Shaman Ghost upset of Frosted in Woodward harkens back to past for Jerkens family

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TwinSpires Staff

September 3rd, 2016


It was because of races like the 1973 Woodward, in which his Prove Out beat Secretariat, that the late Allen Jerkens earned the nickname the Giant Killer, a moniker he insisted he didn't like.
Twenty-three years later, it's Jerkens' son who might assume that mantle after winning his first Woodward on Saturday with an upset of odds-on Frosted with 9-1 Shaman Ghost, an Ontario-bred that earned his first Grade 1 win in the race.
Jockey Javier Castellano saved ground on the rail through most of the nine furlongs, tipping the four-year-old colt outside in the stretch, only to dart back inside and between horses nearing the eighth pole, getting a head in front of Mubtaahij, who finished just a head in front of Frosted. Less than a length separated the top four finishers.
Transferred to Jerkens earlier this year, the Stronach Stables homebred had won the Marine (G3) and the Queen's Plate last year at Woodbine while in the barn of trainer Brian Lynch, then won his first US graded stakes taking the Brooklyn (G2) on the Belmont Stakes undercard in June. Last out he was a disappointing fifth in the Suburban (G2), which Jerkens won with New York-bred Effinex.
"The last race was a little disappointing," said the trainer. "After the Brooklyn, he came down with a little bit of a nagging cough. I took him a while to get over it. It looked like he was training good up to [the Suburban], and then he was a little flat in it."
The race was the second close one in a row for Castellano, who dead-heated for the win in the Spinaway a race earlier.
"He cut the corners, saved ground on the first turn, and I could see how the race was developing on the backside," Castellano said. "When I saw Frosted moving on the outside, I decided to go on the inside, cut the corners, split horses."
Coming off two dominating wins in the Met Mile and Whitney, both Grade 1 races, Frosted was, according to bettors, expected to dust this field. Breaking awkwardly and running wide for much of the race, he was hand-ridden to the wire by Joel Rosario.
"Every time I've ridden him, when I hit with the whip, he didn't like it too much," Rosario said. "When I turned [into the stretch], I thought he was going home free. Just the last 20 yards, it looked like he tired a little."
"It wasn't our day, but we didn't get beat very far," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who also trains Mubtaahij and said of the runner up, "He ran very well but just not himself."
The race leaves intact both California Chrome's primacy in the older horse division and the speculation about whether there's a horse in training in the U.S. that can challenge him for Horse of the Year honors.
Shaman Ghost may run next in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) at Belmont Park on October 8, a race won by Allen Jerkens three times, including with Prove Out. Whether Jimmy Jerkens will follow in his father's footsteps to the Gold Cup winner's circle remains to be seen, but there's at least one way in which he's taking a cue from the elder Jerkens, who died in April of 2015.
Asked if he thought his upset win today might earn him the nickname the Giant Killer, he said, without hesitation, "I hope not."

(Teresa Genaro photo)