ELMONT, N.Y. - Bobby Frankel, trainer of Aptitude, the Belmont favorite, was extremely unhappy with his jockey, Alex Solis.
After Aptitude finished a driving second in the Kentucky Derby, Frankel skipped the Preakness, saying that the A.P. Indy colt would have a better chance of winning the longer Belmont.
Yesterday, after Aptitude dropped to last early and then ran his heart out to get up for second, the outspoken Frankel blasted Solis' ride.
"I'm very disappointed," Frankel said. "He was way too far back. He ran a really great race, but he used himself up getting to the leaders.
"He's the kind of horse you have to get into the race early. When you come out of [the gate] and drop the reins, he's going to relax, relax too much. ... The pace was just too slow that he couldn't make up the ground."
Solis acknowledged that Hugh Hefner's pace was too slow, but the jockey failed to adjust and keep Aptitude closer to the leader.
"He felt good most of the way, but he was spinning his wheels on the first turn," Solis said. "He's not used to this kind of track.
"He got better when we got to the mile pole. He got in gear and started running. ... But Commendable had too easy a time."
Solis, who rides primarily in Southern California, has won one Triple Crown race in 18 tries. He captured the Preakness in 1986 with Snow Chief. He is 0-for-31 in Breeders' Cup races.
Lukas, Day do it again
Carl Nafzger and Shane Sellers, trainer and jockey of third-place finisher Unshaded, credited D. Wayne Lukas and Pat Day, trainer and jockey of Commendable, for stealing the 132nd Belmont.
"Every time you count Lukas out, he steps up and beats you," Sellers said.
Said Nafzger: "You can't let a horse get away like that with Pat Day up and think you can beat him."
Still, Nafzger and Sellers said they thought Unshaded was a winner until the heat took its toll down the stretch. The Unbridled gelding was treated for heat exhaustion after the race.
"I thought we had a big shot at the quarter pole, but the heat began to get to him about a sixteenth [of a mile] from home. His head went up, and he started to lose his action."
Said Sellers: "I was patting myself on the back at the three-eighths pole. But as we straightened out, he got the wobbles. ... He then made another big run. It was a very gutty performance."
John Kimmel and Richard Migliore, trainer and jockey of Wheelaway, who finished fourth, said they believed the heat also might have affected their colt.
"He had a picture-perfect trip," Kimmel said. "He didn't finish the way I thought he would have. ... He came back a little wobbly."
Said Migliore: "He had a great trip. I felt him run up underneath me leaving the three-eighths pole. ... I thought I was sitting on the winner. When I asked him for more, he flattened out."
Postponed could not provide a second straight Belmont victory for his part-time Marylander owners, Jinny Vance and Laddie Dance. Postponed finished seventh. "I have no excuses," said his trainer, Scotty Schulhofer. "He just didn't run today."
Edgar Prado, his jockey, concurred. "I just didn't have enough horse," he said.
Todd Pletcher, trainer of Impeachment, blamed the slow pace for his colt's fifth-place finish. Juan Ortiz, trainer of the sixth-place Appearing Now, said the same about his 63-1 long-shot New York-bred.
Jockey Mike Smith blamed a lunging start for Globalize's 10th-place finish.
"The race was over after that," Smith said. "He should have been where Commendable was."