Frac Daddy’s winter may not have unfolded as Ken McPeek had
expected, but the veteran trainer’s confidence in the 3-year-old son of
Scat Daddy has not been shaken.
McPeek shipped Frac Daddy to Gulfstream Park in December looking forward to a productive 3-year-old season.
“Having been around a few good horses in my time, I think this horse
could be any kind,” McPeek said at the time. “If he improves the way I
expect him to, we’ve got a big chance to be in the middle of a lot of
Frac Daddy, who concluded his 2-year-old season with a sharp
second-place finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs,
finished sixth in his 2013 debut in the $400,000 Holy Bull (G3), in
which he grabbed a quarter. He subsequently suffered from a throat ulcer
that has healed in time to make his second start in the $1 million
Besilu Stables Florida Derby (G1) on March 30.
From personal experience, McPeek has learned not to be discouraged by just one subpar showing.
“The best example is Tejano Run. Early on, everyone was high on him
as a 2-year-old. Then his first race (at 3) was an absolute clunker,”
said McPeek of his 1995 Kentucky Derby runner-up who finished fifth at
1-2 odds in the Risen Star in his 3-year-old debut. “The first race
doesn’t mean anything. It’s actually the next two that are the only ones
that are important anymore. What Churchill’s done is probably good for
the game – the format – because there were a lot of horses who got their
earnings at 2 and then they wouldn’t do anything after that. They’d sit
on the bench. Now, they’ve got to run.”
Under the new points system instituted to replace the traditional
graded-stakes earnings system, the Florida Derby offers a total of 180
points, including 100 for first and 50 for second. A second-place finish
would be enough to earn a spot in the 20-horse Kentucky Derby field.
Frac Daddy is expected to clash with Fountain of Youth (G2) winner
Orb, Holy Bull victor Itsmyluckyday, Eclipse champion Shanghai Bobby,
Spectacular Bid winner Merit Man and Pick of the Litter in the Florida
“I don’t seem to worry about everybody else. You got to line them up.
You can’t control anything after that,” McPeek said. “I don’t care if
there are three in or 30,”
On the Florida Derby Day card, McPeek also plans to run Kimberly Jean,
runner-up to highly regarded Close Hatches in an allowance, in the
$300,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2), and Travers Stakes winner Golden
Ticket, an allowance winner at the meeting, in the $100,000 Skip Away