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BREW'S WIN TASTES GREAT TO FRANKEL TRAINER'S BACKUP PLAN TAKES BIG 'CAP.

Byline: Art Wilson Staff Writer

ARCADIA - Bobby Frankel, who last month won his second consecutive Eclipse Award as the nation's leading trainer, looks as though he's ready to do some stand-up comedy.

Frankel entertained the media Saturday at Santa Anita after the newest star of his barn, Milwaukee Brew, made a mockery of the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap with a four-length victory in front of an on-track crowd of 30,411.

The Big 'Cap has not been kind to Frankel. He was 0 for 9 coming in, and this year's favorite, the Frankel-trained Mizzen Mast, was declared out of the race last Sunday because of a quarter crack.

But the Brooklyn native had an alternate plan. He entered Euchre and Milwaukee Brew in the 65th running of the Big 'Cap and, coupled in the wagering, they went postward as the second choice at 9-2. After the race, Frankel said Milwaukee Brew would not have run Saturday if Mizzen Mast had made the race.

There's no question most of the money wagered on the entry was because of Euchre, who wound up 13th in the 14-horse field - the largest since 17 went to the post in 1983.

But Frankel liked Milwaukee Brew the best of the two, and he was asked what he thought the son of Wild Again's odds might have been if he'd run uncoupled.

``Oh, he'd have probably gone off at 30-or 40-1,'' he said.

Frankel, sitting with a glass of water in front of him, then thought for a few seconds before good-naturedly second-guessing himself.

``I should have scratched the other horse and bet on him (Milwaukee Brew),'' he joked. ``I'll probably go home tonight and be upset with myself for not scratching the other horse.''

Such are the worries these days for Frankel, who can have the star of his barn come up injured one day and dip into his second string for a Grade I victory the next.

``It's the barn of champions,'' winning jockey Kent Desormeaux said after riding the second of his three winners Saturday. ``His second string would be a lot of stables' first string.''

Lido Palace, Mizzen Mast, Milwaukee Brew, Euchre, Skimming, the talented filly You ... the list goes on and on for Frankel, who seems to have a top horse for every big race in the country.

``I think I have an even deeper stable this year,'' he said. ``That doesn't mean I'm going to do as well as last year, but I think I've got better horses.''

And what about the speedster Skimming? When can we expect to see him again?

``Oh, he's my Del Mar horse,'' Frankel said with a smile as wide as Milwaukee Brew's winning margin. Skimming has won the past two runnings of the $1 million Pacific Classic at Del Mar in gate-to-wire fashion.

Milwaukee Brew was sixth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths, in the Whirlaway Handicap at Fair Grounds on Feb. 10. It was his first race in almost six months, and Frankel said he needed it.

``He never ran a jump and got beat (only) 4 1/2 lengths,'' Frankel said.

According to Frankel, Milwaukee Brew would still be in New Orleans if not for Mizzen Mast's injury.

``And we could have bet him at 30-1,'' Frankel cracked.

Milwaukee Brew was 12th down the backstretch in Saturday's Big 'Cap before Desormeaux got the 5-year-old rolling at the quarter pole. He split horses at the top of the stretch and blew past pacesetter Western Pride for his first Grade I victory in 15 lifetime starts.

``When I split horses, he barreled through there with another gear,'' Desormeaux said.

Western Pride, a 19-1 long shot who set blistering early fractions of :22 1/5, :45 and 1:09 2/5 with Pat Valenzuela aboard, held second by a neck over third-place finisher Kudos. The 3-1 favorite, Futural, finished 12th.

When it was over, owner Frank Stronach told Frankel he had a nice A.P. Indy horse to send to his barn.

``OK, I'm ready,'' Frankel said. ``I'm good with A.P. Indy, by the way. Remember Aptitude?''

With that, Frankel got another laugh from the assembled media.

Yeah, it's good to be Bobby Frankel these days.

CAPTION(S):

photo

Photo:

(color) Milwaukee Brew, entered into Saturday's Santa Anita Handicap only when Bobby Frankel lost favorite Mizzen Mast to injury, won by four lengths.

Benoit Photo/Associated Press
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Mar 3, 2002
Words:733
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