Uncaptured stamped himself as an early favorite for the next year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) after outlasting a tenacious Frac Daddy to win Saturday’s Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs by a neck.
By clocking 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.97, Uncaptured, owned by John Oxley and trained by Mark Casse, became the seventh horse to sweep Churchill Downs’ fall juvenile stakes. The last horse to complete the Iroquois-Kentucky Jockey Club double was Tiz Wonderful in 2006.
Winning jockey Miguel Mena completed a sweep of his own Saturday. Two races earlier, the 26-year-old native of Peru prevailed aboard longshot Seaneen Girl in the Grade 2, $167,550 Golden Rod for 2-year-old fillies.
Uncaptured was sent to post as the 9-5 favorite in the field of 13 two-year-olds fresh off his a 5 ½-length Iroquois romp on Oct. 28. With three furlongs to run, both Uncaptured and Frac Daddy made their moves for the lead. Frac Daddy, racing four-wide, poked his head in front but Uncaptured was a determined foe who fought on through a stiff drive and proved unyielding.
“Honestly, at the eighth pole I thought he was beat,” Casse said. “Very seldom does a two-year-old get headed, be on the inside and come back and win. He showed his gameness today. Good horses can win, when things don’t go perfect.”
Ken McPeek, the leading trainer at Churchill Downs’ Fall Meet with 14 wins and the conditioner of Frac Daddy, spoke confidently after the race about the runner-up’s chances of turning the tables on Uncaptured down the road.
“I really trained him conservatively coming into it,” McPeek said. “I could have trained him a little harder and, in hindsight, I think maybe I would have won it. But I’m thrilled with his race. I think if you give him two or three more starts under his belt, I don’t think Uncaptured wants anything to do with him.”
Uncaptured, bred in Ontario, Canada by William Graham, is a Lion Heart colt out of the Arch mare Captivating.
–Churchill Downs Communications contributed to this report
Uncaptured/Reed Palmer photo