He’s the leading trainer in earnings and in number of Grade 1 stakes won in 2001 but the first question out of the mouths of interviewers is: “How come you never won a Breeders’ Cup race?”
With a record of zero wins in 34 attempts, few would say that Brooklyn-born Bobby Frankel’s “cup runneth over.”
His supporters, however, believe that not only will he get the proverbial monkey off his back this Saturday at Belmont Park, when he saddles six solid contenders in this year’s Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships, but that he will do it in multiple fashion.
“I just want to win one just to get you guys off my back,” Frankel told a group of newsmen recently.
And, the way the races have been scheduled, Frankel — once known as the “King of the Claimers” — could start the day with the first Daily Double. He saddles Flute in the $2 million B.C. Distaff and You in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies race.
Flute, a Juddmonte Farms’ homebred daughter of Seattle Slew, will be meeting Exogenous, who defeated her in the recent Beldame but who trailed her by nearly five lengths in the Alabama, and Spain, who finished third in the Beldame.
Edmund Gann’s You has lost only once in her four starts and that was to Cashier’s Dream who was not entered in this event. Her challengers are expected to be the Thoroughbred Corp.’s Habibti, undefeated in her two starts, both at Del Mar; Michael Tabor’s Bella Bellucci, recent victor in the Astoria, and Godolphin’s Tempera, who trailed Habibti by four lengths in her most recent outing.
Frankel gets a breather in the B.C. Mile and returns in the $1 million B.C. Sprint with the speedy Squirtle Squirt. Regardless what happens in the first two races, Frankel has no chance to go postward favorite in this race since his three-year-old colt will be meeting such successful veterans as Irwin Molasky’s Kona Gold, Chapman and McArthur’s Caller One, and Irish-bred and raced Mozart.
Starine, the four-year-old filly that Frankel imported from France, is listed at 8-1 in the B.C. Filly & Mare Turf, according to the odds being offered by the English bookmaking firm of William Hill.
Since going postward in Frankel’s colors, the filly has two wins and a second in five starts. Her lifetime record is eight wins, 10 seconds and a third in 27 races. In Europe, he best distance was a mile but Frankel has been attempting to extend her ability to the 10 furlongs of this million dollar event.
In the B.C. Turf, a $2 million race at the trying distance of one and one-half miles, Frankel will send forth his multiple stakes winner, Timboroa, also owned by Edmund Gans. A recent winner of the Grand 1 Turf Classic at Belmont, Timboroa will be meeting the Arc de Triomphe winner, Sahkee, who is considered an odds-on choice by William Hill should he start in this race, and the Canadian International winner Mutamam.
For the day’s highlight event, the $4 million B.C. Classic, Franklin will saddle his star, the Juddmonte Farms’s Aptitude, who seems to have reached the peak of his racing career with recent victories in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the Saratoga Breeders Cup Handicap, and the Hollywood Gold Cup, the latter by disqualification.
A 10-length victory in the J.C. Gold Cup stamped this four-year-old son of A.P. Indy as the best of the American starters in this race but the recent move from across the pond of Europe’s best handicap stars, Galileo and Fantastic Light, has complicated the selection of the pre-race favorite. Some American handicappers have stayed with Aptitude, placing him at the top of the heap with a 2-1 tag. Europeans, however, have suggested that Galileo, and possibly Fantastic Light, who is the only horse to have beaten Galileo in his brief career, will go postward as the fans’ choice.
And then, there’s the possibility that Sahkee will pass on the B.C. Turf and challenge in the Classic. There again, says William Hill, fans can expect to see him at something like 2-1, if he starts. This despite the fact that all three invaders have contested all their races on the turf and will have to make the transition to Belmont Park’s dirt course.
Speaking to the press recently, Frankel said he feells confident about Aptitude’s chances, especially after distancing himself from the field in his last.
“There’s only a three-week break between the Gold Cup and the Breeders’ Cup,” said Frankel, “I just wish there six weeks but I’ll do my best to get him there as fresh as possible.
“I feel good about our chances,” he declared.