Just in time for the winter meet, Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado is heating up.
The 52-year-old Prado won with his lone mount Friday at Gulfstream Park, guiding 19-1 long shot Fritzi ($41.20) to a one-length maiden special weight triumph in the 3-year-old Graham Motion-trained filly's second career start.
It was the sixth victory from 14 mounts (43 percent) through the first six days of the 2019-2020 Championship Meet for Prado, putting him third in the early standings behind Emisael Jaramillo and Jairo Rendon. Prado has already banked $173,965 in purse earnings.
“It's unbelievable. This business is crazy,” Prado said in the winner's circle. “It goes up and down and I've been doing this for many years. I'm happy that we've had a beautiful start and hopefully it continues.”
Ninth all-time as one of only nine jockeys with 7,000 or more victories (7,039), trailing fellow Hall of Famer Angel Cordero Jr. by 18 wins, Prado went just 2-for-23 during last winter's Championship Meet.
Gulfstream's leading rider in both 2002 (82 wins) and 2005 (62), Prado arrived this winter with a new agent, Cliff Hopmans, handling his book.
“Cliff is working really hard. He knows a lot of people. He's a straight-shooter,” Prado said. “He wants to win as much as I do and I think we're working hard and we're trying to accomplish something.”
Prado missed nearly two months earlier this year with a rib injury sustained in a last-race spill Aug. 16 at Gulfstream Park. He returned Oct. 11 during Gulfstream Park West's Fall Turf Festival meet, where he won with two of 22 mounts.
“Unfortunately, sometimes when you're not winning and your horses are running second and third, people suddenly think that you forgot how to ride,” Prado said. “But, it's unbelievable how this business is and look at what's happening now. I might as well enjoy the ride while it lasts.”
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