Frosted an Easy Choice in Woodward Stakes 2016
Frosted an Easy Choice in Woodward Stakes 2016 by Reinier Macatangay: Once a punching bag for handicappers who misunderstood his 2015 season, Godolphin’s Frosted comes into this weekend as one of the nation’s top older horses. The 4-year-old Tapit colt appears so dominant on the east coast, that it might be a waste of time to handicap the $600,000 Woodward Stakes (GI) at Saratoga on Saturday.
Alas, fans enjoy reading about Frosted, so here is an article about the race. Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Frosted’s overall race record currently stands at 17-6-6-1, and he nears $4 million in earnings. His 3-year-old season was affected by the legendary American Pharoah’s presence, but now he is on a roll.
Under Joel Rosario, Frosted did everything right last month when taking the Whitney Stakes (GI). This horse survived a hot pace, while facing initial pressure from Upstart and Noble Bird. Then, Frosted not only pulled away in the stretch, he coasted to the wire in hand. Visually, the race was a perfect masterpiece.
In his start before the Whitney, Frosted destroyed the Metropolitan Handicap (GI) field by over 14 lengths. The Met Mile is not typically a race to dominate. Rather, the runners usually stagger home. Frosted romped.
McLaughlin chose the Woodward because he does not believe the Whitney took too much out of Frosted.
“His last race wasn’t a ‘wow’ off-the-charts race on numbers and things, so we thought we could run back in four weeks,” he said for the press release.
Fair enough. McLaughlin went on to mention how the Woodward might act as the last prep race for Frosted before the Breeders’ Cup, which could give a few handicappers slight pause if they believe Frosted will not be cranked.
It is unlikely though Frosted can lose this race, even without his best effort.
Frosted came home so easily in the Whitney, and did all the “dirty” work on the lead. Yet, Frosted is capable rating too. Just watch the replay of his incredible Met Mile win, as well as the Pennsylvania Derby (GII) and Wood Memorial Stakes (GI) last year. This is one versatile horse capable of adapting to different pace scenarios.
Forget about trying to be clever. In a fair race, Frosted will win this weekend and go into the Breeders’ Cup on a hot streak of three Grade I stakes victories in a row (assuming this is actually the final prep for him).
For practice, it is only proper to go through a couple of the overmatched opponents.
Bradester will attract support, and owns dangerous early speed for trainer Eddie Kenneally. Expect rider Joe Bravo to send this one to the lead from the fourth post position, but how much pressure will appear?
Bradester, at minimum, must tackle Samraat to his outside in the initial stages. Samraat, who competed in the top 3-year-old races in 2014, runs his best race when on the lead. His connections know this and will not attempt cute tactics.
So, Bradester and Samraat should knock heads early. Right behind those two, Frosted and Mubtaahij will stalk, with Mubtaahij on the outside. Perhaps a scenario exists where the field traps Frosted in a box. It happens.
From a bit further back, Shaman Ghost and Tale of Verve are the two horses to watch. Shaman Ghost receives Lasix for this race, and the debate will continue forever, but this writer feels Lasix moves up racehorses.
Tale of Verve scored a nice local allowance win recently over My Man Sam. It is just hard to imagine the announcer saying, “And coming down the stretch, Frosted is in a fierce battle with Tale of Verve. Oh my!”
Horses mature and develop over time though, and Tale of Verve is a decent horse with room to grow.
Breaking Lucky, Catholic Cowboy and Tapin Mojo complete the field.
Races are not won until the first horse crosses the finish line, so it is likely not a good idea to completely scoff at Frosted’s competition. A number of crazy scenarios may happen, including weird disqualifications.
If betting this race, simply single Frosted in multi-race wagers and use Shaman Ghost and Tale of Verve underneath. As fans, let us hope he wins and goes into the Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) against California Chrome and Arrogate. What a matchup it would be.