutive runnings of the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic. Trained by Steve Asmussen, Curlin is joined by 15 others who have been pre-entered for the Classic.

"Everything is go," majority owner Jess Jackson said Tuesday on a conference call. "When a top athlete is ready, they want to play. Curlin tells us he's fit. It's not about the money, it's about him and his legacy, which I think stamps him as one of the greatest horses of the century. He has the genes, durability and stamina that few horses match, particularly in talent, heart and determination. The showcasing of Curlin really is a passion for the sport and I'm trying to revive and reform the sport of Thoroughbred racing. He's a hero to thousands of fans, but especially to me."

The four-year-old colt comes into the 1 1/4 mile race with better than $10.2 million in career earnings. As a three-year-old in 2007 Curlin won the Arkansas Derby, Preakness Stakes, Jockey Club Gold Cup, along with the Classic and was voted Horse of the Year and champion male three-year-old.

This year Curlin won the Dubai World Cup, Stephen Foster and Woodward Handicaps and a second Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Unfortunately, Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown was recently retired and will not participate in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

A total of seven former Breeders' Cup champions have been pre-entered into the $25.5 million World Thoroughbred Championships. Along with Curlin, winners from last year are Sprint champ Midnight Lute, Kip Deville in the Mile, Juvenile Fillies winner Indian Blessing, who will run in the Ladies Classic and Ginger Punch, who will defend in the renamed Ladies Classic.

The first day of the Breeders' Cup will be devoted to the five races restricted to females. ABC and ESPN will provide nine hours of coverage over the two days.

Final entries for the 14 races will be drawn on Tuesday, October 21.

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