The two favorites in Nov. 24 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II) ran to their odds, engaging in a thrilling stretch duel at Churchill Downs, with Uncaptured prevailing by a neck over Frac Daddy (VIDEO).
The field was closely bunched at the break, with longshot Track Rocker holding a slim lead over Uncaptured and Frac Daddy tracking third through the first quarter mile in :24.37 and half in :49.16. After six furlongs in 1:13.91, Uncaptured and jockey Miguel Mena held a slight advantage as Frac Daddy, with David Cohen up, began to move in the middle of the track. As they turned for home in the 1 1/16-mile main track test, Frac Daddy got a head in front but only briefly.
With Uncaptured under a stiff drive while being pursued by Frac Daddy, those two put some daylight between themselves and the rest of the field and engaged in a spirited duel down the lane. Despite some bumping as those two were in close quarters, Uncaptured would not relent and gamely held off his challenger.
Final time was 1:44.97. Uncaptured, coming off a victory in the Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in his first start on dirt after competing over Polytrack at Woodbine, paid $5.60, $3.20, and $2.60 as the 9-5 favorite. Frac Daddy, who rolled to a 9 3/4-length victory in a maiden special weight race Nov. 3 at Churchill, was worth $3.80 and $2.80. It was 1 1/4 lengths back to Dewey Square, winner of his first two starts by a combined 15 3/4 lengths, paying $4.00. The exacta paid $17.60.
Tesseron, Fear the Kitten, Java's War, Positively, Track Rocker, Joha, Silver Tongued, Indiano Jones, Lew and Mike and Will Take Charge completed the order of finish.
Uncaptured, who races for John Oxley and is trained by Mark Casse, has now won six of seven starts, including five stakes, and has earned $510,837. A 2-year-old son of Lion Heart—Captivating, by Arch , Uncaptured was bred in Ontario by William Graham and was purchased for $290,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale.
"Honestly, at the eighth pole I thought he was beat," Casse said. "Very seldom does a 2-year-old get headed, be on the inside, and come back and win. He showed his gameness today. Good horses can win when things don't go perfect."
"I really trained him conservatively coming into it," trainer Ken McPeek said of Frac Daddy. "I could have trained him a little harder and, in hindsight, I think maybe I would have won it. But I'm thrilled with his race. I think if you give him two or three more starts under his belt, I don't think Uncaptured wants anything to do with him."
In addition to the Iroquois and Kentucky Jockey Club, the colt has captured the Swynford Stakes, Clarendon Stakes, and Vandal Stakes, all at Woodbine. In his only career blemish, Uncaptured had a troubled trip to finish fifth in the Grey Stakes (Can-III).
The Kentucky Jockey Club is one of the races included in the "Kentucky Derby Prep Season" for which points are awarded on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), with a point system of 10-4-2-1 for the first four finishers.
Uncaptured now ranks fifth on the list with 10 points behind Shanghai Bobby (20), Goldencents (14), Joha (10) and Overanalyze (10). Earnings in non-restricted stakes races will break all ties, and the Top 20 point earners nominated to the Triple Crown at the end of the series will earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.