09/03/2016 7:40PM

Shaman Ghost justifies decision to run in Woodward

Barbara D. Livingston
Shaman Ghost (1), under Javier Castellano, splits horses in deep stretch and outlasts Mubtaahij to the wire to win the Woodward by a head.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Jimmy Jerkens didn’t want to run Shaman Ghost in Saturday’s Grade 1 Woodward at Saratoga. Owner Frank Stronach didn’t like the alternative.

So, Jerkens followed his owner’s lead and then took a page out of his late father’s playbook as Shaman Ghost upset heavily favored Frosted in the $600,000 Woodward at Saratoga.

Shaman Ghost, under Javier Castellano, split horses in deep stretch and outlasted Mubtaahij to the wire to win the Woodward by a head. It was another head back to Frosted, the 2-5 favorite, who had to come eight wide in the stretch.

Frosted got third by a head over Breaking Lucky, who was 7 1/4 lengths clear of Tapin Mojo. He was followed, in order, by Catholic Cowboy, Tale of Verve, Bradester, and Samraat.

In 1973, Jimmy’s father, the Hall of Fame trainer Allen Jerkens, won the Woodward - then held at Belmont Park - with Prove Out, beating Triple Crown winner Secretariat, the 2-5 favorite.

“I grew up watching my dad run in all these races when I was a little kid and how important it was - the Brooklyn, the Suburban, the Woodward - because we were New York people and [in] New York racing all our lives,” Jerkens said. “It’s what we want.”

Shaman Ghost won the Brooklyn by 4 1/4 lengths on June 11 but ran fifth in the Grade 2 Suburban. He came out of the race with a cough and his subsequent training was interrupted by inclement weather. Thus, Jerkens initially wanted to wait until next Saturday’s $100,000 Seattle Slew Stakes at Belmont Park to use as a prep for the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont on Oct. 8.

Jerkens said Stronach “wasn’t crazy about the idea.”

The Woodward meant taking on Frosted, who was coming off dynamic victories in both the Metropolitan Handicap in June and the Whitney in August.

Jerkens hoped that those two races may have taken a toll on Frosted.

“His last two races were through the roof. They just don’t duplicate it all the time,” Jerkens said. “I was kind of surprised he ran in here.”

Frosted had shown speed winning the Whitney in front-running fashion. Saturday, he broke awkwardly under Joel Rosario and brushed the side of the gate. He was sixth early as Bradester went to the lead under Joe Bravo and set modest fractions of 24.38 seconds for the quarter-mile, 48.43 for the half, and 1:11.97 for six furlongs while being kept in the No. 3 path. He was being chased by Breaking Lucky and Samraat.

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Shaman Ghost was a relatively close-up fourth, while Frosted raced in sixth position about six lengths off the pace.

Entering the far turn, Shaman Ghost, Samraat, and Frosted launched their bids. But with Bradester in the No. 4 path and Breaking Lucky off his flank in the No. 5  path, Shaman Ghost, Samraat, and Frosted had to come six, seven, and eight wide.

Meanwhile, Mubtaahij, who raced in seventh under Irad Ortiz Jr., was able to save some ground around the turn and entering the stretch.  He made a bid for the lead at the eighth pole inside of Shaman Ghost, who was splitting horses, Breaking Lucky, who was persevering, and Frosted, who was still under a hand ride.

Little separated that quartet from the sixteenth pole to the wire, but Shaman Ghost was able get up over Mubtaahij, Frosted, and Breaking Lucky.

“I almost decided to go around the horses but when I see Frosted he went out wide, I thought the only chance I could beat him was cut the corner, split horses, and go from there,” Castellano said.

Shaman Ghost, last year’s Queens Plate winner and a son of Ghostzapper, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.92 and returned $20 to win.

Rosario never went to the whip on Frosted, but he explained that in previous rides on the horse he didn’t respond well to being hit.

“Every time I rode him, when you hit him with the whip he don’t like that too much,” Rosario said. “When I’m turning for home I thought we were going to be home free and at the eighth pole I thought we were okay. Just the last 20 yards he hung a little today.”

Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of Frosted, said the trip probably cost his horse.

“I thought we were going to get there, but the horse was very wide and the fractions weren’t very fast,” McLaughlin said. “He just didn’t have his ‘A’ game today.”

McLaughlin said it was too early to say what the future holds for Frosted, who has already secured fees-paid berths into the Breeders’ Cup Classic at 1 1/4 miles and the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Frosted is winless in three tries at 1 1/4 miles.

McLaughlin is also the trainer of Mubtaahij, who despite breaking from the outside post had a good trip in comparison to his rivals, but couldn’t match strides with Shaman Ghost late.

“Mubtaahij ran great, post position hurt him,” McLaughlin said.

It is likely that Shaman Ghost and Mubtaahij will meet again in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.


Frank 4 months ago
I dont think this was a fix -- I believe it was very very poor judgement by the Jock.

Rosario is not a good jockey -- he is all muscle no brains.  I always hesitate betting a horse with him on them -  he makes a lot of bad decisions and is awful at letting the race play out -- of course he gets lucky sometimes -- everyone does -- however he is NOT consistent like a Javier or Johnny V.
MortimerPost 4 months ago
Ray Sousa 4 months ago
New York jockey colony as corrupt as they come . No race is safe .no champion is preserved.
kevin 4 months ago
I did NOT bet the race so i have no personal money interest in the race so i have some objectivity. I have seen it all over 36 years. Jockeys standing up at the 16th pole, Jorge Chavez standing up at the wire after 2 times around although the race was at 3 times past finish line(2 and 1/4 Display Handicap 15-20 years age Dec 31),Desormeaux not riding his horse out multiple times blowing seconds thirds and fourths etc, But never in a Grade 1 the ride like Rosario.
        He walked him out of the glided him along whole race went as ride as possible hand rode horse until last 20-5o yards with minimal exertion. Please read the DRF chart for the race charters analysis . Over confidant definitely larceny maybe. So far very littel response from "talking' heads of racing. Quiet as church mice!! Castellano, Ortiz brothers and Velazuez are big 4 in new York racing and i thought Rosario 5th , I watch thousand of races and find rosario will ride hard for Bill Mott and david cannizzzo, others not always full effort. Just an observation . Take care Kevin m.
riconap 4 months ago
Jockeys lose races and horses win races. This race underlines that point as Rosario, an accomplished talented rider, turned in one of his worst performances ever. The question of a sincere effort is an additional argument but the trip was conceived in hell and the rider was complicit.
Mark Howell 4 months ago
beautifully said
Cheryl Kleist 4 months ago
Looks like the dirt mile at the Breeders Cup will be very crowded this year.  I wonder if  Shaman's 
Ghost will try the Classic against California Chrome.  
Joel Firsching 4 months ago
No regular lasix at an early age allows horses to grow to their full potential.  Meds/peds used as a handicapping angle and should also be used as lasix may be hazardous to your health.
Thomas 4 months ago
I'll explain the "suspiciously" run race,  Frosted and Rosario basically fixed the outcome of the race and Rosario should be suspended indefinitely.  Under a confident hand ride the entire length of the stretch to which point Larry Collmus even announced it during the stretch and then losing the race is basically fixing a race and not trying to win the race to which any other racing jurisdiction except the U.S. would suspend trainer and jockey for a year. You can't justify what Rosario did,  costing the betting public thousands of dollars because he expected an easy race and didn't want to exhaust his horse for the BC Classic.  This is why racing is so corrupt at all levels.   When do stewards and racing get tough with these trainers and jockeys racing like this.   
BrownRiggle 4 months ago
I fully agree, that was disgraceful. But these "experts" who can't pick a wunner muchless to pick themselves up if they fell, will say it was a genuinely run race. Whatever!!!
Cheryl Kleist 4 months ago
Rosario said Frosted didn't respond to the whip, didn't like it.  If his previous races show that is the case, then Rosario did the right thing NOT to use the whip.  IF NOT, he gave 
Frosted a bad ride.  Even the best have losses.  I knew Frosted was in trouble from the 
break on and never seemed to get the breaks to recover.  
Greg Stevens 4 months ago
Sounds like your salty cuz u ate the chalk....he was 8 wide, doesn't like the whip and coming off 2 huge races.....he was a perfect bounce candidate....I personally cashed the exacta and win money on the ghost.....and let's be honest, Fosted didn't beat much at all his last 2 races, and Mubtahij already beat him over in Dubai....I'm glad there's plenty of suckers in this game or else I would have never gotten 9-1 on the winner 
Shawn Kennedy 4 months ago
Shaman Ghost ran on Lasix for the first time in his life- I would think that should have merited comment in this article.
Jack Armstead 4 months ago

Shawn... I should have had more sense and keyed Frosted for 3rd vs. just 2nd with the #'s 1 & #9.  I saw the FTL and said to myself, "This is the money run..."  I was an idiot for not going deeper in the Tri's and super's with Frosted.  I only liked the #'s 1, 3, and 9.

Still kicking my own tale for not taking at least $99.00 for the Super w/Frosted in 3rd.

Richard Kennedy 4 months ago
In reply to BrownRiggle:
How was it a "suspiciously run race?"  I bet MUBTAAHIJ, kicked myself for ignoring "Giant Killer Junior."  -
Racetrack Rik
BrownRiggle 4 months ago
The stable bet Mubtaahij, the bettors bet Frosted. How can a stable have two horses in a GRADE 1 race one's 2/5 the other is 5/1??? That race was FIXED. 
Ray Sousa 4 months ago
It's standard practice in New York . They rock a little in the gate .the horse comes out slower .then they put him inside behind horses .so he can get all the dirt kicked in his face . Then take widest path  round the turn .under a hand ride losing  as much ground as possible . Classic stiff job. Notice how much mud this horse had on him compared to the others . And he was on the pace in last in 108 and change . They went 1 11 and change here and he's 7 off the pace.
scott maly 4 months ago
congrats to the Ghost...been playing him since he broke his maiden at gulfstream, great to see him get a grade 1 at Saratoga