Lido Palace makes strong impression at Woodward Stakes

Frankel stays on a roll

Albert the Great second

Horse Racing

September 09, 2001|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

ELMONT, N.Y. - The South American-bred Lido Palace leaped into the forefront of horses in North America yesterday with a determined victory in the $500,000 Woodward Stakes at Belmont Park.

But the Chilean-bred 4-year-old, racing for the fourth time in this country, did little to fill American racing's need for a star to replace Point Given, retired recently with a tendon injury.

Lido Palace will probably not race in the United States again this year. That means he would miss the $4 million Breeders' Cup Classic, this country's late-season jewel for crowning champions.

Lido Palace's one-length win over Albert the Great in the Woodward continued trainer Bobby Frankel's magical streak of saddling winners in premier races. At the recently concluded Saratoga meet, the California-based Frankel won 10 of 21 races, including three Grade I stakes and three Grade II stakes.

He also swept two of California's three major races for older horses, the Pacific Classic with Skimming and the Hollywood Gold Cup with Aptitude. Frankel has been so hot that after Lido Palace ran down Albert the Great in the Woodward stretch, the trainer of Albert the Great didn't even mention Lido Palace.

"I don't know what to tell you," said Nick Zito, based here at Belmont. "It's Bobby Frankel."

The Woodward featured only five horses, but four ranked among the top runners in the country.

Based on his 6-for-7 record at Belmont, Albert the Great was a 6-5 favorite. Tiznow, the reigning Horse of the Year making his first start in six months, went off at 2-1. Lido Palace, winner of the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga, earned respect at 5-2. And Red Bullet, winner of the 2000 Preakness Stakes and making his second start in 14 months, went off at 9-2.

As expected, Albert the Great broke into the lead of the one-turn, 1 1/8 -mile race. He led into the stretch, where he looked, briefly, as if he might continue his dominance on his home track. But Lido Palace, with the wily Jerry Bailey aboard, wore him down in deep stretch and strided home for the win.

"I just know that my horse has a tendency to drift, so he's usually better on the outside of horses," said Bailey, who has won five Woodwards in 10 tries and four of the past seven. "I also think that Albert the Great doesn't like horses on the outside of him. Knowing that, I opted to leave my horse out there."

Lido Palace paid $7.80 to win after finishing in 1 minute, 47.42 seconds. The exacta with Albert the Great returned $16.60. Tiznow claimed third, a half-length behind Albert the Great. The 66-1 long shot, Country Be Gold, finished fourth. Red Bullet staggered home a tired last.

Chris McCarron, Tiznow's jockey, said that the Tiznow he rode in the Woodward was not the Tiznow of past glories.

Tiznow won last year's Breeders' Cup Classic. After crushing his foes in March in the Santa Anita Handicap, he suffered a back injury that kept him sidelined for six months.

"I don't think we saw the best of Tiznow," McCarron said. "He needed a race to knock the cobwebs off him. It was a lack of sharpness instead of a lack of fitness."

Tiznow's principal owner, Michael Cooper, said that plans still call for the colt to run Oct. 6 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont or Oct. 7 in the Goodwood Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park, and then to contest the Breeders' Cup Classic as defending champ.

Frankel, the victorious trainer, was subdued after the race and said merely that Lido Palace was a good horse when he got him and is now a "really, really good horse." Frankel began training Lido Palace late last year after John Amerman, retired chairman of the Mattel toy company, bought him as a future Christmas present for his wife.

Lido Palace won six of 10 races last year in Chile (and finished third in three others). He was named Chile's Horse of the Year. In his first race for Frankel, Lido Palace finished third in the $2 million UAE Derby in the Middle East.

Lido Palace is not nominated to the Breeders' Cup. It would cost his owners $800,000 to supplement him into the Classic. Frankel said he might run Lido Palace next in the Japan Cup Dirt, a $2.5 million race at a distance slightly longer than 1 1/4 miles in late November.

But for now, Frankel said, he wanted to enjoy his moment in the spotlight, a moment that has extended most of the year.

"It's like, `Don't wake me up,' " Frankel said. "Just let me sleep."

In the Grade I $250,000 Gazelle Handicap, the 3-5 Fleet Renee tired in the stretch and finished third. Exogenous and Two Item Limit finished one-two.

Michael Dickinson, the Maryland trainer of Fleet Renee, said that his 3-year-old filly got upset in the post parade, missed her break, rushed to catch the leader, ran too fast early and tired at the end.

"I'll teach her how to relax and bring her back here in seven weeks," Dickinson said, referring to the Breeders' Cup Distaff. "We're going to give them what-for in the Breeders' Cup."

In the Grade I $500,000 Man o' War Stakes, With Anticipation led gate-to wire, followed under the wire by Silvano and Ela Athena.

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