by John Mucciolo
Did we just witness the second coming of Curlin?
Juddmonte Farms’ homebred Hidden Scroll drew the rail for his debut in a strong maiden field in the 4TH race on Saturday at Gulfstream Park. The Bill Mott trainee took advantage of the inner post slot to decimate his foes, drawing off to a dazzling 14-length win while never being asked.
Piloted by Joel Rosario, the Kentucky-bred broke slowly but gained control soon after the break. Hidden Scroll was one length clear after a swift half-mile in :44.75, and the edge only widened after that. The bay was 6 1/2 lengths in front after reaching six furlongs in a wicked 1:09.43, and he continued to pour it on. The impressive colt finished off one-mile over the sloppy, sealed strip in a fantastic 1:34.82 while in hand through the stretch.
The Hard Spun three-year-old had been training in good fashion in advance of his initial start but still went postward at odds of 8-1. He may have been a secret leading up to his first offering but the well-bred colt will become a very popular name this season following his tour-de-force on Saturday.
Hidden Scroll is out of the unraced Empire Maker mare Sheba Queen, who is a half-sister to Grade 2 vixen Starformer. His second dam is the brilliant Group 1 heroine Etoile Montante. This pedigree is flooded with Grade 1 winners like Sightseek, Tates Creek and Expert Eye.
It’s way too early to anoint Hidden Scroll as anything more than a superb maiden winner at this stage of his development. However, the way he won brought back a memory of another colt who ran off to a similar type of debut score on the Gulfstream surface.
In February 2007, a Smart Strike colt named Curlin exploded to a breathtaking 12 3/4-length win here while posting a 101 BRIS Speed figure. The wunderkind obviously went on to great things, retiring with more than $10 million in lifetime earnings and going down as one of the top race horses in my lifetime.
Comparing any runner with Curlin is foolish, of course, especially after a single start. However, it’s fun to dream about the potential of Hidden Scroll.