Frosted Tuned for ‘Big Race’ in Whitney Stakes
Frosted Tuned for ‘Big Race’ in Whitney Stakes by Reinier Macatangay: Godolphin Racing’s Frosted completely dominated the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) on June 11, winning by over 14 lengths and earning a 136 TimeformUS Speed Figure in the process. While he remains a major player tomorrow in the $1,250,000 Whitney Stakes, there are a few factors for handicappers to consider.
First, here is a short overview of his record.
The 4-year-old Tapit colt trained by Kiaran McLaughlin has compiled a 16-5-6-1 record at this point, but always gave people the impression of a “hanger,” or a horse who stuck around the leaders and never won often. The perception was distorted by the number of times he ran against Triple Crown-champion American Pharoah.
For example, in last year’s Kentucky Derby (GI), Frosted made a nice run from 15th place early on, but unfortunately the pace went at a mild rate at best, and American Pharoah was one of those horses running up front. Frosted did his best, and managed to close into a fourth-place finish behind American Pharoah, Firing Line and Dortmund.
Two months later, Frosted faced American Pharoah a second time in the Belmont Stakes (GI), and once again made a good rally on the far turn. Unfortunately, American Pharoah had an easy enough lead and drew clear.
Frosted had a nice runner-up finish to Texas Red in the local Jim Dandy Stakes (GII) before he faced American Pharoah once more in the Travers (GI), and this time he really pressed American Pharoah hard from the beginning. Frosted helped American Pharoah lose the race through the speed duel, but still could not finish ahead while fading to third as Keen Ice swallowed both of them. By this time, Frosted had to be sick of American Pharoah.
Weeks later, Frosted picked up his second graded stakes win in the Pennsylvania Derby (GII), before going on to Keeneland and facing American Pharoah for the last time in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI). The connections decided not to press American Pharoah at Keeneland, and Pharoah romped. Meanwhile, Frosted did muster an early move, before fading severely to seventh place and over 12 lengths behind the winner.
So, forget the notion of Frosted as a hanger. American Pharoah distorted his record last year.
Frosted returned strong this year, winning the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 (GII) by five lengths, although he finished a disappointing fifth in California Chrome’s Dubai World Cup (GI) victory the following month.
Then, came the incredible Met Mile performance going one turn at Belmont, where the track was severely biased in favor of closers. Was Frosted a closer? He began in fifth, roughly three lengths off the pace. Also, can Frosted possibly repeat such a monstrous effort? Even if he regresses a little, McLaughlin believes he can win anyway.
“We’re not looking for a repeat performance, but I don’t think we have to,” McLaughlin said. “We’re just looking for him to run a big race.”
The Whitney distance is 1 1/8 miles around two turns at Saratoga. Unlike the June 11 Belmont card, the Saratoga track is likely going to play fair, although if there is a bias, it does tend to favor closers.
In addition, Frosted faces a lack of pace this time, with Noble Bird set to coast on an uncontested lead if the race plays like how it looks on paper. Perhaps El Kabier, Comfort or Effinex can apply pressure, or even Frosted if the connections decide to utilize his capable early speed. Otherwise, Noble Bird might slip away and steal this race.
Upstart is entered too, and it seems like a long time ago he handled Frosted so easily in the spring prep races at Gulfstream Park last year. The 4-year-old ridgling will run as a closer and needs a complete pace collapse.
Use Frosted in tickets, but if there is a good alternative, do not be afraid to go against him either. The point of this game is to make money, and not just win. If Frosted dominates again by 14 though, just sit back and enjoy the show. If he can win this, it would help set up a nice showdown with California Chrome at the Breeders’ Cup.
The Whitney 2016 Post Positions & Odds
Race 10 6:18 p.m. ET
1 El Kabeir 20-1 Santana, Jr./Terranova, II
2 Comfort 8-1 Velazquez/Pletcher
3 Upstart 10-1 Ortiz, Jr./Violette, Jr.
4 Frosted 3-5 Rosario/McLaughlin
5 Noble Bird 10-1 Leparoux/Casse
6 Effinex 7-2 Smith/Jerkens