Under a determined ride by Rudy Rodriguez, 5-year-old Frost Giant was neck-and-neck with Edgar Prado and Solar Flare coming out of the final turn, but by the eighth-pole had given way to the Argetine-bred colt and Gabriel Saez. Off the board in three career stakes starts, Frost Giant showed a grit he never had before, coming back at Solar Flare inside the sixteenth-pole. He wound up posting a half-length victory.
The final time for 10 furlongs on a fast main track was 2:01.58. Fox Hill Farms’ Solar Flare, making just his second North American start, was three lengths in front of third-place Rising Moon. Harlington was a neck back in fourth.
Trained by Ricky Dutrow Jr., Frost Giant entered the 122nd running of the Suburban off a half-length defeat in a $45,000 allowance-optional claiming race May 29 on the Monmouth Park turf. He ran in that company four of his five starts this season, winning just once – Feb. 11 on the Gulfstream Park dirt. A son of Giant's Causeway , Frost Giant tried the March 15 Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream, finishing 5 1/4 lengths back in fourth place.
The Suburban was just his third effort on dirt in 13 career starts. Dutrow originally planned to run Frost Giant June 25 in a one-mile event at Belmont, but scratched him in order to take a shot at the Suburban.
“I just figured, what’s a mile going to do?” Dutrow said of his decision. “I could have just screwed him up if I tried it. For the last two or three weeks, this horse settled down in the mornings. This was mostly Rudy, not just today, but in the mornings. You could see it happening. The owners paid a lot of money for this horse, and it worked out great. I bet on the other horse (Rising Moon, who Dutrow also trains). Cornelio (Velasquez, jockey of Rising Moon) said he had nothing to offer, so I am going to scope him.”
Frost Giant was never far back in the Suburban, initially taking a short lead over Naughty New Yorker, but by the half-mile marker (:48.55) content to sit in stalking position. Solar Flare and Rising Moon were also among the frontrunners in the field of eight. Two-time graded stakes winner and race favorite A.P. Arrow jumped after the start and was never a factor.
By the time they ran a mile in 1:36.31 Solar Flare and Frost Giant were side by side and all alone. At the eighth-pole it seemed as if Solar Flare had put the longshot away, taking as much as a half-length advantage. But after drifting out a bit, Solar Flare was challenged in mid-stretch once again by Frost Giant, who made his determined bid along the fence.
“I get on him in the morning, and he has really been different lately,” said Rodriguez, who earned his first grade I win. “We’ve had him a few years, but he seems to have a new attitude. He was scratched on Wednesday, and that looks like it turned out to be a good thing. I was able to learn a lot about him. I was very happy Mr. Dutrow kept me on this horse. It was not an easy race, but he ran great.”
Originally a $600,000 purchase at the Keeneland 2004 Keeneland September yearling sale by the partnership of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Magnier, Frost Giant began his racing career in Europe. He won three of four starts over there, including a pair of group III events on the turf in Ireland. Aidan O’Brien was the trainer.
After finishing seventh in the 2006 Hollywood Derby (gr. III), the partnership of IEAH, Andrew Cohen and Pegasus Holding Group purchased the chestnut colt privately and Dutrow took over conditioning. He was sidelined for more than seven months at the end of his 4-year-old campaign.
Bred in Kentucky by J.M.J. Stables Corporation, Frost Giant is out of the Gone West mare Takesmybreathaway. He is now 4-2-2 from 13 starts, with earnings of $454,254.
The winner lit the tote board by paying $82, $29.20 and $10.40. The exacta (2-4) with 4-1 co-third choice Solar Flare returned $265.50. The trifecta (2-4-5) was worth $2,620.