Heading into today's Group 1 Juddmonte International at York Racecourse, superstar Frankel (GB) had been rarely tested in any of his previous twelve races. But coming into the Juddmonte, the racing world finally had some questions for Sir Henry Cecil's brilliant colt, namely, "could he handle ten furlongs as effortlessly and as dominating as he handled eight?" The answer from Frankel: "Are you kidding?"
Frankel broke slowly from the gate and settled in the middle of the main pack behind the expected runaway pace setting trio of Bullet Train, Windsor Palace and Robin Hood. Keen to go on early, jockey Tom Queally kept the world's best horse settled right behind St. Nicholas Abbey (IRE), the winner of the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf. As the field moved into the final straight, the horses fanned out across the entire width of the track and, like the twelve races prior to the Juddmonte, Tom Queally sat motionless upon his mount while the rest of the jocks asked their mounts for more in order to just keep up with Frankel. At that point there was no question as to which horse was going to win. It was just a question as to "by how much?"
As I mentioned on Twitter following the race, as gamblers we are somewhat predisposed to question everything we see on the track. We are always looking for the edge, that small insight that makes us smarter than the person we are betting against. Some times, it pays to go against conventional wisdom. However, this is not one of those times.
While most racing fans have appreciated Frankel's unrivaled talent, there are always the detractors looking to find the flaws. I find it hard to imagine finding any flaws with Frankel's performance in the Juddmonte.
I suppose one could point out that Nathaniel, one of the top horses in Europe, wasn't in the race. But it's unlikely his presence would have mattered.
With his win in the Juddmonte International, Frankel runs his record to an unchallenged and perfect 13-for-13. His unbeaten record is even more impressive when you consider the manner in which he's won his races. Time after time, Frankel simply crushes his opposition, making great horses look like also-rans which, when they race against Frankel, they are.
Ten furlongs? No problem.
You can view the Juddmonte International race replay at RacingUK's YouTube site.
The full result charts will be up a bit later, along with the sectional timing. I'll update the post with additional information as it comes in.
The fractions and internal splits are out and it flatters Frankel even more.
When you look at those fractions below you'll notice that they are very similar to what we'd see in racing her in North America in terms of early pace and final time. It's probably not a coincidence when you consider the course layout at York and the conditions of the ground for the Juddmonte. As I've written previously, most races in Europe feature a slow pace in the early stages due to the way the courses are set-up (severe undulations, softer going, early furlongs run uphill, etc.).
The Juddmonte International is actually run at a little more than a mile and a quarter.
Below are Frankel's splits from TurfTrax.