Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Breeders' Cup is still weeks away but this year the two-day event will not showcase the top horse of 2011.
Frankel, fresh off his ninth consecutive victory in Saturday's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in England, will rest up over the winter to get ready for a 2012 campaign that more than likely will include a trip to Santa Anita and the Breeders' Cup.
Trainer Henry Cecil also indicated he will like to stretch Frankel out next year to 1 1/4-miles, a distance the son of Galileo has yet to race. The furthest he has traveled has been one mile, which he has done six times including the last four.
Frankel didn't have much to prove in the QE II considering his undefeated record was still intact after his victory in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood back in late July. Still, this race was an important step in his career considering the quality of his opponents.
Excelebration had strung together two consecutive wins after losing twice before to Frankel. In addition, his victory in the Prix du Moulin on a rainy day at Longchamp on Sept. 11 was an exceptional performance.
Three-year-old filly Immortal Verse came into the QE II off two Group I victories in a row - the Coronation Stakes and the Prix Jacques le Marois. In the former, she went from last to first with two-furlongs remaining to win going away. However, it was her victory in the latter that stamped her as a top-flight filly when she defeated three-time Breeders' Cup Mile winner Goldikova by a full length.
Despite the accomplishments of the other entrants, Frankel was ready for the challenge. Sitting fifth for much of the early going, he accelerated into second without much urging from jockey Tom Queally. The leader, Bullet Train - Frankel's older half-brother - began to tire after six-furlongs giving Queally the chance to maneuver Frankel to the inside.
With one-furlong remaining, the undefeated superstar was challenged by Excelebration, who moved up on his outside to get within a length. Immortal Verse gained into third but she was not picking up any ground on the top pair.
At this point, Queally let out the reins on Frankel while Jamie Spencer aboard Excelebration whipped his charge with little success. The favorite quickly opened up a two-length lead with a little over 100 yards to the finish.
At the wire, Frankel pulled away to an easy four-length score with Excelebration holding second, 3 1/2-lengths in front of Immortal Verse, who finished third.
Frankel, named after former trainer Bobby Frankel who died of cancer in 2009, should not have any trouble stretching his speed over 10-furlongs. His dam Kind is a half-sister to Powerscourt, who would have won two Arlington Millions at 1 1/4-miles had he not been disqualified in 2004. Frankel's dam side is loaded with stamina due to the likes of Stage Door Johnny and Blushing Groom.
The sire line is also equipped to give him enough staying power. Galileo has sired the likes of Rip Van Winkle who won the 2010 Juddmonte International, Red Rocks who prevailed in the 1 1/2-mile Breeders' Cup Turf four years earlier, Treasure Beach who finished third to Frankel as a two-year-old and then came back to win the 12-furlong Irish Derby earlier this year, Soldier of Fortune was another Irish Derby winner back in 2007, along with Cape Blanco who won it last year.
Galileo's dam Urban Sea won the 1993 Arc de Triomphe, while his half-brother Sea the Stars was one of the top racehorses of all-time proving victorious in both the Epsom Derby and Arc de Triomphe.
There is no doubt Frankel will be able to navigate longer distances but the big question is how he'll handle the turf course at Santa Anita. Given the fact European horses have gotten the best of American horses in the majority of Breeders' Cup turf events out west, the only way he'll lose is if he stumbles and falls out of the gate.
His appearance in a Breeders' Cup race is over a year away but don't sleep during the spring and summer months when the No. 1 horse in the world will add more impressive victories to his ever-growing legacy.
10/17 09:38:22 ET