04/18/2012 4:42PM

Aqueduct: Frank Alexander retires after 42-year career

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Frank Alexander, who has trained horses for more than 40 years, has retired at the age of 74.

Alexander won 997 races from 7,009 starters and his horses earned $28,569,136 in purse money. Equibase records show he won his first race in 1970, but began training on a regular basis in 1974. His last starter was Big Screen, who got beat neck in last Saturday’s Calder Derby. Big Screen, a 3-year-old son of Speightstown, gave Alexander his last win on Dec. 31.

Big Screen was one of four horses Alexander trained for owner Cot Campbell, whom he informed of his retirement on Wednesday. Alexander wasn’t sure to which trainers those horses would go, but he said two of his own horses will be sent to trainer Tom Albertrani.

“I don’t have any stock,” Alexander said by phone from south Florida about why he’s retiring. “It’s getting harder and harder to get clients. You feel like a mom and pop operation between Lowe’s and Home Depot.”

Alexander-trained horses won 74 stakes races, the biggest of which was perhaps Cherokee Run’s victory in the 1994 Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs. Cherokee Run was voted sprint champion of 1994. In 1993, Cherokee Run finished second in the Preakness.

Other Grade 1 winners trained by Alexander included K.J.’s Appeal, Wallenda, Nonsuch Bay, and Lucky Roberto. Some of his other graded stakes winners included Babae, Good and Tough, Windsor Castle, Killer Diller, and Arrival Time.

“I’ve had a great run,” said Alexander, who said he would maintain residences in Saratoga and south Florida. “If I hadn’t trained a lot of nice horses it’d been a lot easier [to retire]. But once you train a good horse, you’re always looking for another one.”

Agave Kiss possible for Miss Preakness

Agave Kiss, who ran her unbeaten streak to five by winning Tuesday’s Trevose Stakes at Parx Racing, could make her next start in the $100,000 Miss Preakness at Pimlico on May 18.

“I’m going to check it out and see how much weight they’re going to put on her,” trainer Rudy Rodriguez said Wednesday morning. “If they put too much weight on her, I’ll just wait for Belmont. I thought they put too much weight on her [124 pounds at Parx] but she was much the best. Now you get to Pimlico, you’re going to see a lot more different quality horse.”

Under Ryan Curatolo, Agave Kiss raced a bit wide in the Trevose and seemed to be getting out a little on the turn. She straightened out in the stretch and won by 1 1/2 lengths over Dance to Bristol. Agave Kiss covered six furlongs in 1:09.66 and received a Beyer Speed Figure of 92.

“We told Ryan to stay off the rail a little bit. Usually the inside is not the place you want to be over there,” Rodriguez said. “It might have been a little bit she was trying to get out and a little bit she was going too fast which made it look a little bit more worse. In the stretch, she looked very comfortable. She was straight.”

Rodriguez said if he skips the Miss Preakness, he would look for a prep race to get to the Grade 3, $150,000 Victory Ride at Belmont on July 7.

Curatolo to miss final week

Speaking of Curatolo, he will not ride the final week of the Aqueduct meeting, his agent, Bob Klesaris said Wednesday.

Klesaris said that Curatolo will return to his native France to take care of some issues regarding his visa. Also, Curatolo has been hampered by a sore back following a spill in the final race at Aqueduct on April 7.

“His back’s been bothering him, this will give it time to heal,” Klesaris said. “He’s not 100 percent.”

Klesaris said he expected Curatolo to be back for the April 27 opening of Belmont Park.