Green Lantern Stables’ homebred Frostmourne, a half-brother to Grade 1-winning miler Karelian, fittingly earned his first graded victory at that trip in Saturday evening’s $500,000 Penn Mile (G2).
Well placed early by Irad Ortiz Jr., the Christophe Clement trainee raced just off the pace, in midpack on the outside. Front-running Time to Travel posted fractions of :23.00, :47.53, and 1:12.13, pressed throughout by Cistron. As Cistron headed the weakening Time to Travel in the stretch, Frostmourne was kicking into gear. The 3-1 chance mowed them down and completed Penn National’s firm-turf mile in 1:35.04.
“He had a great trip,” assistant trainer Christophe Lorieul said. “I was a bit worried he was going to get caught three-wide down the backside but finally he (Ortiz) put him two-wide and I was very confident around the turf because when he started letting him go, he was not asking him and then it was just a matter of time before he got to the lead.”
The 9-5 favorite Big Score, who came from farther back, also quickened smartly but couldn’t catch Frostmourne. Beaten by 1 1/4 lengths, he pulled clear of third-placer Cistron. Mo Maverick, prominent in third early, checked in fourth while Time to Travel retreated to seventh of nine.
Frostmourne was a stylish debut winner at Saratoga last summer. The Speightstown colt made his first stakes attempt in the Pilgrim (G3), finishing fourth behind subsequent Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) hero Oscar Performance. The Pilgrim turned out to be a key pointer for Saturday, since Oscar Performance wired the Pennine Ridge (G3) at Belmont Park.
After breaking through next time with a 3 1/2-length romp in the Awad, Frostmourne headed into winter quarters. The dark bay reappeared from his nearly six-month vacation in the April 22 Woodhaven at Aqueduct, where he tried to concede six pounds to pacesetter Secretary at War and came up a half-length short.
Both Lorieul and Ortiz described how Frostmourne has become more professional at three.
“He’s much more mature this year than last year,” Lorieul said. “Last year as a two-year-old, we had some concerns. He ran on fast turf, soft turf but he was always a little bit keen. He was hard to handle a little bit. But over the winter, he got better and more mature.”
“I’ve been working him the last month and a half maybe and we’ve taught him,” Ortiz said. “Before, when he was a two-year-old, he was really rank and a little green maybe. But now, he’s settled down. We’ve taught him behind horses and he relaxed so good and when I got him out, he just did what he does in the morning.”
Frostmourne now sports a mark of 5-3-1-0, $417,800. The Kentucky-bred is out of the Theatrical mare Leaning Tower, who is a half-sister to Canadian champion Basqueian. He was offered as a yearling at Keeneland September, but RNA’d for $375,000.
It remains to be determined whether Frostmourne would stretch out for the 1 1/4-mile Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) on July 8.
“Obviously that would be a choice but we’re going to enjoy this one first,” Lorieul said. “We’re very happy for Green Lantern Stable. They’ve been very supportive of us.”
Ortiz recorded a stakes double on the card, also guiding the 2-5 Matt King Coal to a track record-setting victory in the $194,240 Mountainview H. for Linda Rice. The controlling speed in a scratch-reduced field, the Lady Sheila Stable colorbearer rolled through nine furlongs in 1:48.93 on the fast main track. Matt King Coal has now won three of four this year, a neck loss in the Charles Town Classic (G2) keeping him from a perfect 2017.
It would have been a stakes triple, if Ortiz’s Bold Thunder hadn’t been disqualified from his 24-1 wire job in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor’s Cup. Bold Thunder scampered clear early, but veered out into the path of rallying 3-5 favorite Richard’s Boy late. Paco Lopez, aboard Richard’s Boy, lodged a claim of foul, and the stewards ruled the interference significant to warrant a change in the official order. There was another objection lodged by Horacio Karamanos on fourth-placer Oak Bluffs involving the third Rainbow Heir, but it was disallowed. Owned by Rockingham Ranch and trained by Peter Miller, Richard’s Boy was coming off a win in the Jim McKay Turf Sprint on Preakness Day.
Ballybrit Stable’s Dynatail survived an objection to keep her hard-fought score at odds of 9-2 in the $200,000 Penn Oaks.
Under Luis Saez, Dynatail was attended by Viva Vegas through splits of :23.06, :48.78 and 1:11.21. The Michael Dini filly disposed of Viva Vegas, only to face a fresh challenge from 8-5 favorite Adorable Miss in the stretch. The 5-2 Party Boat tried to rally between them, but the door closed, and jockey Fergal Lynch had to alter course to the inside.
Meanwhile, Dynatail was digging in and turning back Adorable Miss. Party Boat edged nearer, but Dynatail held on by three-quarters of a length in a final time of 1:34.63 for the grassy mile. Although Lynch objected that Dynatail had hampered Party Boat, the stewards judged that the winner should stand.
Bred by Calumet Farm in Kentucky, Dynatail is from the first crop of the Mineshaft stallion Hightail. Her dam, the Dynaformer mare Southern Dynamo, is a three-quarter sister to Grade 1 queen and $2.2 million-earner Film Maker.
The bargain buy, who brought $6,000 at Keeneland September and $5,000 as an OBS June two-year-old, has bankrolled $225,840 from a 10-4-1-2 record. Her prior stakes success came in the fillies’ division of the OBS Championship S. in January. She’d since finished fourth in both the Florida Oaks (G3) and Memories of Silver S., and on Preakness Day, the dark bay was third in the Hilltop.
Jockey Javier Castellano had to settle for placings aboard Adorable Miss, Rainbow Heir, and Big Score in the program’s most lucrative events, but he did sweep the three state-bred stakes earlier. Castellano rode the Todd Pletcher-trained Firsthand Report in the Lyphard on turf, Mick Ruis’ The Critical Way in the Danzig, and Grand Prix for Gary Mandella in the New Start.