Reprinted from NY Thoroughbred Breeders
Frost Wise gets the bob in thrilling Bay Ridge
It took a while for all systems to get to “go” for Aqueduct’s $100,000 Bay Ridge Stakes, a race that fell victim twice to weather-related cancellations, but when the 1 1/8-mile contest for New York-bred fillies and mares was finally run on Thursday afternoon, it was a thriller. Ultimately, the victory came down to a head bob that went to George and Stephanie Autry’s Frost Wise over Charlie Baker’s Riot Worthy.
After Might Be was an early scratch, the four that remained to contest the Bay Ridge were well-matched and, as it happened, three were sired by Frost Giant, sire of Pegasus contender Giant Expectations.
The two inside horses possessed early speed on paper: Frost Wise, making her stakes debut after a blowout allowance win on November, and Frosty Anne, first out for sharp claiming trainer Rudy Rodriguez after winning three straight starts for a $25,000 tag and changing barns each time.
The two horses on the outside were potential closers: Riot Worthy (Patriot Act,), owned and trained by Charlie Baker, a runner-up in the 2016 Fleet Indian and a second-place finisher at nine furlongs while the others were untested at the distance, and Frosty Margarita, a multiple stakes winner.
Frost Wise, 7-5 favorite at post time, was sharp out of the gate, as was Riot Worthy, but both let an eager Frosty Anne go on with it and lead the way through early splits of 23.47 and 47.72. Frost Wise pursued 1 1/2 lengths back in second, Riot Worthy another length back in third and Frosty Margarita brought up the rear.
The running order remained unchanged as the field rounded the far turn through six panels in 1:12.87, but the fillies and mares began to close ranks before the quarter pole, ending up three across the track in close quarters: Frostie Anne to the inside, Frost Wise in-between horses and Riot Worthy on the outside.
With a furlong to go, the decision came down to Frost Wise, now with the narrowest of edges, and Riot Worthy who was inching toward the lead. The pair bobbed heads in the final jumps and, when a photo determined the winner, the game Frost Wise got the prize. Frostie Anne finished another 2 3/4 lengths back in third and Frosty Margarita brought up the rear. After a mile in 1:39.84, the final time for nine furlongs was 1:53.89. [VIDEO REPLAY]
Victorious jockey Kendrick Carmouche reported, “It got a little tight, but that’s race riding. That’s what the game is for. [Trainer] Mike [Dilger] told me to break good because we were breaking from the inside. We hustled a little and Junior [Alvarado, aboard Frostie Anne] wanted it more than me, so I let Junior go and let him sit on the [lead].”
Continued Carmouche, “Mike said she doesn’t close too much, but she did today because they bumped her a little at the quarter pole and squeezed her and she wanted to fight more. I just put my head down and rode her to the wire and we got the head bob today.”
“I guess they just decided they [Frostie Anne] wanted the lead,” added Dilger. “Kendrick is an experienced jockey and decided to take off that pace and it made all the difference for us. I was surprised with this filly; on the turn, she battled in-between horses. A hard-fought win on the rail and she ran very well.”
Dilger is pleased with the prospects for his 4-year-old and her owners. “She’s starting to show a new level of maturity. These are all good things for her. We’re going to enjoy this, for owners George and Stephanie Autry; I believe it’s their second ever stakes win, so we’re going to enjoy this and go from there.”
It took Frost Wise six times to break her maiden, which she did at Saratoga, but she had shown promise from the start, hitting the board in all but one of her prior starts. Last out, on November 30, she recorded a breakout state-bred allowance victory when she bested six rivals going a mile by 16 1/4 lengths and earning a career-high 88 Beyer Speed Figure. From 10 careers starts, she has posted three wins, three seconds and two thirds and earned $187,738.
Bred by Gabriel Duignan and foaled at Newtown Anner Stud in Millbrook, Frost Wise is the first stakes winner and one of three winners from three foals to start out of Watch Smartly, by Smart Strike, who was campaigned by Marc Keller and recorded wins on both dirt and turf.
Out of a multiple stakes winner, Watch Smartly last changed hands via public auction when purchased by Foxtale Farm for $31,000 at the 2013 Fasig-Tipton fall mixed sale in Saratoga. Currently she has a yearling colt by Justin Philip and was bred to Brody’s Cause in 2017.