Grade 3 Sprint Highlights Saturday’s Three-Stakes Card
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Neither has crossed the wire in front since notching their respective first graded-stakes victories in the $100,000 Mr. Prospector (G3) a year apart, but both Speechify and Singanothersong are entered to end that streak when the six-furlong sprint is renewed Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
The 61st running of the Mr. Prospector for 3-year-olds and up highlights an 11-race program that includes a pair of $75,000 turf stakes for sophomores, the Tropical Park Oaks for fillies and Tropical Park Derby, each at 1 1/16 miles.
Team Valor International’s Speechify has raced only four times since capturing last year’s Mr. Prospector by 1 ¼ lengths over a field that included 2015 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) champion Mongolian Saturday and 2013 Mr. Prospector winner Singanothersong.
Trained by Ralph Nicks, Speechify was third after stumbling at the start of the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) in February, lacked racing room when second in an April 16 optional claiming allowance, then missed 60 days with a minor suspensory injury over the summer.
The 5-year-old son of Harlan’s Holiday, who survives on a liquid diet due to a restricted esophagus that prevents him from eating solid food, was unraced until Oct. 3, when he escaped serious injury while falling over another horse in a scary incident during the Woodford (G3) at Keeneland.
“I don’t know how he made it, but he did,” said trainer Ralph Nicks, who watched the race from his base at Gulfstream. “He’s an amazing horse. He has a lot of desire, a lot of desire.”
In his comeback race, Speechify broke from the rail and dueled for the lead before fading to fifth behind Mr. Prospector foe Weekend Hideaway at Gulfstream Park West in a five-furlong allowance that was moved from the turf to a sloppy main track. Speechify is 4-for-4 at six furlongs, including three wins from four tries at Gulfstream, and has been worse than third once in eight lifetime starts at Gulfstream, where he has won four times.
“I don’t know about the Gulfstream West race. After him falling at Keeneland he might have been a little bit intimidated down inside, but he got a race back into him and he seems fine,” Nicks said. “He runs well over the track and he won it last year, so we’ll try again.”
Herman Van Den Broeck’s Singanothersong won the 2013 Mr. Prospector but was off the board in five of seven subsequent starts including a trio of graded stakes, most recently the Smile Sprint (G2) July 5. The 5-year-old finished second by a neck in the Aug. 15 Bonita Stakes at Gulfstream but was promoted to the win following the disqualification of Do the Roar for interference.
Unraced since a fifth-place effort in the Treasure Coast Stakes Sept. 19 at Gulfstream, Singanothersong has been training forwardly at Gulfstream Park West for his comeback, breezing a half-mile in 47.60 seconds Dec. 13, the fastest of 19 horses. He returns to the dirt after a pair of turf stakes.
“I think he’s better on the dirt, so I want to get him back on it. Six furlongs is a good distance for him. We’ve done some work on him and we’ve got him probably going the best he’s gone for quite a while,” trainer Ron Pellegrini said. “He’s getting older and he needed a few tweaks here and there. We just wanted to freshen him up a little bit for the winter. I’ve got him definitely heading in the right direction.”
Gerardo Corrales will be aboard Singanothersong, who is making his 24th lifetime start in the Mr. Prospector.
“He’s a horse that hasn’t really run an extensive amount of races, so physically he’s in good shape,” Pellegrini said. “I’ve taken a chip out of the left knee and the right knee, but basically his bone structure is in pretty good shape for a horse his age. We’ve been very lucky with him. Hopefully, his tooth isn’t getting too long.”
Trainer Stanley Gold has a pair of contenders in Jacks or Better Farm homebred stakes winners C. Zee and Grande Shores. C. Zee, 4, has four wins and three seconds from seven career starts at Gulfstream, defeating Speechify in the Gulfstream Park Sprint (G3) Feb. 21. Second by a neck to multiple graded-stakes winner Valid in the Fred Hooper (G3) Feb. 7, 7-year-old Grande Shores won the Parrot Key Stakes June 6 and most recently was fifth in defense of his Claiming Crown Rapid Transit title Dec. 5.
Like Grande Shores, Stallwalkin’ Dude wheels back two weeks after his victory in the Rapid Transit. Owned and trained by David Jacobson, Stallwalkin’ Dude has been in the top three in 13 of 17 starts this year, beaten a neck when third in the Vosburgh (G1) Sept. 26.
Weekend Hideaway snapped a six-race losing streak with his runaway 6 ½-length victory in a Nov. 22 allowance at Gulfstream Park West. It was the first win for the 5-year-old son of champion sprinter Speightstown since taking the Sunshine Millions Sprint, also at six furlongs, Jan. 17 at Gulfstream.
“He’s great. He’s a really durable horse,” trainer Phil Serpe said. “He’s always there for you. Everything in that department is good.”
Rounding out the field is the speedy, front-running X Y Jet, entering the Mr. Prospector off back-to-back optional claiming allowance wins this fall. Second in the Hutcheson (G3) last winter at Gulfstream, the Jorge Navarro trainee is 2-for-3 at six furlongs but winless in six tries with four seconds and a third lifetime at Gulfstream Park.
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