Updated on 09/15/2011 1:20PM

'Squirtle' ends Frankel Cup drought

Email

ELMONT, N.Y. - Trainer Bobby Frankel broke out of his Breeders' Cup funk with Squirtle Squirt's victory in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Sprint at Belmont Park on Saturday afternoon.

Squirtle Squirt ($21.20) was a half-length winner over Xtra Heat, the pacesetter. Caller One, who pressed Xtra Heat, was third, a neck behind the runner-up. Swept Overboard put in a late run on the rail and finished fourth.

Kona Gold, the 7-2 favorite, was a disappointment, finishing seventh in his attempt to become the first repeat winner of the Sprint.

Frankel, 60, was 0 for 38 with Breeders' Cup starters heading into the Sprint. Earlier on the card, he lost with favorites Flute in the Distaff and You in the Juvenile Fillies. You was fourth and Flute finished seventh.

After winning the Grade 1 Sprint, Frankel headed straight to the paddock to saddle Starine, who then finished 10th in the Filly and Mare Turf.

"I thought [Squirtle Squirt] was my fourth-best shot, to be honest with you," Frankel said as he left the paddock to watch Starine run.

Frankel said the best thing about winning the Sprint was that people would no longer ask him about his slump in the Breeders' Cup.

"They can't ask that question anymore, that's the main thing," Frankel said, with a smile.

Squirtle Squirt, under Jerry Bailey, was never far off the early pace, which was set by the lone filly in the field, Xtra Heat, who clicked off fractions of 22.45 seconds, 44.75, and 56.30.

Squirtle Squirt came between Xtra Heat and Caller One in midstretch and forged to the front with a sixteenth remaining.

"I didn't know about this one, but I thought we could win [for Frankel] before the day was over," Bailey said.

The final time was 1:08.41 over a fast track.

Xtra Heat, who broke from post 1, set the pace from the rail, which wasn't the optimum place to be on Saturday.

"There was nothing I could do about that," Xtra Heat's rider, Jorge Chavez, said. "The track was a little heavy and that didn't help. She tried so hard."

John Salzman Sr., the trainer of Xtra Heat, said, "She ran good; she won for me."

Bruce Headley, the trainer of Kona Gold, said his 7-year-old gelding will get a break and will likely return to the races next year.

"He either didn't handle the track or he is worn out," Headley said. "I can't believe I only got beat four lengths. But when you think you are going to win, four lengths is like a mile."

David Lanzman, the owner of a mortgage company in Los Angeles, owns Squirtle Squirt. Lanzman bought the 3-year-old son of Marquetry as a 2-year-old at a Barretts auction for $25,000. Squirtle Squirt underwent surgery last year to remove a chip from his knee and came into Frankel's barn earlier this year.

Squirtle Squirt is the fourth 3-year-old to win the Sprint.

for the Breeders' Cup Sprint chart.*

* Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader.