Curlin sets money record with Jockey Club Gold win

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NEW YORK --- Curlin became the first horse in North America to top $10 million in career earnings, winning the $750,000 Jockey Club Gold Cup on Saturday at sloppy Belmont Park.

The $450,000 winner's purse pushed Curlin's career bankroll to $10,246,800. Cigar held the old mark of $9,999,815, which stood for 12 years.

"I'm sure this record will be broken someday, but it will take a hell of a horse to do it," winning jockey Robbie Albarado said.

The next $3 million could come with a victory in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 25 Santa Anita. The Jockey Club Gold Cup was a Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" race, insuring the winner a spot in the Classic -- and a much anticipated showdown with Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Big Brown.

Owner Jess Jackson, speaking from a charity wine auction in California, called the Classic "the next prospect for us. We will give it every consideration that we can."

The upcoming Breeders' Cup will be the first contested on a synthetic track. Jackson has reservations about running Curlin on the unfamiliar surface. Curlin will ship to Santa Anita today to train over the racing strip.

In the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Curlin, the 2-5 favorite, beat Wanderin Boy by three-quarters of a length with Merchant Marine third.

As far back as sixth after a half mile, Curlin split rivals down the backstretch before swing three wide on the final turn. He took charge with a sudden burst turning for home as Albarado hand-rode him to the finish.

The defending Horse of the Year trained by Steve Asmusssen has 11 wins in 15 starts.

The 4-year-old won the Jockey Club Gold Cup for a second consecutive year. His other major victories include the Preakness Stakes and the Breeders' Cup Classic last year, the Dubai World Cup in March and the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga in August.

Curlin paid $2.80, $2.10 and $2.10. Wanderin Boy returned $4.20 and $3.70. Merchant Marine paid 5.70 to show.

Mambo in Seattle was fourth followed by Ravel, Stones River, A.P. Arrow and Angliana.

The time was 2:01.93 for the 11/4 miles.

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