Curlin is the biggest question mark in this Derby. Just how good is he? Is he the next Barbaro or Smarty Jones; there’s even a chance he may be the next Seattle Slew but there’s just as good a chance that he will wind up the next Trippi or Sensitive Prince. Two minutes after the gate opens on Saturday we will know.
For the first time in his brief career Curlin will face adversity and there is no education better than overcoming adversity. Breaking from the extreme inside does not help his chances, no matter what kind of brave face his connections put on. Albarado will have to use him early to get position, he will not have a choice; Albarado could even find himself on the lead if Teuflesberg or Stormello don't make the lead easily and a speed duel would then ensue. For Curlin his chances of outrunning Apollo’s ghost will be decided in the first quarter mile. Add to that burden, that the last horses to win from the two post were Affirmed and Bold Forbes against much smaller fields. The one ray of historical hope for Curlin is that Cannonade did win from the two post against a field of 23 in 1974, so it can be done but that was 33 years ago and Cannonade came into Derby with over 20 lifetime starts. If Curlin can pass these tests he may very well be the next Seattle Slew.