Eclipse Win Keeps Frac Daddy Perfect on Poly
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 6/1/2014 5:54:11 PM
Last Updated: 6/2/2014 11:07:09 AM
Frac Daddy winning the Eclipse Stakes.
Odds-on choice Frac Daddy, making his initial foray into Canada, came away with a convincing five-length victory in the $186,614 Eclipse Stakes (Can-II) (VIDEO) June 1 on the Woodbine Polytrack.
Winner of the Ben Ali Stakes (gr. III) on the Polytrack at Keeneland by nearly five lengths April 19, Frac Daddy improved to 3-for-3 on synthetic tracks.
The powerfully built 4-year-old gray on of Scat Daddy was timed in a spritely 1:42.74 for the 1 1/16-mile Eclipse distance. The clocking was just a couple of ticks off the track mark of 1:42.22 established by True Metropolitan in November 2007.
Luis Contreras guided 4-5 pick Frac Daddy to victory for trainer Ken McPeek and Carter Stewart and Ken Schlenker's Magic City Thoroughbred Partners. Pacesetter Really Sharp held for second by a nose over last year's Eclipse Stakes winner, Alpha Bettor, Canada's 2013 Sovereign Award recipient as top older horse.
Nancy M. Leonard Living Trust bred Frac Daddy in Kentucky out of the Skip Away mare Skipper's Mate. Stewart and Schlenker acquired the colt for $50,000 at the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. He was bought from Eaton Sales, agent for the breeder.
Frac Daddy was runner-up in last year's Arkansas Derby (gr. II) before finishing unplaced in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I). Coming off a solid fourth-place effort in the 1 3/8-mile Man o' War Stakes (gr. IT) on the inner turf at Belmont Park, he turned in a bullet five-furlong breeze of :58 1/5 on the Belmont main track May 26 in preparation for his Canadian debut.
The sharp score confirmed Frac Daddy's strong form over synthetic surfaces.
"We've definitely found his niche," said assistant trainer Matt Shirer. "He obviously loved this track and he's won at Keeneland. We'll see what else is available for us.
"He's grown a lot since his three-year-old year," added Shirer. "He's a whole other horse now and we're happy with him."
After breaking well, Frac Daddy angled to the inside for Contreras heading into the first turn and raced a close second to Really Sharp through the early stages as Are You Kidding Me stalked on the outside and Alpha Bettor tracked at the rail. Vigil Stakes (Can-III) winner Really Sharp, ridden by Steve Bahen, set a moderate pace while maintaining a slight advantage for the opening half mile, posting fractions of :24.29 and :48.82.
Frac Daddy pulled his way to the front as they completed six furlongs in 1:12.41 and began to pull away from his pace rival leaving the quarter pole. By the time he reached the three-sixteenth marker, the big gray was well in command and continued to pour it on through the lane under a couple of right-handed cracks of the whip from Contreras.
"He's got a nice kick from the quarter pole. I was nice and comfortable all the way," said Contreras after his first ride on the winner.
Alpha Bettor, well-positioned while saving ground throughout for Justin Stein, lacked the needed response to challenge Frac Daddy and was unable to get past Really Sharp for second, either. Are You Kidding Me edged His Race to Win for fourth, and they were followed by Peyton, Awesome Overture, Hampstead Heath, and Stealcase in the nine-horse field.
Frac Daddy, carrying 120 pounds, won for the fifth time in 16 lifetime starts and extended his earnings to $645,920.
He paid $3.70, $2.60, and $2.20, teaming with 18-1 Really Sharp ($10, $6.50) for a $35.50 exacta. Alpha Bettor, shouldering top weight of 122 pounds after beginning his 2014 campaign with an allowance victory at Woodbine May 10, returned $3.20 to show.
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