LEXINGTON, KY (April 19, 2017) – The career of Wes Welker and Sheep Pond Partners’ Undrafted includes wins in the 2015 Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot and in Keeneland’s 2016 Shakertown (G2), three starts in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) and earnings of $1,300,813. On Friday, the Purim gelding, who is based at Keeneland with trainer Wesley Ward, will make his 7-year-old debut in the third race, a 5½-furlong allowance on the turf.
“We don’t need him as good as he ever was. We need him TO BE as good one time as he once was,” Ward said, echoing the sentiments of the Toby Keith song.
Undrafted, who has not raced since his eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November, is the 120-pound high weight in Friday’s race and will be ridden by Joel Rosario. Ward is seeking a good performance from the gelding, who he said “probably has had more works on this course than all the horses combined.”
“We need for Joel to be a cool sitter and a go-getter,” he said. “Sit back here and come with a big run. Hopefully (Undrafted) does it like he did a year ago in the Shakertown.”
Thursday’s eighth race, a 6-furlong race for $32,000 claimers, will mark a reunion of sorts for Ward and Derrick Smith’s Pablo Del Monte, a 6-year-old Giant’s Causeway gelding who finished third for Ward in the 2014 Toyota Blue Grass.
Ward bred Pablo Del Monte from his Bring the Heat mare One Hot Wish, who he sent out 10 years ago to set Keeneland’s 4½-furlong track record on Polytrack in her career debut. Pablo Del Monte opened his career at Keeneland in April 2013 and won in his second start that October. His 18 career races include the 2014 Preakness (G1) won by California Chrome.
In October 2015, Pablo Del Monte was claimed from Ward at Keeneland. The trainer kept his eye on the horse, claimed him back in June 2016 and will send him out for his first race since then.
Entering Wednesday’s competition, Ward is tied with Kiaran McLaughlin as the Spring Meet’s leading trainer with six wins each.