Curiously, Frankel appears doomed not to produce a son or daughter who is superior to him. The Racing Post’s bloodstock expert, Tony Morris, writes: “No horse rated 138 has ever sired a horse rated 138 or above. Frankel may well get plenty of good runners, and I hope he does, but I can guarantee he will never sire his equal; he is the ceiling, and regression to the mean dictates that all his stock will be inferior to him.”
This is probably also true of Beyer speed figures. Has a horse who has peaked at 120 or above ever sired an equal? Ghostzapper topped out at 128 (in the 2004 Iselin Handicap at Monmouth Park); Contested and Hunters Bay, two of his best progeny, certainly haven’t come close to such a number.
The Champion Stakes wasn’t Frankel’s most brilliant win (replay), but it didn’t have to be. His winning margin was 1 3/4 lengths, well below his average, and the provisional ratings of 139 from Timeform and 137 from Racing Post put the race slightly below his best. But he exits a perfect 14-for-14, and that’s what everyone in the stands at Ascot was there to see.
Sad as his retirement might be, take comfort that Frankel will endure:
One day far in the future, after all those who will watch his final race at Ascot are gone, a horse may win a Classic at Epsom or maybe Newmarket, and someone in the grandstand will trace through its pedigree, come upon the name of Frankel and think to themselves: “Ah, the mighty Frankel. Now there’s a horse I’d have loved to see racing.”
Today, though, wouldn’t you like to hug Frankel too?
“I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” says rider Tom Queally. So have we.
3:10 PM Addendum: Love this detail from Sporting Life’s Champions Day live blog: “Even the Queen hung around to look at this incredible beast.”
10/21/12 See Also: From the BBC, facts about Frankel, such as, his total winning margin in 14 races was 76.25 lengths.
From half a mile out, it’s like having someone suck all the energy out of your own horse…. He kills off the opposition. He breaks hearts…. you’ll watch him go by and just lengthen away into the distance. It’s awesome.
Post time for the Champion Stakes on Saturday: 11:05 AM ET/4:05 PM BT.
Only the ground is a concern: “… if it’s heavy, we are in no man’s land.”
2:25 PM Addendum: Grimthorpe raises the possibility of scratching Frankel, depending on the course condition. Would that be it, then, for the colt? Or would a scratch open up the possibility of a Breeders’ Cup tilt? (Ever hopeful.) Tweets @corneliusracing: “don’t believe #Ascot run ‘hangs in the balance’ …”
10/20/12 Update: Frankel will definitely run.
Enthusiasts will have to return to the humdrum of an annual champion who was the best of his group but ultimately beatable on an off day and certainly no Frankel; a return to championship races which are open to more than one horse; to speculative punting instead of money-laundering on 1-20 shots, to a time of oligopoly instead of monopoly, and to a time when valid debates can be held over who is the ‘best’ horse in a given year.
Also an apt description of the America scene since November 6, 2010.
Of course, the footage is not terrific and we don’t know much more than that Frankel is still alive and a bit faster than Midsummer Sun. Still, you have now seen as much as those gallop-watchers who fell out of bed at 5.30am, which is pretty satisfying. Plus, you get to watch it while glugging coffee and munching donuts, instead of being exposed to Siberian winds across the blasted heath.
More! Photos from the gallop.
This morning’s work went about as you’d expect: “Everything went very well, it was a good bit of work and we were all very happy. It’s so far, so good.”
Ten days until Frankel’s final start.
- - - - -
10/11/12 Addendum: How great is Frankel? “Watching Frankel do his thing is almost like watching a driver dominate a Formula 1 race, or Michael Johnson run the 400 meters.”