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Curlin's Approval Brings Happy Alter Back to Keeneland

October 21, 2016


LEXINGTON, KY (Oct. 21) As one of the last sprint races restricted to 3-year-old fillies, Saturday’s $250,000 Lexus Raven Run (G2) has attracted horses from all over the country.

“It is a tough race,” Happy Alter said Friday morning at the Stakes Barn. “Whenever you run in a graded stakes, there is always going to be tough competition.”

Alter owns the only Florida invader in the Lexus Raven Run: his homebred Curlin’s Approval, a winner of three of four races this year at Gulfstream Park.

Marty Wolfson trains Curlin’s Approval for Alter, who during his training days saddled 10 starters at Keeneland. He won two races here with the most recent coming in 2001.

Alter trained No More Flowers, who finished 15th in the 1987 Kentucky Derby (G1), and conditioned millionaire Jolie’s Halo to two of his three Grade 1 victories in the early 1990s.

In Curlin’s Approval, Alter has a filly who is ready for her graded stakes debut.

“She’s Kentucky-bred but she was raised at Bridlewood Farm (in Ocala, Fla.), where I have had horses for 30 years,” Alter said before the filly went out for light exercise on a sloppy main track.

Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard Curlin’s Approval on Saturday. He rode her to win her most recent race, the Added Elegance Stakes, on Aug. 28.

“She went 22 and change, 44 and change, 1:08 and 1:22,” Alter said of the 1½-length victory. “She beat older fillies in there, including Kiss to Remember, who’s a multiple stakes winner.”

Curlin’s Approval had her final work for Saturday’s race with a five-eighths work in :58.78 at Gulfstream last Friday.

“There were no races for her down there, so she has had a couple of strong breezes to make up for it,” Alter said of the filly, who also had a six-furlong work in 1:11.07 on Sept. 24. “In her last breeze she went :58 and out three-quarters in 1:11.”