Trainer Bobby Frankel, chasing Lukas' earnings record.

Trainer Bobby Frankel, chasing Lukas' earnings record.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Frankel Taking Aim at Lukas' Earnings Record

You would think by amassing yearly earnings of $16,408,174 by mid-November, Bobby Frankel would pretty much have depleted his arsenal of ammunition. But Frankel's guns are still loaded and pointed right at D. Wayne Lukas' single-season earnings record of $17,842,358.

How is Frankel going to rake in $1,434,184 in a month and a half, with only a handful of major stakes left? "I don't know how I'm gonna do it, but I'm gonna try," Frankel said. "What else do I got to do?"

Despite winning 53 stakes this year, 39 of them graded, and placing in 59 others, Frankel still has quite an elite group of veteran stakes horses and several newcomers ready for his his late-season assault on the record. He'll also looking be looking to add to his 14 grade I stakes wins.

The Frankel Fest will begin with Saturday's $150,000 Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs when Frankel sends out Glia, winner of the Pebbles Handicap at Belmont in her U.S. debut. The Pebbles originally was scheduled for the grass, and Frankel will put her back on the green for the Mrs. Revere.

On Nov. 23, Frankel will send out Chiselling for the $250,000 Hollywood Turf Cup (gr. IT). The 3-year-old son of Woodman out of Toussaud captured the Lexington Stakes (gr. IIIT) and Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) before finishing third in the Jamaica Handicap (gr. IIT).

The following weekend will make or break Frankel's attempt at the record. On Friday, Nov. 29, he saddles Woodward (gr. I) winner Lido Palace in the $400,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. Although several top-class horses, such as Evening Attire, Tenpins, Gander, and Perfect Drift could show up for the nine-furlong race, Lido Palace, winner of last year's Whitney (gr. I) and Woodward (gr. I), will be the horse to beat.

The same day, he'll send out the exciting 3-year-old filly Sightseek in the Delta Airlines Top Flight Handicap (gr. II) at Aqueduct. The daughter of Distant View has won three of her four career starts, including a brilliant 12-length allowance score at Belmont in a blazing 1:41.26 for the 1 1/16 miles, followed by an impressive 3 1/4-length victory in the Raven Run Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland.

The following day will not only be a big one for Frankel from a monetary sense, it will provide him with a peek at next spring's Triple Crown picture. At Aqueduct, Frankel sends out his prize 2-year-old Empire Maker in the $200,000 Remsen Stakes (gr. II). The son of Unbridled out of Toussaud has been showing Frankel and the New York clockers all fall that he may be something special, working step for step with horses like Medaglia d'Oro. He finally made his debut on Oct. 20 and scored a brilliant 3 1/2-length victory going a mile, while winning in hand. "He's gotta win the Remsen," Frankel said. "If he's any count, he'll win."

Frankel then will saddle Aldebaran in the $350,000 Cigar Mile (gr. I), where he'll face the likes of Red Bullet, Congaree, Crafty C.T., and Windsor Castle. Aldebaran has been playing bridesmaid all year, turning in one powerful stretch run after another, only to come up a bit short. He was making a big move in the Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT), but lost all chance when Landseer broke down directly in front of him.

That same day in California, Frankel will try his recent purchase, Peace Rules, in the $200,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Hollywood Park. The son of Jules broke his maiden by four lengths on the turf at Belmont for trainer Gary Contessa. Purchased by Frankel for Edmund Gann following the race, Peace Rules then finished second, beaten a head, in the Pinjara Stakes at Santa Anita.

If Frankel has won several stakes at this point and is nearing the record, then Sunday, Dec. 1 will be his biggest day, as he sends out live horses in a pair of $500,000 stakes – Banks Hill in the Matriarch Stakes (Gr. IT) and Inesperado and Royal Gem in the Hollywood Derby (gr. IT). Banks Hill, the defending champion turf filly and mare, is coming off a powerful second in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT), a race in which she romped the previous year. After running over a deep, yielding surface at Arlington, she should appreciate the firmer ground in the Matriarch.

Inesperado has won three of his four starts since coming over from France, including scores in the Cinema Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT), La Jolla Handicap (gr. IIIIT), and Del Mar Derby (gr. IIT). In his last start, he finished an even fourth in the Oak Tree Derby (gr. IIT) after getting squeezed at the start. Royal Gem, after finishing sixth in the Oak Tree Derby, captured the Bay Meadows Derby (gr. IIIT) on Nov. 3. Frankel said there is a very slight chance he could Medaglia d'Oro as well, but it is more likely he'll just go with the other two.

If Frankel is within close reach of the record following this stakes barrage, he'll have almost a whole month to scrape and claw for it, always knowing he has Sightseek ready to come back in the $200,000 La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at Santa Anita on Dec. 28.

"I got a little chance to do it if I can win four or five of these races," Frankel said. "It's not that I'm just running these horses to try for the record. I have Medaglia d'Oro and You if I wanted to do that. All the horses are fresh and in good shape."