Once Frostmourne got first jump on race favorite Big Score in the $500,000 Penn Mile Stakes (G2T), there was no stopping the son of Speightstown from launching himself into the ranks of graded stakes success.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. went to the right-handed whip and got a monster response down the stretch June 3, as Frostmourne blew past Cistron and turned a late run from Big Score away.
The Penn Mile was the headline event on a day of stakes at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course. For Green Lantern Stables' homebred Frostmourne, the eight-furlong test was the latest step toward putting his immature ways behind him.
The headstrong colt who broke his maiden at Saratoga Race Course in September then ran fourth in the Pilgrim Stakes (G3T) was as handy as Oritz could have asked for Saturday. Breaking sharply from the outside post in the nine-horse field, Frostmourne settled into an outside path as the field went by the stands for the first time, and Ortiz was sitting chilly in fifth as Time to Travel went through the opening quarter mile in :23 with Cistron at his hip.
After the half went in :47.53 with Time to Travel still leading the pack, Cistron came to that one's throat around the far turn, while the eventual winner hinted at what was to come as he ranged up four-wide. The small advantage Cistron had as he dug in for the stretch run was short lived. Frostmourne surged down the middle of the track and hit the wire 1 1/4 lengths in front of runner-up Big Score.
The final time for the distance was 1:35.04 over a course rated firm.
"I was a bit worried he was going to get caught three-wide down the backside but ... I was very confident around the turf, because when (Ortiz) started letting him go, he was not asking him and then it was just a matter of time before he got to the lead," said Christophe Lorieul, assistant to winning trainer Christophe Clement. "He's much more mature this year than last year. Last year, as a 2-year-old, we had some concerns. He ran on fast turf (and) 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."
Frostmourne first tipped his hand that the light bulb was coming on when he ended his juvenile season with a win in the Awad Stakes at Belmont Park in October. The dark bay colt came into the Penn Mile off a runner-up effort in the April 22 Woodhaven Stakes and is now a candidate for the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1T) July 8.
"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," Ortiz said.
Grade 3 winner Big Score rallied from seventh to finish 1 1/2 lengths clear of third-place finisher Cistron. Mo Maverick and Holiday Stone rounded out the top five. Sent off at 3-1 odds, Frostmourne paid $8.40, $4, and $3.20 across the board.
Out of the Theatrical mare Leaning Tower, Frostmourne was bred in Kentucky and now boasts a record of three wins from five starts with $417,800 in earnings.
Earlier on the card, Matt King Coal—the runner-up in the Charles Town Classic Stakes (G2)—prevailed over three other rivals to take the $200,000 Mountainview Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths, while Richard's Boy was elevated to the win by disqualification in the $200,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Stakes.