ELMONT, NY – Alex and JoAnn Lieblong’s Wicked Whisper struck the front and never looked back while whisking away in gate-to-wire fashion in Sunday’s $400,000 Frizette Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
The Frizette is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Wicked Whisper receiving an automatic berth in the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park this November.
Breaking alertly from post 3 under Joel Rosario at 5/2 odds, Wicked Whisper immediately asserted herself on the front end, posting fractions of :22.91, :46.49, and 1:11.12 while Miss Marissa and Quality Response gave closest chase. The field bunched up in the far turn, but Rosario remained chilly aboard the front-runner as she straightened for home.
Beginning to draw off under her own power, Wicked Whisper refused to let anyone draw near in the stretch run. Hand-ridden from flags fall to that’s all, the Steve Asmussen trainee crossed 2 3/4 lengths clear in a final time of 1:35.92 for the mile-long event over the fast main track.
“She relaxed good and was able to have a little extra in the last part,” Rosario said. “There was a lot of speed. I was going to break and see; if someone went, maybe (I’d) lay second or third. She had nice cruising speed right away and I just decided to go on with her. Every time I asked her, she was there for me. It was her first time going a mile, so you just want something for the last part. She responded and just kept going. The more I asked, the more she was going. She looks like she’s real spirited and looking around and enjoying herself.”
Frank’s Rockette, the slight 13/5 favorite, raced three-wide early and made a strong bid in the stretch but was unable to gain on the eventual winner before finishing second for the third straight race. Slam Dunk took third ahead of Ice Princess, while behind them came Daphne Moon, Miss Marissa, and Quality Response to complete the order of finish.
Wicked Whisper’s win was her second in as many starts, having broken her maiden at Saratoga on August 25. The 2-year-old daughter of Liam’s Map, purchased for $500,000 as a yearling, has now earned $269,500.
“We’re going to enjoy the moment and go from there and take it one step at a time,” said assistant trainer Toby Sheets. “She’s a very nice and classy horse. She does everything correct. All I said to Joel was she’s classy and ‘good luck.’ I didn’t have any concerns because they were going easy. That was very easy for her and she finished great.”
Wicked Whisper returned $7.90 to win, $3.80 to place, and $3 to show. Frank’s Rockette brought back $4.10 to place and $2.90 to show, while Slam Dunk paid $6.40 to show.