Frost Free Has Come a Long Way for the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3)

Frost Free Has Come a Long Way for the $200,000 Chick Lang (G3)

Keene Thoroughbreds’ 3YO Colt, Based in Arkansas, is the 2-1 Favorite

BALTIMORE – For Keene Thoroughbred’s Frost Free, the Chick Lang Stakes (G3) will be a sprint at Pimlico Race Course sandwiched between some 2,200 miles on the road.

Veteran trainer Brett Creighton and a member of his staff hauled the Frosted colt from owner Danny Keene’s farm in Arkansas to Maryland this week to compete in the 49th running of the $200,000 Chick Lang. It is Creighton’s first visit to Pimlico and it will be Frost Free’s first race outside of the Midwest.

Frost Free, who will be ridden by five-time Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., drew Post 6 in the field of eight and is the 2-1 favorite on the morning line.

The six-furlong Chick Lang for 3-year-olds is among nine stakes, five graded, worth $3.3 million in purses on a blockbuster 14-race program headlined by the 149th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown. First race post time is 10:30 a.m. EST.

Frost Free started his career in Texas in June at Lone Star Park with a maiden-breaking victory in the slop. He wasn’t seen again until December at Oaklawn Park, where he was well-beaten in a pair of stakes. With an equipment change and at a sharper fitness level, he has been a player in his last four races, hitting the board each time.

“He's just improving every race,” Creighton said. “I added blinkers and that made a world of difference. I took them off in the route race because I wanted him to relax a little more, and it paid off. Now he's doing everything right and doing good.”

Keene Thoroughbreds purchased Frost Free for $100,000 at the Texas Thoroughbred Association’s 2-year-old in training sale in April 2023. He has a 2-1-2 record and earnings of $184,220 from seven starts. Following a third-place finish in the Hot Springs Stakes and a second in the Bachelor on April 27, a race on the Preakness undercard came into focus.

“My owner, he just wanted to start looking for things for 3-year-olds and it was a good spot, I thought,” Creighton said. “I know Valentine's Candy outrun us the other day, but I think we can handle horses like that if he keeps improving.”

Beginning in 1989, Creighton trained on his own for a number of years. He has been a private trainer for nine years since Keene purchased the farm.

“We raise our own,” Creighton said. “We’ve got Texas Chrome, he’s our stallion. They did pretty good this year at Oaklawn, what we’ve been breeding. It’s just now starting to pay off.”

Keene purchased Texas Chrome for $10,000 as a yearling. The Texas-bred won nine of 22 starts, two of them graded-stakes, and earned $1,033,262.

Les Wagner’s Market Street, trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, raced five times at Oaklawn during its winter season and has shown signs that he is getting back to the form he showed last summer. He finished third in an allowance race in late January and, after a two-month break from competition, won a six-furlong allowance race. In his most recent start he was not a factor in the Bachelor at Oaklawn. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez takes over in the saddle. He won the 2020 Chick Lang on Yaupon.

“He went into a slump there and we didn't have a lot of explanation for it,” Lukas said. “We just kept fooling with him. Not the last one, but the one before that he had some pretty good numbers. I think he’ll be competitive in there.”

Market Street, a son of Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Street Sense, will start from Post 5 and is 15-1 on the morning line.

Peter Vegso’s homebred Mr Skylight will make his stakes debut for Riley Mott, the son of Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. Mr Skylight, by Practical Joke, was second in his career debut on Feb. 10 at Gulfstream Park, broke his maiden at Gulfstream on March 16 and won an allowance race at Keeneland on April 20.

Flavien Prat will be up when Mr Skylight, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, leaves from Post 1.

Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen will try for his record-extending seventh victory in the Chick Lang with Three Chimneys Farm’s Cats by Five. Asmussen has won four of the last six runnings of the race and is 6-5-1 in 17 starts. Luis Saez has the mount from Post 2.

Breeder-owner-trainer Norman ‘Lynn’ Cash’s Sweet Soddy J is a well-traveled runner who has competed at eight tracks in his 14-race career. He has a 3-2-2 record and earnings of $210,850. Cash said that the black type available in the Chick Lang was appealing because he owns the dam and three full siblings to Sweet Soddy J.

The Chick Lang will be his first race at Pimlico, but he has a 2-1-0 record in five starts in Maryland. His most recent victory was in the Heft Stakes on Dec. 30 at Laurel Park. Two races back he was third by two lengths in the Lafayette at Evangeline Downs. On April 28 he was second by three-quarters of a length in a starter allowance in sloppy conditions at Oaklawn.

Also competing in the Chick Lang are James C. Wolf’s Petingas Twin, who is 1-5-0 in six career starts; Super C Racing’s Catahoula Moon, who has a win and two seconds in three starts in 2024; and LBR Racing Stable and partners’ Classic Joke, who has won both of his starts at six furlongs.