Undrafted Wins Group 1 at Royal Ascot
Friday, July 22, 2016
Rallying from near the back of a strong 15-horse field, Runnymede-bred, -raised and -sold Undrafted prevailed in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot on June 20 to become the newest Grade/Group 1 winner and millionaire to represent the farm and Chairman Catesby W. Clay.

Owned by NFL star Wes Welker of the Denver Broncos in partnership with investment executive Sol Kumin and trained by Wesley Ward, Undrafted was ridden with serene confidence by Frankie Dettori, who was scoring his 52nd career victory at the prestigious meet and yet another Group 1 in a spring string that has included the Epsom Derby (G1) and Prix de Diane (French Oaks) (G1).Undrafted and Frankie Dettori streak to victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes

Undrafted and Frankie Dettori streak to victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes

"Every time this horse runs, he finishes strong, so I saved the last bit for the end and it proved me right. I knew that I had won," said Dettori, who had ridden Undrafted to a good fourth-place finish over softer than ideal ground in the July Cup (G1) at Newmarket last year.

"I am just elated," Ward declared. "This is the biggest race I've won; I've won Breeders' Cups and races here in the past, but to come here and be presented with a Group 1 trophy by (Queen Elizabeth II) was such a fantastic experience.

"The horse has been training unbelievably well and every week has been firing bullets at Keeneland, but I'll tell you what, Frankie is superb," he added. "You can have a Porsche against Porsches, but you've still got to have the right guy (at the wheel) and this is a magical guy. He's just a cool sitter and a go-getter as they say."

Undrafted, a five-year-old gelding by Purim and out of French Jeannette, by French Deputy, finished a fast-closing third in the 2014 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park, just a half-length and a nose behind winner Bobby's Kitten. In the Diamond Jubilee, he defeated multiple Australian Group 1 winner Brazen Beau by a half-length, with English Group 1 winner Astaire another 1 ¾ lengths back in third.Frankie Dettori performs a flying dismount from Undrafted

Frankie Dettori performs a flying dismount from Undrafted

Further back in the field were Group 1 winners Wandjina and Gordon Lord Byron.

With the biggest victory of his career under his girth, Undrafted has now won five of 20 starts and placed ten times for total earnings of $1,042,178.

In a dramatic twist to the Diamond Jubilee, Ward almost did not make it to Ascot to see the race. He said he had been in a local hospital all night with his daughter, who was being treated for Bell's palsy.

"It's unbelievable and really special for this little girl—she really wanted to come out here and we were all night in the hospital. Fortunately enough, Derrick Smith sent over a wonderful doctor and we are here today to enjoy this special moment," Ward said, referring to one of the partners in Coolmore, for whom he trains a group of young horses including earlier Royal Ascot winner Acapulco, who took the Queen Mary Stakes (G2). "It didn't look like we were going to make it but we did."

Ward could not find enough words of praise for Dettori.

"It would have been so easy to lay up with this horse, but Frankie just sat back there, got him wide and came home. It was fantastic," he said.

"Gatewood Bell, a wonderful bloodstock agent, picked the horse out as a yearling and I broke him in. Wes (Welker) has been a dream owner and a fantastic guy to train for—it was like I owned the horse because I could do anything with him from the time he came to me. One of the reasons for the success is that if I want to give the horse a winter off like I did last year, (Welker) is happy for that. It's a shame he's not here today.

"He's a tremendous horse at the top of his game," Ward added of Undrafted. "I've been on the phone to Frankie for weeks and weeks, telling him how good the horse is. I felt that, given the right ride over the right trip, we could get the job done and we did. We're going to sit down and talk about the (2015) July Cup, but no decision has been made."

Undrafted has a four-year-old full brother, multiple winner Play Hard to Get, who has earned over $144,000 while racing for Kings River Ranch and trainer Eric Kruljac in California, and his older half sister Financial Crisis earned over $100,000. He also has a two-year-old half brother by champion Big Brown named Cleanup Hitter.

French Jeannette, who sadly passed away after an attack of colic in 2013, also produced Real Ten, a multiple winner in Korea by Rock Hard Ten, and multiple American winner Penney N a Prayer, by Songandaprayer.