Second Chances: Pricey Curlin 2yo “Acts Like a Filly to be Excited About”

Curlin's Erna brought $600,000 earlier this spring at OBS April | Sandra Madison


In this continuing series, TDN's Senior Editor Steve Sherack catches up with the connections of promising maidens to keep on your radar.

Subsequently flattered by Liguria (War Front)'s impressive performance in last weekend's GIII Jimmy Durante S. at Del Mar, Erna (f, 2, Curlin–Jumby Bay, by City Zip) will look to go one better at second asking in the nightcap at Gulfstream Park Sunday.

Off at 11-1 going 1 1/16 miles over the grass on debut at the Belmont at Aqueduct meeting Oct. 22, Erna jumped well from post five and cleared the field of 10 heading into the clubhouse turn. Under a snug hold and in control through fractions of :23.33 and :48.01, the $600,000 OBS April breezer hit the quarter pole as the one to catch and led by a commanding 1 1/2 lengths in the stretch.

The aforementioned Liguria, making her second career start, however, was just getting going down the center. Erna dug down deep and braced for the challenge inside the final sixteenth, but, after swapping to her left lead close to home, just couldn't hold that one off and came up a neck short. Erna received a 70 Beyer Speed Figure for the effort.

After failing to draw into a pair of spots during Keeneland's fall meeting, Erna made a last-minute trip from trainer Cherie DeVaux's Lexington base to the Big A for her debut.

“I was really impressed with how she ran given the circumstances,” DeVaux said.

“She did not get into either of the races that had overfilled at Keeneland and she had been training there the entire time since she came in after the sale. She had to ship after entries came out on Wednesday to Belmont Park. She arrived Thursday, trained at Belmont on Friday and had to ship over to Aqueduct [to run] on Saturday. So, it was less than ideal circumstances and she ran huge considering all that was thrown at her.”

Erna, the first foal out of the multiple stakes-placed Jumby Bay, brought $600,000 from owner James D. Spry after cruising through a :20 4/5 bullet in Ocala this spring. The daughter of two-time Horse of the Year and perennial leading sire Curlin was previously a $135,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Lehigh Bloodstock.

Jumby Bay, from the family of grassy GI Garden City Breeders' Cup S. heroine Magnificent Song (Unbridled's Song), brought $510,000 from breeder Don Alberto carrying Erna at the 2019 Keeneland November sale.

“At the sale, we were really impressed with her breeze and how she moved,” DeVaux said of Erna. “She looked like she was more turf inclined.”

Erna drew post nine going a two-turn mile for her second career try over the Gulfstream lawn Sunday. Luis Saez has the mount aboard the 5-2 morning-line favorite.

“I think if she either runs the race that she ran last time or improves, she's gonna be hard to beat,” DeVaux said. “She acts like she's a filly to be excited about.”

The 'Second Chances' honor roll is headed by two-time Breeders' Cup winner and new Ashford Stud stallion Golden Pal (Uncle Mo), GI Runhappy Santa Anita Derby winner and Lane's End stallion Honor A. P. (Honor Code), recent GI Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile winner Cody's Wish (Curlin) and MGISW and 'TDN Rising Star' Paradise Woods (Union Rags).

This year's GI Carter H. winner and new Darley stallion Speaker's Corner (Street Sense), GI Preakness S. third-place finisher Creative Minister (Creative Cause), Curlin S. winner and 'TDN Rising Star' Artorius (Arrogate) and Cinema S. winner and GII Del Mar Derby third War At Sea (War Front) have also been featured in the series.

Other standouts include: GSW Moonlight d'Oro (Medaglia d'Oro), GSW & MGISP Spielberg (Union Rags), GSW Backyard Heaven (Tizway), MSW and 'TDN Rising Star' Gidu (Ire) (Frankel {GB}); and GISP A Mo Reay (Uncle Mo).

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