It is not often that a horse's workout will send reverberations across the racing world. But when Cure The Blues completed his first serious trial of the winter this morning, he had put the Kentucky Derby picture into better perspective.
In the 56 3/5 seconds that he needed to cover five-eighths of a mile, the colt reaffirmed that he is the most gifted member of his generation and answered many of the questions about his physical condition.
The time of the sensational workout was three-fifths of a second faster than the track record for the distance. During part of it, Cure The Blues was accelerating just about as fast as a member of his species can.
Yet Cure The Blues had been something of a forgotten horse when he stepped onto the Gulfstream Park track this morning. He had won all six of his races in Maryland last season, but had been suffering from a hoof injury at the end of the campaign.
While other big-name 3-year-olds were already competing in stakes this winter, Cure The Blues had not even been exercising seriously. Trainer LeRoy Jolley explained that he wanted to keep the colt from peaking too soon, but skeptics wondered if Cure The Blues still was being hampered by his physical problems.
Today he put those doubts to rest. He zipped the first eighth of a mile in 11 seconds and the next furlong in an incredible 10 3/5. He covered the half-mile in 44 3/5 and galloped out three-quarters of a mile in 1:10, doing it all with apparent ease.
Jolley blanched when he looked at his stopwatch, knowing that such blazing workouts often do a horse more harm than good. He testily shooed reporters away from his barn. But by later in the morning, he was a happy man, after seeing that Cure The Blues had emerged from this drill in excellent condition.
"He showed today that he's ready for a race," Jolley said, and outlined the program he has in mind for Cure The Blues. He hopes to run the colt once in an allowance race here, then ship him to New York for the one-mile Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct on April 4. Then Cure The Blues will have his final prep for the Kentucky Derby in the Wood Memorial Stakes April 18.