Frank’s Rockette, owned by Frank Fletcher Racing Operations, continued an impressive sophomore campaign on Saturday at Belmont Park with a 7 3/4-length victory in the Grade 2, $150,000 Gallant Bloom.
A victory was nothing new for Frank’s Rockette. It was her fourth consecutive triumph, her fifth in six races in 2020 and sixth in 10 career starts. But by capturing the 6 ½-furlong Gallant Bloom, the Into Mischief filly passed another test for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, defeating older horses in her first opportunity.
Under jockey Junior Alvarado, Frank’s Rockette overtook pace-setting Pacific Gale at the top of the stretch and pulled away for the comfortable victory under a hand ride, earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.
“I thought it was her best race yet,” said owner Frank Fletcher regarding his Kentucky homebred. “She’s gotten better all year long. I think she’s improved race-by-race. She was very good as a 2-year-old and we were very excited, but she’s gotten stronger. It was great to see her go 6 1/2. I always thought six was her best distance, but I thought she was very strong yesterday.
“The jockey told us that whenever she has a target in front of her, that’s when she’s at her best and knows what to do when the time comes,” added Fletcher. “He said he had a lot of horse under him when he asked her to go. Quite frankly, we were surprised she won by that many lengths running against older horses, but it all turned out good.”
Frank’s Rockette has never finished worse than second in all 10 of her starts [6-4] and has won three consecutive graded stakes races, starting with the Grade 3 Victory Ride on July 4 at Belmont going 6 ½ furlongs before shortening to six in a victorious Grade 2 Prioress effort on September 5 at Saratoga. Wheeled back almost a month later, the 6 ½-furlong Gallant Bloom did not daunt Frank’s Rockette, who posted her largest margin of victory since an 8 ¾-length debut win in June 2019 at Churchill Downs.
“She’s been an amazing filly,” Fletcher said. “She seems small on the track, but Bill Mott says she’s gaining weight as the year is going along instead of losing weight, so he really likes that. He says she does everything he tells her to do for workouts and is very quiet and friendly with everyone. She’s just getting a lot of confidence.”
Mott said Frank’s Rockette has blossomed as the season has progressed.
“She’s come from just off the pace before but she really does seem like she’s stronger right now than she’s ever been,” said Mott on Sunday morning.
A possible next spot could be the Grade 1, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on November 7 at Keeneland. The waters would get deeper for the seven-furlong contest, which figures to attract two-time Grade 1-winner Gamine, who put herself in contention for divisional honors after winning the Longines Acorn and Longines Test at Belmont and Saratoga, respectively.
Mott also discussed the possibility of entering Frank’s Rockette against the boys in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Sprint, which offers a potentially more favorable distance of six furlongs.
“It would be foolish to discredit the other one [Gamine] for any reason, it looks like at seven-eighths she’s a real freak,” said Mott. “Of course, it will come into the conversation should we run against the boys going six furlongs or seven eighths against her [Gamine.]”
Fletcher said he would relish the opportunity to race in the Breeders’ Cup.
“You don’t get many opportunities in this business to be in a race like that, so I’ll certainly listen to the trainer, but personally, I think she can hold her own,” said Fletcher. “I’m not saying she could win, but I feel confident she can put in a good race in a class of horses like that for the Breeders’ Cup.”
Frank’s Rockette is sired by Into Mischief and is out of Indian Charlie mare Rocket Twentyone, who won the 2011 Grade 3 Arlington-Washington Lassie for Fletcher. Rocket Twentyone also Fletcher’s lone previous Breeders’ Cup participant, running 13th in the 2011 Grade 1 Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.
“Mr. Mott knows much more about whether we should or not and I’ll listen to him, but one of the biggest thrills of my life – I’ve only been in it once – was going to the Breeders’ Cup with Frank Rockette’s mother, so we’ll see,” Fletcher said.
Also under consideration for Frank’s Rockette is the $125,000 Fort Springs, a six-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies on the November 7 Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland.
Photo Credit: Susie Raisher