Frankel Sends Urban King in Hall of Fame

(from Saratoga report)
Although Bobby Frankel has been in the National Racing Museum Hall of Fame since 1995, the nation's top trainer has brought his game to a higher level. Monday, Frankel continues his seemingly insatiable quest for graded stakes wins when he sends John Amerman's Urban King in the $150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap (gr. IIT) for 3-year-olds running a mile and an eighth on the turf.

"Everyone calls me to tell about these horses in Europe and South America," Frankel said. "It's a little tougher to buy them in Europe because you have to take someone else's word on how the horse looks. That's how I got Urban King. But you really don't know how they are going to run until you get them here."

Since coming to the United States, the lightly-raced Urban King has finished third in both the La Puente Stakes at Santa Anita and the Lexington Stakes at Belmont.

"I really think the Lexington is a throw-out race," Frankel said. "We was doing good, then he wasn't doing too good coming into that race. I think he had a virus, but I decided to run him anyway and the race didn't set up for him. But he has come back and he should be ready if the race still stays on the grass."

The addition of yet another quality horse in Frankel's barn is another sign of how far he has come in his career.

"I had been winning for most of my life," Frankel said. "The only difference now is that I have better horses. In some sense, I am still in the claiming game. However, instead of claiming horses, I am buying them. It's a little more money, a few more zeros. Instead of claming a horse for $50,000, add two more zeros and that's how much I am buying some of my horses."

Urban King will makes his play at greatness in his third race in this country since Amerman purchased the 3-year-old son of Desert King in France, where he was no worse than third in three races.

Urban King's main foe again will be Sharp Impact, who helped trainer Kiaran McLaughlin win his first stakes of the Belmont Park Spring meet with a victory in Lexington.

McLaughlin has been successful this year with more than 40 percent of his starters having their picture taken in the winner's circle. While McLaughlin is elated with his success, he knows there is a significant difference between his horses and Frankel's stock.

"We've had a good year so far," McLaughlin said. "The only difference between my win percentage and Frankel's win percentage is his are from graded stakes, mine are from maiden, claiming and allowance races. But we did win two graded stakes so far, and we're happy about that."

McLaughlin decided to try Sharp Impact on the grass after father-in-law John Hennig, who trains for former Kentucky governor and Airdrie Stud owner Brereton Jones, suggested the horse's sire, Siphon, may move him up on the surface.

"John kept preaching to me for a month to try this horse on the turf," McLaughlin said. "He told me that horses bred by Siphon have been moving up on the turf."

One of the similarities that Sharp Impact and Siphon have is their running style. Most of Siphon's best races were won on the lead. So far this year, Sharp Impact's best races have been when the horses are left alone on the lead. The thought of rating Sharp Impact has come across McLaughlin's mind.

"We may consider hold him back a little bit," he said. "But if there is no pace in the race, then we'll send him out there. He has a good turn of speed. I think some of his better races later in life may be when he is covered up and he tries to make a run."

Kissin Saint makes his turf debut since his last-place finish to Funny Cide in the Preakness in May. Lisa Lewis claimed the colt for $50,000 in a maiden claiming race at Aqueduct in January. The son of Kissin Kris excelled off the claim with back-to-back victories under allowance conditions and a third-place finish to Empire Maker and Funny Cide in the Wood Memorial. Since then, Lewis has been training Kissin Saint consistently over the Belmont Turf Course.

Also making his first start on the grass is Saint Liam for Tony Reinstedler. Saint Liam comes back to Saratoga where he was purchased for $130,000 by William Warren at the 2001 Fasig-Tipton sales. Saint Liam has never finished worse than second, with the exception of the Arkansas Derby (gr. II), where he was seventh. The colt by Saint Ballado is coming off a second-place finish in the Iowa Derby at Prairie Meadows during the first weekend of July.

$150,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Handicap (gr. IIT), 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 mile on turf
1. Sharp Impact, Kiaran McLaughlin, Richard Migliore, 122
2. Hypnotist, Barclay Tagg, Jean-Luc Samyn, 119
3. G P Fleet, Steve Flint, John Velazquez, 115
4. Hidden Truth, Neil Howard, Robby Albarado, 117
5a. Saint Stephen, Christophe Clement, Eibar Coa, 115
6. Supervisor, Linda Rice, Jorge Chavez, 115
7a. Kissin Saint, Lisa Lewis, Jose Santos, 117
8. Urban King, Robert Frankel, Edgar Prado, 115
9. Stroll, Bill Mott, Jerry Bailey, 117
10. Saint Liam, Tony Reinstedler, Pat Day, 115
11 Coalition, Leo O'Brien, Shane Sellers, 115
also eligible
12. Colita, Todd Pletcher, John Velazquez, 117
13. Awesome Time, Nick Zito, Edgar Prado, 117
14. Christine's Outlaw, George Weaver, Jerry Bailey, 115
Kissin Kris will race with blinkers.