The number of Breeders' Cup horses on the grounds nearly doubled Monday afternoon when Bobby Frankel's six-horse arsenal stepped off the Brook Ledge van at 3 p.m. Those arriving were Medaglia d'Oro and Milwaukee Brew (Classic), Beat Hollow and Aldebaran (Mile), Starine (Filly & Mare Turf), and Denon (Turf). Filly & Mare Turf starter Banks Hill, who captured the race last year, was due to arrive Tuesday from California.
All of Frankel's horses walked the shed Tuesday morning, and will go to the track for the first time on Wednesday.
While Frankel is not guaranteeing any victories on Saturday, he says all the horses are doing great, and he expects a big effort from all of them. "That's all I'm looking for," he said. "Last year, my horses ran their big race the race before the Breeders' Cup. The only one who had a few extra weeks was Squirtle Squirt. This year, I'm giving them time between races, and for that reason I feel we're stronger this year."
The freshest of Frankel's horses will be Medaglia d'Oro, who turned in a sharp five-furlong work in 1:00 4/5 Monday before shipping to Arlington. The son of El Prado hasn't run since winning the Travers Stakes on Aug. 24.
"That was our plan," Frankel said. "If you can't train a horse to go a mile and a quarter, you shouldn't be a trainer. It's no big deal. The horse is doing fantastic, his coat looks great, and he's much stronger now than he was earlier in the year. The horses who ran with him early in the Travers were beaten 50 and 60 lengths.
"I actually think this is a better Classic field than last year. People feel this is an inferior bunch of 3-year-olds. They're not inferior. They're better than people give them credit for. Came Home is a very, very good horse, but there's still a question about distance. I've won the Pacific Classic several times, and you can get a mile and an eighth horse to go a mile and a quarter on that track.
Frankel said his other Classic starter, Milwaukee Brew, also is doing great, and he feels the Jockey Club Gold Cup was a throw-out race. "He never handled that track," Frankel said. "He broke too sharp, then was taken back. When he came back after the race, he cooled out in a few minutes and wasn't even blowing."
Frankel's reason for replacing Kent Desormeaux with Edgar Prado was simple: "Punishment," he said.
Frankel is excited about the fact that Medaglia d'Oro, and several of his other big horses will be back in training next year. He also is beaming over his 2003 classic possibilities following the brilliant debut by Empire Maker in a maiden race at Belmont Sunday. The Unbridled colt is out of one of Frankel's favorite horses, Toussaud.