Clem Florio, oddsmaker at Laurel Race Course, looked at the time posted by You And I in the Riva Ridge Stakes at Belmont Park last month and remarked, "This horse is a mutation. If he ran any faster, he'd be a jaguar."
The stout bay colt is the second choice today in a bulky 11-horse field for the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash. On the day that Belmont Park was souped-up for the 126th Belmont Stakes, the colt ran seven furlongs in 1 minute, 20 1/5 seconds in the Riva Ridge, breaking the record set 21 years ago by King's Bishop by a fifth of a second.
Bobby Frankel, the colt's trainer, acknowledges the track was super fast that day. Speed figures indicate the colt ran a comparatively faster time than Holy Bull did when he won the Metropolitan Mile.
If You And I wins the Dash today, he will be the third straight 3-year-old to do it. Montbrook and Superstrike beat older horses in 1993 and 1992, respectively.
Frankel respects the other two 3-year-olds in the Dash, California-based Individual Style and Fu Man Slew. "But the big question is how they will handle the track," Frankel said. "Laurel is a lot deeper than the hard tracks out West."
You And I missed the Triple Crown after turning in disappointing races in two preps, the Louisiana Derby and San Pedro Stakes.
Frankel said that the horse was sick, either coughing or running a temperature, after he finished a well-beaten seventh behind Kandaly in the Louisiana Derby, and after the San Pedro Stakes at Santa Anita, where he was fourth.
The horse's legs also were showing slight filling from training on the hard West Coast tracks. Frankel made the decision to send him back East to Belmont Park.
Frankel said he always has liked what he's seen in the horse.
"He looks something like a male version of [champion filly] Hollywood Wildcat," he said. Both horses are by the same sire, Kris S., who has also turned out such recent runners as Kissin Kris and Blumin Affair.
You And I has something of an eclectic pedigree. His dam, La Chaposa, was a champion sprinter in Peru and a multiple Grade I winner there.
"As soon as he got back East on the deeper tracks, his legs tightened right up," Frankel said.
"There should be a legit pace today. There is plenty of speed in the race, such as Demaloot Demashoot and Fu Man Slew. Never Wavering also looks like he wants the lead. So does Blushing Julian, but he carries too much weight (123 pounds). We should be laying fifth or sixth early. Cherokee Run, of course, is the horse to beat. But he's never really sprinted [at six furlongs]."
Frankel had his choice of riders for You And I in the Dash, but chose New York-based jockey Robbie Davis because he has been working the horse at Belmont Park. Davis won the Pimlico Special in May with New-York invader, As Indicated.
After the Dash, Frankel said he'll try out You And I on longer distances and might try him on the grass.
"Or I could even run him in the Haskell against Holy Bull. But I'd only go if it rains," Frankel said, referring to the invitational stakes carded at Monmouth Park on July 31. "I won't run against Holy Bull on a fast track."
NOTES: This weekend is typical for Frankel, whose large stable is comprised almost entirely of stakes and allowance horses. He runs three horses in three different stakes with purses totaling $600,000. Last night he ran Bon Point in the Hollywood Park Budweiser Breeders' Cup. He starts You and I today in the De Francis Dash at Laurel and runs Tinners Way tomorrow in the Bel Air Handicap at Hollywood Park. Frankel currently ranks sixth in the national trainers' standings. . . . Roy and Pat Chapman, who run long shot Lazy Luke today in the Dash, have diverse horse holdings. The Chapmans' 3-day event horse, Eagle Lion, will represent the U.S. in the World Equestrian Games next month at The Hague in Holland.