Ken McPeek closely observed Skip Away with an admiring eye while
training at Gulfstream Park during the mid and late 1990s, gaining a
deep respect for trainer Sonny Hine’s big gray champion.
So when a colt he had purchased at auction reminded him of Skip
Away, he viewed the resemblance to the 1998 Horse of the Year as a
decided positive. Three races into his racing career, Frac Daddy has
done nothing but feed his trainer’s enthusiasm and optimism about his
“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. Physically, he looks
like Skip Away, so that’s kind of neat,” McPeek said. “Having been
around a few good horses in my time, I think this horse could be any
Frac Daddy, whose gray coat and large frame help to remind his
trainer of Skip Away, has demonstrated a lot of potential in his three
starts thus far. The late-developing colt worked his way through traffic
to finish second in his career debut at Belmont Park on Oct. 4 before
scoring in a two-turn 1 1/16-mile race at Churchill Downs by nearly 10
lengths on Nov. 3.
“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 later 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
over the McPeek trainee in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill
“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 I thought I could have
trained him a little harder. He might have beaten the other horse. He
got a little tired.”
The performance was certainly strong enough for McPeek to expect big things from Frac Daddy.
“Having been around a few good horses in my time, I think this horse
could be any kind,” said 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, a son of 2007 Florida Derby winner Scat Daddy, is
expected to be very active at Gulfstream during the 2012-2013 meeting.
“I’d like to get one race into him before the Fountain of Youth
(Feb. 23) and then come back for the Florida Derby (March 30),” McPeek
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 big strong horse with a great him and 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 this year’s
“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 finished second behind Thunder Gulch in the 1995 Kentucky Derby.
"I made a mistake going to Fair Grounds that winter. If I had
brought my horses here that winter instead of Fair Grounds, I think I
would have one the Derby,” said McPeek, whose training schedule for
Tejano Run was compromised by weather. “It was one of those odd winters.
It did nothing but rain down there. It was nasty.”
Back in the Sunshine State, McPeek is hoping Frac Daddy’s winter at
Gulfstream Park will set him up for a winning effort at Churchill Downs
on the first Saturday in May.