All Eyes On Frankel?

Frankel

Frankel

It’s Whitney Day at Saratoga. Frosted is trying to repeat his freakish Metropolitan Mile performance. Personally, it looks to me like he is a surefire bounce candidate and can’t possible duplicate such an effort, but he’s lucked out. He can bounce and still win, as the Whitney field is not the strongest for a Grade I… nor is it very deep.

We also have The Test, headlined by the promising Kareena and the rock-solid Off the Tracks, on Saturday, but they are both in deep trouble, I suspect, as I like an entirely different horse. That’s another story, though. For now, let’s stick to the matters at hand.

While it appears, on the surface, that all eyes will be on the Test and Whitney — and surely they will — there is a race earlier on the card that should garner as much attention and maybe in the future, even more.

Although it happened in Europe, it certainly got the attention of US racing fans and followers of the Sport of Kings worldwide. Rightfully so. Even with horses like American Pharoah, Beholder, California Chrome, Black Caviar, Zenyatta and others, Frankel captured the attention and imagination of racing enthusiasts like few others of late. He was special; that was no secret. He proved it every time he stepped onto the racetrack.

Frankel was named after a special trainer and person — and that was no secret either. He was a trainer who told me a few things about racing I’ll never forget. He was from my hometown of Brooklyn, and the horse running at the Spa on Saturday is Brooklyn Bobby, named for the legendary Bobby Frankel, as was his sire Frankel.

This is Frankel’s first US starter. He’s a homebred of Jerry Amerman out of Balance, who should need no introduction. She was a multiple Grade I winner that took six of sixteen starts. She also had a pretty good and well known half-sister named Zenyatta.

Bobby Frankel

Bobby Frankel

As for Frankel, he’s off to a fine start as a sire. He’s sired eight winners from eleven foals to make it to the races thus far. Four of them have already competed in stakes overseas. In the first race Saturday, Whitney day, we get to see Frankel’s first US starter, Brooklyn Bobby, and there are a lot of indications he can run.

As a racehorse, Frankel was a perfect at 14 for 14. Not bad. He earned just shy of $5 million. He was the first European horse to be named champion at 2, 3, and 4-years of age in 60 years. He also holds the record for consecutive European Group 1 wins. He was by Galileo, so, all things considered, Brooklyn Bobby is a blue blood by any standard.

Brooklyn Bobby is trained by Brian Lynch. Lynch is a former assistant to Bobby Frankel. He’s an excellent conditioner and wins at a 16 percent rate first time out. From a much smaller sample, he is 33 percent with first-time starters debuting at a distance of a mile or greater.

Saturday’s first race, a Maiden Special Weight affair, is carded at a mile and a sixteenth. This should be right up our Brooklyn boy’s alley.

Frankel stands at Juddmonte, a brilliant racing and breeding operation. Do you think they’d want their best sire prospect to run a dud in his US debut — at Saratoga no less? During sales week?

Odds are, Brooklyn Bobby can run and will be ready. He looks to be working well, and I expect him to take all the money and start the day off with a promising performance, which just may be all the talk come day’s end. We’ll just have to wait and see, but not that long — Brooklyn Bobby is in the first.

So while we may think all eyes will be focused on the Test and Whitney and the proven performers in them, you can rest assured there will be plenty of eyes across the racing world tuned into the first at the Spa.

Jonathan Stettin
Jonathan has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings, as he practically grew up at the racetrack. His mother, affectionately known as “Ginger,” was in the stands at Belmont Park the day before he was born as his father, Joe, worked behind the windows as a pari-mutuel clerk.

As a toddler, Jonathan cheered for and followed horses and jockeys, knowing many of the names and bloodlines by the time he was in first grade. Morning coffee in his household was always accompanied by the Daily Racing Form or Morning Telegraph.

At the age of 16, Jonathan dropped out of school and has pretty much been at the races full-time ever since. Of course, he had some of the usual childhood racetrack jobs growing up — mucking stalls, walking hots and rubbing horses. He even enjoyed brief stints as a jockey agent and a mutuel clerk (like his dad).

His best day at the track came on August 10, 1994 at Saratoga, when he hit the pick-6 paying $540,367.

Jonathan continues to be an active and successful player. You can follow him on Twitter @jonathanstettin or visit his Web site at www.pastthewire.com.