by Ed Golden | Heres "News You Can Bet On": Barring the unforeseen, if Curlin comes out of the Jockey Club Gold Cup on Sept. 27 in good shape, he will run in the $5 million Breeders Cup Classic against Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown at Santa Anita on Oct. 25 in a showdown for Horse of the Year honors.
According to a highly reliable source, Curlin, who earned Horse of the Year laurels in 2007, will take on Big Brown in the 1 1/4-mile Classic if he fares well in the Gold Cup. Curlin, a 4-year-old son of Smart Strike, reportedly was going to skip the Classic, but trainer Steve Asmussen left the door open Wednesday morning.
"I dont think its been eliminated by Mr. Jackson," Asmussen told me. If Curlin finishes at least third in the $750,000 guaranteed Gold Cup, he would surpass Cigar as North Americas leading money winner. Currently, Curlin has $9,976,800. First money in the Gold Cup is $450,000; second, $150,000; and third, $75,000. Cigar earned $9,999,815.
"His next goal provides considerable incentive," Asmussen said. "If he wins the Jockey Club Gold Cup, hes the all-time money-winning horse. Thats our focus right now."