ELMONT, N.Y.— Mistical Curlin splashed to an eye-catching 19-length maiden score to close out Saturday’s rain-soaked 11-race card at Belmont Park.
Trained and co-owned by Gustavo Rodriguez with Andrew Gurdon and Anil Poyah, the 4-year-old Curlin colt broke alertly under Jose Lezcano and was hustled to the lead in the one-turn mile for 3-year-olds and upward.
The chestnut marked off splits of 22.68 seconds and 45.90 over the sloppy and sealed main track while racing wide down the backstretch before angling in through the turn and opening up by 5 1/2-lengths after three-quarters in 1:10.84. Mistical Curlin enjoyed a 12-length advantage at the stretch call and was kept to task by Lezcano as he graduated at twelfth asking in a final time of 1:35.90.
“He was training very good. He ended up running good and he was loving the slop, too,” said Rodriguez, who is the older brother of fellow Belmont-based trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
Mistical Curlin, the second longest shot on the board at 11-1, returned $25.40 for a $2 win bet and triggered a Pick 6 carryover as the only uncovered combatant in the six-horse field.
Rodriguez said he noted a potential trend late in Saturday’s card which saw five wire-to-wire winners in the final seven races.
“We were watching all the races yesterday and if you broke on top and stay there, they win,” Rodriguez said. “So, I said to Lezcano, ‘let’s try to break good and if you get the lead and get comfortable then stay there. If someone tries to hook you, then stay back.’ But he broke like a rocket. He ran beautiful.”
The $375,000 purchase from the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Selected Yearlings Showcase is out of the multiple graded-stakes winning Game Plan mare Mistical Plan, who won the 2008 Grade 1 Princess Rooney at Calder Race Course. Mistical Plan posted a record of 18-5-1-2 for purse earnings of $816,790, racing exclusively in stakes company following her debut maiden score in August 2006 at Santa Rosa. She also captured the 2007 Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks en route to a prominent fifth-place finish in that year’s Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks – her lone start over off going – won by Rags to Riches.
Mistical Curlin was haltered for $20,000 at sixth asking out of a runner-up effort in a nine-furlong maiden tilt at Saratoga Race Course. He has hit the board in two other starts since while Rodriguez developed the colt, who he said has overcome bleeding issues.
“We always look for horses to claim and one of my owners, Anil Poyah, asked me to look at the horse,” said Rodriguez, who oversees a stable that fluctuates between 15-20 horses. “We took a look and ended up dropping on him and we got lucky – it was a four-way shake.”
Rodriguez said Mistical Curlin exited his memorable maiden win in good order and will target a starter allowance event next.
“He can run a mile to a mile and an eighth with no problem,” Rodriguez said. “He’s a big, beautiful horse. He ran big, so we’re going to give him at least four or five weeks.”