Creative Minister Looks for Stakes Glory in Curlin

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Fern Circle Stables, Back Racing, and Magdalena Racing’s graded stakes-placed Creative Minister , who competed in two-thirds of the Triple Crown, faces easier company in the $135,000 Curlin Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile test for 3-year-olds July 29 at Saratoga Race Course.

The Curlin, restricted to horses that have not won a graded event at one mile or over this year, is often used as a springboard to the $1.25 million Runhappy Travers Stakes (G1) Aug. 27. V. E. Day  completed the Curlin-Travers double in 2014. 

Trained by Kenny McPeek, Creative Minister ran third in the Preakness Stakes (G1) at Pimlico Race Course May 21 before running fifth in the Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1) last out June 11.

McPeek said the Preakness effort was indicative of Creative Minister’s class, more so than the Belmont.

“It was an excellent race. He stepped up to a high level real quick there, and he’s going to need to run back to that,” McPeek said. “I think this will be a good spot. It should be a race that sets him up good for a Travers run.

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“He didn’t handle the racetrack at Belmont. He struggled with the surface over there for some reason, and unfortunately that didn’t work out.”

The son of Creative Cause   graduated at second asking in April over a sloppy and sealed Keeneland main track ahead of a sharp allowance optional claiming win on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) undercard May 7 at Churchill Downs. He kept a Triple Crown-like

schedule over five weeks, absent the demands of running in the Derby itself. 

McPeek also entered Joseph B. Murphy’s Wolfe County , who broke through in his eighth start, besting older company in a maiden special weight June 24 at Churchill.

Creative Minister has breezed four times over Saratoga’s Oklahoma training track, including a five-eighths bullet in 1:00.66 July 23 in company with Wolfe County.

“They worked well. It was a good maintenance breeze and got a good blow out of it,” McPeek said. 

McPeek said he may consider another option for the improving Wolfe County.

“His development has been good (off the maiden score),” McPeek said. “We’ll take a look at this one and see how he fits.”

Dylan Davis will ride Creative Minister from post 7, while Julien Leparoux will pilot Wolfe County from post 6.

Also contesting the race is Juddmonte’s Artorius , who steps into stakes company for the first time for trainer Chad Brown; Repole Stable’s allowance winner Be Better  and Red Oak Stable’s stakes winner Make It Big  for trainer Todd Pletcher; and Grandview Equine and Don Alberto Stable’s Gilded Age , trained by Bill Mott.

Rounding out the field are two-time winners Western River , A. P.’s Secret , and Golden Glider , who was eighth in the Belmont Stakes.

Entries: Curlin S.

Saratoga Race Course, Friday, July 29, 2022, Race 7

  • STK
  • 1 1/8m
  • Dirt
  • $135,000
  • 3 yo
  • 4:18 PM (local)

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