Frankel well-represented in Epsom Derby; Rubilinda shines in New York
By Dick Powell
The Derby (G1) will be run at Epsom Downs in Surrey, England on Saturday. First run in 1780, it remains the premier measuring stick for determining the best 3YO male in Europe.
This year, the field could be as large as 19 and a remarkable six of them are sired by GALILEO (Sadler’s Wells). Aidan O’Brien has seven entered and while six of them are sired by Galileo, no riders have been named as stable top dog Ryan Moore is still making up his mind as to who to choose. Not easy being Ryan.
The dominance of Galileo is an amazing story as his horses can run at any distance. We saw in the recent round of Guineas races how well his offspring did at a mile and he will have a different crew of runners for the stretch out to 1 ½ miles in the Derby.
CHURCHILL (Galileo) won the English and Irish 2000 Guineas (G1) and while he won’t attempt the Derby, he will most likely stretch out to 10 furlongs later in the season. WINTER (Galileo) was the upset winner of the 1000 Guineas (G1) in England and came back last Saturday at the Curragh in Ireland to take down their 1000 Guineas.
So four classics run at a mile in two different countries and all the winners were sired by Galileo. Incredibly, Galileo has sired 64 Group or Grade 1 stakes winners and Saturday’s Epsom Derby might add to the list.
Of all his great runners, none were better than FRANKEL (Galileo). Undefeated in 14 career starts at two, three and four, he earned the highest Timeform rating ever granted and is on the short list of greatest Thoroughbreds ever.
Now at stud, Frankel is living up to expectations with eight group stakes winners from his first crop to race, including a classic winner in Japan, and he has two of the 19 sophomores expected to contest the “Blue Riband of the Turf.” CRACKSMAN (Frankel) is the early 7-to-2 favorite for John Gosden and Frankie Dettori. He’s raced only twice, taking a one-mile maiden at Newmarket last October and a conditions win going 10 furlongs at Epsom in late April. These are the same connections that won the Derby in 2015 with GOLDEN HORN (Cape Cross) and the buzz is that Cracksman will handle the move up in class and distance.
EMINENT (Frankel) is listed at 7-to-1 off two wins to start his career and an even sixth in the 2000 Guineas. He is expected to stretch out nicely.
So, we have been hearing about Frankel since last summer but very few have raced in New York until last Saturday’s seventh race, a maiden special weight contest going six furlongs on the inner turf course. Making her career debut was RUBILINDA (Frankel), a 3YO filly trained by Chad Brown.
Facing a field of eight, Rubilinda was sent off as the 3-to-2 favorite and broke from the far outside with Jose Ortiz in the irons. After a long delay at the start when GAME FACTOR (The Factor) had to be scratched, Rubilinda missed the break and trailed the field down the backstretch.
Jose Ortiz quickly got her over to the rail and began to move on the far turn. He didn’t want to get carried wide so he poked around for running room and found it at the top of the stretch. Rubilinda dropped down to the inside and began to pass horses. In an instant, she went from seventh approaching the top of the stretch to looming boldly behind the leaders.
With about a furlong to go, Ortiz swung outside and had three horses to pass. They never stood a chance as Rubilinda displayed the same electrifying acceleration as her daddy did. She quickly passed the front runners and the race was over by the sixteenth pole as Ortiz throttled her down in deep stretch.
Rubilinda’s final time for the six furlongs, run over a turf course listed as “good,” was 1:08.72 with her final quarter, according to the Equibase chart, in 22 4/5 seconds. Trakus had a different final time of 1:09.35 for Rubilinda but approximately the same final quarter in 22.80 seconds.
Frankel had this unique ability to stay in cruising speed while his opponents were flailing away. When Tom Queally would ask him for run, the response was immediate. So far, with his first crop to race being 3YOs, we have seen many of his group stakes winners display that instant burst and they even seem to want to go long. Saturday’s Epsom Derby will be an acid test since the farthest Frankel ever raced was 1 ¼ miles. If a colt from his first crop to race can win the Derby at 1 ½ miles, the sky will be the limit and his sire, Galileo, will have his hands full competing for the blue hen mares of the world.