Frosted a short price in small Whitney field
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Despite its hefty $1.25 million purse and the allure of a feespaid berth in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic in the fall, Saturday’s Grade 1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga drew only a six-horse field.
Perhaps the presence of Frosted has something to do with that.
Frosted put forth arguably the best performance by any horse this year when he set records for time and margin of victory in winning the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap on June 11 at Belmont Park. Frosted won the Met Mile by 14 1/4 lengths, and his time of 1:32.73 was the fastest mile in the 123 runnings of the race.
“If he runs back to that, we’re all running for second money,” said Rick Violette, the trainer of Whitney contender Upstart, beaten 15 1/4 lengths when third in the Met Mile. “But the odds are he won’t run back to that. But he can revert and run his normal ‘ A’ race and still win, too. We have to step up.”
Frosted, trained by Kiaran Mclaughlin for Godolphin Racing, drew post 4 and was made the 3-5 morning-line favorite by Saratoga linemaker Travis Stone. Effinex, the winner of the Grade 2 Suburban on July 9, drew post 6 and was made the second choice at 7-2.
The others entered were El Kabeir (post 1, 20-1), Comfort (post 2, 8-1), Upstart (post 3, 10-1), and Noble Bird (post 5, 10-1).
The Whitney is a Win and You’re In race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 5 at Santa Anita.
Though Frosted was magnificent in winning the Met Mile around one turn, his two previous graded stakes wins came in races run at 1 1/8 miles around two turns. Last year at 3, Frosted won the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, though both victories came against modest fields.
“We feel comfortable and confident the mile and an eighth is not going to be an issue,” Mclaughlin said at the draw, held Tuesday night at Sperry’s, a downtown Saratoga Springs restaurant.
Frosted has yet to win at Saratoga, finishing second in a maiden race at 2, second in the Jim Dandy, and third in the Travers last year. In the Travers, he pressed American Pharoah, tactics that were employed by jockey Jose Lezcano, who only picked up the mount when regular rider Joel Rosario was injured in a spill earlier on the card.
Rosario has a 3-2-0 record on Frosted from seven rides.
Effinex finished ahead of Frosted the only time the two faced each other. That was in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, where Effinex finished second, 6 1/2 lengths behind American Pharoah, while Frosted was seventh, 6 1/4 lengths behind Effinex.
Effinex finished fourth in last year’s Woodward Stakes at Saratoga.
Noble Bird finished last in the 2015 Whitney. He does look like the primary speed in this year’s edition.
“It would appear that way,” trainer Mark Casse said.
With only six runners in the field, $55,000 in purse money reserved for the seventh- and
eighth-place finishers will revert back to the New York Racing Association.
The Whitney is the 10th of 12 races on a card that includes the Grade 1 Test. First post is 1 p.m. Eastern.
Saratoga: Rematch in Test
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The first three finishers from last month’s 1 1/16-mile Mother Goose at Belmont Park – Off the Tracks, Lewis Bay, and Lightstream – will meet again at seven furlongs in Saturday’s Grade 1 Test Stakes at Saratoga.
Making her fourth start, Lightstream suffered her first loss in the Grade 1 Mother Goose. She was beaten 4 1/2 lengths by Off the Tracks and a length by Lewis Bay. But trainer Brian Lynch is confident that Lightstream can turn the tables on both rivals while turning back in distance for the Test.
Lynch said he thought Lightstream was not “100 percent in proper condition” going into the Mother Goose. Lightstream blew out three furlongs in an easy 36 seconds here Wednesday under jockey Joel Rosario and looked very sharp.
“With all the rain this weekend, we all missed some works we had scheduled, and I felt blowing her out a little threeeighths this morning to open up her carburetors would be perfect, and she did it very easily with Joel,” Lynch said. “I make no excuses for her on Saturday.”
Lightstream, Lewis Bay, and Off the Tracks will break adjacent to one another in posts 5, 6, and 7 in the eight-horse field for the Test. The remainder of the field is Paola Queen (post 1), One True Kiss (2), potential favorite Kareena (3), Malibu Stacy (4), and Kinsley Kisses (8).
The Test, for 3-year-old fillies, is one of five stakes on Saturday, including the Grade 1 Whitney and three stakes on the grass – the Grade 3 Waya and the restricted Lure and De La Rose.
Grade 1 winners Ball Dancing and Photo Call are among the 10 fillies and mares entered to go 1 1/2 miles in the Waya. Ball Dancing is seeking her first victory since capturing the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley over yielding ground at Keeneland in the spring of 2015, having failed to hit the board in four subsequent starts. Photo Call, the winner of the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive last fall at Santa Anita, captured the Grade 3 Orchid this spring at Gulfstream Park.
Lynch will also be in action earlier Saturday when he sends out the 2-year-old Brooklyn Bobby for his much-anticipated career debut in a 1 1/16-mile maiden race on the grass. Brooklyn Bobby, named after the legendary trainer Bobby Frankel, is thought to be the first horse sired by European champion Frankel to run in the U.S. Brooklyn Bobby is out of the mare Balance, who is a halfsister to 2010 Horse of the Year Zenyatta.
“I’m excited to run a horse with a pedigree like his,” said Lynch. “He’s obviously come over with a lot of hype. The 2-year-olds by Frankel have already shown to be very precocious horses, and I’m expecting to see a big effort out of him. We’ve worked him against some very good older horses like Grand Arch to get a feel for him, and he’s held his own. I’m quietly confident his class and pedigree will show up on Saturday.”
Del Mar: Sorrento Stakes
DEL MAR, Calif. – The maiden Champagne Room was supplemented to Saturday’s $200,000 Sorrento Stakes for 2-year-old fillies on Wednesday at a cost of $2,000. For trainer Peter Eurton, making the investment was an easy decision.
“She’s doing too good,” he said.
Champagne Room will be part of a small field in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes, which is run at 6 1/2 furlongs. The race is expected to be led by Miss Southern Miss, the runnerup in the Landaluce Stakes at Santa Anita on July 9.
Champagne Room finished second to Morganite, beaten 1 1/2 lengths, in her only start, a maiden race at five furlongs here July 16. From Eurton’s perspective, the race was too short for Champagne Room.
“The five-eighths race was like a work,” Eurton said. “She didn’t get to run much. She galloped out well.”
By Broken Vow, Champagne Room races for Sharon Alesia, Joe Ciaglia, and the ExlineBorder partnership. She was purchased for $310,000 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. sale of 2-year-olds in training in April.
The prospective field for the Sorrento includes the maidenrace winners Auntjenn and Back Off along with Unforgivable U, who was third in the Juan Gonzalez Memorial Stakes at the Oak Tree at Pleasanton meeting on July 2.
Morganite will miss the race because of illness and will be pointed for the $300,000 Del Mar Debutante on Sept. 3, trainer John Sadler said.
The $150,000 La Jolla for 3-year-olds on turf also will be run Saturday. Among those expected for the Grade 2 race are the top two finishers from the Oceanside Stakes on opening day, Monster Bea and Moonlight Drive.
Mountaineer: W.VA. Derby
Departing is entered in the seventh race Saturday at Mountaineer, the $200,000 West Virginia Governor’s Cup. Departing has been to Mountaineer before, in 2013, when he won the West Virginia Derby.
Tom Drury trains Departing now, but Al Stall trained him then, and one race after Departing starts on Saturday, Stall will try to win the Grade 2, $750,000 West Virginia Derby for the second time. On Friday at Saratoga, Stall will put Forevamo on a van bound for Chester, W.VA., with hopes that the colt can duplicate Departing’s success.
“We’re doing the exact same everything we did with Departing,” Stall said. “He’s even in the same stall here Departing was in.”
Forevamo drew post 11 for Saturday’s 1 1/8-mile race and will have Florent Geroux in the irons for the third straight race. Geroux rode him when he finished a closing second to Sharp Azteca in the Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs and was aboard for a three-quarterlength allowance win June 25 at Churchill.
“We gave him a breather after the Pat Day Mile,” Stall said. “We decided to shut him down and try to use that nonwinnersof-two condition at the end of Churchill, and boom, the race showed up just right for him. That was a good race for him. He just galloped past those horses and then kind of waited on them. Florent said, ‘Next time I ride him, I’ll make my move later.’ ”
Forevamo behaved similarly in his win before the allowance race, the Jean Lafitte last fall at Delta Downs, where he swooped to the lead and then seemed to wait on his competition.
“Hopefully, that’s something he just grows out of,” said Stall.
Forevamo is by Uncle Mo. The Brittlyn Stable of Evelyn and Maurice Benoit paid $320,000 for him at an April sale of 2-year-olds in training last year. Forevamo lost two maiden races before winning the Jean Lafitte and has won only twice in nine starts, but he was second to Gun Runner in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds and had a wide trip when fifth in the Louisiana Derby. His connections have long had Saturday’s race marked on their calendars, and Forevamo should be set for a contending performance at a fair price.
The West Virginia Derby is part of an all-stakes card with $1.65 million in purses that begins at 2 p.m. Eastern. The local derby has a scheduled post time of 5:21 and has Cupid, drawn on the rail, as the 3-1 morning-line favorite.
Effinex is the 7-2 morning-line second choice for the Whitney.