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Homeracing

Klimt seeks to make it three straight; inconsistency remains Frosted’s calling card

Profile Picture: James Scully

September 6th, 2016

Klimt rallied to win going away by 4 1/4 lengths in Monday’s Del Mar Futurity (G1), establishing himself as the early favorite for the November 5 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) in his backyard at Santa Anita. He’s also the front-runner for the Eclipse Award honoring the champion 2-year-old male.

The Del Mar Futurity has produced the past two juvenile champions, American Pharoah and Nyquist, and both went on to capture the Kentucky Derby (G1).

Klimt has the tools to make a serious assault next spring if he continues to progress for Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, a four-time Kentucky Derby winner. Along with American Pharoah, Baffert also trained Silver Charm, who recorded the Del Mar Futurity-Kentucky Derby double in 1996-97.

By Quality Road, Klimt is out of a multiple stakes-placed mare by Dixie Union, who is perhaps best known as the sire of 2012 Belmont Stakes winner Union Rags. Along with a favorable pedigree, the long-striding Klimt appears built for longer distances. Since dropping his career bow in late June, the bay colt has reeled off three consecutive wins, including a 2 ¾-length tally in the August 13 Best Pal (G2).

Klimt registered an excellent 103 BRIS Speed rating in the closing-day Futurity and runner-up Straight Fire confirmed his status as a highly-promising prospect as well.

Amazingly, the last three Kentucky Derby winners have captured stakes at Del Mar, with California Chrome taking the 2013 Graduation for Cal-breds at the seaside track.

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Following a pair of smashing tallies in the Met Mile (G1) and Whitney (G1), Frosted faltered as the 2-5 favorite in Saturday’s Woodward (G1) at Saratoga.

And reactions to the setback varied depending on perspective.

Frosted broke in a tangle and was squeezed back a few jumps into the race, leaving him behind horses and under a snug hold from jockey Joel Rosario entering the clubhouse turn. After traveling extremely wide on the far turn and into the stretch, the gray colt managed to stick a head in front with about furlong remaining before being outfinished by a neck in third. He spotted the winner four pounds and the runner-up six pounds.

The slow start and ground loss compromised his chances but those elements were little comfort to those viewing Frosted as a superstar. It would’ve taken far more trouble to derail the Frosted who recorded 14-length tour-de-force on the Belmont Stakes undercard (Met Mile) and galloped to a two-length domination under a hammerlock four weeks previously (Whitney).

Especially against the likes of a Shaman Ghost or Mubtaahij.

The same unrealistic expectations led to Frosted being bet down as the 3-1 favorite for the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at the Wynn Las Vegas Race & Sports Book on August 16, with California Chrome the 4-1 second choice. His participation in the 1 ¼-mile race at Santa Anita is now in doubt, with the Dirt Mile (G1) becoming a viable target for the Tapit colt.

Those judging Frosted by different parameters weren’t shocked he came up short after a rough trip in the Woodward; they’ve seen it repeatedly from the inconsistent performer.

Frosted had his moments last year, recording convincing victories in Wood Memorial (G1) and Pennsylvania Derby (G2). But neither came against quality competition and he followed with unplaced efforts in the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic, respectively.

It’s been more of the same this year as Frosted continues to impress observers at times before coming back to earth with a disappointing performance.

The cycle played out earlier this year in Dubai when Frosted gave every indication he was sitting on a big race, prepping for the Dubai World Cup (G1) with a sterling five-length romp against overmatched Group 2 foes. He stepped up to face California Chrome on the same track seven weeks later and performed like a shell of his former self, never making an impact in a dull fifth-place showing.

The Woodward served as the latest example.

Frosted remains highly successful, winning three major races and amassing nearly $4 million in earnings, but he won’t be remembered for his consistency.

Klimt photo courtesy of Benoit

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