Updated on 10/25/2012 12:19PM

Ascot: Frankel takes Champion Stakes to end career a perfect 14 for 14

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Frankel completed a brilliant undefeated career winning for the 14th time in the Champion Stakes on Saturday at Ascot in England, staking his claim as one of the best racehorses ever with a 1 3/4-length victory over the top-class French invader Cirrus des Aigles.

A miler for most of his career, Frankel was making just his second start beyond that trip, and racing over the softest turf course he’d encountered. His main Champion foe, Cirrus des Aigles, had won this race last year while showing a love for testing conditions throughout his long career. And when Frankel came alongside him with a little less than a quarter-mile to race, Cirrus des Aigles briefly braced against the challenge, but he failed to match Frankel’s late stride and settled for second, finishing 2 1/2 lengths in front of Nathaniel. Time for the 1 1/4 miles on turf rated soft was a slow 2:10.22, speaking to the testing nature of the course.

Shortly after the race Frankel’s breeder and owner, Khalid Abdullah, announced that Frankel had raced for the last time and would go to stud for the 2013 breeding season.

Frankel began his memorable run Saturday by not running: When the gate sprang open Frankel stood still, coming out of his stall at jockey Tom Queally’s urging while spotting his rivals a couple lengths. The slow start turned Frankel’s trip somewhat tricky. While Frankel caught up with the pack, Ian Mongan, the jockey on his rabbit, Bullet Train, looked several times behind him, trying to find the superstar for whom he was to be pace-making. About a half-mile in, Frankel, fourth on the outside, had drawn virtually abreast of Bullet Train, third on the inside, with Cirrus des Aigles leading the pack. Queally might have said something to Mongan, as in any case Bullet Train shot through on the fence to take the lead from Cirrus des Aigles with about six furlongs left to run. Nathaniel, racing about three paths wide, made the first bid as the field turned into the stretch, moving outside Cirrus des Aigles, who responded by taking the lead from Bullet Train. But there came Frankel, quickly putting Nathaniel aside to turn his focus to Cirrus des Aigles, who simply could not quicken with the best horse in the world.

The incident has faded over time, but in April, there was concern Frankel wouldn’t race as a 4-year-old. The colt rapped a tendon during a workout, and it took several days before the injury was determined to be superficial. Frankel made his seasonal debut as planned in the J.T. Lockinge Stakes, where he beat Excelebration by five lengths, and then came perhaps the best of his many spectacular performances, an 11-length annihilation of Excelebration in the Queen Anne Stakes. Excelebration raced about a half-hour before Frankel on Saturday, easily winning the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

All told, Frankel, by Galieo and out of the Danehill mare Kind, won 10 Group 1 races over three seasons, beating 23 Group 1 winners during his career. His 14 wins came by more than 75 combined lengths, and only twice did a rival get within one length of him at the finish. The winner’s share of the Champion purse raised Frankel’s bankroll to over $4 million, a figure he should earn many, many times over at stud.

“He’s the best I’ve ever had and the best I’ve ever seen,” said winning trainer Sir Henry Cecil, a legend in his own right. “I’d be very surprised if there’s ever been better.”

Daniel DiPrinzio More than 1 year ago
LMAO Frankel yeah greatest of all time HAHAHAHAH yeah Wise Dan just whooped up on Excelebration but yeah Frankel much better than Secretariat you people done lost your minds
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Orfevre would have eaten this horse alive....no wonder Frankel ducked Orfevre in the Arc.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
The British are breeding same short speed horses as USA, so they need to hype an overrated miler like Frankel. Just par for the course. I for one am glad not to read and see those "greatest this" "greatest that". The only thing great about this overrated miler is the hype given by Timeform and the British media. Any horse that ducks and skips all the greatest most prestigious 12 furlongs races in europe is nothing but a short hyped horse. Oh yeah he ducked those 12 furlongs because he is not agile enough to run those long winding turns.
David Voelker More than 1 year ago
Let's see - They picked out a couple of cake races over a mile so they can say he will breed classic race horses. As a sire, he will not be another Mr. Prospector, in fact, he will not be too sucessfull at all.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
According to another post, he beat 23 grade 1 winning horses, and in his last ran away from one the best horses in the world. Funny that to be right about his success in the breeding shed you picked one the greatest sires of all time. What a step out move.
David Voelker More than 1 year ago
The best horses are in the USA & run in the Breeders Cup. The best in Europe run in the ARC. Did he ever post a course record time? Did he ever approach world record time?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
US is all about times and they cannot be compared. See my respectful reply post to Thomas Cook regarding time below.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Please name the races you're referring to?
David Voelker More than 1 year ago
The last two races.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
We need to take your keyboard away.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Yawningly slow race. Great horse. Far from best ever. Wise Dan would lap him in a two turn mile in U.S. And they know it. Thus the dodging tactics and aloof rhetoric.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I'm surprised to hear you say that. Times cannot even be compared on different days over there, certainly different courses, let alone compare to American times. In Europe you will never hear, that due to the heavy rains and poor condition of the course, racing is off the turf. In America, you will hear, that due to the rain yesterday, racing is off the turf. We race on a flat precise course with a firm surface. They race on courses hundreds of years old with odd configurations, uphill and down. Tactics are different, pacing is different with emphasis on the quick pacing to the finish. If PeterG got the fractions of the race right, and I got the math right then taking into account the heavy bog of a course they ran on which would never even consider running on, it was rather impressive. He ran the third to last eighth in 12.27, the second to last eighth in 12.1 and the final eighth in 12.6, the final 3/8th in 36.97, making the last quarter in 24.7. He did that on about the worst and slowest conditions possible for him, finishing uphill to the finish to boot, while drawing away from one of the best horses in the world. Not too shabby indeed. Consider that if a horse over here going a mile and quarter does that on a hard fast dirt surface we think that's pretty good. Now take into account the much much slower conditions and you realize how impressive it is.
Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Easy. I see your point. I agree. Just got a little ticked off at Euro's knocking our greats. And there is a point to be made that they hand picked spots to remain unbeaten.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Wasn't irritated, just thought I would give you a few points to mull over. I have a feeling I know why you said it. I think his campaign was mapped out long ago.
MattBisogno More than 1 year ago
Just to clarify about Frankel 'picking spots', it is in fact the case that much of the opposition has been scared off, and Frankel has been winning the very best races at eight and ten furlongs available in UK. Regarding Wise Dan, who is of course a very good turf miler, I'm afraid he'd need a van to get by Frankel. If you check any ratings anywhere, compiled by US or European compilers, Wise Dan would have a lot to find against Cirrus Des Aigles and Excelebration, let alone Frankel. It is very well known that historically European turfers have been better than US turfers, so when we talk about Frankel as being perhaps the best horse we've EVER had, it's a little odds that you suggest he's not even the best of a generation. To my eye, at least.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Thomas and HC, I got yipped at too for mentioning the time of the Champion Stakes but when it adds up to 45 or 50 lengths at the wire (Dr Fager vs Frankel) it speaks for itself - LOUDLY.
PeterG More than 1 year ago
Time is only important in jail. (Despite what Beyer and all his cronies try to sell you) It was a slow paced race on a very soft track. Frankel dwelt in the gate and came out last. He was running wide for much of the race. And he still blew by one of the best turf horses in the world.
Daniel DiPrinzio More than 1 year ago
man these people with the GOATs, every year it's someone different. a couple years ago it was sea the stars, greatest horse who ever lived. last year it's goldikova, greatest miler who ever lived. now it's frankel. who's it gonna be next year? which 2 year olds are looking good over there?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
I think you make a point against the state of racing in America and for European racing. At least they have horses coming along and doing great things consistently. Too bad we never get to the same about our flash in the pans.
Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
Why is it that for Frankel to be considered a great horse he has to travel to the USA for the Breeder's Cup, to France for the Arc de Triomphe or to Dubai for the DWC? Secretariat NEVER travelled out of North America (granted he did go to Canada once), nor did Seattle Slew and Dr. Fager the threesome most commonly mentioned in "the greatest of all time" argument. Just saying.....what's good for the goose..............
Paula Higgins More than 1 year ago
He never did have to travel outside Britain to be considered great or the greatest. He is great, but not the greatest. The stats determine that.
russell More than 1 year ago
Most of our all time greats in North America raced mainly on the dirt. Seattle Slew never raced on the turf. Why would a top American dirt horse go to Europe and race? Dubai is a relatively new event which attracts American horses.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
When Secratariat Won The Belmont We Didnt Call Him Greatest Of All Time-The Euros Are On An Ego Trip About Good Horses-lolk-DS
Kevin Ryan More than 1 year ago
Frankel was just a better horse. Period. CIRRUS DES AIGLES had lost 28 times prior to yesterdays race. Why would anyone call him one of the best horses in the world: unless they are smoking something good. To say or predict what would happen over another two furlongs is irrelevant as the ducked the Arc twice and obviously his connections did not want him to try 12 furlongs. And on DRF there is not even an article about his victory. No one cares. He was not Secretariat or Ribot. He was just a very good horse.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Nothing on DFR? Then what have we commenting on here since yesterday? DRF.Com › News › International › Ascot: Frankel takes Champion Stakes to end career a perfect 14 for 14
Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
Well we know what Kevin's been smoking. Hahahaha If you smeeeeelllllll...........
Kevin Ryan More than 1 year ago
I've been smoking nothing. And the DRF had no headline about Frankel. This post is something we picked up in the bottom lines. The reason I use that picture as my stamp is that I was training in the Emirates at the time. And it was funny; as everyone thinks alcohol is illegal in Arab states. Far from true. I like Frankel. I just think he was over rated and his opponents ( yesterday, not all of his races ) where completely over matched.
Jonathan Yarde More than 1 year ago
Traing what?.. The only Kevin Ryan I know in the business is in England, so obviously that's not you.
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Maybe you were training Arabian horses to drink water after leading them to the trough?
Horse Cents More than 1 year ago
Cirrus has raced 44 times, 37 times in the money, 32 times first or second. He's six years old and is one of the best in the world.
Dave Schuler More than 1 year ago
Yep Ill Drink To Yhat-lolk-DS
PeterG More than 1 year ago
I got the fractions for Frankel's race off of the RacingUK video. 3 fur - 40.78 4 fur - 53.68 5 fur 106.38 6 fur 119.38 7 fur 132.17 8 fur 144.44 9 fur 156.54 10 fur 209.14 Personally, I don't think Bullet Train affected Cirrus Des Aigles much. Bullet Train was behind Cirrus Des Aigles for the first half of a mile. And then Cirrus Des Aigles was about a length behind Bullet Train for the next couple furlongs. They weren't running side by side much from what I saw. The Racing UK announcer made this comment after the race. "Cirrus Des Aigles is one of the best horses in the world and he's even better on soft ground." Cirrus Des Aigles has won a Group 1 race at 12 furlongs in Dubai. There is no way he was going to catch Frankel if they went another 2 furlongs and nobody else in the race was going to either. And Excelebration is also one of the best horses in the world. If Frankel wasn't around, people might be calling Excelebration one of the greatest horses ever. He would have 12 wins in 14 starts.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Yes good points, CDA loves it soft. Makes you wonder the margin if it had been good ground.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Frankel is obviously a tremendous horse but yesterday is a classic example of how pampered he was by his connections who sought to avoid putting him in any situation where he may face some true adversity. Yesterday is a classic example. He breaks slowly but fortunately for him his pacemaker / personal chaperone / binkie Bullet Train rushes up to mess with CdA in the middle part of the race, hereby setting it up for frankel in the late stages. Again I have healthy respect for Frankels genius but I think he loses yesterday without Bullet Train. Frankel belonged in the Arc or the Breeders Cup.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Once again Arc not his distance. BC not a factor. Europe sends second strings for those.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Second string like high chapparal and falbrav? Like sakhee and galileo? Like ouija board, islington, midday, the list goes on and on. Run along, arrogant know-nothing.
Rodney More than 1 year ago
Sad post....resorting to personal insults.
Vinod Jhangimal More than 1 year ago
That's what the majority of the "Frankel is a bum" camp has to resort to because they have no way of conceiving that Frankel belongs in a conversation of the truly great horses of all times. I don't believe greatest of all time is something that we can realistically achieve because it is entirely subjective, but to say Frankel isn't even to be considered amazing or great is absolutely ludicrous.
Perl More than 1 year ago
I'm sorry you feel the insult was personal. It was actually directly related to the content (or lack thereof) of your comments. When you post insulting nonsense about American racing, you can't expect a mild-mannered reply, especially when the facts don't really favor your argument. Plenty of top-flight Euros have come to the BC. For that reason, it's a truly international event and worthy of more respect than your glib dismissal. Not every top class European horse comes to the Breeder's Cup and this is not so much reflective of the event itself, as it is the difficulty of shipping a horse overseas. Not everyone wants to do it and not every horse can ship effectively, especially when they have to go half way around the world to the west coast. That's why your post was arrogant and misinformed.
Kevin Ryan More than 1 year ago
Yes like Goldikova. She was a bench warmer. Right?
Perl More than 1 year ago
Thumbs up. These guys just don't want to let the facts get in the way of their one-liners.
Daniel DiPrinzio More than 1 year ago
yo cuz, you keep saying it's not his distance, that's the point, if he was the GOAT any distance would be his distance. if you're the GOAT, you can go a mile and a half. if you can't, if it's "not his distance," he ain't the GOAT.