OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Michael Dubb and Michael J. Caruso’s multiple graded stakes-placed New York-bred Run Curtis Run rallied stoutly down the center of the course to capture Sunday’s second running of the $120,000 Carle Place, a six-furlong outer turf test for sophomores, at the Belmont at the Big A fall meet.
Trained by Mike Maker and expertly handled by Jose Ortiz, the Summer Front colt entered from a trio of runner-up efforts, including in the Grade 3 Quick Call presented by Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation in July at Saratoga Race Course and the Grade 2 Franklin-Simpson last out on September 10 at Kentucky Downs. Prior to his recent graded attempts, he was bested by multiple stakes-winner Nobals in an allowance sprint at Churchill Downs.
“This horse has run his heart out. He’s been a longshot in his last three races and has gotten no respect. He’s been a bridesmaid each time,” Dubb said. “I thought today, he would like being back in New York and the six furlongs. The horses he had been facing, he was getting a bit of class relief today, but this was still a nice group of horses. I thought it all might gel together today. And who knows? We got jostled at the break and Jose, being the great jockey that he is, took his time and didn’t panic. He came through and was easily the best today.”
Run Curtis Run was compromised in the opening jumps when bumped from his inside by Too Many Twizzlers and then again to his outside by Grooms All Bizness, who was hustled out of post 6 by Dylan Davis to track in fourth position as That’s Right marked the opening quarter-mile in 22.45 seconds over the firm going.
That’s Right led the field to the turn with 2-1 favorite Outlaw Kid advancing with a wide rally to the outside of Legends Can’t Die and Grooms All Bizness. Run Curtis Run was still last-of-9 late in the turn, but Ortiz maneuvered the bay five-wide for the stretch run and the talented colt circled his rivals to score by 1 1/2-lengths in a final time of 1:09.43.
Grooms All Bizness won the place battle by one length over Outlaw Kid with Just Jeremy, That’s Right, Legends Can’t Die, Too Many Twizzlers, Sosua Summer and Surprise Boss rounding out the order of finish. Maya Prince and main-track only entrants Cyberviking, Dot’s Dollar and Leddy were scratched.
Run Curtis Run has competed exclusively on turf through his five starts this season, utilizing prominent trips on each occasion. Ortiz was forced to try different tactics on Sunday after the troubled beginning.
“I was squeezed very hard. It felt like the six-horse came over to me. It was a terrible trip and definitely not what we wanted to see out of the gate,” Ortiz said. “But I felt like my horse was running with better horses and I gave him his shot to show off his class, and he did. It’s very hard to close on this soft ground of the outer turf, and he did. That shows that he was the best horse in this race by far.
“He always shows speed and has been running with good horses – out-of-towners at Kentucky Downs,” Ortiz continued. “He [Mike Maker] said to try to break good and put him forward, but then the complete opposite happened. I never get nervous honestly. I think good riders always have a ‘Plan B’ and I had to go to mine today.”
Last year, Run Curtis Run made his first three career starts on dirt against fellow state-breds, winning his off-the-turf debut at Belmont Park ahead of a win in the Rick Violette at Saratoga. He tried turf for the first time in the Grade 3 Futurity last October at Belmont, setting the pace en route to a second-place finish behind Slipstream that garnered Run Curtis Run a shot in the Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Del Mar when off-the-board.
Dubb said Run Curtis Run could target the six-furlong $150,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship on November 25, and possibly with a new running style after Sunday’s revelation.
“He’s been on the front end in all his races, so now it’s a conversation with the trainer of what do we do and how we ride this horse going forward,” Dubb said. “I’ll leave it to the trainer. Obviously, Jose learned a lot, so I’m grateful to Jose.”
Davis said the Jorge Duarte, Jr.-trained Grooms All Bizness performed well in his Big A debut, following a close fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Turf Monster at Parx.
“He started picking up momentum into the turn, so I was just allowing him to do that and he found some good ground for himself,” Davis said. “I thought we had a good shot to win it, but he still ran a great race. They’re looking to squeeze one more race into him, maybe later on and he should be very tough. It was my first time on him. He’s a nice, big, strong horse.”
Bred in the Empire State by Larry Goichman, Run Curtis Run banked $66,000 in victory while improving his record to 10-3-4-1. He returned $8 for a $2 win bet.
Live racing resumes on Thursday at Belmont at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.
By Keith McCalmont
Main Photo by Susie Raisher