Godolphin colt Frosted bids for third successive win when he lines up in Woodward Stakes at Saratoga
For the past two Saturdays two of the standout performances around the world have been in North America.
Two weeks ago California Chrome’s classy Pacific Classic victory laid down the gauntlet only for Arrogate to produce a jaw-dropping win in the Travers Stakes last week.
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Frosted is the third section to the triptych of what is already looking to be a vintage Breeders’ Cup Classic in November and the remodelled Godolphin colt bids to extend his record to three straight Grade 1 wins in the Woodward Stakes at Saratoga early on Sunday morning.
Frosted is a completely different racehorse to the one who finished fifth to California Chrome in the Dubai World Cup in March. Following his 14-length demolition of the Metropolitan Mile field in June and easy victory in the Whitney Stakes last month, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin now feels that the East Coast’s leading light is ready to take on the West Coast duo of California Chrome and Arrogate at Santa Anita.
“Maybe we’ll be disappointed when we hook up with California Chrome again, but we at least think this time we can be right there with him, if not beat him, in California in November,” McLaughlin told The National by telephone on Friday.
Frosted must concede weight to his eight rivals in the US$600,000 (Dh2.2 million) Woodward, staged over 1,800 metres. With Joel Rosario in the irons he will lump 124lbs, with Dubai World Cup runner-up Mubtaahij, now also trained by McLaughlin, on 118lbs.
Frosted is the overwhelming favourite. This is largely down to the fact he faces only one other Grade 1 winner in the probable pacesetter Bradester, the Stephen Foster Handicap winner who races off 122lbs, but this also factors in his outrageous improvement since the return from Dubai.
“I think the time we gave him from the Dubai World Cup to the Met Mile was perfect, 70 days off,” McLaughlin said. “Last year as a three year old we were burning him almost every month.
“He has matured and being able to give him Lasix is another factor,” added McLaughlin, which is banned in Dubai on race day. “He is not a bleeder, but we consider it a help. He has also been back training right-handed at Sheikh Mohammed’s Greentree, which is a brilliant facility.”
Rosario, the Dubai World Cup-winning rider, will partner Frosted for the ninth time and will be seeking his fifth win aboard the Darley-bred colt.
“Joel has a special way with this horse – he never moves on him, he never hits him and it is fascinating that he gets on so well with the horse,” McLaughlin added.
Bradester is set to emerge under Joe Bravo from Gate 4, one outside Frosted with Mubtaahij, ridden by Irad Ortiz, out widest of all in Gate 9.
With Bradester likely to hit the front early, Rosario has a choice to either sit tight and trail or go quickly and try to burn off his rival like when he made all the running in the Whitney at the New York racecourse a month ago.
“It was Joel’s decision to go to the lead last time because he broke well and Joel did not want to pull him back,” McLaughlin said.
“Personally I would like Frosted to be second or third off that horse and pass him to go on to win but when the gates open it will be up to Joel.
“He’s in super form and is doing great. We’ll see how fast Joe Bravo sends his horse to the front, because he is quite a fast horse.
“Regarding Mubtaahij, it is obviously hard to top the second in the World Cup but he is doing very well and should run well. His post position is not great, but hopefully we can get him settled and not lose any ground. If for some reason Frosted is not on his ‘A Game’ then hopefully Mubtaahij will be.”
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Published: September 2, 2016 04:00 AM