11/26/2012 3:54PM

Churchill Downs notes: Beyer Figure comes back low for Uncaptured in Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes

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Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Uncaptured (right) holds off Frac Daddy in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes. Both horses received 75 Beyers.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Perhaps the most compelling surprise from the highly eventful final weekend of the 21-day Churchill Downs fall meet was not the 30-1 upset by Keep Up in the River City Handicap on the closing-day program Sunday, but the relatively low Beyer Speed Figures recorded by the stakes performers on the Stars of Tomorrow card Saturday.

Uncaptured and Frac Daddy – the top two finishers in what was widely considered a deep and talented cast in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, which went in 1:44.97 for 1 1/16 miles – were credited with Beyers of just 75, the same figure earned by Seaneen Girl, the 31-1 winner of the filly twin, the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes, about an hour beforehand. Uncaptured now is a winner of six races, including five stakes, from seven career starts.

Moreover, that 75 figure was exceeded by the winners of all 10 of the other races run Saturday on the 2-year-old-only program – five allowances and five maiden special-weights. Those winning figures ranged from 76 to 88, the latter being earned by the filly Pure Fun in a one-mile, main-track allowance.

“I know it somehow looks like an aberration,” said Andrew Beyer, who devised and continues to publish the figures in Daily Racing Form. “But I just couldn’t find a way to fudge it. I just had to accept the evidence. The fact is the maiden [Bradester] ran faster than the stakes at the same distance [1 1/16 miles]. It’s right in front of you, so what do you do with that? Somehow, for some reason, all the colts ran lousy on this particular day. What that means for future races, I don’t know. I have no other answers.”

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep-race schedule and results]

Ken McPeek, trainer of Frac Daddy, theorized that the track condition may have been a major factor in the slower time for the KJC, which was run as the 11th of 12 races.

“It was frozen in the morning, just crust,” McPeek said. “In fact, we canceled all our breezes. I’ve seen it happen a lot with that track. As the day went on, it just didn’t warm up much at all and didn’t start getting looser until much later as they kept harrowing it and working it.

“I think the distortion in the [Beyers] is because of how the track just slowed down as it got looser. That was a really, really good group of horses you saw in the Jockey Club. I think that’ll prove itself down the road.”

McPeek and the connections of the other top finishers from the KJC were all extremely happy with the race, and all are making plans to head to south Florida for the winter. Uncaptured, a neck winner over Frac Daddy, will have three starts before the May 4 Kentucky Derby, said trainer Mark Casse, “although which three, I’m not sure.”

McPeek said Frac Daddy, making just his third start, “didn’t have that much experience or base, and he got tired right there at the end. My gosh, he’s got some talent. It’s going to be an exciting season. Unless this horse gets sick or hurt, I think we’ve got some big chances with him.”

Dale Romans also said he was “absolutely thrilled” with how Dewey Square overcame a wide trip in just his third start to finish a resolute third, beaten 1 1/4 lengths by Frac Daddy.

“It’s going to be fun watching this horse develop,” he said.

Romans, McPeek tie for trainer title

Romans and McPeek tied for the meet training title with 14 wins each. Romans pulled even when sending out Rightfully So to easily win the ninth of 11 Sunday races and had a chance to win outright with Guys Reward in the next race, the River City, but that horse finished eighth. It was the 10th time Romans has won or shared a training title at his home track; for McPeek, it was the second.

Corey Lanerie was the leading jockey at the meet with 29 winners, five more than Shaun Bridgmohan. Lanerie was easily the leader here in the spring, too.

Four entities tied for leading owner: Bluegrass Hall LLC; Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider; Gary and Mary West; and Magdalena Racing.

None of the tracks owned by Churchill Downs Inc. publish attendance or handle figures at a meet’s end.

◗ Calvin Borel ended the meet with 4,997 career wins, meaning the three-time Kentucky Derby-winning jockey may have to wait until the Oaklawn Park meet starts Jan. 11 to hit the 5,000-win milestone. With some exceptions to fulfill stakes engagements, Borel typically takes vacation time between the end of the Churchill and the start of Oaklawn every winter.

◗ Joe Rocco Jr. ended the meet in style, winning four races on the Sunday finale to finish third in the jockey standings with 21 wins. Rocco will be back in the spring to ride the Keeneland and Churchill meets again, said Lenny Pike Jr., the agent who handled his business here this fall.

In the meantime, Rocco is headed to Gulfstream Park, where Joe Burdo will be his agent. Pike will remain working for Bridgmohan when the jockey moves to Fair Grounds.

◗ Romans, who has lost a considerable amount of weight since hiring a personal trainer, has been incredibly busy in recent weeks with his stable, too, considering his travels to and from the Breeders’ Cup and the frantic last few weeks of Churchill meet.

“I need a rest,” he said mid-card Saturday.

◗ Turfway Park in Florence, Ky., kicks off four months of winter racing Thursday night. Three stakes, starting with the $50,000 Holiday Inaugural on Saturday, will be run at the holiday meet, which runs through Dec. 31. The winter-spring meet goes from Jan. 1 through March 31, but will run on a significantly reduced schedule. Turfway will race only four days in February and twice a week in March, with the exception of a three-day schedule the week of the March 23 Spiral Stakes.

Entries for opening night were to be drawn Tuesday.