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HORSE RACING

Frankel Gets Two Big Wins

September 08, 2002|BILL CHRISTINE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

DEL MAR — Trainer Bobby Frankel hit home runs on each coast Saturday, winning the $500,000 Woodward with Lido Palace at Belmont Park about three hours before his assistant, Humberto Ascanio, saddled Inesperado for a win in the $300,000 Del Mar Derby.

Each horse was favored, Lido Palace paying $2.90 in New York and Inesperado returning $5.60 for $2 here. The $300,000 purse for Lido Palace's owners and the $180,000 that Inesperado earned will swell Frankel's lead in the national money standings. He was already at $11.5 million, more than $3 million ahead of Bob Baffert.

Lido Palace hasn't won many U.S. races since leaving Chile, but all three of his victories have been in Grade I stakes. Saturday's effort was a repeat in the Woodward and moved the horse into some exclusive company; all five of the previous back-to-back Woodward winners are in the Hall of Fame.

The Woodward list includes Sword Dancer, Kelso, Forego, Slew o' Gold and Cigar, and now there is Lido Palace, a grind-it-out 5-year-old who was a winner by three-quarters of a length over Gander at 1 1/8 miles. Exactly 364 days ago, Lido Palace used a similar style to best Albert The Great by a length in the Woodward.

Lido Palace's only other U.S. win, out of eight races since John and Jerry Amerman of Palos Verdes Estates brought him here in 2001, came in last year's Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. The 5-year-old Chilean-bred finished third in last month's Whitney, a defeat that extended his losing streak to four races.

Frankel said Lido Palace would run Sept. 28 at Belmont in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, a $1-million race at 1 1/4 miles. After that, the Amermans will weigh an expensive option: whether to write an $800,000 check to make Lido Palace eligible for the $4-million Breeders' Cup Classic at Arlington Park on Oct. 26. A year ago, the Amermans passed on the Breeders' Cup and instead sent Lido Palace to Tokyo, where he finished eighth in the Japan Cup.

Saturday's win, worth $300,000, sent Lido Palace's all-time earnings over the $2.1-million mark. Overall, his record is nine wins, six seconds and two thirds in 20 starts. His clocking for 1 1/8 miles on dirt was 1:47 3/5. Express Tour finished third, a neck back of Gander, in what was not a stellar six-horse field.

Jorge Chavez, who rode Lido Palace for the first time, was aboard again Saturday.

Nobody's perfect, and in another $500,000 race at Belmont, the Man o'War for grass horses, Frankel's runners, Skipping and Lord Flasheart, ran fourth and fifth as With Anticipation, under Pat Day, overtook Balto Star in the last 40 yards for a one-length win.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani--who tried to call Frankel in New York for pre-race instructions but had the wrong number--Inesperado beat Johar by one length at Del Mar, with Rock Opera, the pacesetter, running third, beaten by 1 1/2 lengths. The time for 1 1/8 miles, over a grass course listed as firm, was 1:47 2/5.

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