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Making his second start off a 15-month layoff, Calumet Farm's Wild Shot is set for a return to graded-stakes company in Saturday's $100,000 Mr. Prospector (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Trained by Rusty Arnold, the graded stakes-winning son of Trappe Shot is scheduled to face 10 rivals in the seven-furlong sprint after finishing second in a Nov. 23 allowance at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old colt was forwardly placed throughout the seven-furlong sprint before finishing second 3 ½-lengths behind Steve Asmussen-trained Copper Bullet, who hadn't raced since winning the August 2017 Saratoga Special, and 1 ¾ lengths ahead of Kenny McPeek-trained Honorable.
Race 10 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:36 PM
|Armando De La Cerda|
|3||Storm Advisory||15-1||Robby Albarado
|4||J. S. Choice||30-1||Carlos Hernandez
|5||K Choice||30-1||Luis Saez
|6||Heartwood||9-2||Irad Ortiz, Jr.
|7||Wild Shot||10-1||Brian Hernandez, Jr.
|George Arnold, II|
|8||Uno Mas Modelo||2-1||Albin Jimenez
|9||Conquest Big E||10-1||Jose Ortiz
|10||Belle Tapisserie||20-1||Leonel Reyes
|11||Coal Front||7-2||John Velazquez
"It was a good race. He didn't win, but it was a tough race to come back in," Arnold said. "Steve's horse is a nice horse and Kenny's horse is a nice horse, too."
Wild Shot hadn't raced since finishing off the board in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga Aug. 23, 2017.
"He just wasn't going well. He didn't run well at Saratoga at all. We turned him out for a good long while," Arnold said. "He had a problem at the farm before he came back to me and he needed more time - nothing major, no surgery."
The layoff obviously did the 4-year-old Calumet homebred a lot of good.
"He's a year older. He grew up," Arnold said. "He's an absolutely beautiful horse."
Wild Shot was on the Triple Crown trail after breaking his maiden in his second start and finishing third in the Breeders' Futurity (G1) at Keeneland and second in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2). He finished fourth in the Sam F. Davis (G3) and third behind Tapwrit in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), but he didn't end up going to the Kentucky Derby (G1) after finishing seventh in the Blue Grass (G2).
"He put in some good efforts in those races, but I don't think he really wants to go that far," Arnold said.
Wild Shot subsequently returned to one-turn racing and winning form with a four-length triumph in the Pat Day Mile (G3) at Churchill Downs on Kentucky Derby Day before going to the sidelines following off-the-board finishes in the Woody Stephens (G2), Indiana Derby (G2) and Jerkens.
"He came out of his race at Churchill good and he's training great," Arnold said.
Brian Hernandez Jr. has the mount aboard Wild Shot for the first time since finishing third aboard the Kentucky-bred colt in the Breeders' Futurity.
Multiple graded-stakes winner Coal Front will seek to rebound from a distant fifth-place finish in the Nov. 2 Bold Ruler Handicap (G3) at Aqueduct in his first start in 14 months. The Todd Pletcher-trained 4-year-old son of Stay Thirsty had previously won four of five starts. Owned by Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners, Coal Front captured the Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga and the Gallant Bob (G3) at Parx during his 3-year-old campaign.
John Velazquez has been named to ride Cold Front.
Daniel Hurtak's Conquest Big E enters the Mr. Prospector off a sharp 5 ¾-length victory in a Nov. 7 optional claiming allowance at seven furlongs at Gulfstream Park. The Donna Green-trained 5-year-old gelding had been winless in four starts since capturing the Gulfstream Park Hardacre Mile (G2) March 31. In the one-turn mile stakes on the Florida Derby (G1) program, Conquest Big E registered a front-running three-length decision over 2017 Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming.
Jose Ortiz will ride Conquest Big E for the first time Saturday.
Loooch Racing Stables entered a pair of horses in the Mr. Prospector, Uno Mas Modelo and Storm Advisory, both of whom are trained by Anthony Quartarolo. Uno Mas Modelo has won back-to-back sprint stakes since finishing off the board in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1). The 5-year-old son of Macho Uno won the 6 ½-furlong Bet on Sunshine at Churchill by 4 ½ lengths Nov. 1 before coming right back a month later to win the seven-furlong Claiming Crown Rapid Transit by a neck. Storm Advisory, who was claimed for $80,000 at Churchill Sept. 27, won at first asking for his new connections in a Thistledown allowance before finishing seventh in the Clark Handicap (G1) at Churchill Nov. 23.
Albin Jimenez has the return mount aboard Uno Mas Modelo, while Robby Albarado has the call on Storm Advisory.
Heartwood, who finished second in the Bet On Sunshine before adding another runner-up finish in the Fall Highweight (G3) at Aqueduct; and Kroy, who returned to winning form in the Millions Sprint Preview at Gulfstream Park West last time out; are among the most highly regarded entrants in the Mr. Prospector field. Irad Ortiz Jr. has the mount on Heartwood, while Paco Lopez has the return call on Kroy.
Sweetontheladies, Belle Tapisserie, K Choice and J. S. Choice round out the field.
Graded-stakes winners Coal Front, Conquest Big E and Wild Shot are prominent among 14 horses nominated to the 64th running of the $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) for 3-year-olds and up going seven furlongs Saturday, Dec. 22 at Gulfstream Park.
Robert LaPenta and Head of Plains Partners' Coal Front won four of six starts in 2017 including front-running scores in the 6 1/2-furlong Amsterdam (G2) at Saratoga and six-furlong Gallant Bob (G3) at Parx. The 4-year-old Stay Thirsty ridgling went unraced for more than 13 months before returning to be fifth in the seven-furlong Bold Ruler (G3) Nov. 2 at Aqueduct.
Daniel Hurtak's Conquest Big E notched the biggest win of his career with a 12-1 upset of 2017 Florida Derby (G1) and Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming in the Gulfstream Park Hardacre Mile (G2) March 31. Also second in the Fred Hooper (G3) last winter, the 5-year-old Tapit gelding returned to the winner's circle with a gate-to-wire optional claiming allowance triumph going seven furlongs Nov. 7 at Gulfstream Park West.
Calumet Farm's Wild Shot ran second, third and fourth in graded-stakes at 2 and 3 before breaking through with a four-length victory in the 2017 Pat Day Mile (G3) on the Derby undercard. Winless in four starts since, he ended a 15-month break between starts running second to Copper Bullet in a seven-furlong allowance Nov. 23 at Churchill Downs.
Also among the nominees are Sweetontheladies, third this year in the H. Allen Jerkens (G1) at Saratoga and Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (G3) at Laurel Park; and multiple stakes winners Cautious Giant, Kroy, Mo Dont No and Uno Mas Modelo.
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