Weblog: From Kentucky to the World Wide Web
An American perspective on Frankel - the greatest?
THE best ever?
Better judges than I say it is so.
I've never seen Frankel in the flesh, but I have seen more than a few of his racecourse performances on television in my hone office and have never been disappointed.
Far from it, as a matter of fact.
The Juddmonte homebred always demonstrated a remarkable cruising speed, and when he was finally let go that cruise turned into overdrive. The end result was a spanking of his rivals most everyone had anticipated.
I've been fortunate enough to be around US racing going back to the 1970s, when the likes of Secretariat, Forego, Affirrmed, Seattle Slew and Spectacular Bid put in so many brilliant performances.
I would rank them this way: Secretariat, Spectacular Bid, Seattle Slew, Affirmed and Forego. Clearly there is no shame in bringing up the tail end of this group.
Secretariat earned his ranking with a sweep of the Triple Crown, including that breathtaking run in the Belmont Stakes. It is a performance the likes of which has never been threatened here in terms of its quality.
Spectacular Bid certainly could have given Secretariat a run for his money and is a clear second-best among the group. Only a poor performance by his jockey Ron Franklin prevented Spectacular Bid from becoming a Triple Crown winner along with Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed.
Perhaps it is a waste of time to consider how Frankel fits in with those five stars.
I will, however, say that he is a versatile as any of them.
That seems to be his greatest strength. He won over a mile and a mile and a quarter with equal aplomb. And there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that a mile and a half would have been no problem for him.
I will always wonder if he could have handled the dirt surfaces he would have found in the US. It really is a pivotal question. If the answer had been "yes" then a further question would have been asked - how would he be rated among the five US horses mention above?
We will, of course, never know the answer now that Frankel's career has ended.
He clearly would have been the star of the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita.
I believe Frankel could have won any number of Cup races, including the Mile and the Turf.
And if he could indeed have handled Santa Anita's main track, then the Classic and dirt Mile might have been his as well.
Hell, I even believe he would have been a threat in the Sprint with an alert start.
Could that perceived versatility make him the best ever...anywhere?
You tell me.