Frosted Fantastic in Met Mile Runaway Victory
By Frank Angst, courtesy of Blood-Horse
In his first 2016 U.S. start after opening the season in Dubai, Frosted delivered a record-breaking performance in the $1.25 million Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap on June 11 at Belmont Park.
Guided to the four path for running room off the far turn by jockey Joel Rosario, Godolphin Stable’s homebred Frosted seized the lead and only built on that advantage through the stretch to post a 14 1/4-length victory, completing the one-mile race in stakes-record time of 1:32.73 on a fast track.
“It was unbelievable. It was a wild, wild race,” said winning trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. “He has been doing great all the time and you say that every time that they are doing great, but for him to beat that great of horses like that is pretty incredible. ... He is very talented and it was a great win for the entire team.”
McLaughlin swept the day's two biggest main-track races for older horses as he sent out Frosted in the Met Mile and Cavorting in the Ogden Phipps Stakes. Rosario secured his third graded stakes win on the day's Belmont card.
The Met Mile is a Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, which means Frosted is guaranteed a spot in the race.
Anchor Down broke well in the Met Mile then tracked Noble Bird through a quarter-mile in :22.78. Joined by Marking on the turn, those three battled through a half-mile in :45.35 punched by Noble Bird with Anchor Down edging to the lead through six furlongs in 1:09.36.
But Frosted, carrying high weight of 120 pounds in the field of 10, stayed close while racing in-hand through the turn and unleashed his overwhelming finish just before the six-furlong mark, quickly making up a half-length and rolling through the final quarter mile in :23.37.
“This is a nice horse. He did it all on his own. I was just a passenger,” Rosario said. “He really ran a big race today, probably the best race of his life. It's very special to come here today and make all of us very happy.”
Anchor Down held on for second to finish in the top three in a Grade 1 race for the first time in his career. Upstart rallied to finish third.
“Frosted is a really nice horse. My horse is doing really well right now. He ran really big last time but it wasn't the quality of this field,” said Jose Ortiz after finishing second on Anchor Down. “Today, he proved himself against better horses and he ran big.”
Favored Frosted returned $6.70 to win, $4.80 to place, and $3.40 to show while Anchor Down returned $10.80 and $6.60 for the minor awards. Upstart paid $5.90 to show.
Last year's TwinSpires Wood Memorial Stakes winner Frosted opened the season with a dominating Group 2 win at Meydan followed by a fifth-place finish in the $10 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline.
McLaughlin, who used to be based in Dubai in the winter and routinely brought horses over to the U.S. to compete, rested the son of Tapit from racing for about 2 1/2 months. Frosted prepared for Saturday's record-breaking effort with five workouts from May 6 to June 2 on the all-weather track at Greentree Training Center.
Watch the 2016 Metropolitan Handicap replay: