10/15/2011 12:39PM

Ascot: Still undefeated, Frankel completes 3-year-old season in style


Frankel further burnished an already glowing reputation Saturday with an easy win in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, his ninth victory without a defeat.

A homebred for the Juddmonte Farms of Khalid Abdullah, Frankel wrested command of the QE II about a quarter-mile from the finish, taking over from his pacemaker, Bullet Train, and putting away primary rivals Excelebration and Immortal Verse with a powerful turn of foot. Frankel’s sixth and seventh furlongs were by far the fastest eighth-miles of the race, and, having taken the heart from his opponents, Frankel strode clear to the finish, winning by four lengths. Excelebration finished decently for second, while Immortal Verse, who had missed regular training in recent days, did not seem to show her best on the day, checking in another 3 1/2 lengths back in third. Dubawi Gold finished fourth in what proved to be a formful edition of the QE II.

Jockey Tom Queally took a strong hold of Frankel leaving the gate, and Frankel raced with his head cocked sideways while outside and near the back of the eight-horse field in the early going. But before the first quarter-mile had been run, Frankel smoothed out his stride and moved to the front of the pack trailing the rabbit. As Bullet Train backed up, Frankel came through on his inside, surging to the front with two furlongs left and never looking back. Final time for the mile on "good" turf was a moderate 1:39.45.

A Galileo homebred trained by Henry Cecil, Frankel is being lauded as one of the best racehorses in years, and his performance Saturday figures to solidify his position atop the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities World Thoroughbred Rankings. He won four times at age 2 by a combined margin of almost 26 lengths, while his five wins this year have come by nearly 20 lengths combined. He now has won five Group 1 races – none longer than one mile – and cemented his position as Europe’s top miler of 2011. The winner’s share of the QE II purse boosted Frankel’s career earnings past $2 million.

Cecil said afterward that Frankel had raced for the last time in 2011, and that he might be stretched to 1 1/4 miles in 2012. Immortal Verse, trainer Rod Collet said, will return to race next year, but won’t ship for the Breeders’ Cup Mile.