NFL star wide receiver Wes Welker's turf sprinter Undrafted put the finishing touches on preparations for a trip to Newmarket next month with a clear victory in the June 7 Jaipur Invitational Stakes (gr. IIT) at Belmont Park.
The 4-year-old Purim gelding, conditioned by three-time Royal Ascot-winning trainer Wesley Ward, is now set to contest the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) after covering the Jaipur's six furlongs in 1:07.24, a time just .37 of a second off the course record. He will be a rare challenger from the United States for the July 12 race at the same distance.
Undrafted has made 12 of 14 career starts for Welker. The Jaipur, in which he turned the tables on familiar opponent Marchman, was his first stakes win among a 4-1-5 record. In his start prior to the Jaipur, he finished second to Marchman in the Twin Spires Turf Sprint (gr. III) May 2 at Churchill Downs. He has a lifetime bankroll of $362,040.
Undrafted is so named because Welker, a star with the Denver Broncos, was initially not selected at the pre-season NFL draft despite having a successful college football career.
"Wes has told me that he will be there," Ward said. "Undrafted is really coming into his own now (as a 4-year-old) and I couldn't wish for a better horse to bring over. He is much better than Cannonball (saddled by Ward to a second-place finish in the 2009 Golden Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot).
"It's going to be a big adventure and we know that we are taking on a big task across the pond but Undrafted is an extremely sound horse with no physical issues and everything looks golden for us to go over with a big chance of winning," the trainer continued. "We plan to ship him over to England as close to the race as possible, and it is such a peaceful and tranquil place I am sure that it will suit him."