04/09/2016 4:51PM

Undrafted rallies to win Shakertown Stakes

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Undrafted, ridden by Joe Bravo, wins the Grade 2 Shakertown Stakes by half a length Saturday.

Last year, Undrafted needed a couple of races to hit his best stride after harsh winter weather delayed his preparation for spring racing.

Returning Saturday for the first time in 2016 at Keeneland in the Grade 2, $200,000 Shakertown on the Blue Grass Stakes undercard, he showed no signs of lacking fitness. He swooped past the field with an outside rally, edging defending champion Something Extra by a half-length.

A closer, Undrafted capitalized on a furious pace in the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown on “good” turf, as longshots Latent Heat and Rocket Heat blitzed the opening quarter in 20.93 seconds and a half-mile in 43.93.

Coming into the stretch, the front-runners were running on fumes, and it was Something Extra, who had stalked the pace, who got the jump on the competition. But after opening up in midstretch, he didn’t have enough to repel the late onslaught of the classy Undrafted, who completed the distance in 1:02.96.

“He just exploded turning for home,” said winning jockey Joe Bravo.

Trainer Wesley Ward also had high praise for Undrafted, a 6-year-old gelded son of Purim. He compared him to the horse’s co-owner, NFL receiver Wes Welker. “He’s kind of like his owner, a little guy but tough,” he said.

Undrafted ($9), who won the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Ascot last June, could follow the same path he took last year. If so, that could take him to Churchill Downs for the Twin Spires Turf Sprint on May 6 before going overseas.

Something Extra, one of the few horses to run well after sitting close to the pace, held on by half a length for the place over Commute, who rallied from 11th in the field of 12 to be third.  

Power Alert, the 5-2 favorite, broke a step slowly from the inside post and, after stalking the leaders, weakened to eighth.