Frosted turns in strong BC Classic prep with Penn Derby score

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 19th, 2015

A three-week turnaround proved no hurdle for Frosted in Saturday's $1 million Pennsylvania Derby (G2) at Parx Racing. What helped most was the absence of American Pharoah and a return to stalk-and-pounce tactics

Last seen softening up the Triple Crown winner so much in the early stages of the Travers (G1) that he opened the door for Keen Ice to run them both down, Frosted was more patiently handled here by regular rider Joel Rosario, who was injured shortly before the Travers and was replaced by Jose Lezcano.

Saving ground in mid-pack while Mr. Z set the pace while hounded by Iron Fist, Frosted was taken to the outside of those two approaching the stretch, seized the advantage before the eighth pole and drew off to win by two lengths in a time of 1:50.04 for 1 1/18 miles over a fast track.

The Godolphin homebred son of Tapit, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, paid $4. Iron Fist was eight lengths clear of 15-1 shot Tommy Macho for second.

Frosted completed his final furlong in a solid :11.97 in what was undoubtedly his final prep for the $5 million Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland on October 31.

Second in the Holy Bull (G2) and fourth in the Fountain of Youth (G2) to kick off the season, Frosted had corrective surgery to fix a breathing problem prior to a two-length score in the Wood Memorial (G1) at Aqueduct. He then spent the rest of the spring and summer chasing last year's top juveniles, American Pharoah and Texas Red, finishing fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), second in the Belmont (G1) and Jim Dandy (G2), and third in the Travers.

The style of this victory doesn't necessarily mean Frosted will close the gap between himself and American Pharoah in the Breeders' Cup, but it does prove the gray hasn't lost his competitive edge over the course of a long season. He now has six weeks to prepare for the richest race on the American calendar, and indications are he should be able to turn in a strong effort.

Iron Fist ran a much more credible race here than in the West Virginia Derby (G2) last time. Well bet in that event, he unfortunately broke slow and then attempted to rally over a part of the track (the inside) that wasn't the place to be on that particular day. The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee has a bright future.

Disappointments in the Pennsylvania Derby field included second choice Upstart, a non-threatening fifth, and the Todd Pletcher-trained Madefromlucky, the West Virginia Derby and Peter Pan (G2) winner who was no factor finishing seventh.

Earlier in the card, 13-1 shot Trouble Kid held off 4-5 favorite Limousine Liberal by a neck in the $300,000 Gallant Bob (G3) for three-year-old sprinters.

Ridden by Joshua Navarro, the son of Harlan's Holiday set fractions of :21.32 and :44.31, and finished up six furlongs in 1:10.56. Bayerd, also at 13-1, finished a half-length behind in third.

Claimed by owner Barbara Hopkins and trained Ramon Preciado for a mere $15,000 at Parx on July 15, Trouble Kid was subsequently gelded and then broke his maiden for a $25,000 tag by 16 1/2 lengths at Parx. He followed up with another easy win, besting starter allowance foes at Delaware Park by nine lengths.

The form of Saratoga's King's Bishop (G1), where Limousine Liberal ran second and Gallant Bob also-ran Grand Bili finished fifth, was not flattered by this outcome, especially in light of the winner's lack of back class.

In the $150,000 Bayern, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for older horses, Encryption pressed long-time leader Grasshoppin until the stretch when he seized control and cruised to the wire 6 1/4 lengths in front of Classic Giacnroll. Grasshoppin was easily third ahead of 5-2 favorite Freestyler.

Owned by Stoneway Farm, trained by Kelly Breen and ridden here by Paco Lopez, the multiple Grade 3-placed Encryption returned $9.80 after completing the distance in 1:44.34.

(Frosted photo: Bill Denver/Equi-Photo)