Alter’s Racing Stable Inc. and Bridlewood Farm’s Curlin’s Approval worked four furlongs Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park, preparing for a title defense in the $250,000 Princess Rooney (G2), a seven-furlong Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ stakes on Saturday’s Summit of Speed program.
The 5-year-old daughter of Curlin was timed in 47.93 seconds for her second breeze since returning from a 3 ½-month layoff to prep for the Princess Rooney with a stunningly easy three-length triumph in the June 3 Ana T. Stakes at Gulfstream. The Kentucky-bred mare, who will be ridden by Luis Saez Saturday, galloped out five furlongs in 1:00.80 under jockey Jilver Chamafi.
Video Curlin’s Approval: click here to watch.
“The break I gave her really freshened her. She really blossomed out,” said trainer Happy Alter, who bred the multiple Grade 2 stakes winner. “She’s coming into this race very similar to how she came up to the race last year when she won it.”
Curlin’s Approval captured the 2017 running of the Princess Rooney going away by 4 ½ lengths to earn a fees-paid berth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint, in which she stumbled leaving the starting gate and finished off the board in the seven-furlong sprint at Del Mar Nov. 4.
“Whenever you’re in a graded stakes the competition has to be respected. The fact that she won the Princess Rooney last year in a dramatic way, it’s a nice feeling to try to do it again,” Alter said.
The Ana T. romp was the first stakes win of the year for Curlin’s Approval, who has won eight of 14 starts at Gulfstream, including six stakes successes.
She won three graded stakes at Gulfstream in 2017, taking the Hurricane Bertie (G3) and Royal Delta (G2), as well as the Princess Rooney. Curlin’s Approval raced three times during the 2017-2018 Championship Meet without a victory, finishing second in both the Rampart (G3) and Hurricane Bertie (G3), before finishing fifth in the Feb. 19 Royal Delta after becoming involved in an early pace duel with Lewis Bay, the eventual second-place finisher.
Curlin’s Approval will attempt to become the first horse to win the Rooney in consecutive years since Gold Mover in 2002-03.
Alter also sent Tapit’s Princess to the Gulfstream track Sunday morning for a three-furlong breeze in 34.88 seconds, the fastest of 29 recorded at the distance. The 2-year-old daughter of Tapit, who is out of Grade 1 winner Lady of Fifty, was bought by Alter for $500,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Selected 2-Year-Olds-in-Training Sale in March.
The work was the unraced Kentucky-bred filly’s fourth recorded breeze.
“I’m going to take my time with her. I’m not going to run her 4 ½ or 5 furlongs,” said Alter, who plans to debut Tapit’s Princess at Gulfstream Park.