In this weekend’s Horse Racing Race of the Week, we bring 2013 to a close with a look at the 2013 Mr. Prospector Stakes at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale, Fla. The six furlong sprint for $100,000 drew a field of eight with the speedy Star Harbour listed as the 5/2 morning line favorite.
The races’ namesake stirs memories of a remarkable horse.
Nicknamed Mr. P, the dark bay or bay horse, albeit nothing special to look at, is arguably the greatest sire of our time.
Foaled in 1970, Mr. P was bought at the Keeneland yearling auction for the top sale price of $220,000 by Butch Savin’s Aisco Farm and was trained by Jimmy Croll.
Being foaled in 1970 also meant the son of Raise A Native out of the Nashua mare Gold Digger would have come to the races as a two-year-old in the same year as Secretariat. But leg problems kept him from racing at age two.
When the GulfstreamPark winter meet opened in 1973, Mr. Prospector quickly drew attention to himself after winning his first three races including running six furlongs in a then mind boggling 1:07.4 to set the track record that stood for 26 years. (Artax, a great grandson of Mr. Prospector, tied the mark in the 1989 Breeders Cup Sprint). Midway thru his three year old campaign it was decided to keep the speedster in just sprint races.
But once again, leg issues (chips in his ankles) put him on the shelf. He came back at 4 to win 4 of 9 races and set 2 more track records in the process.
However his lists of accomplishments as a stallion dwarf what he did on the track. Mr. P was directly responsible for 11 Kentucky Derby winners, 13 Preakness Stakes’ winner and an astounding 15 Belmont Stakes winners. (Not bad for a “sprinter” right?)
It would take gallons of “internet ink” to list all the accomplishment but I’ll just touch on several. Here is a short list I compiled of some of his off spring, with their off spring in parenthesis:
The brilliant miler Fappiano (Cryptoclearance & ’98 Belmont Stakes winner Victory Gallop), Quiet American (’98 Derby & Preakness winner Real Quiet), Unbridled, who himself won the 1990 Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup Classic (Grindstone, Birdstone, Mind That Bird, Summer Bird, Red Bullet and Empire Maker), 1982 Horse of the Year Conquistador Cielo, 1985 Preakness winner Tank’s Prospect, Woodman (’91 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner Hansel and Timber Country ’95 Preakness winner), the laudably versatile Gulch, who would run third in the 1987 Belmont Stakes, yet comeback to win the Breeders Cup Sprint in 1988 (’95 Derby and Belmont Stakes winner Thunder Gulch and ’98 Preakness and Belmont winner Point Given), Gone West, a $1.9 million yearling purchase (Elusive Quality, who would spawn the enormously popular Smarty Jones, and Commendable the 2000 Belmont Stakes winner), Afleet, who would sire Northern Afleet, who in turn would sire Afleet Alex, 1987 two year old champion Forty Niner, who’s direct descendants include Distorted Humor, Funny Cide, Flower Alley, I’ll Have Another and Drosselmeyer, Super sire Seeking The Gold, Kingmambo, Smart Strike, who would throw Curlin, Palace Malice and two time champion Lookin’ at Lucky and 2000 Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus.
Other noteworthy statistics showed that of the 374 thoroughbreds competing in the Kentucky Derby since the year 1990, a staggering 106 of them were Mr. Prospector’s descendants. Of those 374 entries, 10 actually won the classic race and 25 finished in the top four. Lastly, his descendants brought a bid of at least $1 million at sales on 47 different occasions over a 19-year period….that, readers, is impressive.
Gulfstream Park – Saturday, December 28, 2013
Race 9 – 4:33 PM
Mr. Prospector Stakes (Grade: 3)
For Three Year Olds and Upward
|1||1||Fort Loudon||4/C||L||J Sanchez||122||S I Gold||
|2||2||Trinni Heart||3/C||L||E S Prado||114||B Parboo||
|3||3||Star Harbour||5/H||L||P Lopez||120||B S Dibona||
|4||4||Upgrade||6/G||L||J Rocco, Jr.||118||M A Tomlinson||
|5||5||Travelin Man||5/H||L||J Castellano||118||T A Pletcher||
|6||6||Singanothersong||3/C||L||J C Leyva||114||R Pellegrini||
|7||7||Apriority||6/H||L||J Bravo||118||D Fawkes||
|8||8||Black Diamond Cat||6/G||L||J Chamafi||122||L Bates||
1) Singanothersong- has had a very good 2013 while compiling a record of 6-2-2-1 with his last race being his best yet.
In that race (Nov. 17) he sat just off a hot early pace before taking command on the turn for home and “drew clear” to win by almost 4 while getting the six furlong distance in a smoking 1:08.3.
As I looked back through his past performances, I noticed a second place finish to the fleet Clearly Now in the Grade: 3 Swale Stakes back in March and good third in the Big Drama Stakes back in April…so you know he can be competitive vs. this caliber horse.
It appears he took the summer off and came back with a strong second in an optional claimer field (on Oct 20.) before that big win in November.
The combination of the Oct 20 race and the Nov 17 race should set him up perfectly to run another big one come Saturday afternoon. Also, if you go by the rule of thumb that says a horses’ third start off a lay off is usually his best, add in the fact that this gray colt likes this track (5 of 6 races on the board over this strip) and his consistency (11 of 13 career starts on the board), you should come up with a horse who will run well this weekend….and at 8-1 on the morning line, he looks like a very good value as well.
2) Star Harbour- is the morning line favorite and rightfully so but he looks somewhat vulnerable to me.
Yes, he possesses a ton of early speed and yes he won two of his last three. But in that last race (albeit a furlong longer than this), he was life and death at the end and that was against a restricted (Florida Bred only) field, while this race is open company.
I’m also uncomfortable with the fact that there are several others early burners in here and it seems likely someone (Fort Loudon, Black Diamond Cat, etc) could run with him early which, in turn, could leave him low on fuel down the lane.
You must respect his early speed and he is a “must use” in any exotics betting scenario, but I’m going to try to beat him in this spot for the win.
3) Travelin Man- merits respect for two reasons. One, he is 5 for 8 over this track and 0 for 8 everywhere else and two) he was quietly making up ground late in his last while finishing third vs. $62,500 optional claimers. If he gets the fast early pace I am anticipating, he could be a menace in deep stretch.
Apriority won laughing in return to Gulfstream Park in his last (he won by 5 in 1:09.2.) and is another “horse for the course” as he is 4 for 7 over this track and just 2 for 28 everywhere else….dangerous foe for sure. Black Diamond Cat won back to back $100,000 stakes races this past summer but then took 3 months off and bombed in his comeback race two weeks ago….so which Black Diamond Cat shows up this Saturday? The good one or the bad one?…your move from there. Fort Loudon showed good speed and battled on gamely down the stretch in his last at seven furlongs. With this race being six furlongs, it makes him a somewhat logical contender as the cut back in distance should help.
Record: 19-58 = 33%
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Little Bets N’ Pieces:
**** 2013 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Mucho Macho Man stepped up his preparation process for his 2014 debut, breezing five furlongs in 1:00 flat (and galloped out a sixth furlong in 1:14 flat) last Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park.
“He was just feeling so good, we let him do a little more today,” trainer Kathy Ritvo said. “He did great.”
Ritvo said she, stable manager Finn Green, and owners Dean and Patti Reeves were still weighing their options for Mucho Macho Man’s 2014 debut. The $400,000 Sunshine Millions Classic Jan. 18 and the $500,000 Donn Handicap Feb. 8 are at the top of the list.
“No one could have been happier than I was to get another year of great training from him,” Ritvo added. “I know he got off to a slow start but he finished up the year great. He’s just showing all the right signs. He’s a pleasure. He’s very happy. He’s been doing very well since the Breeders’ Cup and has been training well since he got here. His coat looks great and his weight is great.”
“He got a little slow start (last year), but he beat all the best horses when it counted,” Ritvo said. “I wouldn’t trade horses with anybody.”
**** 2009 three year old champion Summer Bird has died from colic at the age of 7 in Japan.
A son of Belmont winner Birdstone out of Hong Kong Squall, by Summer Squall, the good looking chestnut rattled off victories in the Belmont Stakes, Travers and Jockey Club Gold Cup that same year.
At the end of his 3-year-old campaign, he sustained a cannon bone fracture while training for the Japan Cup. He was given several months off but attempts to bring him back to the races proven futile and he was retired midway thru 2010.
He finished his career with four wins and one second from nine starts, and earnings of $2,323,040.
**** Probable 2013 two year old colt champion New Year’s Day, who pulled an upset in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, has been retired after chipping a sesamoid in his left hind leg this past week. The colt will enter stud at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms in Lexington.
“We don’t know what happened—whether he kicked himself coming off the track, or what,” said Ben Glass, agent for owners Gary and Mary West. “It was going to be a long layoff, regardless of what we did, so (trainer) Bob (Baffert), myself, Gary West, and couple of veterinarians decided it would be in the best interest of the horse to retire him. Bob said he didn’t want to have to hold his breath every time he breezed him. We would like to win more races with him but that’s not in the cards”.
“Disappointed isn’t the right word for it,” Glass added. “We had mapped out a plan to get three races for him to get him to the Derby. We were trying to do everything perfectly. He is sound today but we could not take the risk.”
**** A pair of long-shots won opening day Santa Anita co-feature races when 17-1 shot Shakin’ it Up won the Malibu Stakes and 13-1 Heir Kitty took the LaBrea Stakes yesterday.
Shakin’ it Up, who was coming off a nine month lay-off, ran down 10-1 shot Central Banker after coming from well back in the field of 11 and completed seven furlongs in a swift 1:20.2 while Heir Kitty gunned down 4-5 favorite Sweet Lulu in deep stretch for her win and she finished the seven furlongs in still quick 1:21.2 …geez….a $36 horse and a $28 horse? I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come in 2014.
**** ….aaaaaaaand finally, in case your interested, I/we have one running in the 5th at Aqueduct this Sunday. Our iron horse Mister Woolman drew post #8 going 8 1/2 furlongs in an optional claimer for $48,000.