Curlin was still pretty much a one-horse sire at the end of 2013, as none of his other four stakes winners that year were the type that attract much notice. Nonetheless, he was rising steadily in the ranks as his runners matured. From ninth on the 2012 American freshman sire list and third on the 2013 American second-crop sire list, he became the leading American third-crop sire of 2014. That year, he was represented by 12 stakes winners including Palace Malice and his second graded stakes winner, 2014 John C, Mabee Stakes (USA-IIT) winner Moulin de Mougin.
Currently eighth on the American general sire list, Curlin is on pace to have an even bigger year in 2015. With the bulk of the year's most important races still to come, this year's runners already include five new graded stakes winners, headed by two-time Grade I winner Curalina and Santa Anita Oaks (USA-I) winner Stellar Wind. The stallion also has his first juvenile graded stakes winner, Schuylerville Stakes (USA-III) winner Off the Tracks.
In retrospect, it seems obvious that Curlin's sire profile would improve as his progeny matured. A big, massive, lengthy horse, he was unraced at 2 before becoming the unquestioned champion of his generation at 3 and 4, and his best distance was 10 furlongs. Further, he was sired by Smart Strike, himself primarily a sire of horses that improved with maturity. That is not the profile of a sire likely to get early-maturing stock or runners capable of excelling at the sprint distances that constitute the bulk of American racing.
Curlin is still not a great sire by any stretch of the imagination. His first three crops of 327 named foals (including four born on Southern Hemisphere time) include 175 winners (53.5%) and 17 stakes winners (5.2%). Nonetheless, he is proving quite useful for those wanting a horse with a bit more stamina than is typical in the American market, and he is the sort of horse capable of coming up with a breakthrough runner at any time. In his case, patience is paying off.