Lady and The Track | December 8, 2022

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Godolphin’s Frosted Looks Good in Wood Memorial Stakes Win

Godolphin’s Frosted Looks Good in Wood Memorial Stakes Win: Frosted’s ability to win races appeared to be ice cold in previous starts. The son of Tapit, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin for the powerful Godolphin Racing, won only once before this weekend. However, legitimate excuses popped up for those races, and Frosted eventually developed a throat problem which recently required surgery.

Frosted Horse

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s Frosted overcame a wide trip and a host of doubts to run down longshot Tencendur to take the Grade 1, $1 million Wood Memorial on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack. The victory officially punches the 3-year-old colt’s ticket to the Kentucky Derby on May 2. Photo: Adam Mooshian, Coglianese/NYRA

With the surgery done and a minor adjustment made to his blinkers in place for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, Frosted stormed home to a good-looking victory and earned 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points. His winning effort passes the quality test from a couple of angles.

For one, Frosted raced wide for most of the race, which means he lost a ton of ground. Approaching the first turn, Frosted came close to the rail horse, and he shifted to the outside as jockey Joel Rosario seemed content to let Frosted remain wide. Once the tempo picked up on the far turn, Frosted was still wide. The closely packed group never gave him a chance to save a little ground, and Frosted was unable to return to the two-path until he neared the finish line.

In addition, Frosted rated and passed horses successfully from the back, a method that might interest those searching for a Derby closer. This tactic differed from his previous start. At Gulfstream Park in a February race, Frosted pressed the pace and hit a wall turning for home. Here at Aqueduct, Frosted came from sixth to win and showed a different dimension that might come in handy.

Maybe Frosted overcame his tendency to only hit the board with the new rating tactics. Furthermore, sometimes horses keep winning once they learn how to win, or they at least run better overall. Turning a horse into a closer does not always work. The tactics worked against Conquest Titan last year. Yet, Mine That Bird won the 2009 Kentucky Derby and turned into a top three-year-old once they switched to closing tactics.

From a visual standpoint, the thinned-out field at the end signifies a fast race. Frosted defeated Tencendur by two lengths, and it was over three lengths back to El Kabeir in third. Six lengths separated El Kabeir and fourth-place finisher Daredevil. Although exceptions occur, a spread out field signifies that the race finished in a fast time regardless of what the raw final time shows.

As for the other horses, only Tencendur ran well enough to warrant consideration in the Derby, if he even makes the field. In contrast to Frosted, the more aggressive tactics used with Tencendur worked, and the son of Warrior’s Reward ran the race of his life.

El Kabeir will still attract attention as a closer in the Derby even though he had almost the same position as Frosted early and failed to make the same run. If El Kabeir runs well at Churchill Downs, a fourth-place finish is the limit, whereas an off-the-board finish is more likely.

Godolphin’s Kentucky Derby record has been disappointing considering the number of good horses in their stable every year. Out of eight attempts, they have failed each time. Some of those colts never had a proper shot because they prepared in Dubai, and horses that come from across the ocean have never won the Derby. With Frosted, they own an improving horse that has raced over here. This colt will provide Godolphin’s best chance, perhaps ever, at winning the roses.

Wood Memorial 2015 Replay: