McKulick 'Frankel'-y Impressive In Belmont Oaks

McKulick | Sarah Andrew

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Sent off the 27-5 fourth choice and only the second best-fancied of the three fillies in the race for trainer Chad Brown, Klaravich Stables' McKulick (GB) (Frankel {GB}) hit top gear with a furlong to race and ran out a facile winner of Saturday's GI Belmont Oaks Invitational S. to become the first American top-level winner for her all-conquering Banstead Manor-based stallion. With The Moonlight (Ire) completed a Frankel exacta, while the winner's commonly owned stablemate Consumer Spending (More Than Ready) finished with interest for third. It was a fourth Belmont Oaks for trainer Chad Brown since the event was lengthened to 10 furlongs in 2014 and his seventh dating back to the Garden City days.

McKulick is named in honor of Brown's first-ever employee, bookkeeper Mary McKulick. McKulick passed away in October 2020 at the age of 67 after losing a battle with cancer. Saturday was also meaningful for Brown for other reasons.

“It's an extra special win with it being [mentor] Bobby Frankel's birthday today. This horse is the first offspring of Frankel that I actually bought. Seth Klarman was nice enough to let me name this filly after my very first employee after I left Frankel, that's why I chose this horse being by Frankel. And wouldn't you know on his birthday she wins a Grade I. The irony and the importance of it today, on his birthday means everything to me personally.”

Drawn pole position on the stretchout to the mile and two furlongs, McKulick was away smoothly and secured a cozy midfield and ground-saving berth as 'TDN Rising Star' Cairo Memories (Cairo Prince) made the running in advance of Godolphin's Listed Pretty Polly S. heroine With The Moonlight. With all riders more or less content with their positions through the middle stages, McKulick was ridden quietly by Irad Ortiz, Jr. and was slipped a bit of rein at the three-furlong pole, shifting out three deep around last year's G1 Moyglare Stud S. runner-up Agartha (Ire) (Caravaggio) and stablemate and 'TDN Rising Star' Haughty (Empire Maker) as they approached the entrance to the stretch. With The Moonlight wrested command from Cairo Memories at the quarter pole, but McKulick had dead aim on Frankie Dettori's mount, overtook that one a sixteenth from home and pulled clear.

Brown said, “She was really born to run a mile and a quarter. We were patiently waiting for a long time to get her to this distance, and my whole team did a super job with this horse in all divisions this filly has been in throughout this year.”

Concert Hall (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), favored on the strength of a fourth in this year's G1 Cazoo Oaks at Epsom, raced in close attendance to the eventual winner down the backstretch, but lacked the needed stretch kick and could finish only fourth.

“It might have been quick enough [ground] for her, she was just lugging in down the straight,” said her rider Ryan Moore. “They went hard and we had a nice run following the winner–just didn't keep up with them, but she ran respectably.”

McKulick and Consumer Spending were a coupled entry favored at 95 cents on the dollar on Saratoga debut Aug. 8, with McKulick getting home 1 1/2 lengths best before checking in a troubled third in the GII Miss Grillo S. Oct. 2. The 180,000gns Tattersalls October purchase resumed with a sound runner-up effort behind 'TDN Rising Star' New Year's Eve (Kitten's Joy) in the GII Edgewood S. at Churchill May 6 and was last seen running on to be second in the June 4 GIII Regret S. in Louisville.

“In both races, it didn't work out for her,” said Brown. “She needed more ground and she was out of position a bit. But she ran well. We had this as a major target of the whole summer and stayed focused on this race and it paid off.”

Pedigree Notes:

With her victory, McKulick becomes a 24th Group 1/Grade I winner for Frankel, who has now sired top-level winners in nine different jurisdictions (U.S., Canada, England, France, Ireland, Japan, Germany, UAE and Australia). She is his 98th SW and 66th GSW. McKulick is the first G1/GISW out of a mare by the excellent Makfi (GB). The cross of Frankel over mares by Makfi's sire Dubawi (Ire) has resulted in the likes of Group 1 winners Adayar (Ire) (Derby/King George), Dream Castle (GB) (Jebel Hatta) and Homeless Songs (Ire) (Irish 1000 Guineas), among other group-level scorers. With The Moonlight is also out of a Dubawi mare.

McKulick is the third full stakes winner from three to race for her Group 3-placed dam, a half-sister to Italian Group 2 winner Porsenna (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {Ire}), Italian MSW/MGSP Basileus (Ire) (Dream Ahead) and Candidate (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), Group 3-placed in Australia.

Astrelle is the dam of the 2-year-old colt Lieber Power (GB), by Frankel's successful first-season stallion son Cracksman (GB), and a yearling filly by Calyx (GB).

Saturday, Belmont
BELMONT OAKS INVITATIONAL S.-GI, $700,000, Belmont, 7-9, 3yo, f, 1 1/4mT, 1:59.62, fm.
1–MCKULICK (GB), 121, f, 3, by Frankel (GB)
               1st Dam: Astrelle (Ire) (GSP-Eng), by Makfi (GB)
               2nd Dam: Miss Mariduff, by Hussonet
               3rd Dam: Sopran Mariduff (GB), by Persian Bold (Ire)
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN, 1ST
GRADE I WIN. (180,000gns Ylg '20 TATOCT). O-Klaravich
Stables, Inc.; B-Essafinaat UK Ltd (GB); T-Chad C. Brown;
J-Irad Ortiz, Jr. $375,000. Lifetime Record: 5-2-2-1,
$583,650. *1/2 to Fearless King (GB) (Kingman {GB}),
GSW-Ger; and Just Beautiful (GB) (Pride Of Dubai {Aus}),
GSW-Eng, GSP-Fr, $127,209. Werk Nick Rating: A+++.
*Triple Plus* Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–With The Moonlight (Ire), 121, f, 3, by Frankel (GB)
               1st Dam: Sand Vixen (GB) (GSW-Eng, $119,931), by Dubawi (Ire)
               2nd Dam: Fur Will Fly (GB), by Petong (GB)
               3rd Dam: Bumpkin (GB), by Free State (Ire)
1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE, 1ST G1 BLACK TYPE.
O/B-Godolphin, LLC (IRE); T-Charles Appleby. $130,000.
3–Consumer Spending, 121, f, 3, by More Than Ready
               1st Dam: Siempre Mia, by Scat Daddy
               2nd Dam: Shaconage, by El Prado (Ire)
               3rd Dam: Carita Tostada (Chi), by Gallantsky
1ST G1 BLACK TYPE. ($200,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL). O-Klaravich
Stables, Inc.; B-Forging Oaks Farm LLC (KY); T-Chad C.
Brown. $70,000.
Margins: 1 3/4, HD, 1. Odds: 5.40, 7.40, 7.40.
Also Ran: Concert Hall (Ire), Cairo Memories, Hot Queen (Fr), Know Thyself (Ire), New Year's Eve, Haughty, Agartha (Ire).
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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