Frosted, Upstart breeze for Whitney

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TwinSpires Staff

July 29th, 2016

Edited Press Release

Godolphin Racing's Frosted breezed a half-mile Friday at the Greentree Training Center behind Saratoga's main track in preparation for the $1.25 million Whitney Stakes (G1) on August 6.

The 1 1/8-mile contest is a "Win & You're In" designated race for the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) this fall at Santa Anita Park.

The four-year-old Tapit colt went in :49.60 over the all-weather surface, his fourth work since a record-setting 14 1/4-length victory in the Metropolitan Handicap (G1) on June 11 at Belmont Park.

"He worked very well. It was just a maintenance work," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "He's doing great, ready to go. He couldn't be doing any better."

McLaughlin has continued to train Frosted at Greentree rather than on Saratoga’s main track, where Frosted is still looking for his first victory. He was second in his career debut in 2014 and returned as a sophomore in 2015 to be a half-length runner-up in the Jim Dandy Stakes (G2) and third in the Travers Stakes (G1).

Frosted's Met Mile win not only came by the largest margin in its storied 123-year history, but the final time of 1:32.73 was also a stakes record.

"We're not looking for a repeat performance, but I don't think we have to," McLaughlin said. "We're just looking for him to run a big race."

McLaughlin has won with seven of his first 10 starters at the meet and will send out Mohaymen in Saturday's $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (G2). It will be the multiple Grade 2 winner's first start since he was fourth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) on May 7.

"Mohaymen is all set. We're ready," the conditioner said. "All systems go."

Upstart, who finished 2 1/2 lengths behind Frosted when fourth in last year's Travers, worked Friday morning over Saratoga's fast main track in preparation for the Whitney.

Trainer Rick Violette clocked the New York-bred ridgling going four furlongs in ":47 and change, and out in one minute." New York Racing Association clockers credited the four-year-old son of Flatter with a five-furlong move in 1:00, the third-fastest of 29 works at the distance.

Typically a quick worker, Upstart's move was to Violette's liking.

"If we put blinkers on him, which he will run in, he will go in :46, and that is too fast," Violette noted. "He likes to run off a fairly quick breeze. We did enough with him now, and we'll gallop him into the race."

Upstart met up with Frosted yet again in the Metropolitan Handicap last out, finishing third while beaten 15 1/4 lengths by that rival. He was only a length behind runner-up Anchor Down

"We probably should have been second," Violette said of Upstart. "We walked out of the gate; he's been having issues not leaving there. We actually broke him out of the gate here last week, and I hate breaking older horses out of the gate, but I think we had to try everything, because he has been flopping out of there.

"Going in the first part of the race, he's been taking whatever position has been left, rather than the position where you really think you should be," the trainer continued. "With horses who are equally as good or better than you, you can't afford to give up position. Hopefully, we break running a little bit, and (jockey Irad Ortiz Jr.) can place Upstart where he wants to place him."

Violette said Samraat, a good second to Grade 1 hero and expected Whitney contestant Effinex in the Suburban Handicap (G2) on July 9, is not yet confirmed for the Whitney. Owned by Len Riggio's My Meadowview Farm, Samraat is scheduled to breeze at Saratoga on Saturday.

"I will talk it over with Mr. Riggio; I haven't ruled the Whitney out, but it's really close – four weeks – off of his lifetime best record and he is supposed to regress off of that," Violette remarked.

"The ($600,000) Woodward (Stakes [G1]) is in another four weeks (on September 3), and that might be the best place for him. But I'm not ruling out the Whitney, if he breezes lights-out or something like that, and Mr. Riggio wants to do it, we might show up."

Grade 1 winner Noble Bird is scheduled to have his final breeze Saturday for the Whitney. On July 22, the five-year-old son of Birdstone went a half-mile in :47.66 over the main track as trainer Mark Casse and his son and assistant, Norm, looked on.

"He's been training extremely well," Casse said. "He gets over this track so well. Norman and I watched him work the other day and we both looked at each other like 'Wow.' He just flies over it."

Ninth in last year's Whitney, Noble Bird's lone win from five starts this year was a front-running 11 1/4-length romp in the Pimlico Special (G3) on May 20.

Grade 2 scorer El Kabeir, fourth in the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) last out on June 18, is also considered probable for the Whitney.

Frosted photo courtesy of NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography
Upstart photo courtesy of Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography