Horse of the Year Curlin is settling in at his new home in Dubai, a spacious stall at Nad Al Sheba Racecourse.
The Breeders' Cup Classic winner arrived Sunday night following a long flight from the United States, and will begin training for his 4-year-old campaign this week. Curlin is expected to run in a Feb. 28 prep race leading to the $6 million Dubai World Cup on March 29.
"Curlin is pretty smart he knows he's here to do something," trainer Steve Asmussen's assistant Scott Blasi said in a news release issued Monday by the Dubai Racing Club. "He's got quite a bit of pep in his step, so I'll be anxious to get him to the track."
Curlin will spend 48 hours in a quarantine barn before getting a feel for the dirt track Wednesday.
Along with Blasi and his stable pony, Poncho, Curlin's regular exercise rider, Carmen Rosas, also made the trip.
"Right now, Poncho thinks he's died and gone to heaven," Blasi said. "He's got a stall the size of a paddock."
Blasi said Curlin is scheduled to breeze early next week before the race. Regular rider Robby Albarado is scheduled to arrive Feb. 26, with Asmussen arriving the next day. The trainer saddled his 4,000th winner Sunday at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark.
Curlin had a sensational 3-year-old season with six wins in nine starts for earnings of $5.1 million. The son of Smart Strike won his first three starts, including the Arkansas Derby. He then finished third in the Kentucky Derby, won the Preakness and ran second to the filly Rags to Riches in the Belmont Stakes. Curlin also won the Jockey Club Gold Cup before taking the BC Classic at Monmouth Park on Oct. 25 in his last start.
Jess Jackson, the founder of Kendall-Jackson Winery and owner of Stonestreet Stable, owns an 80 percent interest in Curlin. Midnight Cry Stable, operated by William Gallion and Shirley Cunningham Jr., owns the remaining 20 percent, but its ownership remains in question.
The Big G