After watching Saturday’s $1.25 million Metropolitan Handicap (GI) at Belmont Park on Saturday, racing fans really could only wonder one thing: “Frosted, what have you been waiting for?”
Maybe it was because he wasn’t squaring off against a Triple Crown winner in American Pharoah or knocking heads with North America’s richest runner of all time in California Chrome in the Dubai desert or maybe he just finally matured into the horse he was always meant to be. We’ll never really know, but his devastating 14 1/4-length score — the widest margin of victory in Met Mile history — left no doubt in anyone’s mind that, no matter what happened before, Frosted has arrived and will be a force to be reckoned with in 2016.
Carrying top weight of 120 pounds, which included jockey Joel Rosario, Frosted saved ground along the rail and sat mid-pack off the early pace of :22.78, :45.35 set by Noble Bird. As Anchor Down made the lead in time to log three quarters in 1:09.36, Frosted waged an all-out assault on the rivals in front of him and, soon after Rosario swung him out four wide at the top of the lane for clear running room, it was his race to lose. With every stride to the wire, Frosted drew away easily to cross the wire in front, stopping the clock in stakes record time of 1:32.73.
“It was unbelievable,” trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. “It was a wild, wild race. 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.”
As the near 5-2 lukewarm favorite, Frosted paid $6.70, $4.80 and $3.40. Anchor Down held on to second, rewarding his backers with $10.80 and $6.60 at odds of 12-1, while 9-1 chance Upstart was another length back in third and was good for $5.90. The exacta paid $77 and the trifecta returned $508.
Marking, Ami’s Flatter, Noble Bird, Blofeld, Stanford, Tamarkuz and Calculator completed the order of finish after El Kabier, Donworth and Sloane Avenue were withdrawn.
Frosted has now won five of 15 career starts, with six seconds and a third, for earnings of $3,182,800. He won last year’s Wood Memorial Stakes (GI) and Pennsylvania Derby (GI) and also this year’s round two of the Al Maktoum Challenge (GII) at Meydan Racecourse in February. He was also second in last year’s Belmont Stakes and third in the Travers.
“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.”
The Met Mile was a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, qualifying Frosted for an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) at Santa Anita in November.