No Class Relief in Mr. Prospector
Photo courtesy of Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The seven furlong, $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (Grade 3) at Gulfstream Park on Saturday should have been a reprieve for several of the entrants, but instead the salty field is going to be difficult to traverse. Several of the runners are dropping out of Grade 1 company, including three whose last starts came in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.
Firenze Fire (5-2) was third in the Sprint, beaten 3 ½ lengths for the win by Whitmore. He won the Grade 2 Vosburgh at Belmont Park in September, but for all his wins and his earnings of over $2.2 million, Firenze Fire has never raced on this Gulfstream dirt course. The Kelly Breen trainee will be ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., who was aboard when he won the True North (G2) in June.
Drawn on the far outside is Mind Control, who is four for nine at the seven furlong distance. The son of Stay Thirsty hasn’t won since March, but he has earned over $1 million and has been top three in 12 of 17 starts. John Velazquez will ride for Greg Sacco. Mind Control worked a half mile bullet at Palm Meadows on December 13, going in :47 flat as the fastest work of 73 at the distance.
Defending champion Diamond Oops (3-1) was a Grade 2 winner on turf in September, then a Grade 2 winner on the main track at Keeneland in October. He was sixth in the Breeders’ Cup for trainer Patrick Biancone. The millionaire son of Lookin At Lucky will be ridden by Julien Leparoux, who was aboard for last year’s victory. The bay gelding is five for eight on this track.
Sleepy Eyes Todd (5-1) was the brilliant winner of the Charles Town Classic (G2) in August, then shipped to California for the Grade 1 Awesome Again at Santa Anita. He didn’t run well that day against big names such as Improbable and Maximum Security, but he came right back to take the Lafayette at Keeneland. His speed figures fit well with this group. Tyler Gaffalione will be up for the first time.
Lasting Legacy (15-1) exits the Sprint, where he was ninth, beaten less than seven lengths. The six-year-old son of the late Tapizar was first across the wire at Churchill Downs in September, but was disqualified and placed second. He was second in this race last year behind Diamond Oops, and Paco Lopez will ride.
Haikal rounds out the top contenders. Todd Pletcher trains the lightly-raced four-year-old, who has been top three in six of seven starts. The son of Daaher hasn’t run since February, but he was a Grade 3 stakes winner last year, and has been working very well for his return.
- October 22, 2021
For good reason, much of the attention on the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) will be on the international runners who come to Del Mar for the 12-furlong contest. In the last decade, just three winners have hailed from the United States, with the other seven coming from Europe. Since 2000, that split is 16 Europe, six for America.
- October 21, 2021
This is the last of eight weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 38th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, Nov. 5 and Saturday, Nov. 6 at Del Mar.
- October 20, 2021
A superb edition of the $6 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) is on tap November 6, and the prospective field is a list of one sparkling star after the other.