ELMONT, N.Y. - Frosted, the runner-up to Triple Crown champion American Pharoah in the Belmont Stakes one year ago, returned to Belmont Park Saturday with a triumphant performance to capture the 123rd edition of the Grade 1, $1.25 Million Mohegan Sun Metropolitan Handicap with absolute authority.
With Joel Rosario aboard, Godolphin's homebred Frosted took command at the head of the stretch and drew off from the rest of the top flight field of 10 horses aged 3 and older while Rosario sat chilly in the irons. Frosted left his competition completely out in the cold as he powered through the lane while Rosario had the 4-year-old son of Tapit under wraps.
Frosted steadily increased his winning margin to a stunning 14 1/4 lengths and crossed under the wire in 1:32.73, just two ticks of a second off the track record for the one-mile distance. Anchor Down, who struck the front three-quarters from home under Jose Ortiz, was second, a length in front of Upstart, who was ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. and was running in blinkers for the first time.
"It was a good trip. This is a nice horse. He did it all on his own and I was just a passenger," said Rosario, who also won the Grade 2, $400,000 Brooklyn Invitational and the Grade 2, $500,000 Woody Stephens earlier on the Belmont Stakes undercard and was aboard Frosted in the 2015 Belmont Stakes. "He really ran a big race today, probably the best race of his life. It's very special to come here today and make all of us happy."
Frosted sat off blistering early splits of 22.78 seconds, 45.35 and 1:09.36 and made his move up the inside as the field raced through the far turn. When Rosario moved Frosted to the outside at the quarter pole and asked him for some run, the result was iced.
"He has been doing great. He went to Dubai and came back. He is a special horse and it's great to see him get a win like this," said trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, who sent Frosted to Dubai for his victory in a Group 2 event followed by a fifth place finish in the $10 million Dubai World Cup in his last outing March 26. "The margin of victory today was unbelievable. It was a wild, wild race. He has been doing great all the time and you say that every time that they are doing great, but for him to beat that great of a field of horses like that is pretty incredible."
The Met Mile is a "Win and You're In" qualifying race for the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, but McLaughlin said that he might be thinking even bigger for Frosted.
"We'll worry about that later. It might be the Classic instead of the Mile. We'll wait and see. He is very talented and it was a great win for the entire team," said McLaughlin, who recorded his second Met Mile score after taking the 2008 running with Divine Park, and won the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps earlier on the card with Cavorting.
With the $670,000 winner's share of the purse, Frosted boosted his bankroll to $3,182,800 and has now won five of 16 starts.
The remaining order of finish was Marking, also trained by McLaughlin, Ami's Flatter, Noble Bird, Blofeld, Stanford, Tamarkuz, another McLaughlin runner, and Calculator. El Kabeir, Donworth, and Sloane Avenue were scratched.
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