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Frac Daddy becomes friends with Gulfstream paddock judge

Grade 1 Florida Derby contender Frac Daddy has become a familiar face to Gulfstream Park Paddock Judge George Berry during the past couple weeks, schooling almost daily in the paddock and walking ring in preparation for a start in Saturday's $1 million contest.

The son of 2007 Florida Derby winner Scat Daddy finished a disappointing sixth in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at Gulfstream on January 26 in his most recent race. Although a nasty gash in his foot suffered when he grabbed a quarter during the race surely impacted his performance, the gray colt didn't help his cause by acting up badly in the post parade and loading into the gate.

"He did not act well at all in the post parade. He was fine in the paddock, but when he got on the racetrack, he did not handle it at all," trainer Ken McPeek said. "He was looking at the crowd and he seemed distracted. I never had that at all before."

Frac Daddy has been schooling in the paddock and gate, acting cool, calm and collected, and has been training impressively for the Florida Derby.

"He's doing great right now. I couldn't get him better," McPeek said. "If he's good enough, great. If he's not, it won't be our fault because we've hit all the details.

Prior to the Holy Bull, Frac Daddy showed immense talent, finishing second behind Florida Derby entrant Indy's Illusion in his debut in mud at Belmont Park and breaking his maiden by nearly 10 lengths at Churchill Downs. He finished a close-up second Uncaptured in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill in his juvenile finale.

"If I was down on this colt, I'd be running him in an allowance race," McPeek said. "He's a nice horse and I think he deserves a shot. His race in the Kentucky Jockey Club showed that he has graded-stakes talent. He showed his immaturity in his first race of the year. Let's hope he's matured at this stage. I think he'll be fine."

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