Questions About Frankel

“I have a non-Big Brown question too. As I have been watching the Royal Ascot races I have noticed many other horses, besides Frankel, are also by Galileo. I can’t wait to see them stretch Frankel out in distance. He reminded me of that Big Red horse pulling away from the pack so effortlessly, a different class of horse than the rest. I hope I have not made a sacrilegious comment in that very premature comparison. But he sure is exciting to watch!

“Any comments on his pedigree? Is there any way you could do your computations on Galileo? I wish they would ship Zenyatta’s big butt over there to him! Is there a comparably bred sire here in the U.S.?

“Also I have heard people mention breeding her to Frankel when he is at stud. Is the sire preferable to the son as far as pedigree? I used to have a link to a international sport horse link that might be helpful in tracking Galileo’s progeny but of course I lost it when I switched computers. I used it one time to track Whirlaway’s progeny in Europe. I actually found a few descendants racing jumps!

“Any suggestions for possible future sires for the Mighty Mare?”

These are more questions I received from two posts ago. I will attempt to answer most of them, the ones about Frankel anyway. See Inbreeding Male-Male to Northern Dancer and Others for the remainder of the comments.

Let me start by saying that I also eagerly anticipate Frankel racing at least ten furlongs. Beating the same horses over and over again at one mile (even by increasingly spectacular margins) does not really prove much, in my opinion. There is nothing in the pedigree of Frankel (Galileo out of Kind, by Danehill) which prohibits him from going ten furlongs (or even farther) successfully in G1 company.

We have had heard a lot of talk about stretching Frankel out to ten furlongs. Yet the next race mentioned for him is another mile race. All talk, no action so far. That is troubling, to say the least. The opposite of “No BRAG. Just FACT,” as Walter Brennan used to say. I am beginning to suspect that the connections of Frankel right now are thinking more about retiring him undefeated after a few more mile races than about seeing if he really can negotiate ten furlongs and/or beat a completely different set of rivals. As if they know something about the physical horse we do not, something not evident from his pedigree.

Contrast that to Black Caviar, who traveled halfway across the globe to seek tougher competition to defeat just to make a point. Granted, she evidently did not run her best race yesterday, but she did win, and she did make her point. I hope that the connections of Frankel were paying attention.

Yes, Frankel is inbred 3×4 to ND in the SLBMSL pattern. Galileo is by Sadler’s Wells, by ND. Danehill is by Danzig, by ND. How significant is that????? Probably not very much. Horses inbred 3×4 to ND are pretty easy to find, even if only in the SLBMSL pattern. One thing I could do is go through the sales foals of 2003-2007 and list every single nag inbred 3×4 or 4×3 to ND in the SLBMSL pattern and their results. Do I hear any votes for that?

(Incidentally, So You Think and Black Caviar are also inbred to ND in the SLBMSL pattern, the former being particularly similar to Frankel. Perhaps some astute reader will care to comment on the similarities in the pedigrees of Frankel and So You Think.)

Galileo is of course a very good sire (even before Frankel came along), at least as good a sire as anything in the US (especially since A.P. Indy was pensioned). So breeding Zenyatta to Galileo is not a bad idea at all. It would be a bit of an experiment, but it might just be successful.

As for breeding Zenyatta to Frankel himself instead of to his sire (Galileo), my initial reaction is negative. Only because Galileo is a PROVEN sire. Frankel????? Who knows???? The greatest racehorses do not necessarily make the greatest sires. Just look at Secretariat and Citation as sires (although Man o’ War is the counterpoint).

On the other hand, I think Zenyatta was just getting warmed up at ten furlongs (the farthest distance she ever raced). I think she would have excelled even more if the best races she had to win were at distances beyond ten furlongs.

Galileo is renowned (although not exclusively of course) as a source of stamina. Frankel is renowned as a miler. Zenyatta is closer to Galileo (at least in racing type) than to Frankel. It might make sense to breed a little bit of speed back into Zenyatta with Frankel. At least if the goal is winning the Kentucky Derby. If the Epsom Derby is the goal, then Galileo is the better choice. If the goal is breeding a good horse of any description (regardless of distance), then Galileo is a better choice than Frankel.

All such mating decisions should take into account the physical attributes of the prospective mates and how well they match up. I am FAR from an expert on these matters. Perhaps some of you who ARE experts (or consider yourselves so) would care to comment????? Here is a link to one post that has already commented on these matters.

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11 Responses to Questions About Frankel

  1. Shamrocked says:

    Frankels dam Kind was a 5f sprinter a small horse, like Frankel.
    He won’t get 12f against top colts, Camelot would destroy him over 12f, St Nicholas Abbey or So You Think would beat him over 12f, Frankel is a miler and thats it, a very good miler not the greatest horse ever as the media hype would like you to believe.

    • ddink55 says:

      I am NOT disagreeing with you at all. I think my point is that it is up to Frankel to prove that he is MORE than just a consummate miler, which he has not yet even been allowed to ATTEMPT to prove. I am a little more encouraged now that Frankel will attempt some race(s) beyond a mile later this year than I was when I wrote this post. Will see.

  2. fmitchell07 says:

    Frankel, in conformation and in motion, is as good as his record on the course. And I believe your reading of his pedigree is in keeping with his physical ability. He is uncommonly talented, both strong and fast. The issue, from the statements of those closest to the colt, is the concern that he is headstrong to a fault, and only the most careful handling and training have kept Frankel on track to show his best time and again, rather than allow him to become a tearaway who runs himself into the ground repeatedly, shortening his career and making him “only” a sprinter.

    Their handling of Frankel is important to his expected career as a stallion because he will retire to stud as one of the most desirable stallion prospects in many years, and that should give him the best opportunity to become as good a stallion as he can be. His stud career may or may not be a mirror of his racing career. They are not the same things.

    That goes for mares, even more than stallions, because they have so few opportunities to prove themselves before the limitations of health and expectations begin to limit things for them. For instance, imagine if a stallion’s stud career depended on only 10 foals, which most mares are lucky to produce.

    So Zenyatta is trying to buck the odds in a very difficult game by producing foals of extremely high class and ability from the beginning of her production career. Since there is no stallion of equal proven ability to Galileo in the States, I’d have made him my first choice for the mare. Without any proof from Frankel at stud, he would still rank highly as a prospective mate because of his outstanding ability and speed. But another son of Galileo, Derby winner New Approach, may prove of equal interest if the Mosses should choose to send their prized mare to Europe for covering.

    Could there be a better reason to allow AI than the absurdity of needing to cross oceans to breed horses on different continents? It is expensive, dangerous, and upsetting to horses and the people closest to them. Et cetera.

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