Frosted may not wind up as the winner of the Belmont Stakes, but by my eye he will be the most striking horse in the field. A big, dark grey is a beautiful thing, and that's what Frosted is. He's also an impressive runner - he backed up a big prep race win with a very solid effort in the Derby. The oddsmakers obviously love him - he is the second choice in the Belmont behind only American Pharoah. So, can he justify that love? Is there value in this horse? Let's take a look:
Last race: His last race was good and would have been even better if it had started well. In the Kentucky Derby he refused to settle out of the gate and looked briefly like it could be a lost race. As a result he was much further back early on than he would ideally have been. He recovered very nicely, though. Entering the final turn he was seventh, and then he exploded around that turn and moved up to fourth by the stretch. He seemed to run out of gas somewhat in the stretch but still held on for fourth. It was a solid effort with an incredible move on the turn.
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Career highlights: The Wood Memorial was Frosted's fourth try in a graded stakes and the first time he really put it all together. It was a very sound race. He was further off the pace early on than he had ever been, and he was quite wide around both turns, but he still kept moving forward consistently and wound up with a very solid win. It wasn't as gaudy or impressive as some of the other major prep wins - like Dortmund or American Pharoah, for example - but it was professional and solid. Earlier in his career, the horse started his career in New York, finishing second in maiden races at both Saratoga and Belmont before breaking his maiden at Aqueduct. Then he had two seconds and a fourth in stakes company before the Wood score.
Jockey: Joel Rosario has been aboard for the last two outings - arguably the two best races of the horse's career. Before that the regular jockey had been Irad Ortiz Jr., who will be aboard Mubtaahij in the Belmont. Rosario is the defending Belmont champ aboard Tonalist, so we obviously know he can handle the track. Combine that with obvious chemistry with the horse, and he is a good fit.
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin trains this horse for members of the royal family of Dubai. He has won this race before with Jazil in 2006, so we know he is capable. He is a talented and very competent trainer, but it feels like he has been a step away from the best of his game in the last couple of years. He is very comfortable racing in New York, though, so he will have this horse ready and can be trusted.
Pedigree: Frosted's sire, Tapit, is a very commercially successful stud with a long list of successful progeny. Many of his stars have done well at shorter distances than this one, though he is the sire of last year's Belmont winner Tonalist. Tapit himself was supposed to run in the Belmont in 2004, but a recurring lung infection kept him out - though after a very flat ninth in the Derby that probably wasn't a bad thing. Frosted's damsire is Deputy Minister, who was also the damsire or Belmont winners Jazil and Rags to Riches, and of the great Curlin. He also sired Belmont winner Touch Gold. Add it all up and it is a decent pedigree, though with the Tapit influence I still can't help but have some concerns about the distance - especially because Frosted has consistently slowed down in his final fraction.
Running style: As a rule Frosted - like seemingly every other horse in the Belmont field - likes to be in the group immediately following the leaders. He has been further back in his last two starts, which proves that he can run further back, though I'm not yet convinced that that is his best style. In the Derby it certainly wasn't by design.
Belmont outlook: Frosted is the second choice at Bovada at 5/1, though that has him far behind the 5/6 favorite. He's obviously a classy horse, and he had an exceptional work over the Belmont track the day before the Preakness. He should be more mature after the Derby experience, and that's an asset here. My big concern, though, is whether he will have enough in the tank down the stretch to be a factor here. I really wanted to see him in the Preakness because the distance suited him better and he was obviously still sharp. In that race he would have been tough to look past. Here, though, I don't see enough value in this price. I like him, but perhaps not enough for the price.
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