Undrafted gives Wes Welker a Royal Ascot winner

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Saturday, June 20, 2015

ASCOT, England -- Undrafted, owned by NFL player Wes Welker, won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday, the final day of the meet.

Welker, a former wide receiver for the Denver Broncos who is a free agent, named the horse after his status in the 2004 draft when he was not selected.

Welker expressed his excitement via Twitter:

The 14-1 shot, ridden by Frankie Dettori, also gave American trainer Wesley Ward his first Group One success in England after previously winning only juvenile events at Ascot.

"This is the biggest race I've ever won, including Breeders' Cups and everything," Ward said. "He's been training great, he really has, and Frankie just has the magic touch. He's a magical guy, a real go-getter as we'd say."

Ward, who won the Group Two Queen Mary Stakes with Acapulco on Wednesday, nearly didn't make it to Ascot on Saturday because his daughter Denae was unwell.

"We had a rough night, my daughter got a touch of the Bell's palsy so we were in hospital all night," Ward said. "[We got] fixed up with a great doctor and she was determined to be here today. This is unreal. It's really special for my little girl."

The final 100 yards turned into Australia against the United States, with Brazen Beau looking set for glory until Undrafted outran the 7-2 joint favorite to win by half a length.

"I saw him, I didn't want to kick too soon; I was going well," Dettori said after his third win of the week at Ascot, which took his career tally at the meeting to 52.

"I kept an eye on the yellow colors, but every time this horse runs he finishes strong. So I saved the last bit for the end and it proved me right."

The 5-year-old Undrafted was having his second run in England after finishing fourth in the July Cup at Newmarket last year.

"Wesley is a big supporter of mine," Dettori said of the trainer. "That gave me pleasure, winning the race for him."

Astaire, a 25-1 shot, claimed third ahead of Music Master, who went out at 14-1.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.