Curlin's Approval Cruises to Victory in Sugarloaf Key


Photo: Coglianese Photos/Lauren King
Curlin's Approval gets a kiss from jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who won five races Sunday, after the Sugarloaf Key at Gulfstream Park

Multiple graded stakes winner Curlin's Approval rebounded from a fourth-place finish in the June 30 Princess Rooney Stakes (G2) with a dominating, 2 1/2-length victory Aug. 12 in the $75,000 Sugarloaf Key Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

The 5-year-old daughter of Curlin  provided jockey Tyler Gaffalione with his fifth winner on Sunday's 12-race program.

Owned by trainer Happy Alter and Bridlewood Farm, Curlin's Approval cut back in distance to six furlongs for the first time since winning her career debut at the distance at Gulfstream June 5, 2016.

After a breaking well from the gate, Curlin's Approval dropped back to last in the field of six fillies and mares along the backstretch before advancing on the outside of horses on the far turn. The Alter homebred made a powerful move on the turn into the homestretch to engage pacesetter Estilo Femenino, who set half-mile fractions of :22.40 and :45.19. Despite losing valuable ground while swinging six wide into the stretch, Curlin's Approval drew off to win comfortably.

Curlin's Approval ran six furlongs in 1:09.08 to register her sixth stakes win at Gulfstream Park, where she captured the Princess Rooney Stakes Presented by Hardacre Farm (G2) last year. Estilo Femenino held second under jockey Oscar Ulloa, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Yes I'll Go and jockey Emisael Jaramillo.

Alter said Curlin's Approval may well be headed out of town for her next start.

"Curlin's Approval keeps me happy, and being back in the good combination of Bridlewood Farm and John Malone—general manager George Isaacs is here—goes back to the days of Halo's Image, Sugar's Image. So we're here again, and (there will) be more," Alter said.

"George and I are going to put our heads together and figure out whether we should travel. The one thing that we both have talked about is with the With Approval sire of the mare, we could try her on the grass. We'll have to see. She's very honest."

Curlin's Approval is winless in four stakes starts away from Gulfstream.

"A lot of people say all her wins are here. But the ones on the road had real reasons," he said.

Video: Sugarloaf Key H. (BT)