The Grade 3, $100,000 Mr. Prospector Stakes lured a strong field of 11, including a number of recent stakes winners or stakes placed sprinters. Among that group, Coal Front may get first notice by bettors as he comes from the Pletcher barn and makes his second start after 13 months off.
Although unsuccessful in the Grade 3 Bold Ruler Handicap when fifth in his comeback last month, Coal Front has top credentials, having won both the Grade 3 Gallant Bob Stakes and Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes in 2017. The big question is whether he can rebound off his poor effort in the Bold Ruler.
Wild Shot is on the comeback trail as well, having won the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile Stakes in the spring of 2017 and just last month returning from a 15 month layoff to be second in an allowance race. Kroy won the Millions Sprint Preview Stakes last month and fits on form, but he is one of perhaps four entrants in the race who have demonstrated a “need the lead” style which means the early pace scenario is likely to be hotly contested and set the race up to be won by horses who can relax early and charge home late.
Conquest Big E is another likely to want the lead early but has top credentials, having won the Grade 2 Hardacre Mile Stakes over the track in March. Belle Tapisserie adds speed to the mix, with his only previous stakes try resulting in a fourth-place finish.
Among the group who can finish well and is proven at the level, Heartwood is notable as he was recently second in the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap and won the Steel Valley Sprint Stakes last year. Uno Mas Modelo enters the Mr. Prospector on a two race streak, both stakes races including the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit Stakes over the track at the distance three weeks ago. Storm Advisory is a veteran who leads the field in career earnings at $449K and who has won two of his last three races. Sweetontheladies, J. S. Choice and K Choice round out the field
Wild Shot got a lot out of his comeback effort on November 23 following 15 months away as he battled for the lead mid-race and settled for second in the stretch while fairly clear of the rest. Not only does Wild Shot have the back class to compete successfully at the level, having won the Pat Day Mile Stakes in 2017, he has the benefit of a top trainer in George “Rusty” Arnold, who has had tremendous success with horses second of the layoff over the years. According to STATS Race Lens research, Arnold has a record of 12 for 43 (28%) in this situation, with 56% of those 43 horses finishing in the top three. Wild Shot earned a career best 113 Equibase Speed Figure when he won the Pat Day Mile and that number is the third highest figure in the field (behind Coal Front and Uno Mas Modelo). With a lot of physical improvement expected in his second start off the layoff, Wild Shot could be very tough to beat in this year's Mr. Prospector Stakes.
Heartwood has run two big races in a row but has come up just short of winning each time. In the Bet on Sunshine Stakes in November, Heartwood finished second behind Uno Mas Modelo with a 105 figure before improving to a career best 109 figure when second in the Fall Highweight Handicap last month. Earlier this year, Heartwood won the Senator Robert C. Byrd Memorial Stakes and last year he won the Steel Valley Sprint Stakes (with a $200K purse) so this colt has proven himself in top company many times. Current North American leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. gets on for the first time and that could be another factor in Heartwood running another “A” race to be competitive to the wire.
Storm Advisory and Uno Mas Modelo are both owned by Loooch Racing Stables and trained by Anthony Quartarolo but run uncoupled for wagering purposes. Storm Advisory was overmatched in the Clark Handicap at nine furlongs last month but won two sprints in a row prior to that and the first of the two earned him a strong 107 figure. His most recent workout in preparation for the race was fantastic as it was the third best of 126 on the day and as the field leader in career wins with 10, Storm Advisory must be given some consideration as a contender. Similar to his stablemate, Uno Mas Modelo was overmatched in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in September, but if you remove that race from his history he has won five straight sprints including two stakes. He won the Bet on Sunshine Stakes in November with a 115 figure then won the Claiming Crown Rapid Transit Stakes three weeks ago, earning a 108 figure. Jockey Jimenez was in the saddle for both efforts and rides again, which gives Storm Advisory a fighting chance in this race.
The rest of the field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures in similar races, is Belle Tapisserie (98), Coal Front (117), Conquest Big E (111), J. S. Choice (86), K Choice (90), Kroy (110) and Sweetontheladies (96).
Main Contenders, in win probability order:
Uno Mas Modelo
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