05/15/2013 2:52PM

Churchill: Frost sets sights on more winners

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Shaun Bridgmohan rides Good Deed to victory in the May 11 Unbridled Sidney, the last of Bridgmohan's five straight wins on the day.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Jack Frost has a name of great renown, but not from his deeds as a horse trainer.

“My dad was one of 13 kids, all but two of them boys,” said Frost, who lived in and around Huntsville, Ala., for the first half of his 62-plus years. “Everyone always got tagged with some kind of nickname because of our last name. He figured I might as well be the one to make it stick.”

Jackie Robert Frost is the real name of the man who still sells crop-dusting airplanes while overseeing a stable of about 20 horses at the Trackside training center a few miles east of Churchill Downs. An Arkansas resident since 1982, Frost is in his fifth year of training Thoroughbreds after initially being an owner.

Frost, who owns most of his stock, had three wins and six seconds from 29 starters here last spring, and he intends to do even better this time around. He sent out his first winner of the 2013 spring meet Sunday, when Clever Gretel narrowly held on to win a lower-level maiden-claiming sprint, and he was scheduled to see plenty of action to start this week at Churchill with two horses entered Thursday and three more on the Friday twilight card.

Frost seems good-natured when the inevitable inquiry is made about a name made famous by the 1944 Christmas carol that begins, “Chestnuts roasting on an open fire . . .”

“I’ve had it my whole life, so it’s no big deal to me,” he said.

Mother’s Day card leaves fans upset

More than a few patrons here left Sunday frustrated and even angered by the stark lack of customer conveniences offered by Churchill on a particularly nice weather day that coincided with the Mother’s Day holiday.

Lines throughout the plant were extraordinarily long – particularly for food, drinks, and mutuels – on an afternoon when the track was severely understaffed and overwhelmed. The track sold out of programs very early in the day and could offer only overnight sheets as a way for customers to handicap the 11-race card.

Tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. do not release attendance figures except for major events such as the Kentucky Derby, but with plenty of fans in the stands all the way down through Sections 122 and 322, there may have been 25,000 or more who turned out.

“I thought it was extremely poor planning,” said Clay Shulhafer, a longtime Churchill regular. “Obviously, they didn’t have any kind of contingency in place. It was disappointing to hear so many people complaining.”

Two Churchill officials did not return repeated phone calls seeking comment.

Streak shoots Bridgmohan to first

Shaun Bridgmohan won five straight races here last Saturday to soar to the top of the jockey standings. But he isn’t about to get overly excited.

“Let’s wait until the end of the meet to talk about everything I’ve done,” said Bridgmohan, 33. “Last year I started out the same way, and Corey [Lanerie] took off and left me.”

Before Thursday’s races, Bridgmohan had 17 wins, and Lanerie and Rosie Napravnik each had 10. Joel Rosario, who won 14 races here opening week, is not expected to return through the end of the meet June 30, except for perhaps the June 15 Stephen Foster Handicap card.

Bridgmohan swept races 6 through 10 on Saturday, ending with Good Deed in the Unbridled Sidney, an overnight stakes that has been run three times, with Bridgmohan winning it every year. Bridgmohan also rode Unbridled Sidney herself once, winning a $250,000 turf-sprint stakes at Calder in August 2006.

Lanerie won the 2012 spring riding title with 71 wins, with Bridgmohan second with 47.