Frac Daddy finished a game second to Uncaptured in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II).

Frac Daddy finished a game second to Uncaptured in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II).

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs

McPeek Hopes Frac Daddy Blasts Off in Florida

Fountain of Youth, Florida Derby targeted for Kentucky Jockey Club runner-up.

Three races into his career, Frac Daddy  appears to have trainer Ken McPeek back on the Triple Crown trail for 2013.

A dominant maiden winner in his second start Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs, the 2-year-old son of 2007 Florida Derby (gr. I) victor Scat Daddy returned three weeks later with a game second to Uncaptured  in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II).

The performance was certainly strong enough for McPeek to expect big things from the big gray colt.

"Having been around a few good horses in my time, I think this horse could be any kind," said the 50-year-old McPeek, who saddled Harlan's Holiday for a victory in the 2002 Florida Derby. "If he improves the way I expect him to, we've got a big chance to be in the middle of a lot of nice races."

Frac Daddy is expected to be very active at Gulfstream during 2013.

"I'd like to get one race into him before the Fountain of Youth (gr. II on Feb. 23) and then come back for the Florida Derby (March 30)," McPeek said.

Frac Daddy has already turned out to be a bargain for Magic City Thoroughbred Partners and McPeek, who purchased him at the 2011 Keeneland September sale for $50,000.

"He was a big, strong horse with a lot of substance to him," he said.

McPeek is obviously hoping that Frac Daddy will perform well enough at Gulfstream to earn a stall in the starting gate for the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

"I think this horse has got a good a chance as any horse I've had in my career," he said.

McPeek trained Tejano Run to run second behind Thunder Gulch in the 1995 Kentucky Derby. The horse Frac Daddy brings to the trainer's mind most, however, is 1998 Horse of the Year Skip Away.

"I was around Skip Away when Sonny Hine had him, and this horse reminds me of him. He's out of a Skip Away mare (Skipper's Mate). Physically, he looks like Skip Away, so that's kind of neat," McPeek said.

A late developer, Frac Daddy worked his way through traffic to finish second in his career debut at Belmont Park Oct. 4. In his subsequent start, he prevailed in a two-turn race at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs by nearly 10 lengths.

"The most impressive was his first race," McPeek said. "It looked like he had every reason to lay down, but he kept fighting back to finish second, kind of weaving his way through traffic."

Three weeks after winning, he made a sweeping move on the turn into the homestretch to take a narrow lead in deep stretch before multiple stakes winner Uncaptured fought back to post a neck decision in the Kentucky Jockey Club.

"The second race was just dominant. We knew he was good. I was a little concerned about how he'd handle Churchill. It was amazing how powerful he was," McPeek said. "In his third race (the Kentucky Jockey Club), I thought I could have trained him a little harder. He might have beaten the other horse. He got a little tired."