Frosted (Tapit) and jockey Joel Rosario win the Metropolitan Handicap (Gr I) at Belmont Park 6/11/16. Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin. Owner: Godolphin Stable
Godolphin Stables’ Frosted came out of his eye-popping victory in Saturday’s Grade 1, $ 1.25 million Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap in good order and was headed back to the Greentree training facility in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Sunday morning.
The 123rd running of the prestigious Met Mile was Frosted’s first time racing at Belmont Park since finishing second to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in last year’s Belmont Stakes, and his first start in the U.S. following his fifth-place finish in the Dubai World Cup March 26.
Under jockey Joel Rosario, also aboard for wins in the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby last year, Frosted cruised to a 14 ¼-length victory, believed to be the largest margin in race history. The final time of 1:32.73 was a stakes record, topping Honour and Glory’s 1:32.81 from 1996. Frosted also earned an automatic berth into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
“He came out of it great. He was all pumped up after the race. He was happy,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “We were just like in shock; speechless, really. It was incredible to watch it unfold. You say to yourself, ‘What’d we do different to make him run like that,’ but it’s hard to say.
“Joel gets along with him, and he had time since Dubai. Neal, my brother, went with him this winter so we kept him in our program,” he added. “Rob Massey was getting on him in Dubai and came back. They did a great job. I’ve been going up [to Greentree] watching him work and he was doing fabulous, but he’s always trained well. That race yesterday was just a ‘wow’ race. It was fabulous.”
McLaughlin said the next spot for Frosted would likely be the Grade 1, $ 1.25 million Whitney August 6 at Saratoga, where he was second in the Jim Dandy and third in the Travers last summer.
“We kind of need to look at it but probably the Whitney would be the right spot. It’s 60 days. Last year he was running often. Now when you look, we gave him a little time into Dubai’s prep race and he ran huge. He ran well in the World Cup but he was wide and finished fifth, but I feel like we were second-best,” McLaughlin said. “Then we came back here and gave him 70 days and he won like that. We don’t probably want to go every 30 days. We’ll probably wait for the Whitney.”
Winner of the Belmont Stakes with Jazil in 2006, the same year he trained Invasor to a Horse of the Year championship, McLaughlin said Frosted’s Met Mile was one of his biggest career highlights.
“Way up there in the top five, for sure. It’s our biggest win for Godolphin ever. It’s just so neat with this horse because he’s such a talented horse and has everything. He checks all the boxes. Right race, right day, good horse,” he said. “He’s a year older and he’s still going, a very sound horse and he’s great mentally. He’s really a special horse, a neat horse. He’ll have a great stud career hopefully. He’s so well-bred, a beautiful horse with a great resume now.”
During the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival, McLaughlin also won the Grade 1, $ 1 million Ogden Phipps – a ‘Win and You’re In’ race for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff – with Cavorting on Saturday and the $ 150,000 Jersey Girl Stakes with 3-year-old filly Kareena on Friday.
Cavorting, a multiple Grade 1-winning daughter of Bernardini, improved to four-for-five lifetime at Belmont including wins in the 2015 Jersey Girl and Grade 2 Ruffian May 14. Fourth choice in a field of seven, she won the Phipps by 2 ½ lengths in 1:40.14 for 1 1/16 miles.
“She’s gotten really good. She’s always been a really nice filly but the one turn helps and settling her. We’ve gotten her back off the pace twice now,” McLaughlin said. “Where we go, what we do, we’ll have to see. Most likely we’re going to see if she can get two turns at Saratoga.”
Kareena will be pointed to the Grade 1, $ 500,000 Longines Test going seven furlongs August 6 at Saratoga off her 6 ¼-length win as the favorite in the six-furlong Jersey Girl, her third career start and first in a stakes. Her final time of 1:07.87 was just .21 off the track record.
“I’m not sure about the time, but it was a great win,” McLaughlin said. “It was huge. Again, she’s been training at Saratoga and doing well. Everybody up there has done a great job. We’ll look at the Test for her. A lot of people thought we maybe should have been in [Saturday’s Grade 1, $ 700,000] Acorn but it was only her third start and we thought it was a bit much. We weren’t looking to run against those type yet.”
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