03/13/2013 2:04PM

Turfway Park: Spiral gives Frac Daddy chance to revive Kentucky Derby hopes

Barbara D. Livingston
Frac Daddy, highly regarded as a 2-year-old last fall, will try to resurrect his career in the March 23 Spiral at Turfway Park.

After his runner-up finish in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November at Churchill Downs, Frac Daddy was one of the most promising horses in the 3-year-old class of 2013.

Since then, Frac Daddy has had but one race – and a disappointing one at that. Frac Daddy, a gray colt by Scat Daddy, finished a distant sixth in the Jan. 26 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park and exited the race with a hoof injury. After that, he was found to be suffering from a throat ulcer.

So isn’t trainer Ken McPeek frustrated?

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“Not really,” said McPeek. “It’s a two-race-shot for pretty much all of us now to make the [Kentucky] Derby. We’ve still got time.”

Frac Daddy will try to put those troublesome last few months behind him and resurrect his Derby hopes on March 23 in the Grade  3, $550,000 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park. The 1 1/8-mile Polytrack race is worth 50 points to the winner in the new Kentucky Derby points eligibility system.

McPeek said he is reminded of his 1995 Derby runner-up, Tejano Run, with the way the first part of this year has gone with Frac Daddy.

“Tejano Run came out of his first race at 3 [the Risen Star] with a lung infection,” McPeek recalled. “Then he ran well in the Spiral [then the Jim Beam] and everything went well after that.”

With Frac Daddy, “everything is in good order now. He’ll probably work Saturday [at Gulfstream] and then we’ll send him north. I’m not down on the horse at all. He was still pretty immature, and I think the extra time has probably done him some good. It may be a blessing that I haven’t run him since the Holy Bull.”

McPeek said the Blue Grass or Arkansas Derby would follow the Spiral if Frac Daddy runs well enough, and “if he doesn’t have enough points to make the Derby, then he’s not good enough. At least we’ll have some clarity.”

Meanwhile, Uncaptured breezed a mile Tuesday over the SafeTrack synthetic surface at the Ocala training center in Florida in preparing for his 3-year-old debut in the Spiral. Uncaptured won 6 of 7 starts last year, ending with a victory in the KJC.

“He went in 1:40 and got his last quarter in 24 and a tick,” said trainer Mark Casse. “He’ll ship straight into Turfway a few days out.”

As of Wednesday, and in order of preference, Turfway stakes coordinator Tia Murphy had these 17 3-year-olds listed as likely for the Spiral: Uncaptured, Balance the Books, Mac the Man, General Election, Capo Bastone, Fear the Kitten, Channel Isle, My Name is Michael, Black Onyx, Frac Daddy, Giant Finish, Nina’s Dragon, For Greater Glory, Cerro, Red Wings, Divine Ambition, and Crop Report.

The race will be limited to 12 starters, with two more on an also-eligible list.

A new sponsorship with Horseshoe Cincinnati Casino was announced last month. The race has been known by a variety of names since its 1972 inaugural, most recently the Vinery Racing Spiral.

Turfway will run two other stakes on the Spiral card: the Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks, and the $75,000 Rushaway Stakes. Some of the 3-year-olds who fail to make the Spiral field logically may go instead in the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway.

Spiral entries will be drawn next Wednesday at the brand-new Horseshoe facility in downtown Cincinnati.